Skin creams and salves

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Iodize the Air

Here's an interesting idea! Iodize the air in order to protect the populace from contagious illnesses. 

Article Source: Sajou's Analytic Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine, Volume 10, published 1920.


iodine crystals
The article discusses various means of treating the flu available at the time but I found the discussion on prophylaxis most interesting:)So interesting, in fact, that I iodized the air in my home. The images here are of iodine subliming. It was amazingly beautiful, the color is just magnificent! I did not have the correct apparatus though... I used a ceramic essential oil diffuser and the heat was too close... the air became iodized quite quickly. My eyes stung. Other than that no untoward effects. My home still smells of iodine. I like it :) Nag Champa or iodine, hmmmm... It's a toss-up!

Do I recommend that you try this at home? No...I'll try this again with perhaps tincture or a few drops of lugol's in water. Sublimating crystals, although beautiful, create a very strong vapor.

There are some gentler methods suggested in this post: 

...At the present writing (Autumn. 1920) there are suggestive indications that another paudemic will occur during the fall or winter...

...The fact that the pandemic of 1918 cost the world at least ten million lives prompts the question: Are we now better prepared to meet the issue? ...

iodine sublimation
...Yet, a query which is at once suggested is: Why does not influenza annihilate humanity under these conditions when the air is contaminated with its germs? Further personal studies then showed that we were protected to a degree estimated at from 60 to 80 per cent., according to our state of health, local or general, by the nasopharyngeal defenses and the ciliated epithelium of the respiratory tract down to the terminal lobules. So perfect is this nasopharyngeal barrier that moderately contaminated air is found completely sterilized after passing through it. This explains the negative results obtained by practically all investigators who have attempted to provoke the disease by injecting B. influenza~ into the nasal cavities. The germs were destroyed by phagocytes (the cytoplasm of which can be found to contain them) and the mucus of the respiratory passages long before they could reach the alveoli, which alone in the whole tract afforded the conditions necessary for their growth...

Prophylaxis-—The foregoing remarks have pointedly indicated where protection against infection is paramount, i. e., in the respiratory tract. This is so well established that antiseptic sprays, gargles, fumes and douches are employed by most clinicians.
pink air!

But is it as antiseptics that these procedures act? The recent war has taught us that antiseptics, including the newer ones, in solutions sufficiently strong to kill bacteria, also kill tissue cells. In the nasopharyngeal passages, therefore, if antiseptic solutions are too weak they are useless; if strong enough to destroy bacteria they do harm by inhibiting the local protective functions. Other data showed, however, particularly Lambert's experiments, that while iodine was very active as a sterilizer in a 1 to 2000 solution, it promoted cellular activity. Pharmacology also teaches that iodine is the specific excitant of lymphoid tissues and therefore of phagocytosis.

amazing color, I'd never seen
 this color before...
It was also observed during the war that in toxic gas manufacturing plants, in which emanations of irritating gases, chlorine, sulphur dioxide, etc. (not phosgene), in hardly perceptible proportions permeated the air, immunity was conferred upon workers therein while influenza reigned unchecked in the neighborhood. Shuffelbotham (Brit. Med. ]our., Apr. 19, 1919), who investigated this report in twenty different and widely separated districts in England, found that workmen actually enjoyed a “very high degree of immunity from infection." A. Gregor (Brit. Med. ]our., Oct. 25, 1919) ascertained bacteriologically that workers so exposed showed a marked decrease in the pharyngeal flora even twenty-four hours after exposure to the fumes. Tweddell (letter to Med. Rec., Jan. 24, 1920) has observed similar protection at the Edgemont Arsenal in this country. Consular reports (Amer. Med., Apr., 1905) from Germany had also called attention to the protective influence of evaporating turpentine in the presence of the workmen during an epidemic.

All the practical phases of the question, clinical, experimental and industrial, unite, therefore, in pointing to the value of measures which: enhance the defensive efficiency 0f the respiratory tract as the foundation of our prophylactic procedure. Normally, as previously stated, it's tissues defend us to the extent perhaps of 80 per cent. It is the remaining 20 percent of defensive efficiency that we should aim to promote to obtain complete protection. How may we secure it?

iodine crystals depositing around edges after
candle snuffed

Iodine is superior to any of the antiseptics used because, while provoking a local defensive reaction, it favors the vital activity of the lymphoid and epithelial cells. Yet, it must be employed with due care. Indeed, personal tests showed that even as weak a solution of iodine as l to 2000 caused too much smarting when sprayed into the nasal cavities to be employed, but that when iodine crystals were slowly converted into fumes by the heat of a small alcohol lamp 15 centimeters below them, and mixed with air in the proportion of 0.33 Gm. of crystals to 16 cubic meters of air (the size of a very small room used as inhalatorium) the iodized air could be inhaled comfortably. Any stronger dilution caused a symptom which indicates that the proportion of iodine is too, great, viz., persistent smarting of the conjunctiva after the first slight pricking sensation experienced on entering the iodized air chamber. This affords a delicate test for the adjustment of the mixture to proper proportions by the admission of additional air into the room.

as the surface cools, the crystals grow
The duration of the slight pungency experienced in the upper respiratory tract and dryness, followed by a freer flow of mucus, obtained with 5 grains of crystals, was about one hour. It was found. however, that these effects could be perpetuated indefinitely by dropping tincture of iodine upon the small receptacle over the alcohol flame which had held the crystals. The fumes thus formed sufficed in the area specified, 16 cubic meters, and were inhaled hour after hour without difficulty or causing irritation.

The effects of a stay of but 3 hours in the inhalatorium so charged were unexpectedly noticeable. Although no deep breaths had been taken, the odor of iodine per se (diflerent somewhat from that of the tincture itself) was perceptible the whole of the following day, off and on, that is to say, about 36 hours. This accounts for the fact that Gregor (10e. cit.) had found that the naso-pharyngeal organisms of the workmen exposed to chlorine and other fumes were markedly decreased as much as 24 hours after leaving their plants.

