Gummi Ammoniacum. See Homoeopathic Gazette. Duration of Action?.
RATIONALE OF ITS ACTION.
Ammoniac is the concrete juice of an umbelliferous plant denominated Dorema-Ammoniacum, six or seven feet in height, growing in Persia and Afghanistan. All parts of the plant contain a milky juice. At certain seasons this exudes through punctures made in the plant, and hardens in the shape of tears, which are collected for use. It is exported from Bushire, and usually reaches Europe and this country through the ports of Hindostan. Though usually important from Bombay, it occasionally comes from the Levant.
It is said to be a stimulant, although Trousseau and Pidoux deny that it has any stimulant properties whatever, having taken it in two-drachm doses without observing any such effect. Still, large doses are said to cause congestion, violent pains in the head, especially in the occiput and forehead; pains in the eyes and dim-sightedness, aching in the chest and spitting of blood, restlessness, loss of appetite, relaxation and weakness of the stomach, and diarrhoea.
Wood says, like many other stimulants, it may be given so as to prove diaphoretic, diuretic, and emanagogue, although its principal action is manifested upon the pulmonary, gastric, intestinal, and urinary mucous membranes.
Again, it is asserted, that is not merely a stimulant, but nervous stimulant. although much less powerful and useful in nervous affections (except in those which arise form primary disorder of the mucous membranes) than Asafoetida. Galbanum, and Olibanum.
It is generally regarded as a trivial remedy, but that is only because it is so frequently used in inappropriate cases, and in too large or too small doses, and at improper times and stages of the diseases against which it is suited. J. C. P.
GENERAL EFFECTS UPON THE NERVOUS SYSTEM.
In addition to other properties, it has been supposed to possess those of a nervous stimulant, in a somewhat less degree, however, than Asafoetida and Galbanum. In this capacity it has been supposed to be useful in some affections of the optic nerve, in neuralgic and colicky affections of the bowels, in nervous and asthmatic affections of the chest; but in all these disorders its action on the nerves is probably secondary to that upon the mucous membranes of these parts.
Nerves of Motion.
It probably acts more decidedly upon the nerves of motion than upon those of sensation. It seems to exert a specific action the motor nerves of the chest, abdomen, and limbs, as evidenced by the cramps and pains in the chest and bowels, and the rheumatic pains in the limbs which it removes.
ON THE VASCULAR SYSTEM.
Although, when used externally, it acts as a local irritant, often producing a papular eruption, and sometimes considerable inflammation of the skin, yet it is generally though to exert a very moderate excitant influence over the circulation. In large doses, it often occasions a feeling of heat, weight, or uneasiness in the stomach.
ON THE BLOOD.
It action on this fluid in unknown; it doubtless tends rather to increase the white than the red globules.
FEVER AND PULSE.
Increased circulation in the capillaries; pulse small, corded, quick, and hard; tendency to chilliness and perspiration.
ON THE LYMPHATICS AND GLANDS.
It has generally been supposed to exert a specific action upon the lymphatics, glands, and absorbents, and has been much used to promote the resolution of scrofulous tumors, chronic swelling of the joints, venereal nodes and tumefactions, and enlargements of the liver. It is said to increase the flow of lymph more than any other gum-resin.
ON THE MUCOUS MEMBRANES.
This is apparently the great centre of the action of Ammoniacum; it doubtless acts more specifically upon these parts, and upon the mucous follicles and muciparous glands, than upon any other tissues. It is homoeopathic to catarrhal affections of many of the mucous membranes, and also to catarrhal rheumatic affections, and to scrofulo-spasmodic affections, such as scrofulous ophthalmia, when attended with much spasm of the eyelids; scrofulous bronchitis, when attended with spasmodic or asthmatic affections of the muscular fibres of the bronchial tubes, and in chronic or scrofulous affections of the intestinal mucous membrane, especially when attended with spasmodic or colicky affections of the bowels. Vogt says it acts more powerfully than Asafoetida upon condensed secretions of mucus and lymph, influencing especially the mucous membranes of the chest, abdomen, and genitals. Besides increasing the flow of mucus, it is said genitals. Besides increasing the flow of mucus, it is said undoubtedly to possess the power of rendering a thick and tough secretion more serous, and hence is thought to be more suitable in blenorrhoeas of viscid, than of merely profuse mucus. In fact, it is regarded as mucum incidens et resolvens. It acts much less decidedly upon the serous membranes and cellular tissue. J.C.P.
