It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.
Nitric Acid. Aqua fortis. Hydrogen nitrate. Nitryl hydroxyde. Azotic acid.
SUBSTANCE Nitric acid is an inorganic acid, produced by catalytic oxidation of ammonia. The acid is composed of hydrogen [1.60%], nitrogen [22.23%] and oxygen [76.17%]. It is a colourless liquid that gives off fumes in moist air and has a characteristic choking odour. It stains woolen fabrics and animal tissue a bright yellow. In the presence of traces of oxides it attacks all base metals except aluminium and special chromium steels which become passivated. Nitric acid is an oxidizing agent and reacts violently with alcohol, turpentine, charcoal and organic refuse. It readily dissolves in water. 1 The acid itself constitutes a negligible fire hazard when exposed to heat or flame, but contact with easily oxidizable, organic, or other combustible materials [wood, paper, oil] may result in ignition, violent combustion or explosion. Explosive reactions occur with arsine, benzene, bismuth, fluorine, magnesium, and uranium.
USES Manufacture of inorganic and organic nitrates [salts of nitric acid] and nitro compounds for fertilizers, dye intermediates, explosives and many different organic chemicals; acidifier in pharmaceuticals; cauterizing agent for warts.
TOXICOLOGY Extremely corrosive, nitric acid is highly toxic by inhalation as well as toxic by ingestion. Concentrated nitric acid gives off brown fumes of nitrogen dioxide, which, when inhaled, instantly react with water in the lungs to form nitric acid. It irritates the eyes, mucous membranes and skin, and, if inhaled, gives rise to pulmonary oedema, pneumonia and bronchitis. Acute exposure includes dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, coughing, choking, and possibly yellowish burns of the mucous membranes. Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause erosion of the teeth, inflammatory and ulcerative changes in the mouth, gastrointestinal disturbances, and possibly necrosis of the jaw. Bronchial irritation with cough and frequent attacks of bronchial pneumonia may occur. Direct skin contact with the liquid or vapour may cause severe pain, burns and possibly yellowish stains. Burns may be deep with sharp edges and heal slowly with scar tissue formation. Dilute solutions of nitric acid have a mildly irritative effect and harden the epidermis without destroying it. Ingestion of the acid corrodes the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, oesophagus and stomach, resulting in pain, difficulty or inability to swallow or speak, epiglottal oedema, marked thirst, epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Depending on the degree of corrosion, the vomitus may contain fresh or dark precipitated blood and large shreds of mucosa. Circulatory collapse, with marked hypotension, weak, rapid pulse, shallow respiration, and clammy skin, may ensue and may lead to renal failure. In severe cases, gastric perforation and subsequent peritonitis may occur. Oesophageal, gastric and pyloric stricture may occur within a few weeks, but may be delayed for months or even years. Death may result within a short time from asphyxia, circulatory collapse or aspiration of even minute amounts. Later death may be due to peritonitis, severe nephritis or pneumonia. 2
NITROGEN Formerly called ‘burnt or dephlogisticated air’ – air without oxygen -, nitrogen is a colourless, odourless, unreactive gas that comprises 78% of the atmosphere. It is nonflammable and does not support combustion. The element is placed in group 15 of the periodic table, along with phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, and bismuth. Its neighbours are carbon in group 14 and oxygen in group 16. In fixed or combined form the element is present in many mineral deposits. The gas is found frequently in volcanic or mine gases, in gases from springs and gases occluded in minerals and rocks. Nitrogen molecules give the orange-red, blue-green, blue-violet, and deep violet shades to the aurora, the atmospheric phenomenon seen in and towards the Polar regions. Nitrogen gas does not participate in any reactions at room temperature. It will only become reactive when brought in an excited state by extremely high temperature [e.g. lightning or volcanic eruption] or by ‘nitrogen fixing’ bacteria [who use enzymes instead of heat]. The element is so inert that Lavoisier named it azote, without life, yet its compounds are so active as to be most important in foods, poisons, fertilizers, and explosives. Nitrates, the salts of nitric acid, feed [as fertilizers] or kill [as explosives] with equal ease. The ammonia industry is the largest consumer of nitrogen. The electronics industry also uses large amounts of the gas in the production of transistors, diodes, etc. It is used as the filler gas in electric lamps and in high temperature thermometers. The drug industry is a large consumer as well. Nitrogen is used to form an inert atmosphere for the preservation of materials and, in liquid form, as a refrigerant both for the immersion freezing of food products and for transportation of foods. When cooled to 210o C below zero the gas solidifies to a snow-white mass. 3 All organisms require nitrogen in order to live. Nitrogen ranks fourth behind oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen as the most common chemical element in living tissues. It is the ‘amino’ in amino acids, the major components in DNA, RNA, and proteins. An average human being, of 70 kg, contains about 1.8 kg of nitrogen, mainly in the form of protein.
