Benzoic acid. The peculiar principle of all true balsams. Ordinarily obtained by sublimation from gum benzoin, the concrete juice of the Styrax benzoin of Peru.
1. SCHREIBER took in two days about 1/2 oz. in divided doses, and experienced feeling of abdominal warmth spreading over whole body, accompanied by increase of pulse-rate by 30 beats, and by increased perspiration and excretion of phlegm, with slight disturbance of digestion and some confusion of head. (STILLE, Mat. Medorrhinum, sub voce.)
2. KELLER took before bedtime about 37 grs. in syrup. During night perspired strongly, which was probably effect of acid, as he was in general with great difficulty made to freely perspire. He could perceive no other effect, even when, next day, he took same dose three times; nor did perspiration recur. Urine voided next morning was unusually acid, and yielded considerable amount of hippuric acid, but also contained normal proportion of uric acid and urea. [ It was at first thought that benzoic was changed into the more nitrogenous hippuric acid at the expense of either the uric acid (Ure) or the urea (Garrod). The results of Keller, however, have generally been obtained. The conversion seems to take place in the kidneys. It is stated by Booth, Boye, and Martin, as the result of their experiments. (Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc., 1865, p. 185), that the quantity of hippuric acid obtained from the urine is greater by one-third than that of benzoic acid taken.-EDS] (LIEBIG’S Ann. d. Chem. u. Pharm., xliii, 109.) 3. LINGEN took of a solution in alcohol, gr. 1/2 to 3j, 5 drops morning and evening for 9 days. On first 3 days had frequent pulse. On night of 4th days was awakened after midnight with violent pulsation of heart and temporal arteries (110 in minute), without external heat, and could not sleep again. In morning, tongue was covered with white mucous coat; there was nausea and total loss of appetite. By 4 p.m. these symptoms had vanished; but every night for 8 weeks afterwards he awoke with strong internal heat, and hard, bounding, but not quickened pulse, so that he must lie awake upon his back, because of puffing in his ears from pulsation of temporal arteries, preventing his falling asleep again. Urine was at first only increased in quantity, not in frequency. In a few days micturition became exceedingly frequent, with strong pressing. Urine of aromatic odour and saline taste; odour long retained; most in forenoon. Other symptoms were:- On two forenoons in succession, whilst sitting, pressure on vertex and spinal column, as if these were pressed together by an elastic body (?), so that he bent himself involuntarily, stretching forwards; this sensation, without being painful, is productive of extraordinary anxiety. Stitching and burning first in right great toe, then in left (morning, whilst lying down). On 9th day, feeling of coldness of knees as if blown upon by a cold wind. (Mat. Medorrhinum of American Provings.) 4. NUSSER took gr. 80 of 2nd trit. at one dose (gr. 0.125 of acid). On first day had uncommon discharge of flatus downwards in afternoon and evening; in evening fine stitches in anus, in middle of chest, in outer right arm and inner left; in bed, stitches in chest on deep inspiration, and slight general perspiration; sleep somewhat disturbed by dreams. 2nd day. – In morning, in bed, some sweat, especially on face, with moderate heat, stitch; breath at times somewhat whistling. Deep-seated tearing and stitching in several joints, especially of hands and feet; fingers appear swollen, a ring becomes too small. From 3rd to 7th day same sensations in joints, and fingers remain somewhat swollen. On 7th day constant fine but violent stitches in upper hepatic region, superficial, not worse on pressure. On 6th and 7th d. found himself constantly omitting words in writing, – an unprecedented thing with him. By 8th days symptoms had vanished. (Hering, Amer. Arzneiprufungen.).