When we consider the superiority of iodine fumes over those to which they were exposed, and also the relative vulnerability of the B. influenza,, there is every reason to believe that 3 hours of exposure to iodine fumes under the conditions mentioned would afford at least protection for an additional 5 hours, during an epidemic, by enhancing defensive efficiency of the whole respiratory tract.

The practical bearing of these observations is that all public places, schools, places of amusement, shops, hotels, churches, offices, factories, barracks, hospitals, etc., where many people spend much time either as pupils, employees, visitors, etc., and which are now foci of infection, could be converted into as many sterilizing and immunizing inhalatoria provided the air in them be kept iodized in the proportion above mentioned by multiplying as needed and distributing evenly throughout the area to be iodized, what apparatus-very simple and inexpensive as we shall see-may be needed for that area. Or, better, where a suitably situated adjourning room is available, fresh air from an open window may be strongly iodized, and driven by a turbine or rotary fans through an enclosed shaft to the occupied room, and in such proportions as to insure the dilution specified. The iodized air can thus be kept pure, escape vents being supplied through lowered upper sashes or transoms for the occupied quarters.

During the hours all such places would be used, all those exposed to the iodized air for 3 hours would be protected at least 5 hours besides, as we have seen, i.e., 8 hours, at least until bed-time, while in a place of amusement, church, etc., and other sterilizing inhalatoria, the protection would extend to the following morning. Yet, absolute safety imposes the need of an iodized air apparatus in every home, thus perpetuating its effects throughout the 24 hours.

To provide for out-of-doors workers, laborers, masons, bricklayers, drivers, street renders, etc., sterilising tents might be provided, but here again the need of an apparatus at home imposes itself, since workers would hardly consent to spend the time necessary during the day, even to protect themselves. Indeed, adequate protection demands that all residences, great and small, should, if legally possible, be made by the municipal authorities and under their watchful care, to be kept iodized, and if possible, at the expense of the commonwealth, to insure execution. This alone would cause complete protection.

Apparatus.—Expensive apparatus is unnecessary. Among the poor whose living quarters are small, what lighting, heating or cooking facilities they possess may be utilized with the aid of slight ingenuity. Or a small open fume box—a 100 cigar box, for instance—may be used, by removing one of its ends and replacing the latter by a piece of wire netting. This netting is used, the box standing on its other end, to support a small metallic cover or saucer, in which are placed the iodine crystals. These, in turn—or the drops of tincture of iodine—are gradually evaporated by the flame of a small alcohol lamp placed on the floor of the upright box, the three walls of which prevent side draughts from disturbing the flame, while forming a chamber of warmed air which propels the iodine upward and disseminates them. The same box can be used for the evaporation of the tincture of iodine drops by nailing to it an elbow support for a glass funnel the beak of which contains a stopper provided with a small hole, so regulated as to allow the tincture of iodine it holds to drop on the evaporating plate as needed.

Where such comprehensive measures cannot be carried out, a small inhaler calculated to permit the inhalation of cold iodine emanations, which are far less dense than the fumes evolved by heat, can be used. It consists merely of a glass tube one end of which is enlarged into a bulb calculated to fit into either nostril. Each end is packed, though not tightly, with a wad of cotton wool. 3 grains of iodine crystals being placed between the two wads, i.e., in the middle of the inhaler. One end of the latter being enlarged and bulb-shaped, the bulb is introduced into each nostril in turn. On inhaling slowly but steadily through it, the iodine emanation will he felt to penetrate far down. To insure filling of the entire bronchial tree down to the alveoli, after removing the inhaler, the nose is closed with the fingers, and efforts to blow the iodine out through the nose, the mouth being shut, are made. The slight warmth and pricking sensation experienced in the nose and throat disappears in a few minutes. Not more than two inhalations from the inhaler should be taken. These suffice, after clearing the nose, to excite a defensive reaction which may be sustained if the procedure is repeated several times a day. Various pocket inhalers available in the shops may be used for the same purpose, but, in an emergency, I found that discarded bacterial vaccine tubes served the purpose very well.

A small inhaler is particularly useful where the air is likely to be contaminated, in tramways. places of amusement, shops, etc. It should be used before leaving home and every 3 hours to keep the nasal mucosa on the defensive. At present, coughing and sneezing individuals are urged to cover their faces, nose, and mouth with their handkerchiefs; but everyone exposed should likewise protect himself with his handkerchief. A small inhaler hidden in it and used materially reduces the danger of infection. A few whiffs suffice. Again, many bacteria inhaled are present at first in the anterior nasal cavities; if the inhaler is used again on reaching home and the nose freely blown additional protection is afforded. Although the January-February, 1920, epidemic afforded ground for the belief that this measure affords protection, thousands of cases can alone determine its value. A priori, it is obvious, however, that the general public measures advocated offer a far greater opportunity for adequate protection than the desultory use of any inhaler.


 The small iodine inhaler should be used every 2 hours during waking hours, taking only a couple of whiffs through each nostril and inhaling slowly though deeply. The room, preferably a small one, should, by means of the apparatus described, be filled with iodized air (though not sufficiently so to prove irritating to the eyes), iodine fumes being generated near the patient's bed. The aim should be to check the formation of colonies in the alveoli and to destroy the influenza bacilli in the respiratory tract at the earliest possible moment, the bacilli from the alveolar colonies serving to infect other alveoli. The iodine fumes would also protect the nurse, as they readily penetrate into the mask. The latter should always be worn by her in the patient's room, not only to protect her but also to prevent her becoming a carrier.

If the room is large a bed-tent, the upper part of which would reach above a window, the upper sash of which would be somewhat lowered, would serve to concentrate the iodized air evaporated under it in a small area and increase its efficiency. The patient, however, should be kept warm, though well supplied with fresh air.

Friday, May 16, 2014

South Carolina~ the Iodine State

South Carolina touted itself as "the Iodine State"from the late 1920s until the mid to late 1930s. from what I have gathered. This was due to the high levels of iodine found in South Carolina produce. Goiter was well known at that time so they began a public relations campaign educating the public on the need for iodine as a goiter preventative in order to sell the produce.