NITROGEN CYCLE In the nitrogen cycle, nitrogen moves through a complex network of physical, chemical and biological reactions. The chemically stable gaseous nitrogen cannot be used by most biological organisms. Instead, they must wait for nitrogen to be ‘fixed,’ that is, converted from its gaseous form by bonding to hydrogen or oxygen to form inorganic compounds, mainly ammonia [NH3] and nitrate [NO3], that they can use. This process, called nitrogen fixation, is carried out by some species of bacteria, the most important being those which live in symbiotic relationship with higher plants. Symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as the Rhizobia, for instance, live and work in nodules on the roots of such legumes as peas, beans, alfalfa, clovers, and others. Other bacteria begin the food chain of the sea by fixing nitrogen gas dissolved in sea water. Nitrifying bacteria take the process one step further by converting ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate. This may be absorbed by the roots of plants to produce protein. The plant, in turn, may be eaten by animals. Animals return excess nitrogen/nitrate as faeces and urine to the soil. The nitrate then goes round the biological cycle again or is absorbed by bacteria which use it as a source of oxygen in anaerobic conditions, thereby converting it to nitrogen gas or nitrogen oxide and returning it once more to the atmosphere. During the past century, the nitrogen in nature has been dominated by human activities. The amount fixed by plants grown for human consumption is the single largest contributor. Together with other nitrogen fixation due to human activity, such as the annual 70 million tonnes of fertilizers, this makes man responsible for fixing 180 million tonnes a year, almost double the amount fixed by nature. This extra nitrogen is spread unevenly across the earth’s surface. Some areas such as northern Europe are being altered profoundly while others such as remote regions in the Southern Hemisphere receive little direct input of human-generated nitrogen. The net effect is increased global concentrations of a potent greenhouse gas that also contributes to the thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer. The consequence for soils is nitrogen saturation and the dispersal of highly water-soluble nitrate to groundwater, lakes and streams. As these negatively charged nitrates seep away, they carry with them positively charged alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. This decreases soil fertility and acidifies the soil, resulting in mobilization and eventually toxic accumulation of aluminium ions that can damage tree roots or kill fish if the aluminium washes into streams. Extensive use of nitrogen fertilizers results in dramatic reductions in plant and animal diversity. In England, for example, nitrogen fertilizers applied to experimental grasslands have led to increased dominance by a few nitrogen-responsive grasses and loss of many other plant species. In the Netherlands, high human population density, intensive livestock operations, and industries have combined to generate the highest rates of nitrogen deposition in the world. One well-documented consequence has been the conversion of species-rich heathlands to species-poor grasslands and forest. 4,5
COMPOUNDS Generally high temperatures are needed to get nitrogen gas, N2, to react with oxygen. Nitric oxide [NO] and nitrogen dioxide [NO2] are produced naturally by lightning and by combustion of fuels. Both nitrogen oxides are major pollutants in the atmosphere, being a precursor to acid rain, photochemical smog [nitrogen dioxide provides the brownish haze], and ozone accumulation. Stationary sources include nitric acid manufacturing plants, and manufacturers of nitrated materials such as fertilizers, plastics and explosives.
NITRIC OXIDE Nitric oxide is produced in the human body, which uses it as a chemical messenger. Its best-known role is in securing an erection in males, but it also plays other roles, such as relaxing arteries and helping the immune system battle microbes. A 1995 American study [John Hopkins Univ., Baltimore] on laboratory mice showed constant aggressiveness amongst males lacking the enzyme that synthesizes nitric oxide in nerve cells. They constantly attacked other males and kept trying to mate with females that had rejected them, suggesting that nitric oxide plays a part in the brain signals that dampen aggression.
