Sodium benzoate is widely used in the Alimentary Industry at low doses for its antimicrobial action. It has also been used as a liver function test. The principle is to evaluate the liver capacity for conjugation of glycine to benzoic acid and to form hippuric acid which is excreted in the urine. In hyperammonemic syndromes, secondary to enzymatic deficiency of the urea cicle, sodium benzoate has the property to act as an alternative way of nitrogen excretion to urinary hippurate instead of urea. Recently, it has been proposed as a therapeutic alternative in cirrhotic patients with portal systemic encephalopathy. Historical, biochemical and clinical data which constitute the principles to validate its clinical application in Hepatology are reviewed in this manuscript.