A papular eruption is frequently caused by the application of Ammoniac plaster, which occasionally increases to a quite considerable degree of inflammation of the skin. Dr. Duncan has described a fatal case of diffuse inflammation following its use in a case of diseased knee-joint. J. C. P.
It is homoeopathic to the dullness of mind and relaxation of body which so often arise in persons suffering from chronic mucous affection; also to some of the nervous and irritative phenomena which occur in like subjects, although less useful than Ambra, Asafoetida, and Moschus. It is homoeopathic especially to headache arising from disease of the nasal passages and frontal sinuses.
The specific action of Ammoniacum and Galbanum on the optic nerve is undoubted. Schwartz recommends it in amaurosis, although he refers to Wichmann’s observation, that it causes dimness of sight. It would seem most homoeopathic to affections of the eyes, when attended with derangement of several or many of the mucous membranes. The tinctures of Ammoniacum and Galbanum are said to have been used locally, with great success, in various disease of the eyes, such as scrofulous ophthalmia, ocular debility from prolonged reading, spasmodic motions of the eye-lids, weakness of the lachrymal duct,. A compress, moistened with the tincture, has been applied over the eye for one hour, then removed for several hours, and reapplied again. A burning heat is first felt; it lessens gradually, and cases within an hour, when the compress becomes dry. Richter says he has used it with much benefit in amaurosis, and adds that he has frequently performed a complete cure in cases where he hardly expected it, and in some where the disease had actually been present for several years. J. C. P.
It seems to act specifically upon the mucous membranes of the ears, and doubtless will prove a better local application than many others more frequently used. It is far more homoeopathic to influenza, and acute and chronic catarrh of the nose, than many other remedies which are more frequently used. It is homoeopathic to some neuralgic affections about the lips and cheeks, which arise form a catarrhal affection of the sinuses, and other nasal passages. It is homoeopathic to may catarrhal affections of the mucous membrane of the mouth and pharynx; also to many cases of chronic dyspeptic sore throat, the so-called clergymen’s sore throat, or chronic pharyngitis, which is so mistaken for chronic bronchitis.
Both schools advise it in weakness of digestion. Noack says it is remarkable that Wibmer says it causes weakness of digestion, yet calls it a stomachicum. It is homoeopathic when there is a thin yellowish coating on the tongue, tastelessness, or insipid sweetish taste in the mouth in the morning, or nauseous bitter taste in the mouth, disappearing after eating, loss of appetite, eructations after eating, nausea almost to the point of vomiting, and great weakness of digestion. In short, it is homoeopathic to may gastric and bilious states, especially when occurring in scrofulous subjects. It has been used in disturbances of the biliary secretion, and in swelling, inclination to induration, and already formed induration of the liver. Schneider advises it in chronic jaundice, in old obstructions and infarctions of the liver, spleen, and pancreas. It is most homeopathic when there is a thin yellowish coating upon the tongue, and nauseous, bitter taste in the mouth, disappearing after eating. Still, Wood says, it has only been prescribed in obstructions and engorgements of the abdominal viscera, from a vague notion of its deobstruent power, although Paris found it valuable in mesenteric affections, by correcting the viscid mucous secretion of the intestines; hence it may be most useful and homoeopathic in those affections of the liver and other abdominal organs which commence in disease of the mucous membrane of the duodenum, and are propagated along the ductus-communis to the biliary ducts, gall-bladder. It deserves attention in scrofulous affection of the gastro-intestinal and biliary mucous membranes. J.C.P.
In a peculiar chronic affection of the stomach and bowels, marked by constant distress and burning about the epigastrium, continual tumbling and foetid flatulence, with papescent stools and general distress from, and mal-assimilation of the food, Ammoniacum (first to third trituration) will often prove a remarkable palliative, and frequently remove the disorder.
