Understanding of Homoeopathic medicine Argentum nitricum

Dr. Sujit Pal, Dr. Apoorva Sishtla V.N.

ABSTRACT : The usage of Silver dates back centuries and has a long history of various historical applications. From Egyptians to Romans, from the usage of Silver for cauterization to Potentized homoeopathic Silver nitrate, the understanding and usage of Silver nitrate has been broadened and expanded vastly. Through Master Hahnemann’s drug provings, the true potential of Silver Nitrate has emerged. As Homoeopaths, it is necessary to understand all the layers of Lunar Caustic presents in it’s potentized form. Studying the Materia medica through various stalwarts will help us in truly understanding the drug picture. A proper compilation of the literature from homoeopathic stalwarts would help budding homoeopaths as well as practitioners to peruse through the complexities and symptomatology of this drug.

Key Words: Argentum Nitricum, Nitrate of Silver, Argyria, Hahnemann, Stalwarts, Homoeopathy.

INTRODUCTION: Argentum Nitricum in the olden times was used to treat epilepsy, nervous weakness and exhaustion. In those days, it was called Hell Stone, and it’s practice led to abuse and accidental swallowing of this colourless crystalline solid cauterized the throat and has turned people permanently blue, the production of coloured pigmentation was seen on the skin which was termed Argyria. This drug has proven to show neurotic effects which are marked along with brain and spinal effects. Symptoms of incoordination and loss of control was seen mentally and physically. It was first proved by Hahnemann but not brought into light until Dr. J. O. Müller published the findings. The Nitrate of Silver has special affinity towards mucous membranes causing violent congestion and inflammation along with ulceration. Along with this, it shows it effect on the nervous system leading to convulsions, paralysis and tremor. This study should help the reader to understand the drug and help in quick prescriptions.

METHODS: Collection of literature from various stalwarts like J.H. Clarke, M.L. Tyler, T.F. Allen, J.T. Kent compiled together with adequate explanations to provide the essence of the drug.

It was primarily prepared by the Arabians and later was introduced into practice by Paracelsus.

After the short proving of the 15th centesimal by Hahnemann (Materia Medica, 1813), it was not proved until Dr. J. O. Müller published it in one of the most learned treatises in medical literature, in 1845.

Most characteristic symptoms

  • Digestive or neurological symptoms in people who are very warm and bothered by the heat.
  • Appearance as if dried, haggard look with emaciation of lower limbs.
  • Nervous anxiety and apprehension especially before public show, bringing on diarrhoea.
  • Loud belching and passing of wind.
  • Abdominal bloating with gas. COMPLAINT BETTER BY BANDING TIGHT.
  • Great desire for sugar and sweets which worsen abdominal troubles and may cause diarrhoea.
  • Sensation of Splinter in various parts of the body – A specific for hoarseness of the voice with splinter-like pain in the throat.
  • Disturbance of reasoning. Intrusive thoughts and APPREHENSIVE ANXIETY.