Their license plates read "the iodine state" and "the iodine products state" in various years. I've been looking for one... no luck, yet. I did, however find this lovely first day cover of an air mail first flight. 
There it is in capital letters ~ THE IODINE STATE!!!

Unfortunately high amounts of iodine in produce cannot make up for other habits, practices, or our toxic world. South Carolina ranks # 43 in state rankings of overall health:

South Carolina

I wonder, though, what their health statistics were back in the day...

South Carolina~ "The Iodine State"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Day~ Oct 21

2001 India Postage Stamp commemorating Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Day

Yes, I know. I should publish this ON October 21. I just got this stamp though and it's so lovely I just had to share. Do you know of another element that has it's own day? Another vitamin or mineral? Is there an international lysine deficiency disorders day that I haven't heard of? Calcium day? Protein Day?  Noooo, I thought not. 

Iodine, and iodine alone, has an entire day commemorated to it.

So, mark the date. We now have plenty of time to plan that io-party!

By the way, India has been largely successful at eliminating the most obvious manifestation of iodine deficiency, goiter, with it's salt iodization program. 

More info on that here: 

Iodine deficiency disorders control in India

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Worcester Iodized Salt

Cover, Worcester Iodized
Salt Pamphlet.
I got my hands on  lovely little pamphlet enumerating the various benefits of "iodin" in salt. Iodization of salt began in the United States in 1924, for the purpose of eliminating goiter. I applaud the efforts of the powers-that-be(was) at the time for actually attempting to fortify foodstuffs with an element so vital for health. There were and are problems with salt iodization, however, and those problems are delineated in Lynne Farrow's excellent article:

Iodized salt is NOT a good source of iodine. The beautiful thing about the salt iodization program, though, is that it spread the knowledge of the benefits of iodine far and wide, and the benefits discussed went beyond the necessity of iodine in treating simple goiter. The claims for iodine in this pamphlet are generalized. Children are more likely to be "good natured". "iodin" will give you a quicker mind! These pamphlets found their way into the hands of the wives and mothers of the day as women were responsible for food preparation, marketing, etc...

From the pamphlet: "The reason table salt was chosen to carry the iodin is that salt reaches everyone, and therefore everyone is sure to get iodin regularly in just the right tiny safe amount." Wonderful intentions, really. I'm not sure exactly where the "tiny safe amount" sentiment comes into play. Iodine was regularly prescribed in milligram dosages(even gram amounts, in the form of KI) prior to the turn of the century.

Back Cover, Worcester Iodized Salt
"Prevents Simple Goiter" was the most commonly used advertising phrase of the day, in reference to iodized salt. Goiter was prevalent in areas with iodine deficient soil. The upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions were once known as the “Goiter Belt” because of the prevalence of enlarged thyroid glands that gave the afflicted visibly swollen necks. The goiter problem was widely noted during World War I when Army physicians recognized the condition in recruits.

 The iodization of salt is taken for granted now. It's taken for granted to the point that many people assume that A) That's where we get our iodine, B) that the iodine in salt is plenty, and C) that salt is where iodine comes from. Joke! I've never heard that one. I would not be surprised though. *sigh*

Some absolutely delightful unsubstantiated claims from the pamphlet I use the term "unsubstantiated" because no studies are referenced although there are a few quotes from doctors of the day elsewhere in the pamphlet. Some of this was also common knowledge :

What I really love about this pamphlet though is that there are quotes from well-known doctors of the day! Doctors that I have posted writings from :) From A. Judson Quimby:

And Dr. Arnold Lorand:

Front of Worcester Iodized Salt pamphlet

Back of Worcester Iodized Salt Pamphlet
Iodization pamphlet contained within this lovely little salt booklet

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Iodized Cigarettes.

Camel cigarette ad, 1935 McCall's magazine

Yep. Iodized Cigarettes and Cigars. Experimentation with inhalation of vapors of iodine was very common in the 1800s. Various means of inhalation are documented, by means of special apparatuses developed especially for that purpose, placing iodine crystals on a heated plate,  pastilles to burn... and yes, iodized cigarettes and cigars.

The most recent example of an iodized cigarette I can find is "Drakes Iodized Cigarettes", circa WWII. 
Drake Iodized cigarettes were manufactured between 1946 and 1959. The pack that I bought was manufactured in 1946, according to the gentleman that I bought it from. This apparently is of importance to collectors of all things tobacco, not so important to me, a collector of all things iodine.

Drake Cigarettes were marketed as being healthful based on the fact that nicotine constricts the capillaries  and iodine expands the capillaries. Whether or not the potassium iodide in these cigarettes counteracted other deleterious effects of smoking tobacco will never be known.

Drake Iodized Cigarettes, front
Drake Iodized Cigarettes, back
 The history of iodizing tobacco or herbs goes back further than the forties.  The following is from The Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal, 1852: link


On Iodized Cigars. — It has been suggested by Kletzinsky that the iodized cigars introduced by Chartroule and Bertow might be advantageously used more generally in medicine. He finds—
1. That a sufficient quantity of iodine may be found in a cigar which, after being iodized, has been lying exposed for four days in a warm room. (We may observe that the process of iodizing consists in lightly washing a cigar with an alcoholic solution of iodine, or in exposing it for a few minutes, in a closed box or vessel, to the simultaneous action of iodine vapour and steam.)
2. The greater part of the iodine which has been taken up is found in the ash as iodide of  calcium and magnesium.
3. The smoke, after being passed through  wool to retain any particles of ash, and then through a neutral solution of starch, did not give rise to the slightest blue coloration, even after the neutralization of the carbonate of ammonia contained in the smoke, with acetic acid. On the addition, however, of chlorine water or nitric acid, a blue tint was evolved, showing that there was a little iodide of ammonium, although no free iodine, in the smoke.
4. After a few puffs, the saliva aud buccal mucus gave distinct, although slight, traces of combined iodine.
5. After smoking an iodized cigar, iodine could generally be detected in half an hour, and often earlier, in the urine.—Kletzinsky in Wien. Med. Wochenici No. 39, 1851.

