What is Bamboo Salt?
Bamboo Salt has recently been introduced to the North American market as a miracle salt that has anti-cancerous and anti-viral properties that can prevent and treat various types of cancer and illnesses. It has antiseptic power that can be used to treat mouth sores as well as various digestive system-related conditions.
At the same time, it has been labeled as a wonder beauty product that can effectively treat acne and boost the youthful glow in skin when used as a facial and body scrub; the Bamboo Salt can also fortify hair when used as shampoo. While there are many benefits of Bamboo Salt, there is room for doubt as little evidence has been provided to support its many claims. Unlike the various articles available online that mention these benefits without providing actual proof, this article aims to fully study Bamboo Salt from the unbiased scientific research perspective. We will start by discussing the history of the Bamboo Salt and explaining how Bamboo Salts are made.
Next, the nutritional and mineral values of Bamboo Salt will be examined. We will then compare Bamboo Salt with other salts in order to understand why Bamboo Salt is unique. Afterwards, we will go into detail about all the benefits and side effects of Bamboo Salt.
History of Bamboo Salt
Bamboo Salt (also known as Jukyeom) originates from Korea. It was originally developed by Korean doctors and monks almost 1,000 years ago as a folk medicinal remedy for various illnesses. The Bamboo Salt is made by putting sea salt into cases made from bamboo trunks with 3 years of growth.
After the salt is inserted into the trunks, the ends are sealed with natural yellow clay that is rich in minerals. The trunks are then roasted in a furnace with pinewood being used as fuel. The process requires 10 hours of roasting at a temperature between 1,000 to 1,500 oC. This procedure can be repeated from three to nine times. In the ancient times, the process was only repeated two or three times. However, through repeated experimentation that doctors discovered that Bamboo Salt gained higher medical effectiveness if it was baked for more time. This method enhanced the amalgamation of minerals from the bamboo and the yellow clay into the sea salt.
Additionally, the numerous high-heat roasting process was more effective in ridding of impurities in the sea salt. It has been found that the salt reaches its highest medical efficacy when it is baked for 9 times. After 9 times, the medicinal benefits of the salt drastically decrease from over-roasting. Because of the time and effort put into making the 9-times-baked Bamboo Salt, the 9-times-baked Bamboo Salt is specially named as Purple Bamboo Salt for the purple color hue resulted from the numerous repeated roasting processes (Xin, Zhao, et. al., 2013). As a result, you can see various Bamboo Salt being labeled as 1x, 3x, 6x, 9x; these labels indicates the number of roasting processes the specific Bamboo Salt has received. Because the medical efficacy correlates with the amount of roasting procedures, the price range can differ significantly depending on the number of roasting processes.
Nutritional Values of Bamboo Salt
From scientific research, it has been found that Bamboo Salt contains more than 70 kinds of minerals due to the leaching of minerals from the bamboo tree trunks, the pine tree resin, and the yellow clay. Amongst all the minerals, the main components of Bamboo Salt are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and potassium, zinc. At the same time, it is high in sulfur as a result of the bamboo tree trunk. This makes Bamboo Salt a highly alkaline food in contrast to all the other salts which are acidic. This also makes Bamboo Salt a great neutralizer of which we will discuss more in detail later in the article.
Comparison of Bamboo Salt with Other Salts
Although we all know that high salt consumption is damaging to the body, a diet void of salt is equally damaging. That is because salt is essential to the homeostasis of the human body. It is the vehicle that allows nutrients to be carried through the cell wall and into our cells. It is also a crucial element needed to hydrate the human bodies. This is why after exercise, it is important to replace both water and salt lost through sweating during exercise. At the same time, it is also why we need to take an oral saline solution to restore our electrolyte imbalance when we have severe cases of diarrhea or vomiting. In addition, salt is essential to regulating nerve impulse firing, helping your brain send communication signals to your muscles so that you can move on demand, as well as helping the lining of the blood vessels to regulate blood pressure. To put it in simple terms, our body will eventually shut down if we completely remove all salt content in our diets.
