The Nitrogen


For the exact characterization of nitric acid we are today almost exclusively dependent upon the reports of Hahnemann. In recent years I have made a number of provings with nitric acid which will be published separately. They particularly confirm the skin symptoms.

The extensive use in homoeopathy has contributed much to the explanation of the picture. So the sharp splinterlike pains in wounds, fissures and ulcers, moreover, the localization to points of transition from skin to mucous membranes and then the offensive odor of secretions and excretions (including those of ulcers) are guiding.

The chief involvements are those of the skin and mucous membranes. The oral inflammation with salivation, loosening of the teeth, ulcers which are sensitive on contact and white spots, rhagades, soreness and ulcers at junction of skin and mucous membrane have drawn the attention to mercurialism and to syphilis. These associations have proven themselves. The dysentery-like symptoms of nitric acid have added further similarity for the mercurialism.

Syphilitic affections of the skin, the mucous membranes and the sense organs in which mercury has failed or has already been in excessive amounts, not rarely speak for nitric acid. In a severe case of congenital syphilis with ulceration of the soft palate it seemed to be very impressive to me.

Likewise, nitric acid is suitable for gonorrhea with splinter- like pain in the urethra and tendency to inflammation and condyloma at the orifice of the urethra. Syphilitic as well as gonorrheal condyloma and rapidly forming warts are the indications which occasion Hahnemann to consider nitric acid as the second chief remedy (after thuja) in the so-called sycosis.

The third sign of offensive secretions and excretions are again generalized. The urine is offensive, thereby scanty and dark, it smells (as with benzoic acid) like horse’s urine. Burning and sticking in the urinary passages, frequent urge to urinate, and inflammatory swelling and secretion of the urethra lead to its use in urethritis, cystitis and pyelitis with infected urine, not merely of gonorrheal origin.

“Cold urine on voiding” is a symptom from Hahnemann’s proving.

The perspiration is likewise offensive, particularly the foot sweat which causes soreness and splinter-like pains between the toes. Furthermore in definite stages the night sweats of the tuberculous with tendency to bleeding have a remedy in nitric acid which should not be forgotten besides the closely related phosphorus and arsenic.

The nasal secretion in chronic catarrh( or in nasal diphtheria) is offensive, excoriating, with splinter-like stitches in the nose, the nasal orifices becoming sore and bleeding easily. The secretion is yellow, watery or discharged as green fragments each morning so that ozena and septal caries come into consideration as indications.

Likewise offensive leucorrhoea, brown, flesh-colored, watery or tenacious, causing soreness of the vagina and vesicles and ulcers on the mucous membrane, represent the general character of the remedy. Here also exists a tendency to bleeding: metrorrhagia after curettage, the menses are too early and too profuse, associated with excoriating discharge which looks like turbid water, particularly during the climacterium.

Soreness, burning and sticking painful ulcers, with offensive discharges are the corresponding indications in the male genitals for acid nitr.

Fissures of the anus pain as from splinters. The stool hurts the anus as though it were torn. The pain lasts for hours. Easily bleeding hemorrhoids with such fissures and inflammatory pains often react well to nitric acid. An acrid moisture is discharged from the anus.

The bloody, slimy acrid diarrhea with tenesmus is an indication not only in dysentery but also in other persistent intestinal inflammations.

Characteristic is the desire for fats and for indigestible things as chalk, earth, etc. A pain in the cardiac region on swallowing has been cited as an indication in gastric ulcer. It should prove itself.

A sticking or splinter-like pains as from an ulcer is guiding in the upper respiratory passages. The cough is dry, worse at night (before midnight); during the day it seems loose but there is no expectoration. In phthisis with tendency to bleeding or offensive purulent sputum, with a sensation of great weakness in the chest, great dyspnea and stitches through the chest, nitric acid must be considered.

Certain alteration in the pulse, cardiac palpitation and congestive manifestations may be deduced from the provings, which indicate that a nitrite-like action still persists in acidum nitricum. However, up to the present they scarcely have therapeutic significance.

In the provings conducted by me a papular eruption at the frontal hairline was the favored site; moreover, rhagades on the lips and a special dryness of the lips and mouth in single case was confirmed. As a separate symptom of nitric acid should be mentioned the improvement by riding in a carriage, which refers particularly to the difficulty in heating.

A type for nitric acid has been developed from experience. Hahnemann said; “One finds, moreover, that this drug acts more in patients of the firm fibre (brunettes) but is less effective for those of relaxed fibre (blondes)”.

As especially suitable for nitric acid, are considered, brunettes with a yellowish discoloration of the skin, haggard, and aged. The temperament is revengeful, depressed, particularly sensitive to noises, as street alarms. In addition there is great bodily weakness, tendency to chronic diseases and chilling. The scalp is sensitive (for example, against the pressure of the hat). Headaches are practically never missing from provers and they are of the congestive type. Most characteristic seems to be the feeling as though a band encircled the head.


