It is very poisonous, uniting with the haemoglobin of the blood to form carbonyl-haemoglobin.
The blood is coloured red by haemoglobin in blood corpuscles.
At the same time the non-striped muscles slightly lose their tonicity, and when very large doses are given the haemoglobin of the blood becomes converted into the chocolate-coloured methaemoglobin.
Whilst it is not a haematinic, in that it does not increase the number of the red blood corpuscles, it very markedly influences the stability of the compounds of the haemoglobin with oxygen.
The ' haemoglobin may be transformed into haematoidin, a pigment that does not contain iron, or into a pigment which does contain iron, haemosiderin.
The oxygen contained in that fluid, and destined for consumption by the tissues, is retained by the influence of alcohol in its combination with the haemoglobin or colouring matter of the red blood corpuscles.
Haematinics are drugs which increase the amount of haemoglobin in the blood.
The first is based on the fact that the iron in the haemoglobin of the blood must be derived from the food, therefore iron medicinally administered is absorbed.
In certain forms of anaemia it increases the number of the red corpuscles and also their haemoglobin content.
The haemoglobin would, by its pre-eminent properties of fixing oxygen, serve to furnish the nerve system, which more than any other requires a constant supply, with the necessary oxygen.