The use of gold as a remedy is not new. The value of the metal has always conferred upon it possibilities for symbolic and suggestive therapy. Recently, however, gold has been used seriously and extensively. The multitude of disorders treated by such preparations is evidenced by the numerous titles listed in the Quarterly Cumulative Index Medicus under "Gold Therapy." Major attention has been directed toward its use in tuberculosis of various forms, asthma, arthritis and certain skin diseases.
The precise way in which gold acts is not known. It seems improbable that, in vivo, gold has any direct action on organisms. It has been suggested that it may act by "stimulating some defense forces in the patient,"1 most probably the cells of the reticuloendothelial system. Such an action is similar to that of nonspecific proteins. Gold is excreted largely through the kidneys and to a lesser degree through the
GOLD THERAPY IN ARTHRITIS. JAMA. 1935;105(26):2163–2164. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760520043011