  • On lying down for the purpose of relieving his head, visions and distorted faces hover before his imagination, although his eyes are closed, even in daylight
  • Alternation of clear consciousness, lightness of sense, and indifference.  Dullness of sense, absence of thought, inability to think; he is unable to find suitable words for his ideas; hence he falters in his speech.
  • Weakness of memory; he is unable to think connectedly, and falters in his speech
  • Hypochondriac and gloomy mood; drawing pain in the forehead; yellowish complexion; sweetish-bitter taste in the mouth; dry, viscid lips; feebleness and febrile sensation; debility and weariness of the lower limbs.
  • General debility of the limbs and trembling
  • The headache is relieved by binding something tightly around the headExcessive congestion of blood to the head, with throbbing of the carotid arteries, obliging him to loosen his cravat.
  • Around the cornea, towards the inner canthus, the conjunctiva exhibits a red congested swelling
  • The teeth become affected and spoiled; whereas he formerly never suffered with toothache, and had perfectly sound teeth which was felt especially when chewing, when eating sour things, and when introducing cold things into his mouth; besides this there is a grumbling and digging perceived in the teeth, especially those of the lower jaw, on the left side, as if they would become carious.
  • Accumulation of mucus in the posterior nares, obliging him to hawk, in the forenoon
  • Frequent accumulation of a tenacious, thick mucus in the throat, obliging one to hawk, and causing slight hoarseness . Thick, tenacious mucus in the throatobliges him to hawk all the time, the whole day
  • Accumulation of mucus in the mouth and fauces; he has to hawk and spit all the time, in the morning
  • Burning in throat very severeRawness and soreness in the throatScraping sensation in the throat
  • Sensation as if a splinter were lodged in the throat when swallowing
  • Dark redness of the uvula and fauces.
  • Nausea after each meal, for a long time, especially after and during dinner;
  • Constant nausea, and frequent and extremely troublesome efforts to vomit – throwing up glairy mucus, which can be drawn into threads.
  • After yawning, a sensation is experienced in the stomach as if it would burst; wind presses upwards, but the œsophagus feels spasmodically closed; hence an ineffectual effort to eructate
  • Fulness, heaviness, and distension of the abdomen, with anxiety
  • A slight colic wakes him from his uneasy slumber, and he had sixteen evacuations of a greenish, very fetid mucus, accompanied with emission of a quantity of noisy flatulence
  • Ulcerative pain in the middle of the urethra, as if a splinter had been pushed.
  • Sore feeling in the urethra, even after micturition
  • Burning, micturition and feeling in the urethra as if swollen; the last portion of the urine passed off with difficulty
  • Chorea-like convulsive motion of the upper and lower extremities

Symptoms of this remedy that the intellectual features predominate.

Disturbance in the memory, disturbance of reason, he becomes most irrational in his explanations of his actions.

  • He is IRRATIONAL and does strange things and comes to strange conclusions; foolish things.

All sorts of imaginations, illusions, hallucinations. He is tormented in his mind by the inflowing of troublesome thoughts, and especially at night his thoughts torment him to the extent that he is extremely anxious and this puts him in a hurry.

A STRANGE THOUGHT comes into his mind that if be goes past a certain corner of the street he will create a sensation, will fall down and have a fit, and to avoid that he will go around the block.

There is INFLOWING OF STRANGE THOUGHTS INTO HIS MIND, and when crossing a bridge or high place the thought that he might kill himself, or perhaps he might jump off, or what if he should jump off, and sometimes the actual impulse comes to jump off the bridge into the water.

INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS – When looking out of a window the thought comes to his mind what an awful thing it would be to jump out of the window, and sometimes the impulse comes to actually jump out of the window.

OVER-ANXIOUS STATE, that death is near.  Sadness, melancholy and confusion.

-When about to meet an engagement, he is anxious until the time comes.

When he is going anywhere, GOING TO A WEDDING OR TO THE OPERA or on a railway journey, or any unusual event it is attended with anxiety, fear and diarrhea.

He is excitable, angers easily, and as a result of this pain comes. When he becomes angry he becomes vehement and pain in the head comes on; cough, pain in the chest and weakness follow this anger

HEAD: HEADACHES – from brain fag, from exertion of the mind. In business men, in students, in brain workers, in those subject to long excitement;


NERVOUS STATE – nervous state continues until there is disorder of all the organs of the body. The stomach refuses to digest, everything taken, seems to go into gas, and he becomes distended and suffers with pain.

There is one grand feature running through this patient modifying most of his symptoms, with few exceptions, and that is that he is like a Pulsatilla patient; HE WANTS COLD AIR, COLD DRINKS, COLD THINGS; WANTS ICE, ICE CREAM; WANTS THE HEAD IN THE COLD AIR; SUFFOCATES IN A WARM ROOM.

ULCERATION- Everywhere we find ulceration, but particularly upon the mucous membrane. The throat has ulcers in it, the eyelids, and of the cornea; ulceration of the bladder.