It should be thought of in chronic dysentery; and when there is a mucous diarrhoea, with colicky pains and flatulence, connected with a feeble, or torpid, or scrofulous state of the alimentary mucous membrane, and especially when this condition happens to be associated with a chronic cough, there is a double indication for its use. Some authors speak highly of its utility in long and obstinate colics depending upon thick mucous matter lodged in the intestines.
It is homoeopathic to mucous piles, to mucous diarrhoea, and to many other chronic affections of the intestinal mucous membrane. Noack recommends it in diarrhoea-mucosa, when attended with chills, cutting pains in the abdomen, and profuse slimy stools; also in colic with diarrhoea, when there are violent cutting pains in the bowels, soft pappy stools, with profuse discharge of wind, and much rumbling in the bowels. It is also recommended in the dominant school in abdominal cramps and flatulent colic. In all these cases, if smaller quantities fail, moderate doses of Lac-ammoniacum will often prove useful.
In passive dropsy, it has been advised by Fordyce, but it is a remedy of inferior value. Frank says it has been used externally with success in many cases of hydrocele, especially in young persons. It should be thought of in chronic gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea; in diseases of the spermatic cord; in tendency to diabetes; in the uric and lactic-acid diathesis, and in the peculiar forms of indigestion and urinary derangement which attend them. Its action on the urinary organs is said to be inferior to that of the balsams, but greater than that of any other gum-resin. It is most homoeopathic when there is an increased flow of urine, followed by dripping of a few drops, the urine being loaded with lactate of urea. It has been advised against haematuria and diabetes.
Sobernheim says it causes a congestive state of the uterus, and even excites a flow of blood from it, and hence has obtained the reputation of an excellent emanagogue, and has, in fact, afforded excellent service in amenorrhoea when there was local debility or torpor of the uterine mucous membranes. Schneider has recommended it in menostasia and dysmenorrhoea, when arising from obstruction in the portal system, and in irregular menstruation. Also in amenorrhoea arising from chlorosis, and in those hysterical affections which attend these disorders. It may prove useful in some cases of dysmenorrhoea and partial retention of the menses, arising from a scrofulo-catarrhal thickening of the mucous membrane of the cervix- J.C.P.
The complaints in which it is most frequently used are chronic catarrh, asthma, and other pectoral affections, attended with deficient expectoration, without acute inflammation, or with a too copious secretion from the bronchial mucous membrane, dependent upon debility of the vessels. In spasmodic asthma, Ammoniacum often proves highly serviceable, relieving the symptoms in a remarkable manner. It is best given in alternation with Scillae, or with a small portion of Hyoscyamus or Conium. Plasters of Ammoniacum applied to the chest also afford evident relief. In hysterical asthma it also proves most useful. It may be alternated with equal doses of Asafoetida. In asthenic pulmonary complaints, it proves useful by promoting expectoration when this is deficient, and by assisting its expulsion, when it accumulates in the air-passages, and the patient has not strength to expectorate. Pereira says, in chronic cough, with deficient expectoration, or in chronic catarrhs and asthmatic affections, with profuse secretion, it sometimes affords slight relief; but although he has seen it extensively employed, he had observed it to prove useful in a few cases only. Quarin, Wedekind, and Selle advise it when the mucus is tough, profuse, and hard to be expectorated. Peter Frank in chronic, pulmonary, and bronchial catarrhs, with nauseous, thinly-fluid, and purulent-like expectoration; Brumer, Quarin, and Behrends, in mucous asthma; also in asthenic inflammation of the lungs, especially when the expectoration is checked. In alternation with Nitric-acid, it is said to be an excellent remedy in cases where large accumulations of purulent or viscid matter exist, with feeble or difficult expectoration.- J.C.P.
It has been recommended in joint and hip-pains, and in gouty nodes; but it is more homoeopathic to pains seated in the lymphatic vessels, and which are often mistaken for rheumatism. It is most specific against pains in the joints and limbs, when attended with affections of one or several mucous membranes, with derangement of the urinary organs, and excess of lactate of urea in the urine.