I found a reference to smoking iodized cigars in popular literature of the day, specifically in a work of fiction, "The Round of Wrong, A Romance of To-day", by Edmond About, published in 1843. link

The pure weather, however, did not weary Germaine: it cured her slowly. M. Le Bris watched this miracle of the blue sky : he looked on while nature was acting, and followed with passionate interest the gradual progress of a power superior to his own. He was too modest to claim the honour of the cure, and confessed in good faith that the only infallible medicine is that coming from on High.
Still, in order to deserve the aid of Heaven, he himself aided it a little. He had received from Paris Dr. Chartroul’s iodometer, with a stock of iodized cigarettes. These cigarettes, composed of aromatic herbs and soothing plants infused in a tincture of iodine, introduce the medicament into the lungs, accustom those most delicate organs to the presence of a foreign body, and prepare the patient to inhale pure iodine through the tubes of the apparatus. 

The treatment was successful. So successful, in fact, that Germaine decides that her doctor is being to cautious with the dosage...

And yes, this wanton act of iodine delerium throws her into a health crisis. She is at death's door for some time and then is miraculously, completely, unequivocally, HEALED.

Here we have a recipe for "Hirtz's Antiasthmatic Cigarettes". Source: The American Druggist and Pharmaceutical Record, 1909. link

Hirtz's Antiasthmatic Cigarettes.—F. H.—These may be made according to the following formula:

Extract of stramonium 5 parts
Diluted alcohol „. 50 parts
Tobacco leaves 100 parts
Potassium iodide 5 parts
Potassium nitrate 5 parts

Dissolve the potassium salts in the diluted alcohol, incorporate the stramonium extract, moisten the stramonium and tobacco leaves with the liquid and roll into one hundred cigarettes in paper covers, using the rice paper ordinarily used for this purpose. Another form of aromatic cigarette sometimes spoken of as antiasthmatic cigarette is made by dissolving potassium nitrate in six times its own weight of water, impregnating filter paper with this solution and making cigarettes, from this paper. This formula is sometimes varied by impregnating the leaves of balm, of sage or anise seed with the solution of nitrate, drying and making this up into cigarettes, using the nitrated filter paper as a wrapper.

A patent for medicated tobacco granted in 1931 link


This invention relates to medicated tobacco and process of making the same, and it comprises more specifically the treatment of smoking tobacco for pipes, cigarettes or cigars with iodine, whereby the iodine may be effectively administered in the small amounts necessary for body metabolism and for the treatment of various infections of the respiratory organs, as well as thyroid disease, blood and glandular diseases, and numerous others.

Iodine has long been recognized not only as a powerful antiseptic, but also as having great eificacy in the treatment of numerous diseases. Tobacco lends itself extremely well as a vehicle for the administration of iodine to the human body, since, because of its heat in burning, the iodine which it carries is volatilized, and in its volatilized condition is inhaled.

In accordance with my invention, pure iodine crystals are heated in aclosed chamher to a temperature of from 110 C. to 120 C., this temperature being sufficiently high to practically completely vaporize the iodine. The pure iodine vapor is then conducted to an air tight chamber containing the tobacco, which has been previously prepared by any well known method for use in pipes, cigarettes or cigars. The temperature of this second chamber is maintained at, or slightly below, room temperature (approximately 70 F.), thus permitting the iodine vapor to return to a crystal state, and in such state to be deposited upon the tobacco. After an exposure of from twenty-four to seventy-two hours the tobacco, now containing the iodine, is removed from the treating chamber and the iodine content determined by the iodine starch test. The treated tobacco is then blended with untreated tobacco until the desired blend and iodine content is obtained.

An alternative process consists in immersing the tobacco ina pure grain alcohol solution, which contains 25% iodine and 15% potassium iodide. The tobacco is allowed to remain in this solution for from twenty-four to seventy-two hours at slightly below room temperature, that is, somewhat under 70 F.

Application filed April 12,

1929. Serial No. 354,708.

At the end of this time the excess solution is drained off and the tobacco is dried for several days at a temperature low enough to prevent volatilization of the iodine which is intimately associated with it in crystalline form. The alcohol is, thus, completely evaporated, leavin the iodine deposited in the tobacco. As 1n the process first described, the iodine content is next determined by the iodine starch test and the treated tobacco is then blended with untreated tobacco to obtain the desired blend and percentage of iodine.

Having described my invention, what I claim is: i.

1. The process of medicating tobacco with iodine which consists in first converting iodine to a fluid state and, in such state, bringing it into contact with tobacco to be treated, and finally in crystallizing the iodine while in contact with the tobacco to thereby intimately associate it therewith.

2. The process of medicating tobacco with iodine, which consists in first volatilizing iodine crystals by heat to convert the iodine into vapors, an finally, in the presence of tobacco to be treated, re-crystallizing the iodine by reducing the temperature of its vapors, to deposit it upon the tobacco and thereby medicate it.

3. The process of medicating tobacco with iodine, which consists in heating iodine crystals in a closed chamber to the point of volatilization of the iodine, conveying the vapors so produced to a second chamber containing tobacco to be treated, and maintaining the contact of iodine and tobacco in said second chamber for from twenty-four to seventy-two hours at a lower temperature, thereby to cause re-crystallizationof the iodine.

 4. The process of medicating tobacco with iodine, which consists in preparing a solution of pure grain alcohol and iodine, soaking tobacco in such solution at slightly below room temperature, draining off the excess of the solution, and finally drying the treated tobacco at slightly below room temperature to prevent volatilization of its iodine content.

back to Drake. Images from a leaflet to doctors on Drake Iodized Cigarettes. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Dr. H.A. Goden's Practical Observations from Hufeland's Prat. Heilekunde

Tincture of Iodine.

