AMMONIUM CAUSTICUM symptoms from Manual of the Homeopathic Practice by Charles Julius Hempel. What are the uses of the homeopathy remedy AMMONIUM CAUSTICUM…

      AM. CAUST. Aqua-ammonia. Spirits of Hartshorn. Wibmer’s “Mat.Medorrhinum and Toxicology “.


Am.-carb. and mur.


Dilute Vinegar.


When taken by accident, undiluted, or insufficiently diluted, it produces severe inflammation of the mucus membrane of the mouth, fauces, and stomach, and may even vesicate or act corrosively. Much caution is also requisite in applying it to the nostrils, in order to revive fainting persons, or to rouse them from positive syncope. Several instances of severe inflammation of the air passages are on record from this cause, some of which proved fatal.

NERVOUS SYSTEM. Nerves of Motion.

In almost all cases of poisoning with Ammonia and its preparations, convulsions are observed, apparently showing that these substances act specifically upon the spinal marrow. Aqua – ammonia, injected into the veins, or even into the cavity of the pleura or stomach, is apt to cause tetanic stiffness and convulsions. Pereira infers that it acts more upon the grey than upon the white substance of the nerves and brain.

Nervous of Sensation.

It is not known whether this remedy exerts any specific action upon the nerves of sensation, apart from its irritant and croupous-inflammatory action.


The action of Ammonia on the blood has already been discussed when treating of Carbonate of Ammonia.

Heat and Arteries.

The experiments of Blake show that Ammonia, introduced in large doses into the veins, acts by suddenly extinguishing the irritability of the heart. Small doses first lower arterial pressure from debility of the heart action, and then increase aorta from the axillary artery, it causes great increase of arterial pressure, owing to the latter cause; and then arrests the heart, while respiration goes on. Four seconds are sufficient for the Ammonia to pass from the jugular vein into the heart, so as to be discovered there by Muriatic-acid causing white fumes.


Weak, small, frequent.


Profuse perspiration, violent fever., Dry skin, shivering, chilliness, violent thirst. Caustic Ammonia is small doses is said to act as a stimulant, excitant, or calefacient; it produces a sensation of warmth in the mouth, throat, and epigastrium, frequently attended with eructations. A temporary excitement of the vascular system succeeds, but his quickly subsides; the heat of the skin is increased and there is a tendency to sweating, which, if promoted by the use of warm drinks and clothing, passes over into profuse perspiration. When the recession arises from, or is connected with an inflammatory condition of the bronchial membrane, it is inadmissible.


Caustic Ammonia is decidedly homoeopathic to inflammation, especially to the so-called “croupous inflammations” of Rokitansky. Nasal mucous membrane covered with an albuminous coating; uvula covered with a layer of lymph and mucus; posterior surface of epiglottis and entrance of rima-glottis covered with a false membrane and trachea and bronchi covered here and there with layers of pseudo-membrane are among its effects.


When applied to the skin it causes pain, redness, vesication, and more or less destruction of the part, thus acting first as a rubefacient, then as a vesicant, and lastly as a caustic or corrosive agent, and may even cause gangrene. when given internally it is apt to cause perspiration.


The ammoniacal remedies have always been supposed to exert a specific action upon the mucous membranes. The great peculiarity of its action is the tendency to the formation of croupous inflammations and exudations which it is apt to cause.


The preparations of Ammonia would seem homoeopathic to true croupous inflammations of the nostrils, throat, larynx, trachea, oesophagus, and of the large and capillary air-tubes. I have already drawn attention to this fact in the Homoeopathic

Examiner, Vol. I., p. 187, 1846. It is also homoeopathic to, convulsions and tetanus. J.C.P.


The vegetable acids, such as Lemon-juice, Vinegar,., When it has been inhaled, the vapors of Muriatic -acid may be very cautiously employed. J.C.P.

Cullen thought it the best anti-spasmodic known; he gave it in doses of four to six drops; in a wineglassful of plain or orange- flower water. Pescay recommended it in tetanus. Hope recommends it in epilepsy; he says, if taken at the first warning of an attack, it seldom fails to arrest it. Pereira quotes a case in his own practice, and another in that of Pinel, in which the inhalation of ammoniacal vapor, immediately after the first warning of an attack of epilepsy, apparently averted its occurrence. He found it particularly useful in hysterical epilepsy, and in that form of the disease which Sauvages called lypothymia, in which the patient is described as dying away. Ducros and other French physicians have found the liquor Ammoniae, applied with a camel’s hair brush to the palate and gums, so as to cause a profuse discharge of tears and saliva, rapidly cures some obstinate cases of tic-douleureux. It was also found productive of great benefit in the same cases, if given internally. Externally, applied as a counter-irritant, it also affords striking relief.

