-- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry
Serious Education & the most FUN
you can have in metal finishing smiley

No popups, spam, registration or passwords
on this site
current topics
topic 32413

Need sweet spirits of nitre

A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2018


Q. Can you please tell me where I can purchase the product Sweet Spirits of Nitre?

MONIQUE J [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]


A. A pale yellow liquid, of a sweetish taste and a pleasant ethereal odor. It is obtained by the distillation of alcohol with nitric and sulphuric acids, and consists essentially of ethyl nitrite with a little acetic aldehyde. It is used as a diaphoretic, diuretic, antispasmodic, etc. Called also sweet spirit of niter

For those of us who don't know (I had to grab a reference myself).

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina


A. Sweet spirit of nitre, so one sees, taken off market!
What would cost 25 cents to cure simple blisters, now cost us $25.00 Now, we have all types of molecular compound derivatives, sporting and supporting these overpriced compounds. Guess what, filled with steroids!

Vince C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Real Estate - Garden Grove, California


A. I used spirit of niter 45 years ago. I was having trouble trying to urinate. I kept trying to go 6 or 8 times and I was hurting My father was living with us and he asked me what was going on I told him I could not pee. He asked me if we had any spirit of niter? So I looked in the medicine chest and found some. He told me to take 3/4 drops of it with some sugar in warm water. Well in a half of an hour I was having my back getting hot at the belt line I tried to pee several times and about 45 minutes after I took the niter I passes a kidney stone.WHEW {{If it works take it off of the market. and sell something for more money.}}[my wording]

Harold S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Waterloo, New York

Folk Remedies That Work
from Abe Books


Oddball Ointments, Powerful Potions, ...
from Abe Books


The Old Herb Doctor
from Abe Books



A. I have taken Sweet spirits of niter since I was a child, usually only when I have tried every other means to cure my problem with urination, and now I have been having problems and have been to my Dr and have been on medications that have not given me any relief, I know that this works for me and I usually only took it when I absolutely needed it. I would be ever so grateful if anyone could tell me where I can get this as most pharmacies don't even know what I am referring to, Can you please help me to locate this so that I can avoid being in misery with my urinary problems. I am 65 years old and I have used this since I was a child and never had any problems it has saved me much misery and many trips to the Doctor and as I said I have been on antibiotics and nothing has helped I just want to be able to give this old fashioned remedy a try to see if I will feel better. Please Reply back to me,Thank You

Rosanna V [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rockledge, Florida


opinion! Big pharma owns both political parties; the FDA has banned this product (and virtually all traditional remedies) through the Catch-22 of ruling century-old products to be "new drugs" (

"310.502 Certain drugs accorded new drug status through rulemaking procedures. (a) The drugs listed in this paragraph (a) have been determined by rulemaking procedures to be new drugs within the meaning of section 201(p) of the act. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, an approved new drug application under section 505 of the act and part 314 of this chapter is required for marketing the following drugs:
(12) Sweet spirits of nitre drug products."

The revolving-door FDA serving the mega-corps has decided that rather than testing cheap traditional medicines like this one, bluestone, silver ointments and a host of others, they would outlaw them as hazardous unless someone else runs the tests, knowing that traditional medicines can't be patented, so no one will ever be able to afford to run the expensive tests they have dictated, leaving all traditional cures outlawed and big pharma able to charge us outlandish prices or force us into illness.

None of these traditional remedies are thus obtainable in the USA and will remain illegal; but apparently you can get sweet spirits of nitre in Canada. Please note that I am NOT implying that Spirits of Nitre is safe; I have no qualifications to do so. Further, instructions for its use that are based on people's old recollections are often faulty. They may have used it and still be alive to talk about it, but they may not have used it the way they think they recall :-)

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

P.S. - This thread has been updated as I've learned more. Some postings below, asking where to get it, preceded my statement that it is not legally available in the USA and should not be interpreted as people asking where they can buy an illegal substance.


I've been trying to find a source for spirit of nitre and all I've found is people who've never heard of it. I finally information on it.

It's also great for breaking up the congestion, colds, and fever: 1/2 teaspoon in a glass of water.

Fred S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Dallas, Texas


I was given spirits of nitre when I was a child in the early nineteen forties for fevers. We were talking about it today and I decided to find out what was in it. It always took the fever away.

