YESTERDAY in finishing my remarks on the Acids in general, you will remember that I divided them into two classes, the vegetable and mineral. Then I referred to the debility characteristic of acids in toto, and observed that in vegetable Acids debility is marked by a soft, feeble pulse, where as that of the mineral Acids is marked by irritability, the pulse being rather wiry.
I next drew your attention to the dietetic value of Acids and also to their general medicinal properties. I referred to their power of increasing the alkaline secretions and of diminishing the Acid. Therefore they increase the flow of saliva and lessen the secretion of the gastric juice. I referred to the use of Acid drinks during the course of fevers for the purpose of promoting the flow of saliva, and spoke of the pseudo-membranes which many of these Acids, notably Lactic and Acetic Acids, can produce.
I referred to the power of Lactic Acid to dissolve even the enamel of the teeth. Speaking of the vegetable acid, I gave you a few hints regarding the use of Citric Acid in haemorrhages. This Acid is often employed as a Homoeopathic remedy for a peculiar state of mind in which careful house-keepers suddenly become indifferent to all that formerly interested them. This symptom does not come from simple stubbornness, but is the result of a debilitated condition. You will here recall a similarity to Sepia, which has indifference, not only to household matters, but also to persons, formerly loved.
I incidentally referred to symptoms of a rheumatic character produced by Lactic Acid, namely, inflammation, redness and swelling of the joints, especially of the smaller joints, with profuse sweating; also to hawking of mucus and to swelling of the tonsils, with pain and sense of constriction which are worse from swallowing. There is a pseudo membrane in the throat.
I also referred to the grape-cure; stating that grapes were useful for the purpose of diminishing obesity, and also in Dropsy when it came from sluggishness of the circulation rather than from organic disease. At the same time I remarked that the abuse of these vegetable Acids may develop their characteristic debility; the patient will then have diarrhoea, the mouth will become sore and filled with aphthous ulcers, the saliva run from the mouth, and symptoms of Scorbutus appear.
To-day I invite your attention to two of the mineral Acids, Phosphoric and Sulphuric Acids. Phosphoric Acid causes and therefore cures, a peculiar debility, a debility which is not a simple weakness, such as occurs when one is worn out by work, but which comes from alteration of the fluids of the body (particularly of the blood) as after long-lasting weakness of digestion, malnutrition etc.
Phosphoric Acid differs materially from Phosphorus. I cannot, therefore, agree with those who assert that the latter becomes oxidized in the system, and that when we are taking what is called Phosphorus we are in reality taking Phosphoric Acid. This is asserted by Heinigke in his “Outlines of Materia Medica,” and by Hempel. While we cannot deny that Phosphorus quickly appropriates Oxygen, it is certain that its effects potentized are different from those of the Acid. No one is willing to admit that Phosphoric Acid can be replaced in Typhoid Fever by Phosphorus.
Phosphoric Acid at first causes an increase of vitality. True to its Phosphorus, it is at first slightly stimulating. This, however, is soon followed by the opposite condition, in which the sensorium seems to be very much depressed, so that we have developed a condition of complete apathy. Not only is there dulness of thought, but also want of feeling apathy. This sensorial apathy is usually accompanied by more or less drowsiness and indifference to one’s condition.