Argentum nitricum is one of the warmest remedies in our Materia Medica. There is a marked aggravation from heat of any sort. The patient is ameliorated by cold — cold bathing, cold applications; riding or walking in cold winds all relieve the patient. In some rare instances there can also be an aggravation from the cold. Usually the complaints are worse in the summer.
Another factor which aggravates the patient is lying on the right side. Palpitations, dysphoria, flatulence and abdominal colic can all be precipitated or aggravated by lying on the right side.
As mentioned earlier, Argentum nitricum is an important remedy in seizure disorders. During the convulsion the patient loses consciousness completely. During the aura the patient may experience a sensation as if the body were expanding. Besides these actual epileptic disorders, we sometimes find trembling of the whole body, especially after breakfast.
There is a general tendency for growths — papillomas, fibromas, warts and condylomata occur throughout the body, as well as a tendency for easy ulceration, not so much on the skin as on the mucous membranes. A general characteristic of the pains of this remedy, wherever they occur, is their splinter-like quality.
There is general trembling and weakness. There is also a peculiar type of periodical weakness. The patient may be completely well and strong, but then, frequently at the time of the menses in women, a weakness overtakes her. The weakness may come with exact periodicity or at more irregular intervals. The severity of this debility can be so extreme that one may suspect adrenal insufficiency. Sometimes the weakness may be so pervasive that the patient cannot even dress herself. In fact, one patient said that she was so weak that she was unable to lift a newspaper. The patient may become extremely upset after suffering from such attacks; everything will irritate her at these times. Finally she may sink into a despairing state about this condition, crying because she feels that nothing can be done to help her.
This remedy covers diseases of the nervous system very well: multiple sclerosis, ALS, myopathies, demyelinating diseases, epilepsy and chorea.
There is a sensation of enlargement of the head which is felt as a painful congestion and fullness, especially during pregnancy. The sensation is ameliorated by wrapping the head. Congestion of the head with throbbing of the carotids and a feeling of discomfort around the throat.
Headaches may be produced by emotional excitement, but more especially from frights and also from mental exertion. The headaches frequently have a slow, gradual onset but then decrease rapidly. On the other hand, Argentum nitricum also produces a violent headache which starts very suddenly. Here again we see an amelioration from pressure; often the patient may find relief by wrapping or binding the head. Headaches, once they reach their peak, end in vomiting many times. It is characteristic that with the headache the patient feels extremely disturbed, miserable and very weak.
The headaches may be accompanied by transient blindness. They are often worse at night from the warmth of the bed. There may be aggravation from strong odors, even if they are agreeable. Boring headache in left or right frontal eminence, extending to the nape of the neck, worse from motion (Bry.). Headache in temples, extending to upper jaw. Stupefying headaches. Lies with eyes closed, senseless.
Feels as if bones of scalp were separated. A peculiar sensation as if the brain were stirred with a spoon.
Vertigo from heights or when closing the eyes. Vertigo when crossing a narrow bridge. The patient may experience a type of vertigo as if drunk. There is a syndrome of vertigo, with inner trembling and tachycardia, and a fainting feeling. Sometimes in epilepsy vertigo precedes the attack.
Argentum nitricum produces many eye complaints. These complaints generally occur from overuse and heat, as in warm rooms. The complaints are, conversely, ameliorated by cold applications. There is a peculiar granular inflammation of the conjunctiva which produces a sharply delineated red area which is bright red and raw, like raw meat. If this condition progresses, one finds the formation of ulcers either on the conjunctiva or the cornea, with pain as from a splinter. In general, there is redness of the eyes ameliorated by open air, redness of the conjunctivae and the eyelids. Also, one sees purulent discharges from the eyes.
Argentum nitricum is an important remedy for photophobia. The photophobia may occur after straining the eyes. Also, the photophobia may be aggravated in a warm room, and, in fact, Argentum nitricum is the main remedy for that symptom. Dim vison of the left eye with headache on the right side. Sudden presbyopia in younger persons.
