Given internally, in medicinal doses, dilute nitric acid exerts a stimulant effect on the glandular system of the alimentary canal, and some tonic bracing effect on the mucous membrane, so that appetite is improved by it, and undue secretion lessened; this is probably owing to a direct local action. Salivation sometimes occurs under the use of nitric acid, either in consequence of the gastric irritation, or of direct stimulation of the salivary glands by the medicine. It is commonly credited with some power of stimulating the secretion and excretion of bile.

Large doses act like other violently corrosive irritant poisons. In a case that proved fatal on the eighth day after swallowing 1 dr. of the strong acid, the oesophagus and stomach were found inflamed and ulcerated, the colon was in the same state, but the small intestine was sound; suppression of urine had occurred.

Synergists - Antagonists

The same as those of sulphuric acid.

Therapeutical Action (External)


Nitrous fumes may be generated by the action of sulphuric acid on nitrate of potash. They efficiently disinfect unhealthy wards, prisons, etc., but the use of less irritating substances has practically replaced this method.