FOOD Nitrates [potassium and sodium] are employed in long-curing processes, such as for country hams as well as dried, cured, and fermented sausages. The major intake of nitrates in food comes from vegetables, water supplies, or from nitrates used as additives in meat curing. Nitrates are natural constituents of plants. Winter-grown vegetables have higher nitrate levels. They occur in small amounts in fruits but are high in certain vegetables – spinach, beet, radish, eggplant, celery, lettuce, collards, turnip greens, cucumber, broccoli, peas and beans, parsley, cabbage. The leaves of Nicotiana tabacum are rich in nitrates, yet tobacco manufacturers add extra nitrate to improve the burning properties of their product. Beer contains a small amount of nitrate. The average person consumes around 75 mg of nitrate daily, and vegetarians about 200 mg. The body produces about 50 mg of nitrate as part of its natural processes. Bowel disorders will elevate dramatically the production of nitrate by bacteria in the gut. Most nitrate is excreted with the urine. Nitrates change into nitrites on exposure to air. Nitrites [potassium and sodium] are used as a colour fixative in cured meats, bacon, bologna, frankfurters, deviled ham, meat spread, potted meats, spiced ham, smoke-cured tuna fish products, and in smoke-cured shad and salmon. Nitrites react with amines to form nitrosamines. Amines are produced by the decomposition of organic matter. Nitrosamines are toxic and associated with certain types of cancer [stomach, liver, kidneys]. They occur in tiny amounts in foodstuffs such as salami, smoked fish, fried fish, hot dogs, bacon [particularly in the fat], and in tobacco smoke. To reduce nitrosamines in bacon, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires meat packers to add sodium ascorbate or sodium erythrobate [vitamin Cs] to the curing brine. This offers only a partial barrier because ascorbate is soluble in water and its activity in fat is limited. Vitamin E, however, inhibits nitrosation in fatty tissues. 6,7
PROVINGS ••  Hahnemann – 3 provers; method: unknown. Hahnemann mentions Bethmann and Rummel as his fellow-provers. Besides these there are a few symptoms from Hartmann, Foissac, Hering, Stapf, and ‘Th. Mo.’, which, according to Hughes, were probably observed on patients.
••  Scott – self-experimentation, 1793; method: considerable quantities of strong acid diluted with water, “as much as could easily be drunk in forenoon,” for six consecutive days, until on 7th day: “mouth so troublesome that I shall take no more acid.”
••  Robinson – 5 [female] provers; method: 1 globule of 200th dil. in 8 ounces of water, a tablespoonful every third morning [2 provers] or night and morning [2 provers]; 1 globule of 1000th dil. in 8 ounces of water, a tablespoonful each morning [1 prover].
 Merck Index.  Material Safety Data Sheet, University of California.  Lide, Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.  Emsley, The Consumer’s Good Chemical Guide.  Vitousek et al, Human Alterations of the Global Nitrogen Cycle: Causes and Consequences; Public Affairs Office Ecological Society of America.  Winter, A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives.  Emsley, ibid.
MARGINS OF OUTLETS [throat; anus; mouth]. GLANDS [liver; prostate; salivary]. Tubular organs. Blood. Skin. Bones. * Left side. Right side.
Worse: Slight [TOUCH; JARRING; rattle of wagons; noise]. Motion. Mercury. COLD [air; dampness]. Night; watching. Change of weather, or temperature. Mental exertion, or shock. Hot weather. During sweat. Walking. Cold and heat. Milk. On waking.
Better: Gliding motions. Mild weather. Steady pressure. Riding in carriage. Warm covering. Hot applications.
M Inner uneasiness.
DISCONTENTED with HIMSELF – ANGER about his MISTAKES.
[Discouraged, with cursing.]
Restlessness arising from dissatisfaction.
Restlessness unbearable for SURROUNDINGS.
M Oversensitive to all EXTERNAL IMPRESSIONS.
M SELFISH – self-absorbed.
[On account of inner uneasiness and despair; delusion has offended people.]
• “Anxiety, as if he was engaged in a disquieting lawsuit or contest.” [Hahnemann]
Difficult CONTACT with other people; poor emotional relationships.
• “Another feature of Nitric acid patients is that they do not easily make contact with others. They talk as if there is always a barrier between them and others. Even when there is anxiety and the doctor confirms that nothing is wrong, they remain absolutely certain of their own idea. It is as if this barrier prevents any real communication. Nitric acid patients stay within their own world of suspicion. Because of this, these people make very poor conversationalists; they seem incapable of seeing the point of the other person.” [Vithoulkas]
M FEAR of death.
ANXIETY about HEALTH.
Lamenting and complaining.
[Own complaints always WORSE than those of other people; want help instantly.]
M DWELLS on past disagreeable occurrences [recalls disagreeable memories].
Hatred of persons who had offended him.
RESENTMENT, BITTER feelings, hatred – UNMOVED by APOLOGIES.
REVENGEFUL. ACCUSES other people, but “pities herself”.
• “The theme of Nitricum acidum is a constant feeling of threat. This threat is perceived in several spheres: health, work, relationships, and so on. Like other acids there is also the theme of a lot of effort, a lot of activity, followed by exhaustion. In Nitricum acidum this effort is directed at fighting off the constant threat or danger that they perceive. The effort takes the form of a hard, obstinate struggle carried on with an unforgiving, violent, malicious attitude and an internalized cold anger. It is a desperate, almost superhuman struggle for survival. They are tremendously suspicious, mistrustful, see danger everywhere and are ever ready to strike back.” [Sankaran]
M BAD-TEMPERED, gloomy and taciturn first hours after WAKING.