The author, never having had an opportunity of using iodine in that disease in which it has been so efficacious, goitre being extremely rare in that part of the country he inhabits, but being fully convinced of its powerful action upon the glandular system, he prescribed it in highly diseased states of that system with prudence and effect.

The medicine was exhibited in four cases of complete scrofula in subjects from six to twelve years of age; in all of whom there were evident symptoms of disease as early as their second and third years. The face was swollen and oedematous, abdomen enlarged and hard; the mesenteric glands were evidently increased in size, the glands of the neck hard and swollen; and in various parts of the body, but particularly upon the inner side of the legs, there was a moist, impetiginous, scrofulous eruption, which formed an acid fluid of so caustic a nature, that it inflamed and excoriated the parts liable to come in contact with it. In all these cases there was tinea capitis exedens, and in one the impetiginous eruption was situated on the right side of the face, extending from the eyelids to the under part of the chin; but in the three others, it occupied the inner side of either lower extremity, and the parts of generation. The most serious and troublesome symptom to contend with, was a severe scrofulous inflammation of both eyes; this was particularly distressing in the case of the girl of twelve years of age. Both her eyes had been almost entirely closed for three years; the conjunctiva and sclerotica membranes were greatly inflamed and very painful, and the eye-balls were so constantly covered all over with a puriform acrid lymph, that they could scarcely be seen, particularly of a morning, when the lymph was so abundant that the orbits appeared entirely filled with it. The eye-lids were generally sealed together; corrosive tears were continually flowing from the eyes; and the intolerance of light was so great, that the patient could not suffer it without the most distressing complaints. A physician, the author's predecessor, despaired of a cure, and pronounced the inevitable loss of both eyes. In this case, the eye-lids were hard, and swollen to the size of a pigeon's egg, and the eruption occupied the face and other parts of the body. During the long development and continuance of this disease, all the usual anti-scrofulous remedies were perseveringly used for months together, without any other results than partial and temporary amelioration of the disease, which invariably broke out with renewed vigour during the exhibition of the very same medicines, that appeared a little before to have opposed a barrier to its further progress. The muriate of barytes, aethiops, calomel and cicuta, acetated kali with the saponaceous extracts and the tincture of rhubarb, acorn coffee and violet tea for common drink, cinchona and the extract of madder, aromatic baths, and malt baths, were all tried with little or no advantage. Ointments of red precipitate and opium, of the white oxyd of zinc; eye waters of the muriate of mercury, and with opium, belladona and stramonium, were used conjointly with setons and perpetual blisters, but all without improving the state of the eyes. An ungtient of rose ointment and white oxyd of zinc checked for a time the eruption, and diminished its acrimonious discharge.
illustration from Oculus Artificialis
Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium

Under these unfavourable circumstances, all the best and most active remedies havingor only temporarily relieved, the author concluded to try the effect of the tincture of iodine, which, on foreign report, he had learnt, had been so useful in diseases of the glandular system. All medicines, except the white precipitate ointment for the eyes, were laid aside; and five drops of the tincture of iodine in barley or sugar water were given twice a day. The dose was increased one drop every two days until it amounted to ten drops, which quantity was administered regularly without further increase. No unpleasant symptoms arose from the use of the iodine, except that the appetite and digestion became impaired; the bowels were occasionally too much bound or too loose, and there was a flatulent swelling of the abdomen. Whether these symptoms were accidental, or the effects of the iodine, cannot be determined; but they were relieved by an infusion of quassia with cinnamon and the elix. Aurantior, comp. The beneficial action of iodine was most striking and rapid in this case, for by the fourteenth day there was a general and evident improvement in the state of the patient; the inflammation of the eyes had diminished much; the puriform discharge from them was less, milder and thicker; the patient could now look at the light without suffering the previous intolerable pain and plentiful effusion of tears; the rolling of the palpebrx had disappeared; the cutaneous eruption was considerably better, and the general habit of body was greatly improved. In four weeks from the beginning of this course of medicine, the change for the better was very great; at this time the ophthalmia and the puriform discharge were no longer present, the eyes were a little weak, and the lids were slightly disposed to agglutination during sleep; these symptoms yielded to a collyrium of rose water and tincture of opium. The iodine was continued in doses of ten drops twice every third day for four weeks longer, when its use was suspended, there being no longer any traces of scrofula. In order to invigorate the constitution, and destroy all tendency to the disease, an infusion of cinchona, with extracts of cinchona, (prepared without heat,) madder, and acetate of potash, was prescribed, and continued for some months. At first, the infusion was taken every second or third day, in the dose of three tablespoonfuls; but at a later period, it was taken in the same quantity about once a week.  With the same view of strengthening the system, the patient was directed to take twelve baths, prepared with Rad. Calami. Baccae and Herb. Juniper, Herb. Sabinx, and afterwards twelve of malt. By these means, a complete and radical cure was effected, and the patient is now (eighteen months since the suspension of all medicines) a strong, fresh and blooming girl.

In the other three cases, the scrofulous diathesis was equally developed, and had produced the same diseased appearances as in the case already described; and in these also, the usual remedies had been used for years without effect, but they were radically cured by the tincture of iodine, which, on account of the youth of the subjects, was at first given in doses of two drops twice a day, and increased one drop a dose every second day till eight drops were taken twice a day. In none of these cases did the author perceive any bad effects from the iodine; they were all cured in a space of from six to ten weeks.
Establishing his opinion upon the success of iodine in the four cases above, the author concludes that it is the most effectual and certain remedy in confirmed and fully developed scrofula, which we know of, particularly when the eyes are much inflamed, and the glandular system greatly diseased. In cases of more partial and recent scrofula, the usual remedies are alone sufficient, and indeed preferable to the iodine; but when the eyes, the skin, and the glands, are diseased, it is particularly indicated.

illustration from Oculus Artificialis Teledioptricus Sive Telescopium
Johann Zahn's illustrations just thrown in there because they're really cool.

text source: The Medical Recorder: Of Original Papers and Intelligence in Medicine and Surgery, 1826


Monday, January 20, 2014

Iodine and Methuselah

Nice little paragraph, pure conjecture of course, written by A. Judson Quimby, who attributed his good health, despite his career in rontgenology(the use of X-rays), to the use of iodine. More from him here

Methuselah, image source, wiki commons

Could we be daring enough to give an additional reason other than the numerous ones suggested as to why mankind has had his life-cycle reduced to the prescribed three score and ten? Permit us to propose that those who lived to the great age of Methuselah and others perhaps lived in an environment or a land the soil of which contained an uncommonly high proportion of iodine. Perhaps this may have even been the famed Atlantis, recently thought to be beneath the Pacific Ocean, and perhaps this land contains great salt deposits rich in iodine, used by the men of that day.

