Sulphate of soda. (Na2 So4 plus 10 H20). Glauber’s salt Trituration. solution.
SULPHATE OF SODA exists as transparent, efflorescent crystals with a bitter taste, soluble in about 1 in 3 of water insoluble in alcohol. It is ingredient in many mineral water.
Solutions of the sulphate of soda are not readily absorbed by the intestines, and consequently the quantity of fluid that reaches the large bowels is increased by so much as the solution taken. This increased bulk of liquid stimulates peristalsis and diarrhoea results. If the solution is a hypertonic one this action is further increased, as then it not only causes retention in the bowels of the water in which the salt is dissolved, but encourages fluid to pass by osmosis from the tissues into the intestine, with the result of more copious liquid stools, concentration of the circulating blood, thirst and diminished secretion by the kidneys. Not much of the sulphate of soda gets into the blood under these conditions, but when it is given in very dilute solutions the above effects do not occur, the solution then largely absorbed there is no diarrhoea, the blood does not become concentrated, there is no thirst and the salt is excreted by the kidneys with the promotion of diuresis. The provings of natrum sulphuricum show it to be a drug that acts mainly on the alimentary tract and the liver with concomitant mind and head symptoms and causes pains of a rheumatic or gouty character in any part of the body.
In general practice sulphate of soda is used as a purge, especially with a view to depleting the liver and other abdominal organs when congested, and for bilious and stomach disorders depending on the conditions.
Constitution.- Natrum sulphuricum has a relationship to what has been called the hydrogenoid constitution, that is a state in which there is extreme sensitiveness to damp, any kind of wetting, watery foods, residence near water, in cellars, and standing in water. There is too much water in the blood it is hydraemic. Patients with this constitution are very susceptible to gonorrhoea when exposed to infection. The symptoms are most prominent in the early morning and are always aggravated from damp. The mind of the natrum sulphuricum patient is melancholy and depressed, he despairs of getting well and has inclinations to suicide, he is at the same time irritable and easily roused to anger. Music, even merry dance music, makes him inclined to weep, he dislikes to be spoken to; the only time he is cheerful is after a loose stool. When mental troubles of this description arise from injury to the head, or in association with disordered liver, or a gouty state of the system, natrum sulphuricum will probably be indicated by the rest of the symptoms.
Head.- With this drug there are giddiness and a muddled feeling in the head as if about to fall. The headaches are in the forehead, temples and sides of the head, sometimes in the occiput; the pains are boring, tearing, pressing and pulsating and are worse after meals and in a warm room they are sometimes accompanied by chills running up the back. This is the kind of headache that often accompanies disorders of digestion, and natrum sulphuricum is very suitable for it and also for megrim associated with salivation. It has been recommended for cerebro- spinal meningitis when the head is retracted and there is a pain back of the head and neck.
The eyes are extremely sensitive to light, they feel hot and discharge burning fluid. They burn more near a fire or artificial light; vision is dim and the lids feel heavy. Natrum sulphuricum is indicated by those symptoms in cases of granular lids and in scrofulous ophthalmia.
In the ears it causes a sensation of fulness and pressure pressing pains and sounds as of the ringing of bells and it has been useful for earache and for purulent discharge from the ears when occurring in the catarrhal conditions of nose and throat for which it is often indicated.
The nasal catarrhs for which natrum sulphuricum is useful are coryzas, with stoppage of the nose with thick, greenish matter and with epistaxis occurring usually about 2 a.m., especially during the menses; also for syphilitic ozaena with foetor.
Digestion.- Natrum sulphuricum causes burning pain and blisters on the tip of the tongue and on the palate, burning in the mouth as from pepper, dry mouth and thirst, but there is much saliva after meals, and a greyish-green, dirty fur on the back of the tongue. There is toothache, relieved by holding cold water in the mouth. Sour-tasting water rises into the throat and collects in the mouth, the throat is sore and the soreness is worse from talking and swallowing solids; the tonsils and uvula are inflamed and swollen; much salty mucus collects in the throat during the night and is hawked up in the morning. There are loss of appetite and nausea, and at the same time great thirst and desire for ice or ice-cold water. Aversion from bread and meat is noticeable. Hiccough may come on and last for hours without any relief from food. Nausea and vomiting of salt, sour water without relief and with a feeling of great fulness causes difficulty in breathing, and at the same time there are trembling and pressing or boring pain at the epigastrium. Stitching pains are present in the region of the liver which is sensitive to pressure, jarring and deep breathing, and yet the patient feels worse lying on the left than on the right side, he is most comfortable lying on his back. The bile is increased in viscosity and there is greater liability to the formation of gall-stones; natrum sulphuricum is a remedy for gall-stones and biliary colic.
