For all the obvious differences between salty and sweet tastes, salt and honey have a shared essential nature. They ‘correct’ each other. In alchemy and in practical science, salt and honey are preservatives, and they have similar medical properties. They make things last. Psychically, they encourage passing events to be deepened into lasting experience. To move from ‘out there’, literal and discontinuous, to psychic, inner and eternal, is the work of making soul and in Alchemy, the transition from nigredo to albedo.
The medicinal importance of honey has been documented in the world’s oldest medical literatures, and since the ancient times, it has been known to possess antimicrobial property as well as wound-healing activity. The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too. The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide.
“There must be something sacred in salt. It is in our tears and in the ocean.” (Khalil Gibran)
Is human life without salt imaginable? Probably not. Salt symbolises life itself . Basic physiological functions depend on a balance between salts and liquids in the body. When the balance is upset, disease may occur.
Salt has been an essential, virtually omnipresent, part of medicine for thousands of years. It has been used as a remedy, a support treatment, and a preventive measure. It has been taken internally or applied topically and been administered in an exceedingly wide variety of forms.
We shall take a journey through the history of the use of salt in medicine and discover that empirical knowledge of the benefits – and sometimes drawbacks of salt – has been a hallmark of many civilisations.