Map of Atlantis, 1669

Text source: "Pamphlets on Protozoology", (Kofoid Collection),1906
pamphlets on Protozoology

A very strange little gem. Part of it consists of writings and images of protozoa, written in German. And then there are writings by A. Judson Quimby, on iodine. hmmmm.....

Saturday, January 11, 2014

iodine the great restorative

Physiological Iodine *

Iodine as an Essential Element in the Animal Organism: Its Influence on Normal Metabolism: Its Relation to Glandular Activity, Control of Blood Pressure and Senility

By A. JUDSON QUIMBY, M.D., New York.

Iodine is one of the elements, widely distributed in nature and usually found in the form of salts or organic combination. It is one of the halogen group. It is univalent, with a molecular weight of 125.9. Its principal source is from the mother liquor of Chilian saltpetre, and the ashes of seaweed, these ashes being known as kelp. "Kelp is the ash left on the burning of seaweed" (1). Iodine is found in practically all sea foods and plants, it is also found free in sea water. It is found in the air in organic form, which may explain some of the invigorating properties of sea air. It is widely distributed in the soils, but the extreme solubility of its salts tend to reduce rapidly its proportion in the land.

The iodine preparations for internal administration consists of the soluble salts and the tincture of iodine, although the latter is popularly known as an external counterirritant and antiseptic.

The iodides, usually in the form of potassium iodide, have been rendered famous in the treatment of syphilis and its complications. At this point I wish to dismiss the subject of syphilis, forgetting that the disease exists, or that the iodides were ever used in its treatment. By so doing, a better conception of the essential physiological action of iodine and its influence upon the body metabolism and resistance to disease processes can be conveyed.

Early in my career as a student the opportunity was given me to interest myself in chemistry, and especially pharmaceutical and physiological chemistry. Therefore, when the time came in my life when I wakened to the fact that I was living a simple animal existence, without due consideration to some of the results of civilization's deteriorating influence, I was inspired to search into and experiment upon myself in such a way as to combat some of the evil results of artificial feeding and confinement in our modern homes.

Having picked up considerable information with regard to the physiological action of the various elements, I recalled that there was a constant tendency in our literature to dwell upon the efficiency of the iodides in modifying the effect of arteriosclerosis, and that it was common procedure to give the iodides in arteriosclerosis. Also, I recalled that peoples who lived along the coast and indulged freely in sea food were immune to certain diseases, and were an unusually rugged type. A physician recently informed me that he had made inquiries among seafaring men, and had found that arteriosclerosis, apoplexy and high blood pressure were very rare, and he thought perhaps the explanation of this lay in the constant absorption of minute quantities of iodine. In addition, I knew that a great many of the old time so-called spring tonics, which were so successfully prescribed by the old practitioners, contained small quantities of potassium iodide. Also, as you probably all recall, it has been mentioned that possibly one of the reasons for the efficiency of cod liver oil as a tonic and as a restorative and alterative, is that it contains traces of iodine compounds. All these points led me to think that it was not merely the quantity of iodine administered that accomplished results, but that it was a small amount given over prolonged periods that resulted in the greatest accomplishment of good. Therefore, I set myself to administer it in some form in small quantities. Knowing the sensitiveness that arises within a person to whom the use of the iodides is suggested, and also the question that would naturally come should one be accused of taking the iodides, I recalled that the tincture was a favorite method of administering iodine in small quantities, and adopted the tincture as a medium for taking iodine.

After having practised on myself for two or three years with this, and having acquired some general practice, I began to experiment in a small way with several patients who exhibited signs of vascular changes and also kept in mind the tonic properties of iodine in the management of cases needing tonic treatment. It has now been sixteen years since I first administered it with the same object. During that time I have accumulated an experience, both personal and general, which has convinced me that iodine is the most vital and efficacious element in the organism, and also that it is the element most frequently lacking in its physiological quantities.

Later in my personal experience, and especially that of rontgenology, my work exposed me to an uncommon degree to the effects of the x ray, the character of my work involving a vast amount of fluoroscopic examinations. At present, after nineteen years of x ray work, I regard myself as being in fully as good physical condition, or even better, than I was ten to fifteen years ago. The great credit of this I attribute to the consistent use of iodine. The x ray might be likened to that destructive flame of life referred to in Rider Haggard's She, precipitating a premature ageing of the organism. I regard iodine as the greatest inhibiting agent of those things which contribute to the end result, called senility. Therefore, I give practically all the credit for my present condition to the fact that I have maintained my iodine content through my rontgenological career.

Practically all the writers look upon iodine as an excitant or stimulant to the person receiving it, and therefore to be administered with conservatism for fear of the results usually found in the use of stimulating agents.

The experience and observations of Paul Bourcet are the most illuminating of any writer from whom we were able to quote. In 1899-1900 in a thesis read before the French Academy of Medicine, he gave a very thorough analysis of iodine and its action, as observed by himself and others. In conclusion Bourcet states that he believes that iodine comes externally, all the elements around us contain iodine, sea, earth and air, and all our food, and therefore, every day we get a certain quantity. He believes that iodine exists elsewhere than in the thyroid and parathyroids, but in minute quantities. When one part of the system contains too much iodine, he believes it is passed off. He believes iodine acts as a leavening agent, having antiseptic qualities.

