This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics: An Introduction to the National Treatment of Disease", by John Mitchell Bruce. Also available from Amazon: The pharmacology and therapeutics of the materia medica.
From Liquor Ammonia Fortior are made :
ξ. Ammoniae Phosphas. - Phospbate of Ammonia. (NH4),HPO4.
Characters. - Transparent colourless prisms, becoming opaque by exposure. Solubility, 1 in 2 of water.
Dose. - 5 to 20 gr.
η. Liquor Ammoniae. - Solution of Ammonia. NH3 (10 per cent., dissolved in water.
Source - Made by mixing one part of Stromg Solution of Ammonia with two parts of Distilled Water.
Dose. - 10 to 20 min. dilated.
Preparation. Linimentum Ammoniae. - Liniment of Ammonia. Solution of Ammonia, 1; Olive Oil, 3.
From Liquor Ammonia are made : i. Ammoniae Benzoas. - Benzoate of Ammonia. .NH4.C7H5O2.
Source. - Made by dissolving Benzoic Acid in Solution of Ammonia, evaporating, and crystallising.
Characters. - Colourless laminar crystals, with a characteristic odour. Solubility, 1 in 5 of water.
Dose. - 10 to 20 gr.
ii. Ammoniae Nitras. - Nitrate of Ammonia. NH4NO3.
Source. - Made by neutralising Diluted Nitric Acid with Solution of Ammonia (or Carbonate of Ammonia), crystallising, and fusing.
Characters. - A white deliquescent salt, in confused crystalline masses, with a bitter acrid taste.
Used only for making nitrous oxide gas (N2O).
b. Ammoniae Carbonas. - Carbonate of Ammonia. N4H16C3O8.
Source. - Made by subliming a mixture of Chloride of Ammonium (or Sulphate of Ammonia), with Carbonate of Lime. 6NH4C1 + 3CaC03 = N4H16C3O8 + 3CaCl2 + 2NH3 + H1O.
Characters. - Translucent crystalline masses, volatile and pungent to the nose; alkaline. Solubility, 1 in 4 of water. 20 gr. neutralise 23 1/2 gr. citric acid, or 25 1/2 gr. tartaric acid; 15 gr. neutralise 17 gr. citric acid, or one tablespoonful of lemon juice.
Impurities. - Sulphates and chlorides.
Dose. - 3 to 10 gr.
From Ammonia Carbonas are made:
α. Spiritus Ammoniae Aromaticus. See page 43.
ß. Liquor Ammoniae Acetatis. - Solution of Acetate of Ammonia. NH4.C2H3O2 dissolved in water.
Source. - Made by neutralising Carbonate of Ammonia by Acetic Acid, and adding water.
Dose. - 2 to 6 fl.dr.
Ammoni Chloridum is used in making Liquor Hydrargyri Perchloridi.
Ammonii Bromidum. Bromide of Ammonium. NH4Br.
Characters. - Colourless crystals, which become slightly yellow by exposure to the air, and have a pungent saline taste. Solubility, 1 in 1 1/2 of water.
Dose. - 2 to 20 gr.
Externally applied, ammonia is a stimulant to the nerves and other structures, causing a sensation of pain and burning, and reddening the part by dilating the vessels. If the application be prolonged and the vapour confined, blistering may result; but dilute preparations produce only a rubefacient effect and a sense of heat. It is used in the form of liniment to stimulate the circulation in a part, either for the purpose of increasing the local nutrition (for instance, in stiffness or other chronic conditions of joints), or as a counter-irritant (see Part III.) in diseases of deeper parts, e.g. on the surface of the chest in bronchitis. Ammonia is not to be used as a caustic; and vesication by it is better avoided. In serpent's bite, the application of ammonia to the wound has occasionally saved life.
