This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
All these dilate the peripheral vessels, and increase the rapidity of the heart
White, opaque, fused masses, usually in the form of pencils, or colorless, transparent, hexagonal crystals; odorless, and having a mild, saline taste. When exposed to the air, the salt deliquesces and is gradually oxidized to Sodium Nitrate. Solubility. - In about 1.5 parts of water; slightly soluble in Alcohol.
Dose, 2 to 5 gr.; .12 to .30 gm.
Spirit of Nitrous Ether. Synonym. - Sweet Spirit of Nitre.
An Alcoholic Solution of Ethyl Nitrite (C2H5No2=74.87), yielding, when freshly prepared, not less than 11 times its own volume of Nitrogen Dioxide. In many commercial specimens there is very little Ethyl Nitrite.
Dissolve Sodium Nitrite, 750, in water; adding Deodorized Alcohol, 550; introduce into the containing flask, Sulphuric Acid, 520; previously diluted, and distil. Wash the distillate with ice-cold water, remove traces of acid by Sodium Carbonate, 10, dissolved in water; agitate with Potassium Carbonate to remove all traces of water, and add sufficient Deodorized Alcohol.
A clear, mobile, volatile, inflammable liquid of a pale yellowish or faintly greenish-yellow tint, having a fragrant, ethereal and pungent odor, free from acridity, and a sharp, burning taste. Sp. gr., 0.836 to 0.842.
Excess of acetic acid.
Dose, 1/2 to 2 fl. dr.; 2. to 8. c.c
Spirit of nitrous ether evaporates when it is applied externally, and a slightly anaesthetic effect is produced.
It combines the action of the ether with that of the nitrites contained in it. Because of the ether it is a diffusible stimulant, a stomachic and a carminative. Because of the nitrites it acts like amyl nitrite; but as the ethyl nitrite is so diluted, its action in this direction is feeble; thus it only moderately dilates the vessels, and except in poisonous doses probably does not affect the blood. The dilatation of the vessels leads to a diaphoretic effect on the skin, a diuretic effect on the kidney, and a lowering of arterial blood-pressure. The dilatation of the cutaneous vessels, the sweating, and perhaps the changes of the blood, produce a slight antipyretic influence. It is obvious that in these effects the nitrites will to some extent be aided by the ether. Sodium nitrite possesses the same, but a more lasting, action as the spirit of nitrous ether.
For its diaphoretic and slight antipyretic effects it is commonly given in mild febrile attacks, such as a common cold. It is also used as a diuretic in chronic Bright's disease, and cardiac and pulmonary diseases accompanied by oedema but for these purposes the sodium nitrite is preferable.