There is a specific use for acids in the treatment of disease, which we wish to study carefully. In any form of disease we may have an excess of the alkaline salts of the blood. This may be the basis of diseased action, or but a complication rendering it more intense, but whether the one or the other, it needs to be recognized and have direct treatment.
The indications of excessive alkalinity are very plain, and need not be mistaken by the youngest practitioner. The color of the mucous membranes is deep red, especially of mouth and tongue; the coating of tongue, sordes, or any exudative material, has a dark color, usually brownish. It makes no difference what the diseased action is, in its totality, or what it is called, the deep red, somewhat dusky color always demands the administration of acids.
There is but one exception to this, and that is a rare one, in which the excess is of Soda, but with a defect of Potash. In this case the administration of a Salt of Potash will answer a better purpose than the Acid, or may be combined with it.
The Muriatic Acid is preferable in most acute cases, and should be used so diluted, and in such quantity, as to be pleasant to the patient, and until the indication for its use is removed. Lactic Acid is sometimes preferable with children, and in some cases of chronic disease, especially when associated with indigestion. The vegetable Acids may be used in acute disease, but are not so good as those named.