Quoting from Maurice Lossedat, where he refers to Lortat-Jacob: "Iodine merits being considered as the specific medication of the lymphoid tissues, of which it arouses and increases the activities." Again quoting Lossedat: "The remarkable properties of iodine make it a precious medication, one of the most important of our therapeutic arsenal, one whose applications tend to become more and more enlarged."

One of the most complete books on the thyroid and thymus that has ever been published has been written by Crotti. His analyses of the experimental work of the various writers is very complete, but his views are conservative, and he does not give much credit to the theory that iodine is vital in metabolism, and especially he is conservative in his views as to its value in the general welfare of thyroid cases. But his conception is that generally held by the surgeon, except among those who are exceedingly liberal.

I think the general attitude towards the thyroid and the iodine content has been influenced very much by the various chemical analyses that have been undertaken to determine the contents of the average thyroid. This can be a great source of error, and the proof of it is in the fact that the thyroid gland varies as to, the place of residence, the mode of living, or the disease processes that may be taking place within the individual, and the prolongation of shock preceding death.

Postmortem specimens are usually taken from subjects who have died at the termination of an illness, or some active disease process, or after having been subjected to stress and strain. In any of these conditions the iodine content of the thyroid gland is used up, and if the antemortem strain has been prolonged, would naturally be very low in the element iodine.

I think we must realize that the water supply and food intake of the individual is a factor in determining the amount of iodine found in the organism, and especially in the thyroid gland. A great amount of literature has been written recently pertaining to this phase. When we speak of the mode of living of the individual and its influence upon the iodine content of the thyroid gland, we must consider the activities of the person, as to whether they live in such a way as to use up their iodine content. It is my belief that our iodine content is constantly varying, its contents being subject to, first, the amount that we receive, and second, the amount that we excrete. The amount that we receive is determined by the character of our food and the manner of its digestion and assimilation, and the amount that we excrete being determined by the strenuousity of our lives, and the influence upon our body metabolism, whether they be infections or dissipations. The amount of iodine received in the organism is determined by locality and diet. Locality varies the amount of iodine in the soil, from which we receive our water, fruit and vegetables. The iodine content of water has been proved in analyses to be very variable. It has been suggested with excellent foundation that the value of mineral springs may be determined by the minute quantities of iodine present. This has been referred to in a recent article by Emery Hayhurst (2). The resume in this article of this phase is complete.

In thinking of the iodine represented in food, I think we can vastly increase the list of fruit and vegetables which are supposed to contain traces of iodine, and I think the value of fruit in this particular has been ignored, especially some varieties. As I recall, the pharmacopoeia speaks of the values of certain roots and other iodine containers, and one of these is sarsaparilla, which is supposed to have a relatively large per cent, of iodine, and is listed among the alteratives.

The article by Hayhurst mentioned above suggests that our iodine supply be furnished with our salt, but I question this method of procedure in regulating iodine supply, except after determination of the individual's appetite for salt. If we attempt to furnish the essential iodine through the table salt supply, as suggested by him, an excess may be furnished one individual, and another may not obtain sufficient for his needs. I can cite cases in which the patients had an exaggerated appetite for salt; these cases can only be determined by appropriate tests. My reason for making this statement is that I believe that our demands for iodine are determined in a great measure by our activities. The greater the quantity of iodine consumed by increased functional activities, the greater the proportion of iodine needed. The indications for iodine have almost a constant similarity with those observed as indications of overstress and strain, among which can be mentioned exhaustion, the overtraining or going stale, as the expression is, of the athlete, and the manifestations of hypertension, which we see in the strenuous type of individual. I would here suggest that it is possible when the athlete, the prize fighter or some one subject to intensive physical training goes stale, he has used up this iodine content, is calling upon his reserve, and is not assimilating the proper amount.

My reason for this is in a measure due to some personal experiences. I have observed that when in great strain, and prolonged physical and mental effort, if a small quantity of iodine is taken, the sense of relief is immediate, and distress relieved very promptly; and if taken at bedtime the sense of well being and restored vitality is present the following clay. Also, if after a prolonged period of work, extending over two or three months, the individual has reached the stage where the need of relaxation and rest is very vital, he is supplied with small quantities of iodine, the restoration to a sense of restored efficiency and power to carry on work is very rapid. Among the consequences the increase in years brings to all of us, we find changes in blood pressure. We see that there is generally a tendency for an increase, occasionally the so-called esthenic type will be found to decrease. In the majority of cases with which I have come in contact, there has been increase in pressure, with all the systemic complications that will arise from an arterial heart and kidney distress. Although my practice has not permitted me the observation of a large number of cases, I cannot recall one single instance of high pressure that was not reduced when the iodine was properly administered in an amount suitable to meet his physical needs, and this was without regard to any regulation of diet, or rest in bed, the usual manner of handling these cases. Perhaps my good fortune has kept me clear of cases with extensive complications such as advanced renal changes. The physiological action of iodine has never been fully determined, all writers declaring that no method so far presented can solve this question. Numerous theories have been proposed, the one of Bourcet, that it is a leavening agent, approaching nearest to an explanation of the needs of its presence.

Two additional theories to explain the lack of iodine may here be proposed: Firstly, the food absorbed may be low in iodine content, but in addition the capacity of the individual's digestive system to admit the absorption of the existing iodine in the food may be reduced by the putrefactive changes in his system, which render the chemical constituents nonabsorbable.

Secondly, the number of functionating thyroid cells may be reduced by sclerotic changes subsequent to disease, or the absence of the proper amount of iodine with which to function, and the remaining cells being called upon to absorb iodine from the blood stream must have a higher percentage of iodine within the organism from which to abstract the necessary amount. That is, if the blood supply through the thyroid gland does not have an increased proportion of iodine dissolved in it, the remaining functionating thyroid cells are unable to abstract it.

Until the chemical problems in this matter are solved, we must accept the clinical experience, which is our best criterion, and give consideration to the things which occur within the patient to whom iodine is administered.

