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Sodium Salicylate.

Botanical name:

Related entry: Gaultheria - Salicylic acid - Salol - Aspirin - Salicin

Formula—NaC7H5O3.
Synonym—Salicylate of sodium.

Physiological Action—The agent acts upon the economy similarly to salicylic acid. lts ready solubility renders it much more valuable. It is irritating to the stomach to a limited extent. Although the salicylate of sodium may be given with impunity in the conditions in which it is indicated, there are certain undesirable, and in certain cases serious results, that follow its use, which must be anticipated. The best known of these is the suppression of the gastric fluids and interference with the digestion.

A writer in the Journal of Cutaneous Diseases mentions severe cases of erythema and urticaria from its use. In another case twenty grains were ordered to a man three times daily. After taking only three doses (one dram) of the drug an urticarial eruption, quickly becoming petechial, appeared on the body and extremities. The hemorrhagic extravasation was so great at certain points, as to cause subsequent sloughs and ulcers. Almost every part of the surface of the body except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, were attacked during the course of the disease; accompanied by myalgic and arthritic pains. The tongue, larynx and pharynx were affected by the eruption and were so swollen as to threaten suffocation. No blood or pus was found in the urine and there was no disturbance of the bowels.

Therapy—In the larger part of the conditions named as benefited by the use of salicylic acid this agent may be prescribed, often with better results than occur from the use of the acid.

It is perhaps the best of our remedies for rheumatism wherever located and whatever the cause or duration. Both this agent and the acid may be given internally and applied freely externally. They may be applied in solution, or the powders may be sprinkled upon cotton and applied dry and kept warm. There is authority for the statement that occasional large, full doses of this sodium salt in rheumatism will act more rapidly, and produce less gastric irritation, than if given in frequently repeated small doses.

Sodium salicylate has a specific influence in the treatment of acute coryza, when there is fullness of the head across the eyes, with watery secretion, sneezing, chilliness, malaise and general depression. Two or three fifteen-grain doses of this salt, taken two hours apart, have often dissipated every symptom for the writer. Supra-orbital pain from. the above cause, or of a neuralgic or rheumatic character, is most quickly dissipated by it.

This agent has a specific influence upon the schneiderian membrane. It relieves irritation, reduces chronic thickness, regulates the secretion from the mucous follicles and restores tone to relaxed membranes. In acute cases it relieves pain. Knapp, of New York, has used the remedy in small doses for many years, in the treatment of progressive deafness, resulting from chronic catarrh. He gives five grains three or four times a day. The same dose will be found beneficial in the treatment of uncomplicated chronic catarrh. A slow, progressive improvement will be noticed, if the agent be persisted in.

Having confidence in the action of the remedy, in the treatment of acute colds in adults—coryza—I was induced to prescribe it in the snuffles of very young infants I dissolved five grains in one-third of a glass of water, perhaps an ounce and a half, and gave half teaspoonful doses every half hour. The results were surprising, and from my experience I can urge the use of this simple method in the cure of this condition.

The agent has been used to relieve eye strain, accompanied with ptosis. The cases where its influence was marked were accompanied with a rheumatic diathesis. Fifteen grains of the remedy three times a day was the curative dose.

Sodium Salicylate is of benefit in whooping-cough. Two or three grains may be given twice or three times each day and excellent results obtained.

This remedy relieved a most severe case of universal cutaneous pruritus of nervous origin. Fifteen grains, three times daily, controlled the entire phenomena in three days.

In the treatment of inflammatory diseases of the mucous structures of the kidneys and bladder, this agent is of much service, its influence being largely due to its antiseptic and soothing properties. Upon the secretory function of the kidneys in lithemia and rheumatism the salicylate of lithium, however, is the preferable salt.


The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.



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