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Ammonium Chloride.

Formula—NH4Cl.

Synonyms—Ammonium Muriate, Chloride or Muriate of Ammonium. Dose, from three to ten grains.

The taste should be obscured in an aromatic syrup.

Physiological Action—In its influence it exhibits the peculiarities of ammonia. It is not widely different in its action from the carbonate, but does not act powerfully upon the heart and is less transient in its effects.

During the last five years much has been learned concerning the specific action of this remedy upon mucous surfaces. The author has observed that while it influences the mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes, in a satisfactory manner, curing alone many cases of dry, harsh, irritable cough, and relieving many cases of chronic cough, it is equally beneficial in its influence upon the mucous membranes of the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract. It can also be used in purulent inflammation of the lining of the pelvis of the kidney and bladder.

Administration—It is not necessary that large doses be given, as it often produces excellent results in doses of less than a grain. One-half grain doses will materially benefit bronchial coughs which have been persistent and which are dry in character and recur with every change of the weather. Many stubborn cases are reported as cured by small doses of this remedy.

Specific Symptomatology—The following indications are suggestive in the administration of this chloride: Deficient capillary circulation, evidenced by dusky redness of the skin, the redness disappearing on pressure and returning slowly; ecchymosis of the surface of the body, especially of the eyelids. A hot solution of the muriate of ammonia will quickly overcome the discoloration of a violent contusion. Cough of a rasping, irritating, tight and harsh character, with deficient or scanty secretion, is allayed by it; also cough depending upon hepatic, gastric or intestinal irritation.

A German writer advises ammonium chloride for the same conditions of the glandular structures of the body for which we advise phytolacca, but believes in giving it in small doses. It certainly exercises an alternative influence, and it would be well to give these two agents together and observe their action. One grain or even less of this agent at a dose will be sufficient.

Therapy—Its common use is in the treatment of bronchitis. In the conditions where a stimulant expectorant is needed, as mentioned of the ammonium carbonate, its administration being more easily rendered pleasant, it is more commonly used than the carbonate. It is a common ingredient of many extemporized cough syrups. It is especially useful in catarrh of the bronchi with relaxed and debilitated mucous membranes.

Catarrhs of all kinds are promptly influenced by its use, whether they be nasal, gastric, intestinal, or gastro-intestinal, or catarrh of the bladder, or leucorrhea, wherever there is an abundant thick secretion from the mucous membrane.

In catarrh of the stomach, with excessive acid secretion and constant pain during digestion, ten grains of this salt before meals is often productive of complete relief and subsequent cure. It should also be used in intestinal catarrh. It will be found of great service in colitis or ilecolitis and will relieve the irritation and pain present. In chronic diarrhea due to chronic catarrhal irritation of these intestinal mucous membranes we have seen some striking results. One case suffered from intense, acute intestinal pain and chronic diarrhea, with a persistent temperature of from one hundred to one hundred and one and a half degrees. The condition had been present two years and a half, and a tubercular condition was diagnosed. The only marked effects, from any remedy in this case, were observed from the action of this chloride. It relieved the irritation and pain, controlled the diarrhoea, and there was slow abatement of the temperature. The patient attributed all the beneficial results to this remedy, although there were other indicated remedies given, which assisted in the total result.

Another case of intestinal indigestion, with frequent attacks of diarrhoea, accompanied with sharp, colicky pains, was cured with this remedy.

Whitford for many years has advised this agent as a specific in neuralgias. It is indicated in those of a rheumatic character, and those of a distinctly malarial type, with a tendency to periodicity, especially if occurring in the face or head. In those cases where belladonna is not contraindicated, he gives the two agents in conjunction in full doses. It is a serviceable remedy and his experience is confirmed by that of such men as Watson, Anstie and Ringer. To give relief it must be given in doses of from ten to thirty grains. Small doses are of but little benefit.

This agent is recommended highly in chronic inflammation of the liver with torpor and engorgement. In catarrhal jaundice it stimulates the liver, working actively in harmony with many of our organic remedies. In other glandular affections it is of much value, especially where there is chronic enlargement. This applies to mastitis, ovaritis and prostatitis. A solution of the salt applied to enlarged glands is very efficacious, promoting removal of the enlargement. It is also applicable to contusions and indolent tumors and is applied to senile gangrene.

This agent should be used in the treatment of chronic prostatitis. It may be given for a short time in large doses, and then continued in small doses, the large dose to be repeated as the occasion demands. Many physicians claim that it is a positive cure in the treatment of prostatic enlargement. It soothes vesical irritation, relieves tenesmus, overcomes the mucopurulent discharge, and adds tone and vitality to the parts.

The drug is a stimulant to the capillary circulation and will be found of benefit in exanthematous fevers, favoring the eruptive process, especially if there has been a recession. Externally, the solutions of chloride of ammonium are applied to chilblains, parts threatened with gangrene, indolent tumors and plethoric abscesses. It is also advantageous in erysipelas, and in some forms of articular rheumatism. Mild solutions in the latter case will effect satisfactory results. Applied in hot solution over an inflamed gland, with soreness present, it has a beneficial influence, much as the chloride of sodium would have under similar circumstances.


The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.



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