The complaints in women come on before and during the menstrual period.

The aggravation at the menstrual period is a strong feature and she is free from symptoms during the interim.

She suffers from most violent dysmenorrhoea, from nervous excitement, from hysterical manifestations, and an unusually increased flow.

A TENDENCY TO HEMORRHAGES it belongs to this remedy.

PATIENT CANNOT LIE ON THE RIGHT -side because it brings on so much palpitations.”

IN ARGENTUM – it is a heart symptom and is intermingled with the general symptoms.

The patient will say he throbs from head to foot while lying on the right side.

EYE-swelling and tumefaction of the blood vessels of the eye, and redness, and it has a raw denuded excoriated appearance. Photophobia: after long looking at fine sewing, fine print.

All of the eye symptoms ARE WORSE IN A WARM ROOM, WORSE FROM SITTING BY THE FIRE. Wants cold applications, cold washing.

FACE- “Face sunken, pale, bluish.” “LOOKS PREMATURELY OLD.”

THROAT- “Sticks” in the throat like fish-bones.

Felt as if he had a stick in the throat when swallowing. SPLINTER LIKE SENSATION. Nitric acid, Hepar, and Argentum nitricum, are the most striking remedies for the fish-bone sensation.

He wants to be in a cold room, wants cold air, and to swallow cold things.

ABDOMEN- brings on Eructations, increased flatulence, sour stomach.

One of the MOST FLATULENT MEDICINES in the books.

“IRRESISTIBLE DESIRE FOR SUGAR.” – it is always strange and peculiar, because it is not something that comes in only as a craving and affecting the stomach, but it affects the whole patient.

spits up food by the mouthful until the stomach is empty.

“Eructations relieve “. “Flatulence passes upwards, in quantities.”

  • Carbo veg. relieve for some time and he feels better.
  • China he is distended, and every little while getting up gas, but with no relief.

Argentum nitricum at times. It evidently has both.

Nausea after every meal; nausea with troublesome efforts to vomit.


Stools of green, foetid mucus with noisy flatus at night.

URINARY- “Urine passed unconsciously and uninterruptedly.” “Urging to urinate; the urine passes less easily and freely.”

Cannot sleep at night because he is so nervous.

The dreams are horrible Wakens in excitement and with starting. All sorts of strange, horrible things in sleep. Dreams of vicious and violent things, and that everything is going to happen to him.

Great restlessness. The nervous symptoms are very numerous. Periodical trembling of the body. CONVULSIONS PRECEDED BY GREAT RESTLESSNESS.

Locomotor ataxia with unsteady walking and standing
Rigidity, weakness and pain in calf muscles – Nervous weakness


SILVER NITRATE-  “Devil’s stone” – In allopathic doses or when accidentally swallowed during the process of cauterizing, turns the people BLUE in COLOR – “ARGYRIA” – with this remedy, no other remedy can take its place.

Nash quotes Allen and Norton – “ The greatest remedy for ophthalmia neonatorum and purulent ophthalmia. Never lost an eye from this disease. Witnessed intense chemosis with strangulated vessels and purulent discharges, even the cornea is hazy, looking as though it would slough.

Subjective symptoms are almost none. Their very absence and profuse purulent discharge or swelling in sub-conjunctival tissue- indicates the drug.”

Anxiety makes him walk faster.


CANTHI are red as blood. Caruncula lachrimalis is SWOLLEN. Stands out of the corner of eye like a lump of flesh. Vessels from inner canthi to cornea.


Sensation of splinter in throat with Fauces – RED bright and inflamed.


After YAWNING. Sensation as if stomach would burst- wind presses upwards.

VOILENT DIARRHOEA- presence of spinach flakes.

ANTICIPATION ANXIETY. Claustrophobia. Wants to be seated near the door or fire escape – needs as easy escape. Sight of high houses makes him giddy.

She walks fast with anxiety, must talk to someone. FEAR OF HEIGHTS.