Beverly M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Altamonte Springs, Florida


I myself was given sweet spirits of niter as a child when we were sick and had a fever. I have also asked about it and got that (What?) look.

James B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rawson, Ohio


I have some "Spirits of SweetNitre" and find that it is extremely effective in the treatment of colic in horses. I have very little left and would like to purchase more. I am wondering if anyone knows where, and or how, I could do this?

Jean Vandenha
hobbyist - Enderby, BC, Canada


In case you have not found this stuff, in South Africa one of the old Dutch remedies they sell is called Witdulsies and it contains Ethyl Nitrate and Ethanol. Maybe it can help you. I don't know if you can get it from where you are though.

Amanda Zvisineyi
- Johannesburg, South Africa


I to would like to find Sweet spirits of Niter... This was given to me as a child and it cured me of kidney infection.

I also took it 30 years ago for a a stiff neck . It worked

David Snyder
- Waynesboro, Virginia


My mother mixed water sugar and sweet spirit of nitre for fevers when I was a child..I inquired several years ago at a drug store and the pharmacist had never heard of it..I notice that many people are posting from New Jersey...Is it a Jersey thing?

Carrie Harrison
- Bradley Beach, New Jersey


I am a Jersey native and had never heard of it until this thread, Carrie. Sorry. The "many people posting from New Jersey" is probably just because the website and its operators are in NJ.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


I did a google search on Sweet Spirit of Nitre as my Amish mother in law gave me some today to apply to a bee sting. She send home a partial bottle full with me and said it's good for drawing out the fever in my arm (huge bee sting, painful, red, swollen.) I inquired about this product and she said an Amish lady makes it and sells it. The instructions say: adult dose: up to 1/2 t in water. Do not exceed 3 doses per day or 15 doses per week. Not for long term use. Store in a cool dark place.
Just thought I'd mention that the Amish still use it. I asked to get a full bottle next time she orders, she did mention that it is expensive. I would never give it to a child, but my mother in law said they always used to use it. (All 10 of her children are alive and healthy!)

So, the product is out there :-) I do not have the source at this time. I enjoyed your posts about it.
~*Karen in Holmes Co.Ohio

Karen Miller
- Millersburg, Ohio


In the 1940s when I was a youngster, I remember my Grandfather giving me a liquid with sweet nitre in it when I was very sick. Those were the days before antibiotics and one could die from a fever associated with an infection associated with a sore throat or ear infection. My Grandfather was a Feldsher - field surgeon in German. It is the equivalent of a nurse practitioner today. He treated many soldiers of the Tsar's military with his various herbal medicines during the Boxer rebellion in 1900. That was the only type of medicine at the time. At the time it had to be administered very carefully or it could cause death. Modern pharmaceuticals take care of our ills better and more safely today.

Joe Schiesl
- Manassas, Virginia


I was born in 1927. I experienced "bad dreams" . From early age until age 3 or 4.. I would hear distant sounds get louder and louder Crescendo and decrescendo. At the same time I would have visual retinal bizarre response like spinning spirals and blinking lights.I would awaken crying and my mother would give me some "spirits on Nitre" to calm me ..The bad dreams diminished with time. A colleague jokingly said I was probably relieving the birth canal contractions.. Could be. Salvatore Dali, the great artist said he remembered being born....

Larry Dalglish
- Cresco, Pennsylvania



Charles Johnson
- Kernersville, North Carolina


My father used to take sweet nitre to urinate back around 1945. He ended up having an emergency operation to remove a bunch of kidney stones around 1965. Like a half of quart of stones. He did recover but it took a while.

Alex Stempien
- Boonville, New York


Hi,I was wondering if someone can tell me were I would find sweet spirit of nitre. My husband has been diagnosed with kidney failure (they aren't filtering properly) and we know that a mixture of this with spirit of Juniper and friars balsam (sorry if not spelt correctly) help as I was given them in a capsule when young and cured my kidney's and urine infection.Also fixed my Aunt's severe kidney problems. Please could you let me know were I can purchase some. I live in Newcastle Australia. Regards Mel

Melissa Fenton
nil - NSW Australia


This discussion of Sweet Spirit of Nitre is fascinating and brings me back to my childhood in the 1950s. My mother, too, would give it to me with water when I had a fever and hallucinations, which were very much as described above. Sounds would become slow and distorted and visuals would seem to travel at me and then away. I can still remember the smell and taste of the Sweet Spirit of Nitre and it brings memories of my dear mother taking care of me. I've never found anyone to talk to about this and thank you all for sharing this with me!

