by Par Valérie Gitton-Ripoll, Maître de conférences à l’université de Toulouse 2, Adel. firstname.lastname@example.org
The latin word nitrum must not be translated by french nitre. This word is a synonym for saltpeter, while nitrum was a sodium carbonate (french natron), mixted with others salts that Romans and Greeks did not identify. Natron was first employed in Egypt to embalm the mummies, then he became in Greece an ingredient of the pharmacopeia, and his use was transferred to horses to cure the pathologies which have the same names.