Selected writings of A. Jackson Howe.
This is one of the earliest contributions by Professor Howe concerning the escharotic he devised under the name "Escatol." It should be read in connection with the remarks on "Howe's Caustic" in the next article, "Comments on the Action of Juniper Pomade," etc.—Ed. Gleaner.
USEFUL ESCHAROTIC.—For a year or two I have been using an escharotic which serves so many purposes that I lately had Prof. Lloyd put it up in quantities to meet the demands made by physicians who have not time to concoct and compound every drug needed in an extended practice. The escharotic agents are salicylic acid and chloride of zinc, two parts of the former to one of the latter. The agents are rubbed in albolene as a vehicle to display the caustic agents to good advantage. The mild caustic may be applied with a camel's hair brush. There should be 30 grains of salicylic acid and 15 grains of chloride of zinc to an ounce of albolene. This will do for a general rule, but it may be made milder or stronger to meet special conditions. Where the skin is delicate a weaker form is needed; where the skin is thick the escharotic should be strengthened.
I learned by accident that the two escharotics in combination produced less pain than either when used alone. It may be applied to an ulcer in the nose successfully, and the agent will not attack the sound mucous membrane. I will mention a few morbid states where the escharotic exerts a curative power. I have not developed the medicine in wide ranges. A few daily applications cured a bleeding wart in a man's beard, and seed-warts on the hands. It destroyed moles on a woman's chin after two weeks' use. It removed scaly ulcers of a lupoid nature on an old man's face. It caused an obstinate eczema on a lady's neck to get well. It cured a rodent ulcer of the nipple. It destroyed a patch of "ring worm" on a man's thorax, and a sluggish ulceration of the leg which may have been epitheliomatous.
It will destroy polypus of the nose without any other agency, whether operative or therapeutic. I employ the escharotic upon fistulous surfaces after they have been incised, and on all sluggish traumatisms to arouse a healing action. It is one of a few things I have learned tentatively. I keep a jar of the escharotic in stock, and deal it out in small boxes to patients. I apply it to fissures of the anus, and to wounds made in the excision of cancerous growths.
Syphilitic ulcerations of the mouth, fauces and pharynx, and of the velum yield to daily dressings with the escharotic unguent.
My object in writing this has been to suggest just what every practitioner needs, and is thankful to have at hand in time of pressing need.—HOWE, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1891.
The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.