Inez Steele
- Haverhill, Massachusetts

January 2, 2008

I was looking for some Sweet spirits of Niter for a cure for Jaundice and done some research. It seems that it is available from the Amish people in America. See details:


Tom Brady
- Ireland

Ed. note: Tom had received this lead from a 3rd party, but unfortunately we did not have their permission to make it public. Both the party being quoted and the store supposedly stocking it contacted us to ask that their names be removed. Sorry.

January 12, 2008

For at least seven years I've been searching for Spirits of Nitre for bladder infections that seem to plague elderly bedridden friends. I grew up in the '30s and clearly remember Mother administering a few drops in water for her children's occasional bouts of bladder problems. It worked! One of my old friends died recently wishing for relief she was certain Nitre would provide, but all my efforts to find some for her failed. It's too late tonight to contact the Amish lady that makes it. I'm so grateful for this exciting clue, and will order some first thing in the morning.

Gloria Hall
- San Antonio, Texas

February 21, 2008

Spirits of Niter

In my family as a child we knew we were sick when mom was getting out the spirits of niter. It was usually used by my mom when we were running a high fever. She would get a teaspoon of sugar, put one or two drops of niter in it then we would take the spoon full followed by a full glass of water. The taste was awful...but it worked. This was in the late 60's and early to mid 70's and we were still taking it. All of us are healthy and no one had a bad reaction to it. Wish I could find it now!

Monica Crowell
- Downingtown, Pennsylvania

March 5, 2008

55 years ago this was purchased at a drug store and ten drops placed in water to drink and help with excess acid in ones system. I have called every pharmacy around my area to no avail.

Lucille Fekete
- Plantation, Florida

May 6, 2008

When my son was born in 1965 and ran a fever, I was told by my mother-in-law to place a drop on a little sugar and then follow up with as much water as he would drink. This always worked for me and I was wondering if this could have harmed him in any way. Now my Great Granddaughter is running a fever and my Granddaughter has asked me for advice.
After reading some of the posts, I am not sure if this is a good idea. Am I wrong?

Judy Clem
- Lake Elsinore, California

August 5, 2008

Oh my God, I remember Nitre too...And I also learned very early on, don't cry wolf, or fake illness to get out of school, cause you were gonna get " Dosed "...It never killed us, but for about the first 15 minutes afterwards, we wish we would have went ahead and died cause it was so bad...

mark mckeehen
- willard, Ohio

August 7, 2008

for 3 months now I have had urine problems. the problems are, frequent urination, lower back pain, abdominal pain, my doctor has had me try 3 bladder control pills, and have tried antibiotics twice, .....i need to add that I had cervical cancer and was treated with chemotherapy and internal and external radiation, I am now at year 2 since end of treatment and am cancer free so far, I have also been checked for bladder and colon cancer and both negative, when I had a cystoscopy, he found bleeding vessels and cauterized them, one did break open and I started to bleed again, possibly because I had passed many stones in various sizes(which may have caused the bleeding, my doctor does not communicate very well, and yes I am looking into a second opinion as well as talking to my radiologist, as the doctors are blaming the problems on the radiation....

today , I still have frequent urination, severe back pains and abdominal pains, I do have the spirit of nitre and am on day 2 of taking it, should I only take it to day 5 in hopes that it will improve my 3 issues I have had for 3 months..
please let me know your opinion
as my doctor wants to do a surgery to implant a stimulus to signal my bladder to tell my brain not to pee...i guess, doesn't sound like something I want to do all to soon, especially when I feel it is still other issues.
thank you, sharon

sharon D.
- Las Vegas, Nevada

August 23, 2008

This is to thank Mr. Tom Brady.
I am 77 years old. When in my forties, I had a urinary problem, my mother suggested three drops in a glass of water. The problem was cleared the next day and I don't know what became of the rest of the bottle but when my youngest son had problems, I couldn't find any anywhere. (It had been taken off the market in the 80's). He wound up going to the doctor; high fee plus medicine and a repeat visit.
As has been stated: "If it works;remove it."
It just came to mind as I was sitting here. Hope no one needs any. Thanks again.
M. Richards

Mary Richards
- Mobile, Alabama

August 31, 2008

I took sweet spirits of nitre as a child in the 1940's too
It cured a bladder infection that was very painful. Apparently no ill effects....but now I'm 63 and have peripheral neuropathy. Could this be a long standing side effect? Or just a coincidence?