Violent purulent opthalmia, especially of the newborn. Inflammation of the eyelids with thick crusts. Acute granular conjuctivitis. Ulceration of cornea.
In epileptic conditions a dilation of the pupils may be noted before the convulsion. Sensation as if the eyeballs are enlarged.
Noises in the ear with vertigo. Ringing in the ears accompanied by partial deafness; ringing in ears in the morning in bed. Pain in the morning after rising.
Ulcers in posterior nares with yellow crusts and pus. Epistaxis from right nostril on blowing the nose. Sore, bruised pain externally when compressing wings.
Pain in right wing; clawing, tingling pain in posterior nares. Violent itching in hay fever, with lachrymation, headache and chilliness. Twitching, creeping sensation under skin, left side. Itching: rubs constantly. Acute sense of smell; smells real and imaginary odors; sensitive to the odor of coffee.
I have found that the traditional description of the Argentum nitricum face as looking “old” is misguiding. The face is usually dark red with full red lips, giving the impression of a strong circulatory system and a strong vitality. Also, there may be a bluish tint to the face, especially during the menses. In advanced cases or cases of nutrient malabsorption the face may appear prematurely old with a shrivelled appearance (Ambra grisea, Secale ). The aged appearance of Argentum nitricum contrasts with Calcarea carbonica, which may appear old due to a furrowing of the face created by fine squares of wrinkles; it also contrasts with Lycopodium, in which the upper half of the body seems to be aging.
Condylomata in the pharynx and mouth, found predominantly on the palate.
The papillae on the tongue may stand out erectly and become very sore.
Also, the patient may complain of a sour taste in the mouth. This sour taste can be a strong component in some cases of trigeminal neuralgia. The tongue is sometimes white and moist or has bluish spots and a red painful tip.
Toothache from sour things.
In the pharynx one sees all types of inflammations. Chronic inflammations with thick, tenacious mucous are found. The pharynx may assume a dark red color. The pain in these inflammations is often felt as a splinter (Hep., Kali c. ) and is worse with swallowing (Hep., Nit. ac. ). The pain is often ameliorated from cold drinks.
Argentum nitricum is one of the main remedies for loss of voice (chronic laryngitis) in public speakers, opera singers, especially when they try to raise their voice, in which case they will have pain or coughing. Sudden loss of voice. Chronic hoarseness.
All kinds of growths in the throat — warts, fibromas, papillomata, condylomata — as well as polyps and condylomata of the vocal cords.
A famous keynote for Argentum nitricum is a desire for sweets, though sweets aggravate — eructations, flatulence, diarrhea, burning of the stomach, etc. (Ign.). There may be an even more unusual desire for plain sugar, and Argentum nitricum is the only remedy with a desire for sugar in the evening. The desire for sweets may become intense just before the menses. Often the patient may want rich foods and rich sweets, which produce indigestion. There is often an aversion to fat. Also, a desire for salt and salty foods is often present.
Desire for strong cheese. One can see a strong aversion to pork which can cause a misdiagnosis of Pulsatilla, especially since both remedies have aggravation from heat, fear of the dark, sympathy, etc.
Loss of appetite with no desire to drink; or good appetite though the stomach is easily upset. It is suited to people who have digestive problems since starting to drink large amounts of alcohol. Distension of the stomach with violent belching.
This is one of the most prominent remedies for people who have the tendency to eructate all the time. Eructations are continuous, violent, explosively loud, and they do not usually afford the relief one would expect. There are empty eructations after eating, especially after sweets. The eructations may come with great difficulty after eating. Sometimes we find loud eructations from being emotionally excited. One can even encounter a fainting feeling from eructations. Eructations which are accompanied by a mouthful of undigested food. Eructations on rising from bed.