The preparations of Ammonia are more homoeopathic to scurvy and haemorrhages from deficiency of fibrin in the blood than to any other forms of blood-diseases. In scrofula, the late Dr. Armstrong found that cases attended with much debility, a languid state of the circulation, and deficient cutaneous secretions, were much benefited by Ammonia. In typhus fever, small-pox, scarlet-fever, and other septic disorders, an unusually large quantity of Ammonia is developed or liberated in the blood.

In the bites of venomous snakes and insects, in which the poison is absorbed into the blood. Ammonia has long been used. It is certainly a powerful nervine stimulant in these cases, and is more efficacious than Brandy or any other stimulant. It may be given internally, in doses of ten or twenty minims, in water or wine, every half-hour or oftener, if the urgency of the symptoms require it. Externally, it should to rubbed into and about the bitten part. The patient should not be allowed to lie down or go to sleep; he should be kept moving about, and his fears allayed in every possible way. In bites of scorpions, centipedes, mosquitoes, and other venomous insects, a liniment composed of equal parts of Ammon-caust., Olive-oil, and Opium, well rubbed over the bitten part affords great relief. A few drops of the Ammonium may also be given internally.

Although in full quantities, it extinguishes the irritability of the heart, still, Wood says, in consequence of the energy, and at the same time the brevity of its stimulant action, it is admirably adapted to all those cases of sudden depression or collapse which if the patient survive, must be followed by febrile reaction, if not acute inflammation. The wants of any special influence on the brain, adapts it peculiarly to those in which the reaction will be likely to attended with inflammation or great vascular excitement of that organ. Instances of the kind are not unfrequently presented in the cold stage of febrile diseases, the collapse of concussion of the brain, and the prostration of any sudden shock.

Gerard, of Lyons, has used it with success as a sudorific in grave fevers, also in those arising from atmospheric influences, i.e., in catarrhal-rheumatic fevers. Pungent and Brachet have used it with astonishing success in catarrhal-rheumatic fevers, when the chill was well marked. Wood says, in all fevers assuming in their progress a low form, requiring stimulation, this is one of the diffusible stimulants which may be had recourse to. In typhus and enteric fevers, in the various exanthemata assuming a typhoid form, especially scarlatina, small-pox, and malignant erysipelas, and even in the phlegmasia, when attended with the same state of the system, it may be used; yet, in all these diseases, the quantity of Ammonia in the blood is increased. Its tendency to produce softness of moisture of the skin adds to its usefulness; and sometimes, when the breath and exhalations from the patients have a sour smell, as they are apt to have in low fevers, its property of neutralizing acid may be considered a peculiar recommendation. We should not have been surprised to see Wood recommending it when the breath was ammoniacal. Still he has doubtless often applied it unwittingly when that was the case, supposing the breath to be sour or musty.

In continued fevers, which have existed for some time, and where all violent action has subsided, and the brain does not appear much disordered, it is occasionally of great service. Its diaphoretic action may be improved by diluents and warm clothing. In intermittent fever it is sometimes of advantages, given during the cold stage, to hasten its substance. In the exanthemata, when the eruption had receded from the skin, and the extremities are cold, it is sometimes of great benefit, on account of its stimulant and diaphoretic properties. When the recession arises from, or it connected with an inflammatory condition of the bronchial membrane, it is inadmissible.

Caustic Ammonia is evidently more homoeopathic to croupous inflammation than to any other variety. I suggested this remedy against membranous croup as early as 1846; also Bromine, the credit of which has been assumed by so many other physicians. J.C.P.