Carolynne M
- Penticton, BC Canada

September 1, 2008

Thanks everyone for the information on Sweet spirit of nitre my mother had some left in a bottle we been trying to locate someone who know the where about of getting this product, I search the internet 21/2 years ago it was listed somewhere in Tenn. or Virginia I took the name of the bottle we lost the bottle it came.Please response with information. Thank You

Tyrone Johnson
- Denton, Texas

September 3, 2008

My parents used to give me sweet nitre & tincture of rhubarb mixed in water with sugar in the 1940's as a cold remedy. It was excellent. Can't find it in England nowadays.

Anthony Tuxworth
- Grimsby, England

September 12, 2008

Need a Case. The supplier of sweet spirit of nitre please?

Tyrone Johnson
wellness coach - Denton, Texas

October 23, 2008

I am originally from NJ and am 56 years old.We had spirit of nitre in the house constantly, so it may be a Jersey thing!

Pat Champion-Binkiewicz
- Plains, Montana

October 24, 2008

I used Sweet Spirits of Nitre growing up in Illinois. Always had a small bottle of it in the cabinet. The fever blisters, cold sores were gone in days...If anyone can find it please let us, the old timers, know where to go for it....

Gary Guy
- Weirsdale, Florida

January 4, 2009

Boy oh boy, what memories this brings back and the unmistakable smell of the nitre bottle. I also a child of the 50s used this to make cold sores pretty much vanish in a matter of days. There has been nothing else since that can even come close to this remedy. I also use to get those sores inside my mouth. I don't know what they were but we called them canker sores. Really nasty looking things. Well if you could put up with the pain of putting a Q tip dipped in the nitre on the sore and hold it there for a minute or so, it did the job on them also. If you have done this ,you will remember the huge amount of saliva that was produced when doing it. I grew up in eastern Pa. just 6 miles from the Jersey border, so maybe it was a regional thing.

Ron Kunkle
- Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

January 8, 2009

My dad talks about a remedy his dad used in the Thirties using sweetniter,kerosene,and honey.It would knock you out,make you sweat for 24 hours,and leave you healthy 24 hours later.Is there a medical or technical definition or term for this?Is "sweetniter" even the right phrase or spelling?

Allen Morris
electrician - Marseilles, Illinois

February 17, 2009

It is Ethyl Nitrite, Witdulsies you can get it in South Africa

- Madrid, Spain

February 25, 2009

I was watching an old English movie today on turner classics "The Citadel" (1938),
a newly practicing doctor prescribed this medication for his first patient; the chemist commented "if you are not sure what ales her, let nature cure, do no harm".
my grandmothers recipe for her children, ( circa 1900 - 1925)
1/3 tablespoon whiskey, 1/3 ts kerosene, 1/3 ts honey, stir and enjoy!
another formula contained castor oil; needless to say, mother rarely stayed home from school.

Frederick Pauli
- New Milford, Connecticut

sidebar February 25, 2009

Hi, Frederick. Are you sure about the kerosene? Maybe you meant Karo syrup?

Knowing how poisonous kerosene is, I did a quick google to see if I could find any old reference that ever suggested ingesting it and I came up empty.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 26, 2009

Yes, It's definitely kerosene. This is a Lithuanian recipe. My grandmother came over from the Old Country in the late 1880's. If you read all the postings, you will run into someone else that also makes reference to the "kerosene medicine."

Frederick Pauli
- New Milford, Connecticut

April 3, 2009

I was born in 1927 and had bedwetting problems and urinary problems whenever I got a cold or wet feet etc. Still do.
I still remember the sweet spirits of nitre mixed with sugar and hot water. What a comforting drink. And it worked every time. I would really like to find some. My grand-daughter is having bladder and kidney problems too often. I'm sure the s.s.n. drink would work.