Chief Trends of Action:

Skin and mucous membranes, especially the border between them Fissures, ulcers, eruptions Syphilitic and gonorrhoeic affections; condyloma Mercurialism, stomatitis with flow of saliva Dysentery like enteritis Tendency to bleeding.

Leading Symptoms: Splinter-like pains Localization to injunction of the skin and mucous membrane Offensive odor of secretions and excretions Band sensation around head.

Type: Brunette; haggard; irritable, angry, depressed.

DOSE : My own experiences involve chiefly the fifth and sixth potencies. Still, the higher as well as the lower potencies are recommended.


Potassium nitrate, KNO3, is used relatively little although it is well proven. Provings are found in: (1) Jorg: Materialien, Bd. 1 1825.

(2) Hahnemann: “Chronic Diseases”, 2 Ed, 1838.

(3) Arch.f.hom. Heilk., Bd. 11, p.195, 1831; and Bd. 17, p.123, 1838.

In the drug picture it becomes distinct that the potassium fraction increases the tendency to chest affections in comparison to the nitrite fraction (as well as the weaker nitrate). Asthma is the chief indication and indeed the dyspnea seems to arise not merely in the respiratory passages but also from the heart. Palpitation and stitches in the heart and tendency to cardiac weakness also appear in this potassium preparation.

The dyspnea is so great that the patient cannot hold his breath long enough to quench his thirst; oppression, constrictive sensation in the chest. The dry morning cough, worse about 3 in the morning also permits recognition of the potassium fraction; bloody expectoration shows the nitrite or nitrate action.

Independent of nitrate appears the tendency to edema in potassium nitrate. Indeed, it is still used in official medicine even if other potassium salts as potassium acetate are preferred here. It might be considered as a pure salt action, but from homoeopathic materia medica the special suitability of potassium for edema and hydrops is well kinwn.

A certain tendency to bleeding is also to be placed to the account of the nitrate fraction, so dysentery-like bloody diarrhea. For this the singular aggravation from eating calves flesh is reported. The menses, too early and too profuse, are characterized by the dark blood, and before and after the period, severe sacral pains are present. The last recalls kali carb.

The sticking pain in the joints and between the shoulder-blades may be referred to the potassium influence. Peculiar inflammatory manifestations on the alae nasi, redness, swelling, itching with sensitivity, can be due to both components.

Kalium nitricum is suitable for the hydrogenoid constitution.


Chief Trends of Action:

Asthma with most marked dyspnea, probably also cardiac, with nausea, sticking and burning in the chest; at times bloody sputum Dry morning cough, worse about 3 in the morning Dysentery-like bloody diarrhea (worse from veal).

Constitution: Hydrogenoid.


Sodium nitrate, Chili saltpeter, was considered by ancient physicians as an anti-inflammatory agent of milder action than potassium nitrate. From this point of view and with traces of iatrochemistry, Rademacher came to the use of natr. nitricum in all possible febrile diseases, especially dysentery, scarlet fever and joint rheumatism. For Rademacher and his school natr. nitr. was one of the three universalia, that is agents, for such diseases in which the disturbance of general well being was perceived as basic. In the school of Rademacher the massive dose is always to be considered. Likewise the provings by Loffler, arising from this school in which only large nonpotentized doses were employed, cannot expect to give the gradual development of finer symptoms. Besides the feeling of general lassitude, loss or decrease of energy, tendency to sleep soreness in the muscles and joints, there was an alteration in the pulse; the pulse was weaker, softer and distinctly slower; the face became pale and haggard; wounds, due to bleeding healed more slowly than usual. The rapidity of coagulation was distinctly increased, the venous blood appeared like expressed cherry juice, the water content greater, the coloring of the red blood cells increased. So here too apart from the disturbance of general well-being trends to the circulation, the blood and water economy can be found.

Otto Leeser
Otto Leeser 1888 – 1964 MD, PHd was a German Jewish homeopath who had to leave Germany due to Nazi persecution during World War II, and he escaped to England via Holland.
Leeser, a Consultant Physician at the Stuttgart Homeopathic Hospital and a member of the German Central Society of Homeopathic Physicians, fled Germany in 1933 after being expelled by the German Medical Association. In England Otto Leeser joined the staff of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. He returned to Germany in the 1950s to run the Robert Bosch Homeopathic Hospital in Stuttgart, but died shortly after.
Otto Leeser wrote Textbook of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Leesers Lehrbuch der Homöopathie, Actionsand Medicinal use of Snake Venoms, Solanaceae, The Contribution of Homeopathy to the Development of Medicine, Homeopathy and chemotherapy, and many articles submitted to The British Homeopathic Journal,