A contribution to the history of common salt

Kidney Int Suppl. 1997 Jun;59:S127-34.


Salt has influenced human nutrition, health, politics, taxation, economy, freight, transport, and commerce throughout the ages. All human activities have been influenced by salt including economy, religious beliefs and practices, art, literature, psychoanalysis, superstitions, and exorcism. Salt is recognized as a symbol for friendship, hospitality, chastity, alliance, table fellowship, fidelity, fertility, blessing, curse and endurance, etc. The Bible is the first book of salt and contains no fewer than 24 references to this substance. In the Gospels the parable of salt is a central one. Many many church fathers have written on salt a substance, which up to 1969 was a relevant element in the rite of Baptism. This paper reviews the importance of common salt for human life, and by drawing from various scientific and literary sources makes a special discussion of its various symbolisms.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, Ancient
  • Humans
  • Religion
  • Roman World / history
  • Sodium Chloride / history*


  • Sodium Chloride