Black salt is very popular in India, Middle East, France, Japan and Spain. It’s also called as ‘Black lava salt’, ‘kala namak’ or ‘sanchal’ and is a type of volcanic rock salt. It’s commonly used in Asian countries surrounding the Himalayan Mountains like India and Pakistan. It’s been used for hundreds of years as traditional medicine, for cooking and as a beauty aid. In the hot, arid climate of the Middle East and India, people tend to perspire profusely. Sweat generally contains important electrolytes, including sodium. Thus people of these dry sweltering atmospheres consume black salt in foods or liquids to ensure proper sodium-potassium balance.
Indian black salt must not to be confused with Hawaiian black salt, smoked sea salt or black salt used in Wiccan ceremonies (for jinx removing). Black rock salts are mined in several parts of the world, including Hawaii, Utah, Bolivia, the Murray-Darling basin of Australia, Peru, and Poland.
Traditionally, black salt was processed with heat, charcoal and plant material, yielding a dark crystal rich in sulfide compounds. Modern manufacturing processes can make the salt synthetically, which looks similar to the traditional form, but has lesser mineral content.
Indian black salt consists primarily of sodium chloride, around 97%, which is the main component of table salt and 3% iron which partially contributes to its distinctive colour. In its rock form, the mineral appears dark brownish pink to dark violet colour. When ground, it may become a pinkish-grey or light purple in colour. It has other trace elements like sulfates, sulphides and magnesium. The hydrogen sulfide provides its distinctive smell (said to resemble that of hard-boiled egg yolks).
How is Black Salt Derived?
The salt is obtained from either natural volcanic mines in Northern India and Pakistan or the surrounding salt lakes of Sambhar or Didwana. Ordinarily, the salt was refined with heat, charcoal along with plant materials like ground harad seeds, which supposedly also has medicinal and aphrodisiac properties.
‘Harad seeds’ are small, ribbed and nut-like fruit. They are harvested from the harad tree while they are still green. The seed of this fruit, has an elliptical shape and is abrasive in nature, surrounded by a fleshy and firm pulp. These seeds are boiled in brine, when the water evaporates it leaves behind crystalline black salt. When this is ground to a powder, it attains a greyish-pink colour. According to Ayurvedic traditions, these seeds are reputed to even cure blindness and inhibit the growth of malignant tumours.
Why must I consume Black Salt?
1. Unrefined vs Table Salt
Common table salt has been fired at 1500 degrees so that it is stable in most climates. When table salt is chemically cleaned and processed, the trace minerals and electrolytes that naturally occur in unrefined salt are removed. Chemically processed table salt is inorganic, which means that the chemical bonds are so strong that it can’t be easily broken down or metabolized by our bodies. When you take in an inorganic mineral, your body will either store them or eliminate them. In this case, when you take in table salt your body sees it as a poison and tries to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Unrefined salt like black salt is unprocessed and similar to the sodium that occurs naturally in our bodies, it is essential to our daily lives.
2. Excess Salt in Our Bodies
Unfortunately, most of us take in way more table salt than our bodies can eliminate. Thus the body is forced to take water from healthy cells that surround it and as a result, you retain water and kill off healthy cells. Consumption of table salt increases blood pressure, and leads to a number of disorders such as edema (water retention) and excess fluid in the tissues (cellulite).
3. Crystal Structure of Salts
Salt that has been subjected to pressure like a diamond eventually becomes crystal salt. Our bodies can easily absorb the crystalline structure of salt because our blood has a crystalline structure. As an added benefit, the trace elements trapped within the crystal salt are in particles small enough to penetrate human cells for optimal metabolism.
4. Sea Salts vs Rock Salts
Many types of sea salts are also beneficial, but due to the pollution of our oceans, and for a variety of other reasons, many sea salt producers are starting to refine their salt. If you purchase sea salt, you have to check the label carefully to make sure that it does not have additives. If your sea salt looks too much like your table salt, it’s better to avoid it.
Health Benefits of Black Salt
Symptoms such as digestive issues, low energy, too much or dried mucous (congestion), osteoporosis and other issues could be connected to a lack of good usable organic sodium. According to ayurveda, Indian black salt is considered a cooling spice and is recommended as a treatment for many health issues.
.Blood Pressure: It is sometimes recommended to people on low-salt diets due to hypertension because it’s believed to be lower in sodium content compared to regular table salt.
.Intestinal Gas: Roasting the salt in a copper vessel until the color change and mixing the salt with warm water is effective in treating intestinal gas.
.Aphrodisiac: Harad seeds which is used to make black salt is considered an aphrodisiac
.Laxative: Can be used as a laxative and digestive aid. Laxative made of lemons, ginger and black salt is very powerful.