E. Marshall

elizabeth marshall
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 30, 2009

I googled Sweet Spirits of Nitre (SSON) this evening and found this posting. I have a 2 oz. bottle of SSON that I inherited from my parents which they had received when my grand parents passed away. I have a canker sore on my lip so I went for the medicine cabinet and grabbed the SSON. Great Stuff; dries-up the sore. The bottle must be close to 40 years old, a third full and still has that slight sweet taste. I remember my Grampa giving it to me to use on my canker/cold sores when I was a kid. The product I have was made by Medi-Kay Pharmacal Co., Denver, CO & Kansas City, MO. It states: To Stimulate Perspiration Alcohol 92% Ethyl Nitrate 3.5%-4.5%

It might be possible to find a Compounding Pharmacist that can mix a solution of "Sweet Spirits of Nitre". Good Luck!

Randy Graham
- Cortez. Colorado

May 30, 2009 opinion!

Hi, Randy; thanks for the info. The reason you don't see it anymore is that the government forbade it.

The FDA ruled that this (and nearly every other traditional remedy that has been around for decades or centuries) is a "new drug"... which means it can't be sold until tests costing many millions of dollars are conducted to prove that it is actually safe. But, because it's actually a very old drug and can't be patented, there is no money to be made, and consequently there is not and never will be a sponsor for those multi-million dollar tests. So the tests will never be run, and you'll never again be able to buy these traditional remedies. Big pharma has succeeded in getting all of these traditional cures out of the market via the same ploy, so you can only buy outrageously expensive drugs from huge multinational companies.

I don't know whether sweet spirits of nitre, or any other specific traditional medicine, is unduly dangerous or it isn't. I am not implying that it isn't dangerous, but I do believe that it's neither coincidence nor concern for safety that has caused this and so many other inexpensive non-patentable remedies to be removed from the market.

If the government was actually concerned about health care costs instead of political posturing, the FDA could very easily fix this Catch-22 by simply conducting the necessary tests on these medicines themselves instead of very conveniently classifying centuries old traditional remedies as "new" drugs. But the FDA and pharma are a revolving door, and both the Democrats & Republicans benefit from corruption, so we'll never know the truth of whether spirits of nitre and other traditional remedies are dangerous or not.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 1, 2009

I grew up in new Brunswick, Canada. Niter and Paragoric were both staples in our house. Hot water, 1/2 t. niter, and 1 t. sugar was a lifesaver to me. I had kidney problems. I will be 76 in August. Healthy as a horse. It sure worked for me. Would certainly give it to children, and babies in dosages of only a couple of drops. I loved the taste of it, sorta licorice like. :)

Eve Harvey
- Wrentham, Massachusetts

sidebar August 2, 2009

Regarding the ingesting of kerosene; I grew up in Newfoundland Canada and kerosene was mixed with boiled molasses as a remedy for cough and chest congestion ,it was also mixed with melted butter and rubbed on the chest and back for congestion, just as you would use a vapor rub;back then kerosene did not contain dyes as it does today

i barrett
- kelowna b.c. Canada

September 9, 2009

My Mother is 77 & used spirit of Nitre for many years & so did my grandmother on all of us & it did very well. I would greatly appreciate anyone that could send me some info on where to get it directly. Any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated. It did wonders for my asthma & numerous ear & throat infections. Ji

Ji Singl
- Flatwoods, Tennessee

November 4, 2009

I had a hard time getting to sleep the other night, so I decided to have a glass of wine, maybe it would help. When I tasted it, it reminded me of Nitre that my parents gave me when I was 7 and 8 years old (back in the '40's Every time I had a fever, that's what I was given, don't remember if it worked or not. I had to dump out the wine because it reminded me of the "Nitre."

Diane Senski
- Lumberton, New Jersey

November 4, 2009

Hi, Diane. Although I've never had nitre, I've also dumped out wine a couple of times, and it's never easy to explain to people. I'll now be able to say it tastes "niterish" :-)



Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 18, 2010

I am 52 years old. When I was a young girl my mother gave me Sweet Sprite of nitre for a yeast infection. Three drops in a glass of water for three days and it was gone. I once asked a pharmacist and he advised the reason it was taken of the market was that it evaporated in the bottle on the shelf.