Now that we have established the importance of salt for our bodies, let’s take a look at the typical salts that are available in the markets:
|Table Salts||It is the salt that is sold in all supermarkets. It is made by evaporating sea water or brine from brine wells or various salt lakes.|
|Kosher Salt||It is similar to table salt except the salt granules are larger and coarser. It is often used for pickling.|
|Sea Salt||Sea salt tends to be coarser than table salt. Unrefined sea salt is found to have many minerals that regular table salt lacks such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iodine. Because of this, a lot of people use sea salts instead of table salts.|
|Black Salt||This is a salt that is found mostly in Indian markets. It has a strong sulfuric flavor and is often used in Ayurvedic medicine.|
|Rock Salt||Also known as halite. It is used mainly to cure meat and fish. In the old times, it was essential for making ice-cream. It is also used to keep pavements from icing during winter times.|
|Himalayan Salt||It is actually rock salt from Pakistan. It is often used in bath products as an allergy reliever and a muscle relaxer. It is also used to make salt lamps as a natural allergy reliever as many people believe that the salt crystal emits negative ions that repel allergen particles from the environment.|
|Epsom Salt||Also known as Magnesium Sulfate. It is mainly used as a bath salt to soothe sore muscles on a regular basis. However, it is used extensively in the medical field as an ingredient in antacids and laxatives. It is also used as an antiarrhythmic agent in cardiac arrest, as well as a reliever for acute asthma attacks.|
|Dead Sea Salt||Sea salt extracted from the Dead Sea. It has a low content of sodium chloride unlike normal ocean sea salt. The salt is used mainly for bath and beauty regiment purposes. It is documented in scientific research to effectively treat acne and psoriasis because of its high magnesium concentration, a main ingredient for reducing inflammation. As a result, it is also effective in treating arthritis as well as relieving allergic reactions.|
Now that we have a better understanding of all the common salts and their unique properties and benefits, we can now compare Bamboo Salts and discuss why it is unique from all these salts.
1. As we all know, salts, in general, can suppress fungal and bacterial growth. Bamboo Salt excels in comparison to other salts. As a matter of fact, it has been shown in clinical studies that Bamboo Salt can actually prevent Salmonella infection. This unique property is actually a contribution from the bamboo stalks, as bamboo holds a special attribute that effectively prevents fungal, bacterial, and viral growth.
2. Unlike other salts that are acidic, Bamboo Salt is highly alkaline (pH of 10.5) because of the high sulfur content. Therefore, it can act as a neutralizer for acidic food. Also because of this unique property, the iron in Bamboo Salt does not oxidize like the iron in other salts. As we know, the oxidation processes that take place in our body leads to aging. Instead of oxidizing, Bamboo Salt produces reduction reactions. It suppresses inflammations and slows down cell proliferation. In other words, it acts as an anti-aging agent.
3. The majority of salts is made by water and is positively charged. Because Bamboo Salt is made by fire, it is negatively charged. Similar to the rock salts, Bamboo Salt’s negative charge aids in fighting against all the allergens in our environment.
4. Unlike the other salts, Bamboo Salt does not induce hypertension (Kim, Yong-Sick, et. al., 2013). Although the reason is still unclear, researchers suggest that it may be linked with Bamboo Salt’s unique ability to improve glucose tolerance of the body and lowers the serum lipid level.
Although we have mentioned some of Bamboo Salt’s benefits in earlier paragraphs, we realize the importance of summarizing all these benefits before we discuss in details how Bamboo Salt is so helpful to the body. As mentioned earlier, the Bamboo Salt is a highly alkaline food (pH 10.5). It can counterbalance the acidosis in the human body.
It is high in minerals and is the only food to contain more than 70 different kinds of organic minerals. Because of this unique property, it can fully and continuously re-supply the loss of minerals to the human body. In addition, it has antioxidants that aide in cell renewal and encourages removal of harmful materials in the body. At the same time, the antioxidants promotes clearance of free radicals, slowing down the aging process. Moreover, it contains powerful far infra-red which is helpful in breaking through the blockages in blood vessels. This process helps lower the chance of stroke. All in all, the vast amount of various minerals in Bamboo Salts play crucial roles in many cell functions such as cell proliferation, energy metabolism, protein and DNA syntheses, and cytoskeleton activation (Jeong, Hyun-Ja, et. al., 2011).
Let’s talk about all the benefits in detail:
- Anti-allergic Function:
According to a study done by researchers, Bamboo Salt can suppress immediate-type of allergic reactions. By oral administration or intradermal injection of Bamboo Salt, it significantly inhibits swelling from allergic reactions by inhibiting the release of histamine (Shin, Hey-Yong et.al., 2004).
- Anti-cancer Function:
Scientific researchers have found that salt in general contains methanol extracts that have antimutagenic and anticlastogenic effects. However when comparing regular purified salt and solar salt with one-time roasted Bamboo Salt and nine-times roasted Bamboo Salt, the scientists have found that the Bamboo Salt have a much higher anticancer and anticlastogenic effect than the other salts (Hwang, Kyung-Mi, et al., 2007; Park, Kun-Young et. al., 2012).
