Potassium Nitrate.

Botanical name: 

Related entries: Potassium acetate - P. chlorate - P. bichromate


Administration—Five grains in solution every three hours is the usual dose. Ten grains three times daily is advised in chronic rheumatic conditions.

Physiological Action—If there be a free determination of blood to the skin, the body surface being warm and moist, it acts immediately as a diaphoretic, otherwise it acts upon the kidneys as a diuretic. Its influence varies also with the size of the dose, and with the quantity and temperature of the water in which it is dissolved.

Physicians of fifty years ago depended upon this remedy as a sedative to control fevers, but large doses are necessary to accomplish this result. It tends to keep tile bowels relaxed, does not greatly irritate the stomach, and acts as an intestinal antiseptic. The drug is an active eliminating agent. It neutralizes excess of acidity in the blood and urine, and rapidly relieves the blood of morbific material.

Therapy—It has long been used in rheumatism, both of an acute and chronic character, in myalgia, lumbago, tic douloureux, sciatica, and other forms of neuralgia. Two or three grains every two hours will accomplish satisfactory results in acute cases.

Although antispasmodic properties are attributed to it, its influence in the above described conditions is probably due to its neutralizing and eliminative action.

It is sometimes given in tonsillitis, which, if given in large doses, it will abort.

If this salt be burned and the vapor inhaled, it will relieve the paroxysms of uncomplicated spasmodic asthma. Bibulous paper— blotting paper—should be saturated with a solution of the salt in the proportion of one dram to an ounce of hot water, and then be carefully dried, when it is ready for use. Of this from ten to twenty square inches should be burned and the fumes inhaled. It should burn with white fumes without smoke or explosive action, and not too fast. When burned in a pitcher or in a narrow mouthed jar the fumes are more conveniently inhaled.

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.