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The salt of the plants can be made visible through incineration and subsequent calcination (literally, making white)

of the plants or the


plant residues respectively.

Basilius describes the production of plant salts as follows:

How the Salia can be extracted from all herbs and plants. Take whatever herb you wish, burn it to ashes, make a lye of it with warm
water, coagulate the lye, then the salt will stay in fundo, resolve it in Spiritu Vini. Throw away the Feces that will settle, draw off the
Spiritum Vinum per Destillationem, and resolve it frequently until the salt is beautifully clear and pure and leaves no more Feces; then
it is ready. If one proceeds with the purification of the Spiritus Vini in the right way, all the salts of herbs can be made beautiful, clean,
and pure, so that they sprout transparently into crystals, like a clean, purified saltpeter.

The extraction of the water-soluble salts is done as follows. The calcined ash is put in a beaker and covered with double or triple the
amount of distilled water. Everything is slowly heated and stirred. Now the water-soluble salts dissolve, while the insoluble ones
settle. The clear liquid is decanted and filtered.

In order to extract the water-soluble salts without residue, the process must be repeated several times, until litmus paper no longer
shows a higher pH-value than that of the distilled water used. Finally, the salt solution is carefully evaporated at low temperatures (for
instance, in the sun), and the white salts stay behind. During the evaporation, the temperature must be kept low or else the salt solution
sputters violently.

Should the solution of the salts in distilled water show an orange-colored streak, the calcination of the plant residues was insufficient.
The proper execution of calcination is one of the most difficult kinds of manual work in alchemy. We shall return to it later in detail. If
the first calcination was not sufficient, the evaporated salt must once again be calcined. Thereafter, it is again dissolved in distilled
water, the solution is filtered anew, and the water again evaporated until the salt is dry. Since the salt is strongly hygroscopic, it is kept
in sealed, airtight glass containers. Water-soluble salts are always alkaline.

The residue that remains after filtration of the solution is also called Caput Mortuum (Death's Head). To get the Caput Mortuum quite
pure, we must rinse it many times with distilled water. The pH-factor can be tested with litmus paper. Chemically viewed, the water-
soluble salts consist chiefly of potassium carbonate and approximately 10 to 20 percent of other salts, such as potassium chloride,
potassium sulfate, and sodium carbonate. The salts are fusible at about 900. The salts that are not water-soluble (Caput Mortuum)
consist chiefly of calcium, silicon, phosphorus, and magnesium. They also contain traces of other metals. To melt the Caput Mortuum,
temperatures of over 1500 are required.

The Caput Mortuum is not hygroscopic and amorphous, while the soluble salts, if sufficiently pure, form beautiful crystals, especially
if they are further purified by repeated dissolving in distilled water with subsequent filtration and evaporation of the solution.