The first subjective symptoms that the individual has, following iodine administration, when there is a need for this element, is a sense of well being and of comfort, with a tendency to increase in exuberance of spirit and ambitions. The respiratory action is more active, and sensations somewhat similar to those experienced when oxygen or ozone is inhaled, occur. This is so characteristic that I have frequently heard it so expressed by patients, and have experienced it myself.

The second effect is that of an increase in the cutaneous circulation, most manifest in the patient who has a cold skin, whether dry or moist. If the hands and feet are cold, the circulation is increased, the willingness to do work and the ability to accomplish results is more manifest. If, in the lag and exhaustion that follows an unusually driving period of work, a few drops of tincture of iodine are administered for several days, the effect is almost equal to a weekend rest in restoring the mental and physical activities. Of course, at this point we may well mention that such restoration cannot harden the muscles and restore physical strength to the degree that proper exercise will produce, the greatest benefit being derived from the combination of both iodine administration and reasonable exercise.

How many of us have seen the exhausted business man attempt to reinvigorate himself in a short period of rest and strenuous athletics to which he is not accustomed? We frequently see these men almost as haggard at the end of ten days' vacation as at the end of a winter's hard work. This can be greatly changed if suitable measures accompany the vacation periods. Often the mere exertion incidental to vigorous exercise may exhaust the organism by depriving it of the essential restorative agent, "iodine."

Third, the results attained from the administration of thyroid extract can so thoroughly prove iodine to be essential to the animal organism, if we give credit to the iodine content of the thyroid gland.

Fourth, the effect of iodine administration upon the circulatory system and its associated organs can be accepted as evidence that iodine plays a very prominent part in the distribution of the blood supply. We have noted that it increases the skin circulation, that it increases glandular activity, that various functions are activated, Bourcet referring to its diuretic properties. It also increases the secretion of bile.

Fifth, the general effect of iodine on the organism in relation to ageing, which, as we must recognize, begins the day we are born with the deposit of connective tissue, and general sclerotic changes which end in the socalled senile state. As mentioned heretofore, the x ray evidently hastens all these processes, and I wish here to lay emphasis upon the importance of considering the proper amount of iodine as the most vital element in combating senile changes incidental to our growth, and those constitutional disturbances that accompany thejife of the active rontgenologist.

All this being so, we can draw some conclusions as to the function of iodine in the animal economy. I will go one step farther than Bourcet, who describes it as a leavening agent, and say that it is the activating or underground wire, which regulates the capillary circulation throughout the organism, and lack of this agent simply means that the capillaries contract, and do not permit active circulation in the part that they should supply with a swiftly flowing blood stream. Contraction of the arterioles evidently occurs throughout the organism, in all parts where they can be spared to the best advantage, leaving the rest of the organism to functionate more freely. This, naturally, decreases the power of the body to carry on full functional activities, and when the iodine supply is sufficiently reduced exhaustion occurs, and the organism must be put at rest until a sufficient amount of iodine is absorbed.

One of the effects of the decrease in iodine supply, and the contraction of the capillaries, is the increase in the effort of the driving forces of the circulation to propel the blood in its proper channels. This occurring rapidly, and for long periods, results in a rise in pressure, and arteriosclerosis, which is Nature's attempt to maintain a continuously contracted vascular system. Nature reinforces the walls of the bloodvessels with connective tissue till finally they become motionless, and subject to increased strain and stress. Calcification occurs, with all the accompanying senile changes. The senile depredations are general throughout the organism, the capillaries that should have been active in aiding elimination and promoting functional activities do not contract, and round cell infiltration occurs in these areas.

Also the general sclerosis that is observed in the aged, as in all degenerative changes, is retarded by rest, because while resting the circulatory system is relaxed, and the iodine reserve is being built up. Ageing can be retarded by the maintenance in the organism of an iodine supply proportionate to the needs of the individual, this I have had ample manifestations of in my rather long experience with this element.

There are various methods of administering iodine; we can use almost any salt or solution of the element. The most logical method of administration that I have so far discovered has been in the form of a tincture. The tincture is one that I have used for fifteen years, and have found it entirely satisfactory in all cases where iodine was indicated. This is a modification of our standard tincture of iodine. The formula is as follows:

Iodine crystals gr. xxx
Ammonium iodide gr. xx
Alcohol oz. ss
Glycerin ad. oz. q.s oz. i

M.F.T. glass stopper, pipet dropper bottle. S. one to four drops in a glass of water, once a day.
The alternative method of administration is to give the patient his month's supply in one week, dividing the dose into seven parts to be taken daily, diluted with water. The former method is preferable, but the individual's peculiarities in temperament must be considered in administering drugs. Very few patients need more than two drops a day, or seven drops for seven days within the month. The average person of middle age, weighing 150 pounds, requires one drop a day.

The prescription given above has been prescribed many hundreds of times by medical associates, with general approval, and has been found very satisfactory by them in it's constitutional effect, and freedom from gastric disturbance.

In combating this hypoiodized state, we must get away from the common practice of attempting to saturate the patient by serially increasing the dose. Instead of increasing this dose drop by drop each day, my frequent practice has been to start on about four drops for four days, and then decrease to one or two drops as indicated by the character of the patient. This produces a prompt restoration of the essential physiological iodine, and allows a continuation of a sufficient amount to satisfy the needs of the organism.

If we would estimate the quantity of iodine taken in the human economy in a year, we would probably find it to be about one ounce of the element. By following this procedure we add from thirty to sixty grains to the yearly supply, which, for ordinary purposes, will suffice the indications of the average weight adult.

•Read before the Benjamin Rush Medical Society, April 1, 1922. Read in part before the Section in Ophthalmology, New York Academy of Medicine. October 16, 1922, in the discussion of Dr. G. H. Bell's paper, The Reform Diet as a Therapeutic Measure in Ophthalmic practice.


1. National Standard Dispensatory.
2. Hayhurst, Emery: Jour. A. M. A., Jan. 7, 1922. 40 East Forty-first Street.
1 This complete paper, with translations from the European writers and case reports, will be published in reprints.

source: New York Medical Journal, 1922