The real reason was probably because it kept a lot of people out of the doctors office. Once again if it works and cost a little. Take it off the market and give people something that cost $300.00 a bottle, will not work, and has all kind of side effects.

Vivian Ingram
- Memphis Tennessee

June 27, 2010

I too was given SSON when I was young for "cold of the kidney." I do remember that it does not keep and that a fresh bottle was always obtained before use. It always relieved the back pains.

BTW, a very good oldtime cough remedy was "elixer of terpin hydrate and codeine." This stuff really worked and was very soothing. Modern cherry flavored cough syrups do not work. Can't get it anymore because it worked and was cheap. The military used it for years in their hospitals and it was called "GI gin ." Tasted something like gin.
My father was given it after surgery when it was imperative that he not cough.

Gerald Koch
- Cocoa, Florida

June 27, 2010

My grandmother used to mix sweet spirits of niter, sweet spirits of camphor, and medicinal turpentine in equal parts - cured everything - even her arthritis - she had great knots in her hands before rubbing on this mixture and within a few years no traces were found - her doctor was in the middle of patenting the formula when the government banned niter (caused cancer in rats he was told)

Lura Gilliam
- Johnsonville, South Carolina, USA

Cloverine Salve

September 17, 2010

My folks used Nitre for rubbing on Poison Ivy. It worked for that as well. As to the question raised about kerosene being used in folk remedies, seems like I remember that that Pharmacy grade kerosene was white (clear) and hhad been treated or filtered. Heard of it used in a number of Horse liniments and dosages too. Bringing back some memories.
By the way, I ordered 5 tins of Cloverine Brand Salve today! And I am presently receiving 'Grit' in magazine form...

M. Lewis Studer
Laceys Spring Alabama
September 20, 2010

Sweet spirit of niter can still be bought today; here is the link:

karen coleman
las vegas Nevada

Ed. note: Thanks, Karen, but I don't think so. If you say you are in Canada, the link works; but if you say USA, it says none of their three suppliers offer it.

January 1, 2011

My parents had me use Sweet Nitre on mouth ulcers(1960s & 70s). A few drops on a fingertip then placed on the sore. It was the best relief and I wish it was still available.

Kathy Robson
Melbourne, Florida USA

January 5, 2011

My mother gave me and my brother sweet spirits of nitre when we were children for sleeping problems.It worked. I have not heard of this for years. I am almost 87

ed kennedy
retired - delray beach Florida usa

January 19, 2011

south africa still sells it at any pharmacy, and its still extremely cheap, its called witdulsies over here (ethyl nitrite & ethanol), amazing on cold sores!

Roxanne Wile
Johannesburg, South Africa

February 19, 2011

My mother would make a homemade ear ache fixer. heating 1 teaspoon of olive oil and two drops of sweet sprit of nitre to a luke warm temp. place inside ears and put cotton in.. It was soothing anyway.

sherry miller
Riverside,California, USA

August 16, 2011

I would like to know where one could purchase the product Sweet Spirits of Nitre. My Aunt told me that when she was growing up and after she got married that she took it for kidney and bladder infections and she and I are seriously needing to get a hold of Sweet Spirits of Nitre.
thank you very much

Laquita Neu
Gainesville, Texas, USA

September 24, 2011

I believe sweet spirit of nitre can be obtained here:
It is called "sweet spirit of nitre oil" there, I think they sell it as essential oil.

You can buy it from this shop in South Africa (shipping might be slow). It is called Lennon Witdulsies.
You get 20mL (two thirds of an ounce).

Chris Hillenbrand
Mountainside, New Jersey, USA

October 16, 2011

I collect old bottles and was curious as to what sweet spirits of nitre was. The label is in exc. cond. and reads

"The Best" sweet spirits of NITRE, contains 85-92% Alchohol, Ethyl nitrite 3.5 to 4.5%. Dose 1/2 tsp. in a little cold water every 2-3 hrs. children in proportion to age. Hance bros.& Wihte inc. (spelled like that) pharmaceutical Chemists. Establihed 1855 PHILADELPHIA CAUTION We guarantee this article to be strictly U.S.P. when it leaves our establishment. Being volatile due care must be taken to preserve its strength. Permit pa. H-16940"

Tiny dot holes on label "14915. 1 Fl. oz." Isn't Ethyl the additive in gasoline? (That would explain cancer in rats). When I was too young to know any better, I drank pure kerosene from a barrel with a faucet kept outside, used for old cook & heat stove. My Uncle caught me, they freaked out, I passed out. (It was clear, came from a faucet, and I was thirsty). "Who Knew"....How many times I did that before?

