This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
One of the most frequent uses of ammonia, and one which it commonly serves very well given by the mouth in the ordinary manner, is to quicken the general circulation and to revive failing heart-action in cases of exhaustion and threatened syncope from almost any cause: being volatile, it diffuses and acts rapidly. The vapor of the carbonate, as disengaged from "smelling salts," is sometimes usefully given by inhalation in the same class of cases, and the vapor of liquor ammoniae has been utilized in partial asphyxia, and in the semi-coma of drunkenness. In several extreme cases of alcoholism, wherein relapses were frequent, I have known the aromatic spirit of ammonia in drachm-doses every hour or two "steady" the patient very markedly; it has acted better than, e.g., vinegar, which seemed to increase liver congestion and give only temporary relief to symptoms. The depression and dyspepsia which commonly follow excessive use of alcohol are also well treated by ammonia compounds, especially if combined with valerian: in the prostration of delirium tremens, the same remedies are very useful.