There can be pains in the stomach or abdomen, especially when lying on the right side. There is often gastric discomfort with a sense of constriction which may lead to a tendency to faint. The distension is not relieved by belching; however, the fullness may produce a desire for stool which does relieve the discomfort. Diarrhea seems to be the great outlet for any upset, whether physical or emotional, in Argentum nitricum. Another peculiar keynote of this remedy is vomiting of mucus during the diarrhea. Diarrhea alternates with constipation in cases of indigestion.
Vomiting of a milky substance may relieve the gastric complaints. Nausea from the smell of coffee. Nausea is ameliorated by sour things (Ptelea ).
In cases of duodenal ulcer we see incessant vomiting of food until the stomach is empty. Pain in small spots radiating in different directions. Painful swelling in the epigastrium, worse by the slightest pressure, which is accompanied by fear of having cancer or an indescribable anxiety.
Likewise in the abdomen there is great distension with much explosive flatus. The distension is not relieved by eructations or flatus. With the distension, the abdomen is sensitive to clothing, and there is intolerance to tight clothing.
The liver region is especially sensitive to pressure. A feeling of a band around the right hypochondria. Also, one finds a sensation of emptiness in the abdomen after stool and trembling of the abdomen during eating, especially after menses.
This remedy is one of the most flatulent. Especially in the morning, on waking, there is marked flatulence without relief. The flatulence is worse when the patient eats sugar or sweets.
The patient often experiences diarrhea, especially from emotional causes.
Diarrhea from excitement, from anticipating an appointment, from anxiety, is a keynote of Argentum nitricum. One also sees diarrhea from drinking water.
The diarrhea is ameliorated by eating acid food. Involuntary stool during urination or when not straining, while it is difficult to have a voluntary stool.
Stool with green fetid mucus, with a lot of flatulence, worse at night. Violent diarrhea like spinach flakes after eating sweets or having been emotionally upset. Acrid stool that burns the anus from morning till noon. Diarrheic stool comes on as soon as he drinks; the water appears to be immediately expelled from the rectum. Explosive flatus. Condylomata of the rectum.
Various types of cystitis can be seen. Often the patient must run to the bathroom for fear that he might lose his urine, and, in fact, involuntary urination can occur. Loses urine constantly.
Retention of urine. In some cases the urine will not pass regardless of how forcefully the patient strains; then, as soon as he ceases straining, the urine passes involuntarily. Urine passes unnoticed in cases of neuromuscular diseases.
Tearing pains in the ureters, extending downwards or from kidney region to the bladder, which is made worse by touch, motion or even inspiration. Dropping of burning urine after urination. Useful in the early stages of gonorrhea, with profuse purulent discharge and severe cutting pains, bloody urine, and painful erections.
Genitalia – male
As stated previously, the patient normally has a strong sexual desire that can drive him too easily to masturbation and sexual excesses, but a state of impotence can eventually supervene in which the erection fails at the initiation of intercourse.
Often the loss of the erection will occur because of the impulsive state of mind.
The patient may be involved with the sexual act, but then some usually silly, and often fearful, thought enters his mind and disrupts his mood. He is unable to push the thought aside and loses his erection. The sexual organs can become shrivelled. Enlargement of right testicle. Itching in the genitals during urination.
Genitalia – female
In women one may see vaginal pain during coition. Prolapsus with ulceration of the cervix. Also, bleeding after coitus can occur. In general, however, the menses are scanty or suppressed, sometimes lasting only one day. Ulceration of the uterus. Pain in ovaries extending to sacral region. Sensation as if the right ovary is swollen. Menses copious.
They suffer from asthmatic respiration as a consequence of gaseous distension of the stomach. There is a feeling as if there is an iron band around the chest or a very heavy stone in the middle of the chest. Desires to take a deep breath, which aggravates the dyspnea. The dyspnea is also worse if there are many people in the room.
