When the subcarbonate of iron of the U. S. Pharmacopoeia (sesquioxide of iron) is digested with muriatic acid, a reaction takes place, by which the sesquichloride of iron is formed in solution. If now a solution of muriate of ammonia be added, and the mixed liquids evaporated to dryness, we obtain the preparation under consideration. It is probably nothing more than a mixture of sesquichloride of iron and muriate of ammonia, the former amounting only to about 15 per cent.

Ammoniated iron is in crystalline grains of a fine reddish-orange colour, and sharp saline, and chalybeate taste. It is deliquescent, and soluble in water and alcohol. Its incompatibles are the same as those of the preceding article.

Under the name of flores martiales or martial flowers, a preparation closely analogous to this has long been known, since the times, indeed, of Basil Valentine, which was procured by subliming a mixture of sesquioxide of iron and muriate of ammonia. The sesquioxide was probably converted, at the expense of a part of the muriatic acid of the muriate of ammonia, into sesquichloride of iron, which then chemically combined with the remainder of the muriate. The preparation differed from that now officinal in having a yellow colour, and a slight peculiar odour.

Medical Uses

The great predominance of the muriate of ammonia renders this a feeble chalybeate, while it imparts aperient, and, as some suppose, alterative properties, which give it a somewhat peculiar character. It is particularly applicable to cases, which offer indications at Once for the influence of iron and of a deobstruent agent. Such are presented in anemic states of the system, with swollen lymphatic glands as in scrofula, with enlarged liver, or with chronically hepatized lung. At present, however, it is little used; and it is no longer officinal, having been abandoned both in the U. S. and Br. Pharmacopoeias. The dose is ten or twelve grains to begin with, which may be given in pill, solution, or electuary. The London College directed a tincture, which, being a useless preparation, has been omitted in the British code.