The sal grows to a large size, and is more gregarious than the teak.
Sal (Shorea robusta) is the chief timber tree.
Thus in the Speculum Naturale of Vincent of Beauvais (c. 1250) it is said that there are four spirits - mercury, sulphur, arsenic and sal ammoniac - and six bodies - gold, silver, copper, tin, lead and iron.
Chaucer, Chanouns Yemannes Tale, where, however, mercury figures both as a spirit and a body: " The firste spirit quik-silver called is, The second orpiment, the thridde ywis Sal armoniak, and the ferthe brimstoon."
Among the Arabian and later alchemists we find attempts made to collate compounds by specific properties, and it is to these writers that we are mainly indebted for such terms as "alkali," " sal," &c. The mineral acids, hydrochloric, nitric and sulphuric acids, and also aqua regia (a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids) were discovered, and the vitriols, alum, saltpetre, sal-ammoniac, ammonium carbonate, silver nitrate (lunar caustic) became better known.