In some inflammatory diseases, especially pneumonia and rheumatism, when the violence of the vascular action has been reduced by proper treatment, Ammonia has proved serviceable. In alternation with Senega, Dr. Pereira has found it valuable in chronic pulmonary affections. Although it is a sudorific, it has been recommended in the dominant school against the colliquative sweats of phthisis; also against a dry parchment-like state of the skin; in exanthematic fevers, with suppression of the functions of the skin, and consequent nervous affections. It is said to be homoeopathic to scarlet fever, because it induces a scarlet redness and burning heat of the skin, especially on the superior portion of the body, and upon the thighs and knees; it also causes a scaling off of the epidermis, dropsical effusions, inflammation of the throat and tonsils, and croupous inflammation of the throat and nose. Gerard, of Lyons, used it diluted with water, to prevent the inflammation in cases of burns. Tinea and herpes are sometimes combated happily by ammoniacal lotions; and the faculty of preventing deep-seated inflammations and suppurations has also been attributed to its local application. The linimentum Ammoniae is much used in rheumatic pains, inflammations of the throat, and catarrhal affections of the chest, especially in children. The liquor Ammoniae-fortior is used for its vesicatory effects, when Cantharides cannot be employed, on account of the extreme susceptibility to strangury, or when it is desirable to raise a blister very promptly, as in cases of sudden and great prostration from gouty spasms in the stomach, anginose affections of the heart, the sinking spells of low fever. and intolerable neuralgic or spasmodic pains. It has also been employed to obtain quickly a denuded surface for the endermic application of medicines, in cases of great emergency. Its use is recommended for ring-worm, as being one of the most useful applications; it is advisable to limit the proportion of alkali to the amount of stimulation which it is desired to produce. Three cases of temulentua are reported in Frank’s Magazine as cured by liquor Ammonium-causticum, in twelve to fifteen -drop doses, in sweetened water, every five, ten or twelve minutes. In two cases, the functions of the brain were very much excited, and in one case there was complete absence of sensibility. A case of syncope in a woman, aged seventy-five, brought on by working in the garden during the heat of the sun, in a bent position, was cured, as reported by Frank, by three, four, or five-drop doses of liquor Ammonium-causticum, on a piece of sugar. These attacks came on several times, with trembling, coldness of the limbs, frequent yawning, and vertigo. Sage says he obtained the most astonishing success with the vapor of Ammonia, to animals asphyxiated with Carbonic-acid gas, he thinks it acts chemically, the alkaline gas against the acid one. Still, Ammonia causes its own peculiar form of asphyxia; in fact, in that kind of asphyxia which occurs from Ammonia, the contractility of the muscular fibre is always enfeebled. In cases of atonic apoplexy, in which diffusible, stimulants are admissible, Ammonium-causticum will be found to be one of the best of these. The vapor may be also applied to the nostrils. In epilepsy and congestion of the brain,

arising from debility, Dr. Hope has found the internal use of Ammonium-causticum exceedingly efficacious. In baldness, a stimulating wash, composed of Ammonium-causticum, has been found of great service.

We have long been in the habit of using this remedy against catarrhs of the nose, coryza, and ozoena, both internally and locally. It is quite singular, however, that Nitric acid will relieve some cases in which Ammonia seems indicated, but does not cure. Still, both Ammonia and Nitric-acid are compounds of Nitrogen. J.C.P.

It seems to homoeopathic to some varieties of canker sore mouth, nursing sore mouth, ulceration of the tongue and gums, and may prove useful in cancrum-oris. Pringle used it against angina, as a resolvent,.but it is more especially homoeopathic to the pseudo-membranous affections of the throat and oesophagus, such as the diphtheritis of Bretonneau. For chronic hoarseness, dryness of the throat from deficiency of secretion, and chronic asthma, the inhalation of it has been advised, top promote the secretion of a watery vapor from the mouth, fauces, trachea, and bronchi. I have found a few drops of Ammonia, largely diluted with water, and the doses repeated several times a day, the best remedy against catarrhal and paralytic aphonia. Although it has caused vomiting of blood, yet Pinel used it diluted in four parts of water, as a haemostatic, and Gerard has checked with it the haemorrhage from, cancerous ulcers. Noack advises it against violent spasms of the stomach and heartburn; also against nervous dyspepsia and gastrodynia, although it would seem far more homoeopathic to gastric disorders when arising from congestion or inflammation. During the cholera season in Halle, in 1848-49, Dr. Reil used liquor Ammonium-causticum with great success, in the third stage of cholera-asphyxia, where other remedies had failed. This treatment in cholera is corroborated by Dr. Kurtz, who gave the liquor Ammonium-causticum with success, in cases where but little purging or vomiting occurred, or where this had almost ceased, with rapid sinking of the temperature of the skin and falling pulse, dyspnoea, threatening paralysis of the lungs and heart, and asphyxia.

