The New Student's Reference Work/Mineral Waters


Min′eral Waters, strictly speaking, are waters impregnated with mineral solutions by natural processes; but the term is commonly applied to all waters which possess real or even fancied therapeutic value other than that of ordinary water. In consequence hot springs are often spoken of as mineral springs when used for medicinal purposes. The ancients had great faith in all waters which felt or tasted other than the common “springs which run among the hills.” Josephus mentions the visits of Herod to the warm baths of Callirrhoe near the Dead Sea. Tiberias was famous for its springs of hot sulphur water. The Romans frequented the gaseous springs situated in southern Italy, much visited by tourists to-day. The springs of Karlsbad, Aix-la-Chapelle, Baden-Baden and Ems are well known. In our country Saratoga has been a resort ever since the settlement of New York. White Sulphur Springs in Virginia, Hot Springs in Arkansas and many others are popular resorts. It is impossible to divide the springs into any well-defined classes as salt springs often contain sulphur, and alum springs may hold a dozen other minerals in solution besides the one giving the water its name. The best known springs, those at Saratoga, contain more of chloride of sodium (common salt) than of any other or all other mineral substances, bicarbonate of lime standing second and bicarbonate of magnesia third. It is carbonic acid gas which gives these springs their delightful effervescence. In the United States there are about 300 springs whose waters are bottled and put on the market.