Salt. We all have it on our dinner tables. It’s a culinary staple and one of the oldest forms of seasonings to exist. Did you know that salt has also been used medicinally for thousands of years? It is a key ingredient in several Ayurvedic rituals and is used worldwide for holistic and spiritual purposes.
Now, it’s important to distinguish which type of salt we use in Ayurveda. There are three types of salt commonly found and used today: table salt, sea salt, and mineral salt, also known as rock salt. Table salt is the kind that is typically used on our food, but it’s highly processed and contains additives. Sea salt is formed when saltwater evaporates, leaving behind the salt, or through the process of desalination. Rock salt is harvested from ancient sea beds that have dried over thousands of years, washed, and dried in a natural process. Rock salt contains trace minerals, and for this reason, it’s the preferred type of salt in Ayurveda.
Himalayan sea salt is one of the most commonly known types of rock salt; it is also considered to be the most superior salt in Ayurveda. Do you know that pretty light pink salt that you’ll sometimes see in the grocery store? Yep, that’s the one I’m talking about. Its color is the reasoning for its other name: Pink salt. It can actually range in color from white to pink or dark red due to the high concentration of iron and other minerals present in it. It is said to contain 84 minerals, including calcium, chloride, sodium, and zinc. It helps to maintain electrolyte balance in the body, relieve muscle cramps, keep the body hydrated, and aid in the formation and strengthening of bones due to its calcium and magnesium content.
BENEFITS OF HIMALAYAN SEA SALT
Salt has quite often been used for medicinal purposes in Ayurveda, particularly in cases where the Vata dosha is imbalanced. Salt is made up of the elements of fire and water, and small amounts of salt can regulate moisture levels in the body, promote better absorption of nutrients from food, regulate blood pressure, and are vital to the functioning of the brain and nervous system. But, like all good things, moderation is key. Higher amounts of salt can result in Kapha imbalance and lead to edema, hypertension, kidney disorders, osteoporosis, and other issues.
Like I mentioned before, we’re used to using salt as a culinary aid. When we cook with it, it enhances flavor, makes it easier for the body to absorb nutrients, and stimulates digestive enzymes. But it can also be used externally in many ways to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails; relax muscles; reduce stress and edema; purify the air.
Now let’s take a look at when using salt can be beneficial, and how you can use it.
For Internal Consumption
1. To Improve Digestion
Most of the Ayurvedic remedies for digestive disorders contain Himalayan salt because it improves digestion. Chloride is necessary to produce stomach acid, and sodium chloride (salt) facilitates the absorption and transportation of nutrients in the intestines after they have been broken down during digestion. It also helps to promote healthy Agni, (digestive fire). Try switching out your table salt for Himalayan salt.
2. To Boost Metabolism
Metabolism refers to certain chemical reactions in our body that help in maintaining the health of cells and organisms. Himalayan salt can be used to stimulate your body’s metabolism, and ultimately improve the functioning of your body.
3. To Aid with Weight Loss
Himalayan salt reduces sugar cravings by reactivating insulin and can reportedly burn fat by improving the metabolism. Ditch table salt and switch to rock salt.
4. To Provide Relief for Sinus Issues
Himalayan salt gives relief in case of sore throat and dry cough, and reduces inflammation and swelling of the throat due to its Kapha and Pitta balancing properties. Gargle with water once or twice a day or dissolve rock salt in water and inhale the steam.
5. To Stabilize Blood Pressure
Salt helps stabilize blood pressure by maintaining proper fluid balance in the body. It is a much better salt alternative for people with hypertension.
6. To Boost Immunity
Rock salt provides all the essential trace minerals and is reported to help aid the body’s immune system. It helps to fight off harmful bacteria and keep you from getting sick.
For External Use
1. To Remove Dead Skin
Himalayan salt is good for cleansing the skin and also acts as a good body scrubber. It helps in the removal of dead skin and helps to control dull, rough, and aging skin. Wet your skin and take a small amount of Himalayan salt in your hand. Gently massage it into the skin, and then rinse and pat dry. Or you can try one of my sea salt scrubs, like the Tridoshic Himalayan Sea Salt Scrub. Just massage it into your skin during your shower twice a week!
2. To Promote Healthy Hair
Himalayan salt removes the dirt from your hair without stripping it off its natural healthy oils due to its Snigdha (oily) and Vata balancing properties. It also helps control hair fall out and dryness of the scalp. Make a scalp tonic with Himalayan Sea Salt, the juice of a lemon, ½ teaspoon of ginger, and apple cider vinegar. Apply to the scalp, and shampoo out 15 minutes later.
3. Joint stiffness
Himalayan salt is also widely used in Ayurvedic oil preparation as it helps in balancing Vata dosha and gives relief from pain and stiffness in the joints by alleviating inflammation. Add Himalayan salt to warm water and take a relaxing bath for 15 minutes. Visualize the pain or swelling being flushed away by the warm saltwater.
4. To Reduce Edema
Edema is basically swelling caused by fluid retention. Himalayan salt helps get rid of swelling and inflammation in the feet due to its Pitta and Kapha balancing properties. Soak your feet in a bucket of warm water with added Himalayan salt for 10-15 minutes.
5. To help with Asthma
Salt helps to dissolve sputum (thick mucus that typically results from infection or respiratory conditions, like asthma) due to its Kapha balancing property. In case of asthma and difficulty in breathing, massage the back and chest with Himalayan salt mixed with mustard oil (which will be coming to the Yinsa shop soon!) at night before sleeping.
6. To Reduce Stress and Promote Sleep
Rock salt helps to relax the body and mind. It also reportedly regulates the level of melatonin and thus, regulates our sleep cycle. Place a Himalayan salt lamp in your bedroom, away from the bed, to help regulate sleep cycles.
7. To Purify Air
Himalayan pink salt is a natural ionic air purifier that can kill dust mites and pull toxins from the environment and neutralize them. Add a salt lamp near your desk at the office, or near your computer at home, to help purify the air near your workspace.
Well, there you have it! Himalayan salt is extremely beneficial for the mind and body and has so many practical uses. I hope that you decide to try them yourself and reap all the benefits!