Physiological Action—It produces heat in the esophagus and stomach when swallowed, which to some sensitive patients is exceedingly disagreeable. In greatly excessive doses symptoms not widely different from alcoholic poisoning may be induced.
It is eliminated by the kidneys and will cause dark colored urine, the quantity of which will be greatly increased. In purges in large doses, and by abstraction of water from the tissues, a property it possesses to a high degree, will sometimes induce hydragogue catharsis, especially if introduced into the rectum.
Therapy—For internal use glycerine is antiseptic, laxative and nutritive, taking the place of cod liver oil to a large extent with children in the latter particular. This fact is denied, but it is capable of demonstration.
It is valuable diluted with equal parts of water to moisten the dry mouth and tongue of protracted fevers, and for the removal of sordes. It prevents decomposition in the stomach and encourages secretion, and if a small quantity be added to ice water and drank regularly in these fevers it is an intestinal antiseptic and nutritive.
In dyspepsia glycerine serves an excellent purpose; holding a fixed quantity of the peroxide of hydrogen in solution; it is known as Glycozone. It acts on enfeebled stomachs, especially if there be ulceration or catarrhal gastritis. It is a most efficient preparation. Glycerine will relieve many cases of pyrosis and excessive gastric acidity. It is useful in chronic intestinal dyspepsia, especially the flatulent variety and in certain forms of chronic constipation, stimulating the secretory and excretory functions of the intestinal glands. It is not yet determined that the above influences depend on the dehydrating action of the agent.
Glycerine injected into the bowels produces prompt and satisfactory evacuation, which renders it valuable with constipated infants, as it stimulates the secretions, encourages normal peristaltic action and may subsequently result in a cure. From half a teaspoonful to a teaspoonful injected at the same time each morning, or with very young infants morning and evening, will establish regular habits of evacuation. A larger quantity is necessary with adults.
Glycerine suppositories are prepared for adults which are often very convenient.
Introduced into the vagina glycerine will induce a large, in some cases excessive, watery excretion from the tissues, which is utilized as a local depletive in many cases of engorgement of the structure of the womb, in congestion and subinvolution.
Glycerine is applied to fissures and chaps of the skin, and is restorative to all cutaneous surfaces. It prevents the action of the atmosphere on these tissues and acts as a lubricant.
It allays itching of the skin and heals many forms of scaly skin disease, and serves also as a vehicle for the administration of more active skin remedies. It is of much service in eczema, psoriasis, lepra, prurigo, herpes and pityriasis and will modify the pitting in variola.
It is valuable applied to fissured nipples, to indurated glands and to erysipelatous inflammation, either of an acute or subacute character.
A foreign writer gives fourteen grains of glycerine for every pound of the body's weight in every twenty-four hours, to reduce the excess of uric acid within the system. He gives this in divided doses in seltzer water three or four times a day, repeating the treatment when the condition recurs. It is especially recommended if gravel is present. Hermann of Germany has experimented on it fully, and believes that the use of large quantities of the remedy as suggested will not only help expel the small granules formed, but will assist in dissolving the larger ones, making it possible for them to pass. At the same time it prevents muscular contraction of the walls of the passages. The entire influence is desirable.
A physician introduced an ounce of glycerine antiseptically high up in the womb when desiring to secure premature birth. Five cases out of six, aborted satisfactorily by this treatment.
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.