Arg Nit – Ill with anxiety in regard to what is before him

NUMBNESS in forearms at night. Dresses should be cut, nothing should touch the skin.

NUMB SENSITIVENESS- INCREASED SENSITIVENESS to touch but diminished power of distinguishing sensations.



A large number of symptoms appear on the left side.


Suited to: Hysteric nervous persons; headaches from mental causes characterised by dulness of head. Women with menstrual disturbances.

Cachetic state. Scrawny, feeble, dried-up-looking women. Guernsey puts it, “withered and dried up by disease. A child looks like a withered old man.”

Causation.Apprehension, fear or fright. Eating ices. Intemperate habits. Mental strain and worry. Onanism and venery. Sugar. Tobacco (boys).

CHARACTERISTICS : Great tremor. Nervous feeling; sensation as if being squeezed in a vice.

  • Feeling of constriction in various parts as of a band of iron round chest or waist. A feeling as if the body or some part of the body were expanding.

Migraine, with feeling as if head were enormously enlarged; > tightly bound.

Defective co-ordination. Paralyses of motion and sensation; a peculiar numbness accompanied with hyperesthesia. Sensation of a splinter sticking in various parts.

Proving showed LOCOMOTOR ATAXY like symptoms.

“Mental operations sluggish; continued thought required special effort, but exertion of mind did not aggravate the heaviness and fulness of head.

Lower extremities (loins, sacrum, and particularly gastrocnemii) fatigued; as if they would suddenly fail him.

Peculiar symptom was: chilly down the back beginning close to occiput extending to extreme tip of coccyx at noon every day; better by warmth.

“In a proving by myself one of the most marked symptoms was a kind of numb sensitiveness of the skin of the armsa hyperćsthetic-anćsthetic state, increased sensitiveness to contact

The sight of high buildings makes him giddy and causes him to stagger; it seems as if houses on both sides of street would approach and crush him. Imagines he cannot pass a certain point. When crossing a bridge has an almost irresistible desire to jump over.

Impulsion to walk very fast.

Green stools are remarkable. “Green mucus like chopped spinach in flakes.” “Stool turning green after remaining on diaper.”

Argentum Nitricum has faulty perception, thinking negatively with a doubtful indecisive mind. Insecurity is present, as if they can’t switch off phone, feels he should attend every call, saying to know if something happens. They have fixed ideologies made up in their head. This leads upto being Superstitious with a strong belief system – when he does something in a certain way, he wants that way only or else feels bad omen. This remedy shows poor confidence with anticipatory anxiety and performance anxiety. Apprehension is very much seen, with lot of phobias like, fear of heights etc. These apprehensions make him look like a coward – eg: 15-year-old child, cannot be alone and sleeps with parents. Can’t go to the bathroom with door closed.

Constitutional appearance is Old looking with a prominent naso-labial fold. He constitutionally cannot sleep on right side. Useful for Acute or Chronic disease from usual or long continued mental breakdown – as in headache after mental stress. Peculiar cravings for sweets and salty food. Indigestion with loud belching. Other peculiar sensation of splinter like pain through out any part is also striking and important part of this remedy.


  1. Allen T F. A Handbook of Materia Medica and Homoeopathic Therapeutics. 1889.
  2. Kent, J. T. “Lecture on Materia Medica.” B Jain Publishers Pvt Ltd.
  3. Tyler ML. Homoeopathic drug pictures. B. Jain Publishers; 1990.
  4. Boericke W. New manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory. B. Jain Publishers; 2002.
  5. Dictionary of practical Materia medica –J H Clarke
  6. Guiding symptoms of Materia medica –C Hering

Dr. Apoorva Sishtla V.N,  BHMS, DNHE
MD Scholar, Department of Repertory, Guru Mishri Homeopathic Medical College and hospital
Email : dr.sishtlahomoeo@gmail.com

Dr. Sujit Pal,
PG Guide, Department of Repertory
Guru Mishri Homeopathic Medical College and hospital

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