He was originally investigating the hypothesis that mania was related to urea, and using lithium citrate as part of an animal experiment. However, his use of careful controls in his experiments revealed that the lithium salt had a calming effect by itself. A small-scale trial on humans revealed that lithium had a powerful effect on mania in people.
However, the toxicity of lithium prevented its use in psychiatry for some years.
- Cade, JFJ; Lithium salts in the treatment of psychotic excitement. Med J Aust 1949, 36, p349-352