Paula Ranahan
Bristol, Connecticut, USA

November 20, 2011

Hey all,

I was reading about kidney stones at It mentioned your thread topic. I had never heard of it either, but here is the ailments that they were suggested for:
I googled it and came across your site. Here is a list of ailments with cool healing ideas:

Good luck with finding it outside the country.

Mark Leaver
Mobile, Alabama, USA

December 7, 2011

Sweet Spirits of Nitre was banned in the 1980's by the FDA.

I used to have a book titled 'The Essential Guide To Non-Prescription Drugs' by David R. Zimmerman. It is a 1983 release, about 2 inches thick and gave TONS of info about over the counter drugs, more extensive and detailed than anything else I had ever seen (there was an updated version published in 1995 but I could never find a copy, I would have bought one-it was that good of a guide). It had 2 pages on SSON;the book titled the small 2-page chapter on Sweet Spirits of Nitre as 'Special Warning; Sweet Spirits Of Nitre'. Someone had given a teaspoon of it to a baby (1970's?) to control 'fussiness' and the baby died soon after. SSON Can cause some kind of fatal blood disorder.

Kevin P.
Denver, Colorado, USA

April 26, 2012

A. I am from Staten Island I remember taking it in a glass of sugar water for upset stomach; it worked.

Pat Silletto
Jackson, New Jersey

December 15, 2012

A. When I was a child and had a fever my mother would give me sweet spirits of nitrate. Yes, it worked but the nightmares it produced weren't worth the benefit. LSD couldn't be as bad. It brought out the worst fears and turned them into nightmares.

Ray Stone
- Frankfort, Illinois

September 19, 2013

A. When I was a child, I'm now 78, Mothers would rub a teething baby's gums with Spirits Of nitre. You would rub 1 drop or two on the babies gums for relief. Someone wrote that a baby was given a teaspoonful and it died. A teaspoon full would be a fatal dose. It was administered in drops only as far as I know.B.E.

Betty Echevarria
- New York, New York

October 13, 2013

A. You can probably find Spirits Of Nitre in the Old Fashioned Pharmacies that still mix medications. Impossible to find in todays overpriced drug stores. The Botanicas or religious stores carry it also. The Amish people are also another source. Use with caution. Drops are usually recommended. I was born in Philadelphia which is where I first heard of it. Many people from the southern states used Sweet Spirits of Nitre. Not just a New Jersey thing.

Betty Echevarria
- New York, New York, USA

December 2, 2013

Q. I will like to purchase sweet spirit of Nitre. Can someone please tell me where I can buy this stuff from?

Serena Willis
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 2, 2013

A. Hi Serena. I think it is available from Canada. But it's illegal to sell it in the U.S.. It may or may not be dangerous (we'll never know). But our FDA is designed to serve the pharmaceutical industry in payback for its large political donations, and big pharma is anxious to pull all traditional medicines off the shelves -- so the FDA made it illegal :-)


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 27, 2014

Q. Hi Y'all
Yes, back in the late 40's thru the 50's and into the 60's
Whenever I came down with something I got the nitre treatment as previously described in a lot of the posts. A few drops of nitre in a glass with a lot of sugar and a little water, followed by a large glass of water. I don't know if it did any good or not. I just remember sweating a lot afterwards. And for years now I have been wondering if it was still available.

