This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
A grayish-white, earthy-looking substance, heavy, sp. gr. 5.4, of sharp caustic taste and strongly alkaline reaction; sprinkled with water it becomes hot, and slakes with energetic action, falling into a fine white powder, = hydrate of baryta, BaH1O2, which contains 10 1/2 per cent. water, and is soluble in 10 parts of boiling water. Baryta has, like lime, a strong affinity for sulphuric and carbonic acids.