There may be intense palpitations, especially when the patient lies on the right side. The patient often describes the palpitation as so severe that he feels as if his heart will jump out of position. In some cases the palpitations are relieved by hard pressure on the sternum. Anxiety felt in heart region after eating at night. Pain in the heart that makes breathing almost impossible. Pains of angina pectoris, worse at night.
There is often heaviness in the lumbosacral region which is aggravated by stool, but ameliorated by standing. There can be a similar heaviness in the coccyx with these same modalities. Pain in the lumbar region which is ameliorated by walking and aggravated by sitting or rising from a seat. There can also be back pain which is aggravated by flatulence. Chills or coldness extending upwards after eating. Pain in lumbar region or sacrum or coccyx, worse sitting, ameliorated by standing.
As a general characteristic, Argentum nitricum has incoordination of the extremities, especially the lower extremities. It is one of the main remedies for ataxia. There can be weakness of the extremities, often the lower extremities, in the afternoon. Heaviness of the limbs occurs. As with the weakness of the legs, one also finds a heaviness of the legs occuring in the afternoon. In severe neurological disorders a painless paralysis of the lower extremities can be found.
A special area of weakness in this remedy is the forearms; heaviness of the forearms is a strong characteristic of Argentum nitricum. There is severe numbness of the forearms during the night in sleep, with intolerance of any touch; even the touch of clothing aggravates. Numbness of the extremities.
Numbness of the feet.
There can be great coldness of all the extremities. Coldness of the forearms during the menses can be considered a keynote of Argentum nitricum in spite of the fact that this is a warm-blooded remedy. Coldness of the shoulder after eating. Sometimes the legs become cold and blue.
Trembling of the extremities. Great restlessness that can eventuate in the violent motions that are characteristic of such diseases as chorea. Many times tremendous restlessness precedes convulsions. Trembling of the whole body periodically.
The vivid imagination of Argentum nitricum may give rise to sleeplessness as a consequence of fantasizing; however, if the patient goes to sleep, he sleeps deeply and heavily and is prone to experience horrible nightmares of insects, muddy waters, friends who died long ago, violence, or of snakes. Sexual dreams. Wakes up in the morning with a lot of flatulence, heaviness and headaches.
Acidity. Addison’s disease. Anaemia. Chancre. Dyspepsia. Epilepsy. Eructations. Erysipelas. Affections of eyes. Flatulence. Gastric ulcer. Gonorrhoea. Swelling of hands. Headache. Heartburn. Impetigo. Locomotor ataxy. Neuralgia. Ophthalmia neonoatorum. Paralysis. Enlargement of prostate. Scarlatina. Small-pox. Spinal irritation. Syphilis. Altered taste. Affections of throat. Ulcerated tongue. Warts. Zona.
Apprehension, fear or fright. Intemperate habits. Mental strain and worry.
It follows well: Bryonia, Spigelia [dyspepsia], Causticum [urethral affections], Spongia [goitre], Veratrum album.
Is followed well by: Lycopodium [flatus].
Related: Argentum metallicum, Arsenicum, Lycopodium, Mercurius vivus, Phosphorus, Natrum muriaticum, Pulsatilla, Sepia.
Complementary to: Calcarea carbonica, Natrum muriaticum, Pulsatilla, Sepia.
Antidoted by: Natrum muriaticum [chemical and dynamic], Arsenicum album, Mercury, Nitric acid, milk, coffee.
Antidotes to Argentum nitricum: Pulsatilla, Calcarea carbonica, Sepia;
next in importance: Lycopodium, Silicea, Rhus toxicodendron, Phosphorus, Sulphur.
It antidotes: Ammonium, Causticum, effects of tobacco.
Foods inimical to it: Cold food, frozen food, pastry, rich food, sour, sweets, alcoholic stimulants, tobacco and cold drinks.
In anxiety states the potency should be from 200C upwards; in other pathological cases the potency can range from 6x upwards depending on the depth of the pathology and the strength of the organism.