Nitrate of Potassium is obtained in the native state in various portions of the world; but the variety employed for medicinal purposes is prepared by purifying the native production of India. It can also be artificially made by combining decayed organic animal and vegetable matters, or by the double decomposition of nitrate of sodium and chlorate of potassium. The crude nitre is refined by re-solution and crystallization. It is in the form of white, crystalline, six-sided prisms, odorless, with a sharp, saline, cooling and slightly bitter taste, wholly soluble in water, but insoluble in alcohol.

Medical Properties And Action

Nitrate of potassium is refrigerant, sedative, antiseptic, diuretic and diaphoretic. It promotes the secretions, lessens the heat of the body and the frequency of the pulse. For allaying febrile excitement it is frequently employed in the form of nitrous powders (nitre, gr. x; tartar emetic, gr. 1/8; calomel, gr. 1/4 to 1/2).

In overdoses, nitrate of potassium causes pain and heat in the stomach, vomiting and purging of blood, inflammation of the bowels, great prostration, convulsions, and sometimes death.

The antidotes are emetics, mucilaginous and demulcent drinks, and stimulants to sustain the sinking powers of the system.

Therapeutic Uses

Nitrate of potassium is employed internally as a refrigerant in febrile affections, in inflammatory diseases, acute rheumatism, scurvy, purpura, haemoptysis, passive hemorrhages, asthma, etc. In fevers it is frequently combined with other remedies. The vapor is used in spasmodic asthma.


Of nitrate of potassium, gr. ij to gr. x.

Dental Uses

In dental practice, nitrate of potassium has been recommended in the incipient stages of alveolar abscess, being introduced into the pulp canal and secured by a temporary filling in the crown cavity of the tooth. It is also employed in inflammatory conditions of the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat in the form of gargles.

Dental Formulae

For Inflammation of the Mouth and Throat.

J. W. White. Potassii nitratis . . . Aquae destillatae . . . Signa. - To be used as a gargle.

Dental Formulae 1344Dental Formulae 1345

For Inflamed Mucous Membrane and Gums. Potassii nitratis . . . Potassii chloratis . . Sodii biboratis . . . Aquae destillata . . . Signa. - To be used as an antiseptic and refrigerant mouth wash.

Dental Formulae 1346Dental Formulae 1347