- Anti-obesity Function:
A very recent scientific study has found that Bamboo Salt reduces the overall body weight as well as lowers the serum lipid level. This study suggests that intake of Bamboo Salt may have preventive effect on obesity (Park, Kun-Young, et. al. 2013).
- Dental Treatment and Preventive Care:
In another scientific research, researchers have found that dental patients who use a bamboo solution for gurgling, have a significantly increase in the level of enamel hardness and a decrease of mineral loss than patients who use plain water for gurgling (Choi, CH, et. al., 2012). Another study found that toothpastes that contain Bamboo Salt contributes to the reducing effects on dental plaque formation and lessens the chance of gingivitis (Min, B.S., et. al., 1995).
- Anti-inflammatory Function:
Although salts in general all have inflammatory properties, Bamboo Salt is found to have a much significant effect on treating inflammations. Therefore, it contributes significantly to the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases (Shin, Hye-Young, et. al., 2003).
- Preventive Care for Salmonella Entertidis:
A laboratory study examined 20 different kinds of salts (refined salts, roasted salts, processed salts, imported salts, sea salts, and Bamboo Salts) and their ability to fight off Salmonella entertidis. Out of the 20 salt samples, only Bamboo Salts were found with the property of fighting against Salmonella. It was later found that Bamboo Salts contain a low concentration of active antimicrobial substance that inhibits the growth of microorganisms (Moon, JH, et. al., 2009).
- Treatment and Preventive Care for Candida Yeast Infection
The special active antimicrobial substance found in Bamboo Salt is also a great treatment for any bacterial, fungus, and viral infection. In clinical studies, it is confirmed that the antimicrobial substance not only stops the growth of bacteria, fungus, and virus, it also prevents their growth (Moon, JH, et. al., 2009). In addition, the property of Bamboo Salt being a sea salt, it works like any other sea salt in suppressing yeast infection and all the nasty symptoms that comes with the infection. In combination, the sea salt property and the antimicrobial property of Bamboo Salt is effective in preventing a Candida Yeast Infection.
- Reducer of Chemotherapy Side-Effects:
Cisplatin is a highly effective chemotherapeutic agent that rids the human body of cancerous cells. But it has a significant side effect of accelerating the death the auditory cochlear hair cells. However Bamboo Salt has a specific chemical effect that inhibits a specific protein channel that regulates the cell death of the auditory system. As a result, of the blockage, the cochlear hair cells stop dying, and hearing is preserved (Jeong, Hyun-Ja, et. al., 2011).
- Preventive Care for the Ear:
Magnesium in Bamboo Salt can help prevent or treat noise-induced hearing loss (Jeong, Hyun-Ja, et. al., 2011).
- Anti-gastric Ulcer Treatment:
Bamboo Salt generates hydrogen sulfide which acts as a gasotransmitter like NO and CO. These chemicals have physiological effects including anti-inflammation, anti-hypertension, as well as the improvement of the insulin sensitivity (Saroraya, Chanmuang, et. al., 2011).
It has been shown that Bamboo Salt contributes to the improvement of glucose tolerance and high glucose uptake in skeletal muscles (Saroraya, Chanmuang, et. al., 2011).
- Treatment for Arthritis:
When used with acupuncture, it alleviates arthritis (Xu, Kai-Sheng, 2009). With higher content of magnesium than Epsom salt and Dead Sea salt, it is evident that Bamboo Salt is effective for alleviating arthritis ache in joints and muscles.
- Treatment for Sore Throat:
As an inflammatory agent, Bamboo Salt can be used to lessen the inflammation in the throat and suppress the aching resulting from the inflammation (Choi, CH, et. al., 2012).
Bamboo Salts have many beneficial qualities; however, little is known about its side-effects. As a result, a group of researchers performed a three month study to determine the side-effects of Bamboo Salt. After three months of administrating Bamboo Salts to the test group, the results show that there was no significant toxicological findings. There was also no negative effect to the hematological, serum biochemical and histopathological components (Toxicological Research, 2002). It has been found that Bamboo Salts contain small trace of Arsenic (0.05 mg / kg) (Yu, Byung-kyu, et. al., 2011). Therefore, consumption of Bamboo Salt in large amount is not recommended.