In amenorrhoea and chlorosis, Dr. Ashwell states that he has derived great benefit from mixture of Ammonium-causticum and milk, thrown into the vagina daily. It has also been very successfully employed by Lavagna in amenorrhoea. Dr. Dewees relates a very obstinate case of pruritus in a female, which completely yielded to injections into the vagina of a mixture of 3ss.-3j. of the solution in z3ss. of water. “It succeeded like a charm,” He adds that he has since successfully employed in numerous cases. It should be freely injected into the vagina.

Rayer advises its application to the velum-palati in cases of simple idiopathic asthma. He dips a roll of lint, a few inches long, into a mixture of four parts of the solution and one of water, presses out the superfluous fluid, and immediately applies it for a few seconds to the velum-palati. This at first causes a feeling of suffocation, with cough and much expectoration; but this soon passes off, and great relief is experienced. It should be applied weak, a t first, and may be repeated if necessary. Great care should betaken not to apply the mixture to the back part of the pharynx, as such an application may prove serious or even fatal. Rayers states that, in one hundred cases, he had employed this treatment with success, and without unpleasant consequences. In chronic bronchitis, an embrocation of Ammonium- causticum is advised as efficacious, and, in fact, in many pulmonary affections, such as chronic pleuritis, phthisis. it will be found of permanent advantages. It is recommended for violent spasm of the stomach and heartburn; also membranous croup.


Affections of the mucous membranes and organs of the chest; contraction of the flexor muscles; contraction of the oesophagus and of the colon. Excessive exhaustion and muscular debility; debility which scarcely permits him to stand violent trembling on making the least effort. Skin hot and dry afterwards moist, even sweating. Restless sleep. Chilliness; fever evening; towards evening; the pulse is at first small and not much accelerated, afterwards it becomes more rapid from hour to hour. Great tendency to start.


Dullness of the head; pressure in the forehead, with sensation as if the head would burst; pressure in the temples. Entire stoppage of the nose, with discharge of a watery fluid. Pale countenance, with features expressive of pain; disfigured countenance. Burning in the oesophagus, or else violent pains; white-coated tongue; scraping and burning in the throat; difficult deglutition; dark redness of the velum-pendulum- palati, tonsils, and the posterior wall of the pharynx; the uvula is drawn up and covered with white mucus.


Burning thirst. Vomiting of the contents of the stomach through the nose mouth, with violent burning in the parts which are touched by expelled substance; vomiting of mere mucus. Painfulness and swelling of the pit of the stomach. Rumbling in the abdomen. Several diarrhoeic stools after the vomiting, with burning at the anus, sphincter, and colon.- The menses appear a fortnight too soon and too profusely.


Cough and expectoration of mucus; the voice if low and feeble; broken speech. Violent oppression of the chest; want of breath; desire to draw a deep breath, which is prevented by a pain in the region of the oesophagus; hurried, heavy, rattling, breathing.



Considerable redness of the Schneiderian membrane, which is covered with an albuminous membrane. Considerable redness of the mucous membrane of the posterior wall of the buccal cavity. The uvula is drawn up, and covered with a mucous layer. The posterior surface of the epiglottis, and the entrance of the rima-glottis, are very red and covered with a pseudo-membrane. Considerable redness of the whole of the trachea and of the bronchi, covered here and there with membranous layers. A few intensely red streaks in the mucous membrane of the oesophagus and stomach. The ileum exhibits red spots here and there.



(Aromatic Spirits of Ammonia).


This preparation is often used as a palliative in sick-headache, with acidity of the stomach, faintness. Also in hysteric paroxysms, syncope. It relieves the flatulent colic of children, given in a few drops in milk.

Charles Julius Hempel
Charles Julius Hempel (5 September 1811 Solingen, Prussia - 25 September 1879 Grand Rapids, Michigan) was a German-born translator and homeopathic physician who worked in the United States. While attending medical lectures at the University of New York, where he graduated in 1845, he became associated with several eminent homeopathic practitioners, and soon after his graduation he began to translate some of the more important works relating to homeopathy. He was appointed professor of materia medica and therapeutics in the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia in 1857.