.Constipation: Salt in the digestive tract extracts water from the body by osmosis. Black salt acts as a digestive aid in reversing constipation and allowing individuals to eliminate flatulence. It can also be used as a stool softener in constipation.
.Joint Pains: Beneficial for curing arthritis and paralysis.
.Gastrointestinal: Used to regulate electrolytes or the gastrointestinal tract.
.Anaemia: Because it contains a number of minerals, people generally use it to improve anaemia.
.Inflammation: The aromatic sulphur and salt water is used to heal topical inflammation and infections.
.Immune system: Helps build up a strong immune system naturally.
.Acidity: Has an alkalizing effect on the body, as it has not been exposed to high heat and stripped of its minerals. Thus it can help you to prevent and reverse high levels of acidity.
.Weight Loss: Can help in losing weight. It helps the body to create digestive juices so that the foods you eat are digested faster.
.Respiration: Effective in reducing inflammation in the respiratory system. Thus the production of phlegm is slowed down so that you can breathe easier again. Sprinkling Rock salt on the tongue helps in breathing. It has almost the same effect as of a nasal inhaler and has no side effects when taken in moderate quantities.
.Cholesterol: Reduces high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and help to regulate an irregular heartbeat. Thus it can help prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
.Diabetes: Rock salt can help to reduce the need for insulin by helping to maintain proper sugar levels in the body. Thus the salt is an essential part of the diet if you are diabetic, or at risk for the disease.
.Osteoporosis: Just over 1/4 of the amount of salt that is in the body is stored in the bones, where it helps to keep them strong. When the body lacks salt and water it begins to draw the sodium from the bones, which eventually can lead to osteoporosis. Thus by drinking plenty of water and consuming salt in moderation you can prevent osteoporosis.
.Muscle Spasms and Cramps: Potassium is essential for helping the muscles to function properly. Black or Rock salt not only contains small amounts of potassium, but it also helps the body to absorb it better as compared to other foods. Thus it is very effective in helping to prevent muscle pains, spasms and cramps.
.Depression: Black or Rock salt also has shown to be effective in treating various types of depression. The salt helps to preserve two essential hormones in the body that help you to better deal with stress. These hormones are serotonin and melatonin, which help you to feel good, relax and sleep better at night.
Using Black Salts for Cleansing
You will need:
.A glass jar
.1 cup of black crystal salt
To use sole, you’ll need a glass and a wooden or ceramic spoon (metal changes the chemical composition of salt).
.Pour about 1 cup of black crystal salt into your glass jar (so that there is about an inch or two of salt at the bottom of your glass jar). You may use any form of the salt including large chunks.
.Fill your glass jar with artesian or distilled water
.Let the water sit for a day or overnight
.The next day, check your jar to see that there is still salt in the jar. If all of the salt has been absorbed by the water, you need to add more salt. If there is still some salt in your jar, your sole is ready.
.Take one teaspoon of the sole solution and add it to a glass of water.
.Drink the solution first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Note: Every person is different. Your tongue will tell you exactly how much sole to add to your water. When you add the teaspoon of sole to your glass of water, taste it. If it tastes the way you believe salt water tastes, then it is perfect. If it tastes too salty, then dilute the solution with water until it tastes correct (pour out some from your glass, then add plain artesian or distilled water to dilute). If it doesn’t taste salty enough, you may need to add more than a tsp. of sole until the balance is correct for you. Your sense of taste will let you know what your kidneys need and you may find that each day your needs differ.
Benefits of using sole
.Stimulates metabolism and digestion.
.Flushes out heavy metal toxins.
.Reduces addictive cravings.
.Balances acid-alkaline imbalance in your body.
.Normalizes blood pressure.
.Cleans your intestines. (may temporarily give you slightly loose stools until the plaque has been cleaned out)
.Helps heal skin diseases.
Neti pot Cleanser
A neti pot is a special kind of ceramic container that you use to cleanse and rejuvenate your nasal passages.
You will need:
.A neti pot
.1 tsp. sole solution or about a tsp. of high quality unrefined sea salt
.About 1 ¼ cups of warm water (preferably distilled or artesian), water that is about 100 degrees is comfortable for most people.
.Tissues or a towel to blow and dry your nose
.Mix the high quality unrefined sea salt into the warm water with a wooden or ceramic spoon. Or if you have sole, simply add a one tsp of sole to the water.
.Add the salt water solution to the neti pot
.Blow your nose to clear your nostrils of excess mucus. If one nostril is more clogged than the other, begin with the clearest nostril first.
.Lean forward over your sink and tilt your head to one side. Try to keep your forehead about the same height as your chin.
.Pick up the neti pot by its handle and gently place the spout in your nostril.
.Allow the salt water to flow out the other nostril. You may have to adjust your head slightly to assist with the flow.
.When you have used about ½ of the solution, lower the neti pot and blow and dry your nose.
