Nitric acid covers a wide field and is a frequently indicated polychrest. It is antipsoric, antisyphilitic and antisycotic. Tuberculous subjects who for years have been forced to consume excessive amounts of milk often require this remedy.

Nitric acid covers a wide field and is a frequently indicated polychrest. It is antipsoric, antisyphilitic and antisycotic. Tuberculous subjects who for years have been forced to consume excessive amounts of milk often require this remedy. Syphilitic patients of past generations were dosed with mercury and potassium iodide almost to the point of saturation and the disease plus the drug dyscrasia sometimes caused the Nitric acid cachexia to develop. Sycosis following suppressed gonorrhoea is a sphere in which this medicine is often indicated. Therefore in Nitric acid we have a remedy related to the three main roots of chronic disease and it is especially suited to those cases which have been badly handled from a therapeutic standpoint.

When a patient comes into the office and freckles are a conspicuous objective symptom Nitric acid is one of a relatively small group of remedies which should flash through the mind of the observing physician. Freckles, by the way, are not always parked on the face. It is always important to make a careful physical examination, failure to do so will not infrequently make remedy selection unnecessarily difficult.

While looking the patient over do not forget the warts. This drug ranks equally with Natrum sulph. and Thuja for its warty tendency. Kent lists eleven remedies in the highest grade under the rubric WARTS. Nitric acid has bleeding warts; horny warts; itching, inflamed warts; large, jagged warts; moist warts; pediculated and pedunculated warts; painful warts; stitching and stinging warts; syphilitic and sycotic warts. To make a long story short Nitric acid is very definitely a warty remedy. Wens are also frequently observed in patients requiring this medicine. The Repertory lists eighteen remedies under this rubric.

Pursuing our objective investigations further we notice various discolorations and blemishes on the skin: black, brown, red, yellow and even green spots, patches or blotches here and there over the body. There is often pallor or a sickly, yellow complexion with cracks and fissures at the corners of the mouth and nostrils, especially at the line of demarcation between skin and mucous membrane. These cracks may be present around the eyes at either the outer or inner canthi, also at the vulva and most frequently at the anus. Nitric acid is one of the leading remedies in cases of both rectal fissure and rectal fistula, the latter often occurring in tuberculous and syphilitic cases.

Either blonde or brunette, plethoric or emaciated patients may need this remedy although the thin, dark or sallow-appearing individual is the more characteristic Nitric acid subject. In any event the school-girl or Hollywood complexion will usually be conspicuous by its absence.

This medicine has glandular involvement to a marked degree. There is special affinity for the liver, the prostate and the salivary glands; gland inflammation and infiltration of tuberculous, syphilitic and Neisserian origin.

One of the grand characteristics of Nitric acid is the peculiarity of its subjective sensations, namely the sticking, shooting, jabbing, splinter-like pains involving the affected parts, whether ulcers, cracks, fissures of fistulae. Throat irritation with sticking, splinter-like pains, rectal irritation with the same type of sensations.

A well-known key-note symptom is the strong-smelling urine like that of a horse. A very characteristic modality is the marked amelioration of all symptoms while riding in a carriage. These two symptoms really take us back to horse and buggy days. The Materia Medica and the repertories are delightfully seasoned with some of the terminology of the past. In this age of wonder drugs, supersonic speed and the atomic bomb, there are still homoeopathic physicians who search for remedies which are aggravated or ameliorated by candle light or gas light.

Nitric acid, while sensitive to the jolting or even the noise of a wagon driven over a cobble-stone street, yet is markedly relieved by riding in a carriage over a smooth country road, and by smooth the old writers meant dirt, not concrete. Time change for better or for worse but truth remains. The remedial power of Nitric acid and all other homoeopathic medicines will hold long after the present commercially induced chemo-therapeutic fever has subsided and ages beyond the time when all the shots and blood transfusions will have found their proper listings among the crudities and curiosities of the dark ages of medical history.

Nitric acid is one of the high ranking haemorrhagic medicines. Like Lachesis the coagulation time is much delayed but the blood is more often bright red than under the serpent poisons. Easy bleeding from all orifices.

There is definite lack of vital heat under this remedy and cold in general aggravates. There is not, however, the extreme coldness of Arsenicum or Psorinum nor is there the marked aggravation from uncovering that is so characteristic of Hepar.

Periodicity of complaints is quite characteristic. Often there is morning aggravation. Evening and night aggravations are also observed, especially in patients with a luetic background.

Mentally the Nitric acid patient leans toward the introverted side with timidity, loss of interest, lack of self confidence with uneasiness in respect to health and even fear of death. Retreating within himself he resents the intrusion of anyone who will attempt to arouse him to effort of any kind. Under pressure these patients become irritable and easily angered. Progressive mental deterioration is associated with the increasing Nitric acid cachexia. In the nervous sensitivity and type of irritable disposition there is a resemblance to Nux vomica; in the fear of death and apprehension of mind a similarity to Arsenicum; in the sadness, indifference and in the dwelling on past disagreeable occurrences a correspondence to Natrum mur.

In the realm of desires and aversions there is often a pronounced craving for fat which may or may not agree. Other remedies craving fats include Arsenicum, Calcarea Phos., Hepar, Nux vomica and Sulphur. A particular desire for ham fat and bacon fat has been observed under Mezereum, Sanicula and Tuberculinum. Other cravings under Nitric acid include smoked herring, lemon or lime drinks, chalk, clay, earth and lime, also for salt, starches, etc.

The list of aversions includes bread, meat, sweets, eggs, beverages and liquid foods. Often there is thirstlessness.

Foods which often aggravate are bread and especially milk. Butter and other fats may disagree.

Many remedies are suited to disorders which are operating only for mostly at a functional level. Nitric acid is one of the deeper-acting group of medicines and comes into view after structural and organic changes have begun to take place. There is usually considerable past medical history in patients requiring this remedy, chronic conditions plus entirely too much faulty treatment.


Eugene Underhill
Dr Eugene Underhill Jr. (1887-1968) was the son of Eugene and Minnie (Lewis) Underhill Sr. He was a graduate of Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. A homeopathic physician for over 50 years, he had offices in Philadelphia.

Eugene passed away at his country home on Spring Hill, Tuscarora Township, Bradford County, PA. He had been in ill health for several months. His wife, the former Caroline Davis, whom he had married in Philadelphia in 1910, had passed away in 1961. They spent most of their marriage lives in Swarthmore, PA.

Dr. Underhill was a member of the United Lodge of Theosophy, a member of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, and the Pennsylvania Medical Society. He was also the editor of the Homœopathic Recorder.