Acidum Benzoicum.

Related entry: Benzoin
Other tomes: BPC - Petersen - King's

Synonym—Benzoic Acid.

Physiological Action—A solution taken into the stomach produces warmth and slight irritation. It is nontoxic, is decomposed in the presence of hippuric acid. It is of considerable, power as an antiseptic and germicide.

This acid acts, directly in neutralizing alkalinity throughout the system, upon the urea in the processes of conversion of that substance into hippuric acid, robbing it of its nitrogen. There is thus a reduction of the amount of urea where this acid is administered in large quantity. If there is a lessened quantity of uric acid it is because of the appropriation of nitrogen by the benzoic acid, and not because of any solvent properties the agent has upon the uric acid.

Therapy—Its direct action is exercised upon the urinary apparatus. It is specifically indicated in conditions where the urine is alkaline, inducing frequency of urination with more or less irritation and pain in nocturnal enuresis.

It is a good remedy in excessive excretion of the phosphates exhibited by phosphatic sediment—insoluble phosphates in the urine—a deposit of phosphatic gravel. Its influence is chemical and does not persist after the withdrawal of the agent. Incontinence of urine depending upon the irritation caused by the presence of this gravel is cured by it.

Incontinence in cases where the urine is excessively alkaline, from whatever cause, is quickly cured by it, as it is one of our best agents for the neutralization of excessive alkalinity of the urine. It has been used by the writer for nearly twenty-five years in the treatment of cystitis where there was ammoniacal urine. Its influence is prompt and satisfactory, rapidly promoting the processes of healing.

It is useful in gonorrhea where the urine is alkaline, and in general urethral irritation from the presence of an excess of alkaline constituents. It is readily dissolved by the addition of sodium borate, decomposing the acid, but not interfering with, but rather enhancing the beneficial results of its action. It requires three parts of the borate of sodium to effectually dissolve two parts of the acid in thirty parts of water.


Therapy—Klebs, of Prague, originally advised this agent in infectious fevers and inflammations. It produced no unpleasant after effects and antagonized the causes of disease and the disease processes. Its antiseptic powers are sufficient to destroy many disease germs, and fevers so induced slowly subside. Direct antipyretic powers cannot be attributed to it.

It was one time quite generally used in diphtheria, in scarlet fever and other exanthematous or eruptive fevers, and in typhoid and malarial fevers with much success. It is a good remedy in the treatment of rheumatism. It combats the processes, neutralizes the uric acid wherever found, hastens its excretion and abates the inflammatory fever. It promptly relieves irritation of the kidneys in these cases.

It is not as active as the salicylate of sodium, but is permanent in its influence and almost as efficacious, if persisted in.

It is of value in catarrh of the bladder, either acute or chronic, if the urine is strongly alkaline, or much mucus is present.

In line with this influence, I have in late years secured prompt and highly satisfactory results from a Nascent Sodium Benzoate which is superior in its action to the stable drug. With old men, especially where chronic catarrh of the bladder results in the discharge of a heavy sediment of pus and blood, where there is constant urinary irritation with tenesmus, the pain, in some cases being excruciating, and remaining after the unsatisfied eff ort has passed, I have found this to be so prompt in its action as to give almost complete relief in a few hours.

It is prepared by dissolving four drams of benzoic acid and six drams of sodium borate in six ounces of boiling cinnamon water. When this cools, the solution should be perfect, but if a little excess of the acid should remain undissolved, it may be filtered. Of this a tablespoonful is given every two hours during the period of distress and pain. These two agents can be compressed into tablets of correct dosage and dissolved in water as needed.

The atomization and inhalation of sodium benzoate is beneficial in catarrh, bronchial and phthisical fetid discharges, ameliorating, in each case, the progress of the disease while correcting the fetor. It was lauded in the treatment of consumption, but failed to accomplish but little. It is not now in as general use as it was twenty years ago.


Therapy—This agent is accredited with the ability to reduce the amount of uric acid excreted in the urine, by the actual reduction of the quantity in the blood. It is said to retard, also, the formation of hepatic calculi, and to prevent the recurrence of hepatic colic. If this influence is present it is probably due to its action upon the secretory function of the liver. When urinary irritation is present with hepatic colic, both conditions will be benefited by the use of the remedy. Cystic irritation from the presence of renal sand is materially benefited by the use of this benzoate. Ammoniacal urine will be corrected by its influence.


Therapy—The benzoate of ammonium is principally used in catarrh of the bladder. It is given largely for the influence of the benzoic acid with which it is combined. It is especially indicated where there is alkaline urine. Because of the rapid elimination of the hippuric acid from the benzoic acid, and because of the fact that the ammonium salt is convertible into nitric acid within the system the elimination of these products neutralizes the alkalinity of the urine. It is useful in ammoniacal urine and in phosphaturia with precipitated earthy phosphates, also in excess of uric acid.

It stimulates the kidneys also in those conditions of the system in which there is general feebleness, resulting in deficient elimination, both of the solids and watery portion of the urine.

The agent is not injurious in its effects upon the system and is easily eliminated.

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.