M Violent ANGER.
CURSING, quarrelsome, abusive.
M Broken by long suffering.
[e.g. from long-lasting anxiety, from nursing the sick, from the loss of a dear friend, from loss of sleep].
G VERY CHILLY.
G Desire for FAT and SALT.
G < MILK.
Difficulty falling asleep.
• “Immediately after going to sleep, anxious oppression as from a nightmare, as if someone was lying under him, and seized him around the abdomen with the arms, so that he could not tear himself loose.”
• “In the evening in bed, all manner of forms appeared to him, which walked, ran, disappeared, arose and became larger and smaller; with this comes a chill.” [Hahnemann]
Bad sleep or sleeplessness latter part of night.
• “May get out of bed to pace the floor.” [Gibson]
• “At night, she several times jumps out of bed in the deepest sleep, wide awake, owing to an imaginary dreadful occurrence, she walks about and only then realizes that it was a delusion.” [Hahnemann]
• “Is apt to wake with a headache and pain in the nape of the neck.” [Gibson]
G < OPEN AIR.
< Cold in general.
G < NIGHT; after 2 a.m.
G > RIDING in a wagon or on the cars.
[headache, impaired hearing, nausea, diarrhoea, palpitation of heart; convulsions.]
• Effects of fumes in a lady: “At once she is taken with a peculiar anguish, runs to her physician, but he is not at home, hires a carriage to drive to the house where she expects to find him; during her ride all the anguish is gone; arrived at home she feels as bad as ever, and feels herself thus forced to drive about the whole day, till all the effects of the Nitric acid have passed off.” [Allen]
G SPLINTER-like pains.
G Pains appear and disappear SUDDENLY.
G Discharges EXCORIATING, foul, thin; staining linen brown.
G OFFENSIVENESS [stool, urine, perspiration, saliva].
G Fissures, cracks, ulcers. WARTS.
P Congestive headaches.
Feeling of a tight band across forehead, or over vertex from ear to ear.
Followed by feeling of being headless.
• “After breakfast, for about one hour, feeling as if head were in a vice from ear to ear, over vertex, arising and departing gradually. Afterwards felt as if she had no head; it felt on her shoulders, numb, or as if made of putty.” [Hughes]
P Severe acne.
Tendency to comedones and boils.
• “In the provings conducted by me a papular eruption at the frontal hairline was the favoured site; moreover, rhagades on the lips and a special dryness of the lips and mouth in single cases was confirmed.” [Leeser]
Abrupt . Anxiety, < dark colours [1/1]. Cynical . Deceitful, perjured . Delirium, talks in a foreign language [1; Lach.; Stram.]. Delusions, having no head, after headache [1*], being engaged in a lawsuit [2/1], he has offended people , surrounded by strangers . Discontented > weeping [2; Ziz.]. Excitement during debate [2; Caust.]. Fear, from loss of sleep . Hatred, of persons, unmoved by apologies [3/1]. Aversion to new ideas . Thoughts, vanishing on exertion [1/1].
Shocks through head from noise [1; Germ-met.].
Photophobia, daylight only .
Objects seem to approach and then recede [1; Cic.]. Diplopia, of distant objects , of horizontal objects . Foggy, > motion of eyes [1/1].
Noises, like a spitting cat .
Acute, to voices and talking, male voices .
Odours, offensive, when lying down [1/1]. Sneezing, in cold air .
Fear of biting teeth together lest they would fall out [1/1].
Feels cold . Odour, like horse’s urine , strong, during menses [2/1].
Sensation of paralysis on pressure [1/1]. Perspiration, hands, copious , after injury of the spine [3/1]; feet, after injury of spine [3/1].
Having committed a crime . Death, that he has to die .
* Repertory addition [Hughes].
Aversion: :Cheese. : Bread; cheese, strong; drinks; meat. : Eggs; fats; meat, boiled; meat, sight and smell of; milk; onions; salt; sweets.
Desire: : Fat; herring; lime; salt. : Cheese; fish; indigestible things; lemonade; sweets. : Bread; butter; carbonated drinks; charcoal; fat + salt; pungent; starch.
Worse: : Milk. : Bread; bread and butter; cold food; fat; rich food; warm food. : Black bread; butter; coffee; dry food; sweets; sweets, smell of.
Better: : Hot food.