Other possible side-effects include PCDDs and PCDFs. PCDDs and PCDFs are commonly known as dioxins. They are organic by-products that result from manufacturing of chlorine-containing products like PVC and chlorine-bleached paper. It can also result from high-heat processes such as cigarette-smoking, burnt bits of food from deep frying and barbeque, or natural occurrences such as volcano eruption and forest fires. With years of research on dioxins, the World Health Organization has stated that:
“Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems. It can also cause damage to the immune system, disrupt normal hormone secretion, and also cause cancer”.
Bamboo Salts are made from high heat roasting of sea salt inside bamboo trunks. As a result, it has no direct contact with the procedure. However, small traces of PCDD still can be found in Bamboo Salts (Yang, Jeong Soo, et. al., 2004). Even though the amount is less than that of our regular daily intake from environmental pollutants in the atmosphere, it is recommended as a safety precaution that children should avoid consumption of Bamboo Salt since it can lead to developmental abnormalities in the enamel of children’s teeth. At the same time, pregnant women or women who are planning to become pregnant should also avoid taking Bamboo Salt as it may cause developmental abnormalities in fetuses.
Application and Consumption of Bamboo Salt
With so many benefits of Bamboo Salt, it is difficult to discuss all the possible uses of Bamboo Salt. One thing for sure though, ingesting a small amount of Bamboo Salt on a daily basis is healthy for the body.
For preventive and healthy body maintenance purposes, it is recommended to take 1 gram of Bamboo Salt daily in three to five doses. It is preferable to ingest the dose 30 minutes before or after a meal and 30 minutes before bedtime. In order to receive the full benefits of the precious salt, the best way is to take the salt with your saliva followed by drinking some water. You can also add the Bamboo Salt into your food in place of table salt.
For cough, bronchitis, gum disease, and sore throat, you can use Bamboo salt in addition with your toothpaste to brush your teeth. The salt will help kill off various bacteria in your mouth that contributes to the problem, and greatly speeds up the recovery.
For treating and preventing recurrence of Candida Yeast Infection, a daily intake of 1 gram of Bamboo Salt in three to five doses will boost your immunity against the infection. If you are suffering from yeast infection, you can increase the dose to 3 grams and gradually decrease the dosage as your condition gets better. Aside from ingesting the salt, you can make a douche solution or bath soak with the Bamboo Salt. The Bamboo Salt will greatly suppress the itchiness and stinging symptoms, cleanse the area from the yeast, and creates a barrier for further yeast growth.
For treating inflammations, mix Bamboo Salt with water at a 1 to 10 ratio. When you apply the salt solution to the wound, you may feel a stinging sensation for the first few days. But as the inflammation subsides, the stinging should decrease.
The salt solution can also be used as a saline solution for the eyes as a daily eye drop. It can be applied with a Qtip to the inner ear as a preventive care for the ear. You can even use the solution to wash your face or your body to treat any acne problems or as a simple beauty regiment. The solution should immediately soften your skin and suppress any inflammation. With repeated use, your skin will be rid of acne and have a natural glow.
The Bamboo Salt can be used as a natural exfoliator for your skin. You can gently rub a small amount of Bamboo Salt on wetted skin for 5 minutes before you wash off the salt. Although it has not been scientifically proven, it is believed that by rubbing Bamboo Salt on specific body area, it can actually help you lose the fat on that area.
For the achy joints and muscles, you can add 100-200 grams of bamboo salt to warm bath water, and soak in the solution. It is also a great treatment for itchy skin and hemorrhoids.
You can use Bamboo Salt as a shampoo. After wetting your hair with warm water, apply about 10 grams of bamboo salt to your hair. Gently massage your scalp and your hair for 5 minutes, then rinse off the salt with warm water. You can also add the salt into your regular shampoo solution. That way, the salt can congeal to your hair more easily before you rinse it off. The salt will get rid of dandruff and provides essential minerals for your scalp. With regular use, you will have much stronger hair and less chance of itchy scalp.
As mentioned earlier, Bamboo Salt can be used in conjunction with various cancer treatments as well as a possible treatment for diabetes and hypertension. However due to the specificity of individual cases, please consult your physician before using Bamboo Salt to adjust the dosage according to the treatments and medications you are currently receiving.
Although we need more examination on possible side-effects of the salt, we can be sure that Bamboo Salt has a lot of benefits to a healthy body. At the same time, all most research indicate the positive possibilities that Bamboo Salt can help us treat and even prevent various types of cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. Even though this is an introductory article on Bamboo Salt, I hope that the abundant amount of facts and evidence found through biological scientific research have intrigued your interest in this salt. And I sincerely encourage you to learn more about the Bamboo Salt.