Swelling of the joints of the upper and lower limbs. Neuralgia? Languor after making the least effort; heaviness of the limbs towards evening; heaviness and languor of the body, with despondency of mind. Drowsiness in the day-time, in the morning when rising, with lazy feeling; restless night-sleep, disturbed by dreams, unrefreshing; falls asleep late; heavy dreams. Coldness and chilliness; disposition to sweat. Pulse small, tight; quick and hard. Gloomy mood; not disposed to do anything; ill humor; he is displeased with anything he does; inability to make any mental exertion.
Dullness of the head, with inability to work; heaviness of the head. Violent headache. Pressure in the forehead, on one side; pressure over the eye-brows. Sense of dullness in the fore head, with dimness of sight. Tearing in the right side. Pressure in the occiput. Stinging of the hairy scalp. Sense of swelling in the region of the occiput. Itching, tingling; pimples on the borders of the hairy scalp.
Pressure and tingling in the upper portion of the eye-ball; beating and tingling in the upper part of the left eye, succeeded by pressure. Feeling of dryness in the eyes, with sensation as if a foreign body were lodged between the upper lid and the left eye. Dim-sightedness in the evening, and particularly early in the morning, immediately after rising, and heat in the eyes. In order to read, he has to exert his eyes. Photophobia, even in cloudy weather.
Tearing in the right meatus auditorius externus. Roaring in the ears, with hardness of hearing.
Disagreeable dryness of the nose, early in the morning on waking. Increased secretion of mucus. Sneezing, followed by a copious flow of mucus.
Pale countenance with sick feeling, preceded by frequent change of color. Drawing in the right malar bone, towards the temple. Dartings from the region of the lower jaw to the interior of the mouth.
Dryness of the mouth and throat, early in the morning on waking. Sense of fullness in the fauces and pharynx, with nausea. Sensation as if a foreign body were lodged in the throat, with inclination to swallow it. Burning roughness in the pharynx and oesophagus.
Frequent eructations. Nausea, with inclination to vomit. Pappy taste; insipid, sweetish, in the morning; bitter taste in the pharynx, with absence of taste on the anterior portion of the tongue.
Rumbling in the hypogastrium, with sense of dullness in the frontal region. Pinching. Violent colic. Violent pressure in the public region.
STOOL AND ANUS
Insufficient stool; retention of stool. Stool loose, papescent; loose, with a good deal of flatulence, and preceded by rumbling i the abdomen; slimy, preceded by chilliness and writhing colic. Liquid stools; mucous diarrhoea. Pressure in the rectum.
URINARY AND SEXUAL ORGANS
Increased secretion of urine the urine contains a good deal of urea and lactic acid. Burning in the urethra. A few drops come out after micturition. Stinging in the right spermatic cord, and near it; drawing in the cord. Stinging in the root of the penis. Itching of the public region.
LARYNX AND TRACHEA
Roughness of the throat. Continual tickling, without any desire to cough.
The breathing is short and loud, with anxiety; accelerated; oppression and stitches in the left half of the chest, during an inspiration. Pressure in the chest; dullness and numbness of the posterior part of the right half of the chest, with subsequent pressure deep in the chest.
Lancinations in the shoulder-joints; tingling in the left joint. Rheumatic pain; pain as if bruised, particularly in the elbow and left wrist-joint, accompanied with tearing in the right hand. Swelling of the fingers; drawing in the middle finger of the right hand; rheumatic pain in the right index-finger.
LOWER LIMBS AND LOINS
Weight and pressure in the lumbar vertebrae; stitches in the loins, particularly during an inspiration. Rheumatic pain in the left side of the region of the pelvis; stitches over the hip, when walking, obliging him to limp; in the right hip-joint when sitting. Languid feeling in the lower limbs. Darting pain in the left thigh, along the crural nerve; violent pain over the knee, when walking. The knees feel swollen in the evening, when sitting, with pinching in the bend of the knee; stitches in the right knee. Tension in the knee-joint when walking. Lacerating in the tibia. Lacerating in the tarsal joint; tearing and burning in the metacarpus. Sense of weight in the right foot; pinching, burning, tearing, and drawing in the left foot; tingling in the right foot. Swelling of the toes.