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Antimony oxychloride solid.JPG
IUPAC name
antimony oxide chloride
7791-08-4 N
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.308
Molar mass 173.21 g/mol
Melting point 280 °C (536 °F; 553 K)
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Algarot, Antimony oxychloride, previously regarded a compound of trichloride and trioxide of antimony, is a pale white emetic powder formerly used in alchemy. It was used as an emetic because it purges violently both through regurgitation and diarrhea.


In his Currus Triumphalis Antimonii (The triumphal chariot of antimony) Basil Valentine describes the reaction of butter of antimony (antimony trichloride) with water. Johann Rudolf Glauber gives a relatively exact chemical interpretation of the reaction in 1659.

Vittorio Algarotto introduced the substance into medicine. He called it pulvis angelicus. In older literature the substance was also frequently called pulvis algarotis or Powder of Algaroth.

The exact composition was unknown for a very long time. The suggestion of SbOCl being a mixture of antimony trichloride and antimony oxide or pure SbOCl were raised. Today the hydrolysis of antimony trichloride is understood; first the SbOCl oxychloride is formed which later forms Sb4O5Cl2.

Alternative names[edit]

Algarot is also known as mercurius vitæ ("mercury of life"), emetic powder, powder of algaroth, algarel, antimonious oxychloride, or antimony hypochlorite.


Historically, algarot was prepared of butter of antimony (antimony trichloride), which was no more than the regulus (purified metal) of that mineral, dissolved in acids, and separated again by means of several lotions with lukewarm water, which absorbed those acids. By collecting all the lotions and evaporating two third parts, what remained was a very acid liquor, called "Spirit of Philosophical Vitriol".

At present, algarot is synthesised by exposing antimony trichloride to water:

SbCl3 + H2O → SbOCl + 2 HCl


  1. ^ Nurgaliev, B. Z.; Popovkin, B. A.; Novoselova, A. V. (1981). "Physicochemical analysis of antimony trioxide–antimony trichloride, antimony trioxide–antimony tribromide systems". Zhurnal Neorganicheskoi Khimii. 26 (4): 1043–1047. 

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