In the abdomen are pinching pains, fulness and distension with borborygmi all over the abdomen, but mostly in the region of the caecum and ascending colon. Natrum sulphuricum is said to inflame the lower end of the ileum and it is a remedy for the early stage of appendicitis. Bruised and piercing pains are felt in the flanks and groins, and are relieved by the passage of soft stools, and the emission of much foetid flatus. The diarrhoea occurs mainly in the morning on getting out of bed (bry.) and is worse in wet weather, from cold drinks, after farinaceous and vegetable food and in cold evening air. The evacuations are frequent, soft or liquid, gushing and accompanied by profuse emissions of flatus; they are frequently painless. Another kind of stool is hard, knotty, slimy, streaked with blood, forcibly and suddenly expelled and accompanied by smarting at the anus. Wart-like eruptions may be present round the anus and between the thighs. Natrum sulphuricum is useful for diarrhoea associated with acid dyspepsia, or with chronic hepatitis and other liver complaints, when it is of the above early morning description.
The urine burns on passing, and urging is caused by violent pinching pain coursing down from the umbilicus to the groins; there is a light yellow sediment. These are symptoms of the gouty state for which natrum sulphuricum is indicated.
Sexual.-In the male sexual sphere it is indicated mainly for gonorrhoea when the discharge is greenish yellow, and when there is burning in the urethra during and after urination; the glans penis and scrotum itch and are not relieved by scratching. It is a remedy for enlarged prostate.
In the female sexual organs there are scanty, retarded menses, with colic and constipation; headache and epistaxis occur during the period; the menstrual discharge is acrid, corrosive or of clots of blood and flows most freely when walking. The genitals are inflamed, swollen and covered with large vesicles or bullae filled with pus.
In the respiratory sphere natrum sulphuricum causes oppression of the chest, shortness of breath when walking, which gradually goes off during rest; great dyspnoea and desire to take a deep breath is accentuated during damp, cloudy weather. There is a dry cough, worse in the morning on rising and at night, better from sitting up and holding the chest with both hands. Sore, stitching pains run up from the abdomen to the left side of the chest and piercing pains occur in the same locality. It has been much used for asthma, especially the humid asthma of children who get an attack with every fresh cold, and for bronchial asthma, in adults brought on by damp, as from living in damp underground basements or near a lake or river, also for asthma brought on by exertion. It seems to have a specific action on the lower lobe of the left lung and is indicated in pneumonia of that locality, if other symptoms agree.
Back and Limbs.-Natrum sulphuricum produces stitches in the nape of the neck and soreness up and down the neck and spine, bruised pain in the small of the back, bruised and fatigued sensations in the limbs, tearing pains, trembling and weakness in the arms and hands, burning and redness in the back of the hand, as from the stinging of nettles, and tingling in the finger tips. It causes sharp pains in the hips in the stooping and rising from a seat, and sudden, stabbing pains when walking; heat, burning drawing and tearing pains in the legs, especially in the tendo Achillis and calf, lancinating and ulcerative pains in the heels and violent itching in the toes and between the toes, especially on taking off the shoes and stockings at night. Attacks of pain in the limbs come suddenly; all are better from movement and worse from damp. The above symptoms make natrum sulphuricum a suitable remedy for rheumatic pains, and pains occurring in livery subjects and those who have had gonorrhoea.
The skin affections for which natrum sulphuricum is indicated are those that are moist, with profuse oozing discharge, such as eczema of the scalp, or moist eczema on on other parts of the body. The skin itches on undressing. Wart-like raised lumps may appear on any part of the body, vesicles and blisters occur here and there, yellow scales succeed the vesicles. It has cured psoriasis palmarum and panaritium.
The sleep of natrum sulphuricum patients is restless and disturbed by vivid, terrifying dreams of fighting, falling from a height, being thrown out of a carriage, of falling into, or of sailing on, water. The patient is apt to be sleepy in the forenoon.
Fever, &c.-In the intermittent and remittent fevers for which natrum sulphuricum is indicated chilliness predominates. The chill is felt up the back and causes shivering and chattering of the teeth, it usually comes on in the evening, increases till 8 or 9 p.m. and disappears after going to bed; there is no hot stage, but the patient wakes about 4 a.m. in perspiration but without thirst. Stretching and yawning occur during the chill. Natrum sulphuricum has a considerable reputation in chronic intermittents, gastric and periodic fevers of all kinds, especially if they have been brought on by exposure to damp.
(1) “Hydrogenoid constitution.”
(2) Proclivity to gonorrhoea, and distant effects of it.
(3) Complaints brought on and aggravated by exposure to water and damp (dulc., rhus tox.).
(4) Early morning aggravation.
(5) Loose, spluttering stools after rising.
(6) Itching of skin on undressing.
(7) Catarrh of mucous membrane with yellow, green, thick discharge.
(8) Sudden pains in limbs, relieved by motion.
(9) Enlarged tender liver, vomiting of bile.
(10) Headaches, associated with stomach and liver complaints.
(12) Moist oozing eruptions on the skin.
(13) Inflammation or congestion of the lower lobe of the left lung.
(14) Asthma, from damp or exertion.
From wet weather, damp, in early morning, evening (chill), warm room, pressure, lying on left side (liver symptoms), cold drinks, undressing (itching).
From motion (pains), open air, cold air and cold water (toothache), dry weather, sitting up (cough),.