Ed Wilson
- Cary, North Carolina, USA

March 14, 2014


Faye Eaton
housewife - Reidsville, North Carolina

March 2014

A. Hi Faye. It's not used for anything today, I suggest that you dump it. It had some old uses which you can read about in this thread though.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 23, 2015

I have some Spirits of Sweet Nitre left. But very little. I have had it for many years. I bought it from a pharmacy that used to do compounds. They used to have it in Health food stores. I have yet to find it in Canada for sale, or the US for that matter, since about 1985-ish. A note to the Spirits of Sweet Nitre "OIL" it is not the one you take orally. It is not the same as the tincture, which is what everyone appears to be looking for on here. I just used some on a horse that had impact colic and the vet wanted to put her down. Within 15-20 mins it appeared to kick start her system and she was expelling fluid out the stomach tube in large amounts and was pooping. She even peed. In 3 hours she went from going to be put down to drinking on her own and looking for food.

Gripe water

I learned about Spirits of Sweet Nitre from a 90-year old friend when I was 14 years old. That was about 30 years ago. The stuff I bought then still works and is still potent. He told me they used it when he was a child. It was used for all types of tummy aches, indigestion, colds, baby colic, etc. He said it was like Gripe Water and they used it for everything. I believe it. Fantastic stuff.

I am trying to get it made. If anyone finds out where to actually get the right stuff I would love to know. Thanks for sharing your stories, I am even more determined to try and get more of it.

Jean VanDenHa
- Enderby, BC, Canada

March 21, 2015

A. When I was a kid I had lots of poison ivy. I remember on summer I was blisters all over my face and hands. A lady who was a customer of my parents small town grocery store saw me and told me to get sweet spirits of nitre. I called my dad who was at work and had him pick some up at a pharmacy. He brought it home and we applied it and by the next morning the blisters were nearly gone and the itch and discomfort was gone. I used it several times after that for poison ivy and it always worked. It seems to me that it was not an oil but a thinner liquid. It must have been a tincture instead of the oil. It surely did work. These days one would go to a physician and get something that cost much more and probably do half the good.

Gilbert Bliton
- Melbourne, Florida, USA

April 8, 2015

thumbs up signMy mom used sweet spirits of nitre for fevers. It always worked! If only I could still purchase it. Wishing for it right now ... my great grandson has a fever! Tylenol not working!

Juanita Harmon
- Denton, Maryland

May 18, 2015

! You can purchase spirit of nitre from

Keren sacks
- Lancaster, California USA

December 29, 2015

Q. The has sweet spirit of nitre OIL -- is this the real stuff?


October 1, 2016

A. The item advertised by Original Botanicals bears no similarity to the spirits of nitre that was in common use back in the 30's and 40's. That was a liquid almost like water that tasted a bit like an effervescent that had completely dissolved and was left for a while for the fizz to disappear. The Sweet Spirit of Nitre Oil is a foul tasting "oil" that may be good for external use, but I wouldn't drink this no matter how much water it was in.

Ronald Tilley
- Trinity, Florida, USA

October 4, 2016

Q. Was curious what was in Nitre as I very much remember my Grandmother giving it to my sister and me to break a high fever. Time frame - mid 50's through early 70's. I read the many posts. I just want to let everybody know we are both alive and well. I sure wish this product was back on the market because I would personally buy it if offered for purchase at a drug store.

Pamela Grassano
- Exton, Pennsylvania USA


November 8, 2016

! Information: I was born in 1946, my sister in 1945. When we were little about 6 or so our father would take us hunting with him every Saturday. We would follow quietly behind. Every morning we would stand in line as our mother would take a teaspoon of sugar and put 3 drops of kerosene in it, we would swallow it followed by a glass of orange juice. This remedy was to treat worms. As you can figure I am now 70 years old and it didn't affect me or my sister who passed away from cancer 6 years ago. We never had any worms.

Margie Reid
retired - Springhill, Nova Scotia Canada

September 12, 2018

A. I grew up in VA and my grandmother was a chemist. She used the sweet spirits of Notre to break a fever of 106. It worked fast although I recall it being nauseatingly sweet.

Harvey Eaton
- Norfolk Virginia USA

October 16, 2018

Q. I'm from Guyana and I use this drug (sweet spirits of nitre) to help my horses pee; I am looking for some right now to use on my racehorse in Canada.

Michael Sims
- Toronto, Canada

If you have a question in mind which seems off topic, please Search the Site

ADD a Comment to THIS thread START a NEW threadView CURRENT TOPICS

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices

©1995-2018, Inc., Pine Beach, NJ   -   About   -  Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.