This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
As now directed in the U. S. Pharmacopoeia, this is simply a solution in alcohol, in fixed proportions, of carbonate of ammonia, water of ammonia, and the volatile oils of lemons, nutmeg, and lavender. The British formula differs in submitting the same ingredients, the oil of lavender excepted, to distillation. The proportion of water of ammonia is sufficient to convert the officinal carbonate used, which is a sesquicarbonate, into the neutral carbonate.
The spirit of ammonia has an agreeable pungent odour, and the peculiar taste of ammonia pleasantly qualified by that of the aromatic oils. Upon the system its effects are the same as those of the officinal carbonate of ammonia, and it may be employed for the same purposes. The use of it, however, is generally confined to cases in which its influence as a stomachic stimulant, or slight excitant of the nervous system is wanted. Hence, it is given to obviate nausea and vomiting in debilitated states of the stomach, to relieve flatulence and flatulent pains, and to correct gastric acidity, and the heartburn and sick-headache which frequently attend it, Languor, faintness, and the slight nervous disorder incident to hysteria are often relieved by it; and it is occasionally used to remove the lighter symptoms of intoxication caused by alcoholic drinks. It is a good addition to saline cathartics in weak conditions of the stomach. The dose of it is from half a fluidrachm to a fluidrachm, in a wineglass-ful of water.