Internally. - Admitted into the nose, ammonia itself, or the vapour of the carbonate ("smelling salts"), is a powerful general stimulant, instantly causing a pungent sensation, sneezing and other disturbances of the respiration, acceleration of the pulse, and watery secretion from the parts including the conjunctiva. It is accordingly used as a means of resus-citating consciousness, the action of the heart, and respiration, in cases of failure of the circulation, such as fainting, or of asphyxia.
In the stomach, ammonia produces the same effects as on the skin. A full doso (30 gr. of the Carbonate well diluted) is an emetic, which is best used in croup and bronchitis. Smaller doses cause a sense of warmth at the epigastrium, and act as carminatives, sal-volatile being chiefly used for this purpose. In common with soda and potash, it has an antacid effect on the contents of the stomach, and may be given after meals in dyspepsia. Like these, also, it acts as a natural stimulant to the gastric juice before meals, and sal-volatile is therefore a common ingredient of alkaline stomachic mixtures. On the bowels, ammonia appears to have no local action.
Ammonia is absorbed into the blood, and is there fixed; increasing, possibly, the alkalinity of the plasma, and diminishing the tendency to coagulation. The phosphate is believed to he useful in gout, by keeping uric acid in solution.
Although its specific action is still imperfectly known, ammonia certainly appears to stimulate the central nervous system generally, the respiratory centre, and the heart; that is, to he a general stimulant. It is much given in neuralgia (as the chloride), and in exhausted states of the vital powers, especially if respiration and circulation threaten to fail, as in typhoid fever complicated with pneumonia, in the bronchitis of old or weakly subjects, and in ordinary acute pneumonia with increasing feebleness of the heart. In this way also it is useful in serpent's bite, and is given internally in water, or hypodermi-cally (10 to 20 minims) whilst it is applied to the wound. The phosphate directly increases the amount of bile, etc.; chloride of ammonium decidedly increases the production of urea, partly, at least, by its own decomposition in the liver.
Ammonia is excreted by the kidneys and mucous membranes, especially the respiratory tract; not, however, as ammonia, but as some other nitrogen compound. Thus, instead of diminishing, it actually increases the acidity of the urine, whilst the amount of urea and uric acid also rises, as well as the volume of the secretion. The chloride of ammonium possesses these important powers most fully, the acetate less fully. They are employed as diuretics in dropsies and feverish states of the system.
The bronchial secretion is distinctly increased, and rendered more liquid and easily raised, by the carbonate and chloride of ammonium. These salts prove of great service as expectorants in the treatment of bronchitis when the secretion is scanty and thick, or the patient feeble; the accompanying stimulation of the respiratory centre increasing the coughing or expectorant power, whilst the heart is also sustained.
The mucous secretion of the stomach is affected by ammonia as by the other alkalies, and the chloride is sometimes used in chronic dyspepsia. Ammonia remotely stimulates the intestines, and will cause diarrhoea if given in large doses.
On the skin the acetate of ammonia acts as a well-marked remote stimulant, and as the Liquor is one of our most common diaphoretics. The chloride also possesses the same property, but to a less degree.
These may be thus summarised: Liquor Ammoniae Fortior and Liquor Ammonite are used as stimulants and vesicants, the former externally only. Ammonite Carbonas - a volatile stimulant, emetic, and double expectorant (through the nerves and secretions). Ammonii Chloridum - a local refrigerant, agastric, intestinal, and hepatic stimulant, nervous stimulant, diuretic double expectorant, and diaphoretic (hence called an "alterative"). Liquor Ammonite Acetatis-diaphoretic and diuretic (febrifuge), and nervous stimulant. Liquor Ammonite Citratis diuretic and diaphoretic. Spiritus Ammonite Aromaticus agreeable and powerful carminative, antacid, and general stimulant. Ammonite Phosphas - direct cholagogue, possibly an alkaliniser of the blood. Spiritus Ammonite Foetidus. Assafoetida.) Ammonite Benzoas. (See Benzoin.) Ammonii Bromidum. (See Bromum.)