.Repeat the process with your other nostril until the liquid is depleted.
Note: if you attempt to use the neti pot, but your nasal passages are blocked or you feel pressure, this means that you have dried mucus trapped in your nasal passages. Be patient. Keep using the neti pot until the blockage is removed. If you have asthma or another COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Dis-ease) use at least 3 times a week for relief.
Benefits of using the neti pot
• Supports and rejuvenates the respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems.
• Removes excess mucus.
• Stimulates the mind and senses. (especially useful for helping you wake up and get going in the morning)
• Is used for to relieve sinus dryness and congestion, headaches, colds, allergies, flu, many forms of COPD and psychological stress.
• Improves overall energy and circulation.
• Helps with weight loss and detoxifies the body.
Indian black salt is used extensively in Indian cuisine. It’s often appreciated by strict vegans because it mimics the taste of eggs and tofu. During the hot Indian summer months, it’s also used to flavour cool drinks, which is a practical way to replace sodium lost through excessive perspiration. They would include this by adding a pinch of the mineral to fruit or vegetable dishes and dips. The powder form may also be found as an ingredient in mineral water.
.In ayurveda, black salt is considered an aid to digestion.
.When black salt is ground with ajwain and lemon juice and taken, it helps balance the digestion.
.A couple of pinches of black salt and 1/8 tsp. dry-roasted ground cumin can be used to make digestivelassi.
.Black salt, with lemon and cliantro, is used to make a dressing for spicy fruit salsa or chick-pea salads.
Black Salt for Skin
.Many use kala namak in warm bath water, replicating the hot thermal springs found around the world.
.The salt and sulphur content alleviate aches and pains and acts as a natural disinfectant.
.Use of black salt while bathing can help you to relieve dry and itchy skin as well as serious skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. The bath naturally opens up the pores, improves circulation in the skin and hydrates the tissues so that your skin can heal.
.Black rock salt can be used as a body scrub. Rubbing rock salt increases blood flow on the skin and imparts shine.
.Black rock salt can be used as a teeth whitener or a mouth freshener. It can be used with Mustard oil for best effects. It also clears a sour throat if used for gargling.
.Can be used as a foot soak, foot scrub or a hand scrub. Removes dead skin and doesn’t have a drying effect.
.Removes the yellowness under the nails and makes your nails shine beautifully.
.Use it to cleanse your skin at night. Mix a table spoon of rock salt with your cleanser or face wash and rub it gently into the skin. Make sure to remove make up before this routine.
.DIY Salt Scrubs
-Add 4 cups of unrefined black salt. For extra detoxification, you can add 1 cup of baking soda and/or one cup of Epsom salt (this may be too ‘rough’ for some people)
-About 1 cup of unrefined oil of your choice (extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, unrefined sesame oil, coconut oil or sunflower oil)
-Add 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil.
-Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl. You can add more or less oil to reach the desired consistency.
-Step into your shower with your bowl of salt scrub
-Beginning at your feet, take small handfuls of the mixture and rub it vigorously in an upward circular motion until your skin turns a little pink. This means that you have increased blood flow to the area.
-Continue to work your way up your body. Be thorough, but avoid the face, genitals and nipples (do work all around your breast).
-Pay special attention to the creases in your groin, your sides, under your breast (especially women) and under your arms as these are important areas where lymph nodes tend to be overlooked and where toxins collect undetected.
-When you have reached up to your neck, remove the bowl and turn on the shower.
-Be careful as you step out of the shower because the area will be oily.
-Pat dry or air dry for extra moisturization of the skin.
Note: You do not need to shower with soap when you use the salt scrub. The salt, baking soda and Epsom salts are very gentle but powerful cleansers of the body and are more effective than using soap.
Black Salt for Hair
The essential minerals in black salt will boost your hair’s natural growth, strengthen it and treat its split ends.
.Treating Dandruff/Acute Hair Loss: Take black salt with tomato juice at least once a day. It will encourage hair growth, make your hair thicker and add shine and lustre.
How to Store Black Salt?
Store your salt in glass containers and not metal, as metal changes the chemical composition of salt. While grinding rock salt, it’s best to use a ceramic grinder because most unrefined salts are clumpy or in larger chunks
What is a Rock Salt Lava Lamp?
Rock salt lamps have widely been used for rejuvenation across the globe. A salt lamp is a lamp carved from a larger salt crystal, often coloured with an incandescent bulb or a candle inside. The lamps give an attractive glow and are suitable for use as nightlights or for ambient mood lighting. When the lamp is lit it releases negative ions which help in air purification. Various scientific studies have indicated that Rock salt lamps are beneficial in treating allergies and diseases like asthma and rheumatism. You can use these lamps in bed rooms, office or massage rooms.