Normally exists in the blood and assists in keeping fibrin in solution, thus maintaining the fluidity of the blood. The glycogenic function of the liver is increased by its action, and, lastly, it is changed into urea and eliminated as such. Inhaled it is a very powerful irritant to mucous surfaces, causing a sense of suffocation and weight, and, if prolonged, may cause inflammation of the respiratory tract. Through nasal branch of the fifth nerve it excites reflexly the vaso-motor centers and in this way increases arterial tension. If taken internally undiluted or in toxic doses it may cause gastro-enteritis, suffocation by its vapor acting on the respiratory tract, coma and death may result. It has a stimulating effect on the nerve centers if taken in medicinal doses and increases respiration and circulation. If taken in too large or too frequent doses the stimulating effects on the cord will result in motor and spinal paralysis. Locally applied it is a vesicant if evaporation is prevented. If evaporation is not prevented it is a rubifacient. It is a powerful irritant, if applied directly to muscles causes tonic contraction. Carbonate of ammonia taken internally is decomposed by the hydrochloric acid of the gastric juice, setting free nascent ammonia which is absorbed. Phosphate of ammonia is diuretic, claimed to decompose urates of sodium in the blood, changing them to phosphate of sodium and urate of ammonia in this way causing their elimination. Chloride of ammonia Increases the secretion of urea. In large, doses it is a purgative. Benzoate of ammonia is diuretic and is eliminated as hippuric acid.
Ammonia Aromatic, Spirits of:
Made by dissolving carbonate of ammonia in water and adding a solution of oil of nutmegs, oil of lemon and dilute alcohol. This is more palatable than other forms of ammonia.
Use: In great weakness and prostration, with feeble action of the heart. Stimulates the capillary circulation of the brain. Neutralizes hyperacidity and is of use in some forms of sick headache.
Syn.—Carbonate of ammonium
Properties: Stimulant, expectorant, diaphoretic.
Use: A prompt and valuable stimulant for sudden and extreme depression. Arouses the heart's action and is therefore, a valuable remedy in threatened collapse and syncope. In surgical shock it may be combined with digitalis. In collapse of profound anesthesia to overcome the depression of the heart and the respiratory functions. In cases of greatly diminished vitality from long illness it is of great benefit. Where there is excessive acidity of the gastric and intestinal secretions it is a valuable remedy. As it is a stimulating expectorant we think of it in chronic bronchitis, or latter stages of acute bronchitis or pneumonia to support the vital power. Useful in spasmodic coughs, with scanty expectoration. Where there is diminished cutaneous circulation, the skin cold and pallid, pallid whitish mucous membrane and a pale, broad or thick tongue. Chemical incompatibles such as acids must be avoided. It is best taken in milk, which will disguise its taste. As it evaporates in the air and then becomes useless, it should always be well corked. It can be dissolved in hot water or 5 parts of cold water.
Syn.—Muriate of ammonium. Chloride of ammonium.
Properties: Stimulant, expectorant.
Use: It is soluble in 3 parts of cold water or 1 part of boiling water soluble in alcohol. We think of it in conditions where there is a lack of secretion. In bronchitis or pneumonia where stimulating expectorants are needed. In some forms of catarrh of the bronchi with relaxed mucous membrane. In catarrh of the stomach with excessive acid secretion. In neuralgia of a rheumatic or malarial nature with a tendency to periodicity, especially if in the face and head, it is a good remedy in large doses. A very good remedy in great weakness and prostration. It does not differ much in its action from carbonate of ammonia, but acts less powerfully on the heart and is less transient in its effect.
The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, was written by Fred J. Petersen, M.D.