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.
Nitric acid has long been held in repute for the treatment of chronic hepatic congestion, or chronic hepatitis, especially when occurring in Anglo-Indians, and after mercurials have been used. Dr. Murchison met with marked improvement, even in cases of waxy liver, from the continued use of nitric acid with vegetable bitters ("Diseases of Liver," 1868, p. 33), but in later writings he remarks that there is no evidence of its assisting bile-flow, and that its action is less direct than that of alkalies; that in congestion (of acute character), or when lithiasis is present, it either does no good, or aggravates the malady, though it may relieve the dyspepsia of debility: he sometimes gives alkalies before a meal, and acid after (British Medical Journal, i., 1874). R. Martin, Thudichum, and indeed the majority of writers twenty years ago, allowed to nitric acid a larger sphere of usefulness in hepatic disorder, jaundice, etc.; it was presumed to "lixiviate biliary deposits, tone digestion, and act antiseptically" (British Medical Journal, ii., 1860). Annesley noted that it acted better, the more freely it was diluted - he used it in chronic splenic disorder. I have found nitric acid useful in chronic hepatitis, when watery diarrhoea and constipation occur alternately.