What is the practical use of sodium chloride

Natural medicinal substance sodium chloride

Sodium chloride, what is it and where does it occur in nature?

It is also known as table salt or simply "salt". It is the sodium salt of hydrochloric acid with the chemical formula NaCl. So sodium ions and chloride ions form this salt. In its solid form, it occurs in large quantities in the earth's crust as the rock-forming mineral halite or rock salt. This is used to produce 70 percent of the table salt consumed worldwide. The rest is obtained from sea salt, because the sea has the largest reserves of dissolved table salt. The sea water has an average salinity of approx. 3.5%. The range is quite large: The Dead Sea has a salt content of 28%, the Baltic Sea from 0.2 to 2%.

Physiological saline solution is sodium chloride solution

If you have ever had an infusion from your doctor or in the hospital, then the probability is very high that it was a sodium chloride solution, also known as NaCl solution for short. How is this coming? In terms of quantity, sodium, together with calcium and potassium, is one of the most important minerals in the human organism. With a body weight of 70 kg, we hold approx. 100 g of sodium, which is present as Na + ion. Two thirds of the associated anions are chloride ions (Cl-) and one third are bicarbonate ions (HCO3-). 97% of them are outside the cells (extracellular), 3% inside the cells (intracellular). Since NaCl makes up 90% of the extracellular electrolytes in the blood, a solution in which as much sodium chloride is dissolved in water as in the blood is called isotonic or physiological saline solution. Isotonic means that the osmolarity is the same as in the blood plasma. Therefore, in contrast to pure water, this isotonic saline solution can also be infused into the blood vessel system in larger quantities. This is the reason that saline solution is often used as a carrier solution for medication. Occasionally it is also used to replenish volume after severe blood loss.

Significance of sodium and sodium chloride for humans

Sodium chloride is vital for both humans and animals. However, since it is used in large quantities as a spice, flavor enhancer and preservative for many foods in the western industrialized nations, our average table salt intake usually significantly exceeds our needs.

In the human body, sodium chloride is responsible, among other things, for regulating the acid-base balance, osmotic pressure and the volume of body fluids. The conduction of excitation in the nerve and muscle cells and many other body functions are also closely linked to the sodium chloride balance.

Salt has always played an important role for humans and it was revered as a sanctuary in many cultures. It was even referred to as the white gold. Our ancestors particularly valued it as a preservative for fish and meat. How precious salt was is reflected, for example, in the term “pay”. Salt was paid as a soldier's wage, both in Rome and in ancient Greece.

Table salt as a medicine

But salt-based drugs were also considered effective remedies. For external use in particular, rubs with salt, wound dressings or brine baths were considered valuable panacea. It is important that salt can also destroy cells through its osmotic effect. It also has a germicidal effect. Therefore, salt was also sprinkled on open wounds. The painfulness of this therapy became a catchphrase in the German language: sprinkle salt on open wounds. The mechanism by which salt acts as a preservative and a defrosting agent is the same: attracting water.

Cure stays in brine baths, by the sea or in the salty air of salt pans and salt mines are still considered effective therapies for respiratory diseases. Accordingly, physiological saline solution is also used for colds - e.g. as an inhalation for a blocked nose.

Sodium chloride is even used as a homeopathic active ingredient or Schüssler salt under the name of sodium chloratum. It has proven effective for dry mucous membranes, weakness, paleness, water retention, a tendency to shiver, feeling cold, increased uric acid levels, gout and elimination disorders as well as impure skin.

Homeopathic use of sodium chloride

Salt for the water household supports:

  • dry mucous membranes
  • Weakness, paleness
  • Water retention
  • Tendency to shiver, feeling cold
  • increased uric acid levels, gout
  • Elimination disorders, blemished skin