The sodium salts are strong alkalies, much more alkaline than the potassium salts; are less depressing than the latter and not as poisonous to the nerves and heart muscles. They are absorbed slowly and eliminated slowly. Soda diluted renders the blood more alkaline. Taken in large doses, not well diluted, or for a long time, it will destroy the red blood corpuscles and act as an irritant to the gastro-intestinal tract. This shows that large doses, not well diluted, or its use continued a long time, will increase acid conditions by irritation; while minute doses well diluted taken for a short time may decrease acidity.
Syn.—Bicarbonate of Soda; Baking Soda.
Sodium bicarbonate dissolves at 59° F., in water at 11.3 and above this point it looses CO2 and at 212° F., it leaves only carbonate of sodium. In moisture it gradually decomposes, while if kept dry it will remain intact. Therefore keep well corked and dispense only in cold water.
Indications: Broad, pallid tongue, with want of color, showing an excess of acid and a lack of alkaline elements. However it must be understood that a lack of alkaline elements does not always call for bicarbonate of soda, but very often for stimulation of the alkaline secreting organs.
Use: A mild anti-acid temporarily increasing the alkalinity of the blood. Taken in large doses, not well diluted or for any length of time, and if taken when contraindicated, it often causes an incurable form of dyspepsia. Sodium bicarbonate may be used temporarily, if indicated, in hyperacidity of the stomach, due to fermentation; diarrhea with green, sour discharge or marked acid reaction. In flatulent colic, result of acid condition of the stomach, sick headache from sour stomach. In fevers where system is in acid condition it is of great value internally and locally. Applied locally it is of value in burns and rhus. tox. poisoning, either dry or in solution.
Syn.—Phosphate of Sodium.
Properties: Anti-acid, laxative, hepatic.
Use: Of special value in infants and small children with the following indications, viz.: pasty white, often hard stool, which may be of a spongy nature and so light in weight that it will sometimes float in water. There is general malaise, loss of appetite, mucous membrane pale, child is dull, restless, muscles feel sore, temperature may be subnormal or slightly elevated. There may be excess of phosphates in the urine on account of the phosphates supplying nutrition to the bony system not being absorbed, they passing off as waste material. Gradual or rapid emaciation may result. In all these conditions there is a deficiency of red blood corpuscles in the system and a deficient secretion of bile. These symptoms are often the forerunners of rickets, necrosis, caries of the bones and by the use of this remedy may be aborted. Will often cure hepatic colic. Of value in catarrh of the bile ducts. In small doses it is a good laxative if indicated. Large doses act as a cathartic and are apt to cause griping.
Properties: Anti-acid, antiseptic.
Soluble in cold water 4 parts; in boiling water 1 part. Must be kept in a cool place well corked; because if exposed to the air it will absorb oxygen and gradually change to sodium sulphate.
Indications: Pallid mucous membrane and tissues, broad, dirty pasty white coated tongue.
Use: It is a mild antiseptic and deodorant. Will control fermentation in gastro-intestinal tract. In septic conditions calling for alkalies with above indications it is of value. We think of it in typhoid, smallpox, erysipelas, fermentive dyspepsia, apthous condition of the mouth due to parasites. In chronic skin diseases, herpes or any condition where indicated.
The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, was written by Fred J. Petersen, M.D.