Rock Salt

Rock Salt


INTRODUCTION:
Rock salt or Saindhavalavana is a ‘mineral halite’ that contains sodium chloride and all other 84 minerals which are essential to human health.  This salt plays a vital role in human body.  This natural salt or rock salt comes from the salt mines of Pakistan. It is the purest form of salt which is free from environmental pollutants.

ORIGIN:
The rock salt originates from the sea beds that evaporated million years ago during the early Cambrian period. The ancient sea bed inside these mountains where the salt is mined was once covered by lava. This lava acted as a natural barrier to protect the salt from toxins and pollutants.

HISTORY:
Firstly, the Himalayan salt deposits were discovered by the army of Alexander the Great. The mining was first started by Janjua people in 1200s. This crystallized deposit was found only in the Sindh province.  Sindh was originally a land, of the river Indus. In the seventh centuaryA.D, Sindh was divided into four regions namely Upper (with districts Gandhava, Kalian, Shikarpur and Larkana west from Indus and Sabzalkot and Khairpur east from Indus), Middle (a small area basically modern Seewan, northern parts of Haidarabad and Omakot), Lower ( a delta region from Haidarabad to the sea) and Kacch (around the ancient holy city of  Ketesar. Kacch is basically area around Karachi, it is either low or wet or a salt desert. All these places are now located in Pakistan.
In Ayurvedic literature, the AcharyaCharaka and Sushuruta described about rock salt or Saindhavalavana in their ‘CharakaSamhita’ and ‘SushurutaSamhita’. They mentioned that the Saindhavalavana or rock salt is the best and purest form of salt to human health.

MINING:
It is mined at the Khewra Salt mine in Khewra, Jhelum District, Punjab which is situated in the foothills of the Salt Range hill system in Punjab province of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is located approximately 190 miles (310 km) from the Himalayas, 160 miles (260 km) from Lahore, and 185 miles (298 km) from Amritsar, India.

MINERAL COMPOSITION:
Naturally occurring rock salt contains 95 to 98% of Sodium chloride, 2 to 4% of poly ‘halite’ (potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur, oxygen, hydrogen), 0.01% fluoride, 0.01% iodine and small amounts of numerous trace minerals.

COLOUR:          
The salt crystals are off-white, white, pink or a combination of white and pink. The colour is due to the presence of elements in polyhalite and trace minerals.
VERNACULAR NAMES:
English name - Himalayan salt, Himalayan rock salt, Himalayan pink salt
Sanscrit name -Saindhavalavana
Hindi name - Sendhanamak, Sendhalon
Marathi name - Shende Lon
Gujarati name – Sindhalun
Bengali name - SaindhavaLavan
Tamil name - Intuppu

HEALTH BENEFITS:
The intake of salt varies from individual to individual. The health benefits of rock salt are experienced when used in its natural state.

  • MAINTAINING OSMOTIC BALANCE:

Sodium and Potassium are the essential elements which maintain the osmotic balance of our body. Rock salt is easily absorbed to our body as its composition of minerals is similar to what we have in our bodies. So, it facilitates the cellular absorption of minerals and it plays a crucial role in replenishing the body’s electrolytes and maintaining the osmotic balance.

  • STABLIZES THE BLOOD PRESSURE AND WEIGHT LOSS:

Rock salt is used to stabilize the blood pressure by maintaining the balance between the low and high blood pressure.
It also helps to control the body weight by equalizing minerals which inhibit craving and eliminate dead cells.

  • ANTI-OXIDANT:

It acts as an anti-oxidant. It eliminates toxic minerals and refined salt deposits by stimulating blood circulation and mineral balance.

  • SKIN BENEFITS:

We have atrocious experiences with chemical soaps. When pink salt is added to lukewarm water while bathing, it acts as a healing agent to our skin.
It gets rid of the dead skin cells, cleansing skin pores and protects our skin layers.
It strengthens the skin tissues to rejuvenate the skin and make it look younger and firm.
It acts as a natural disinfectant. So, it is used as scrub or feet soak.
It is a suitable substitute of spa standard products.

  • HOME REMEDY:

It is used as a home remedy to cure many disorders and ailments.
It can be consumed along with lemon juice to eliminate worms in the stomach and controls vomiting.
The common cold and dry cough,throat pain,throat swelling and sinus can be cured by gargling the rock salt with lukewarm water.
It is used to treat the bleeding gums by massaging the gums with rock salt.
The nasal and chest ailments can be treated with recipe that involves rock salt as a main ingredient.
It is also used to reduce pain, inflammation and irritation from insect bites.

  • BEST CURATIVE FOR RESPIRATORY DISORDER:

Halotherapy or salt therapy technique is used to cure respiratory disorders.
In this technique, they build the chamber with rock salt. The person who is affected withasthma,sinus, cold and respiratory disorders breathes inside the chamber of rock salt. When he breathes, the salt absorbed by the moisture present in the air directly enters into the lungs. This is the best technique that does not contain any drugs and it has no side effects.
As a proof of the success of this technique, workers in a salt mine have an excellent respiratory system.
Rock salt is dissolved in water to prepare brine which is used in facial steams for patients suffering from asthma, bronchitis or other nose and ear discomforts.
According to the ancient Ayurvedic culture in India, inhaling of salt cleanses the nose and throat areas.

  • REMARKABLE REMEDY FROM MUSCLE SPASM AND CRAMP:

             Rock salt contains small amount of potassium which is an essential component for the muscle to work properly and it also helps to absorb the potassium easily.So, it is very effective in preventing muscle pain,spasms and cramps.


  • CULINARY BENEFITS:

                Salting is the best method of food preservation. It is used for garnishing salads, soups, drinks,yogurts as well as pickles.
It is the best alternative for commonly used iodized salt.

  • PROMOTES DIGESTION:

          It is a digestive stimulant; it helps to alleviate body’s vayu and kapha.
It improves digestion without causing stomach irritation.
It acts as a laxative;taking rock salt as a regular part in our diet, solves constipation problem.

  • RELIEF FROM RHEUMATIC PAIN:

                    It is used to treat rheumatic pain and herpes.
First, heat rock salt in a pan then, pack it and apply this pack over the affected joints and get relief from joint disorders.

  • BOOSTS IMMUNITY:

It provides all the essential trace elements to improve the immune system


  • MAKING ICE-CREAM:

It is used in making ice creams because it lowers the freezing point when packed with ice in the ice cream maker, making the ice cream colder.


  • THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS:

Rock salt is a cooling salt which helps in improving eye sight.
It not only acts as a laxative, but it also cures intestinal disorders.


  • NATURAL SALT LAMPS:

The Serotonin and melatonin are the important hormonesthat help us to feel good, relax and sleep at night. When we use the natural salt lamps, it absorbs the negative ions and pollutants from the air. So, it acts as an air purifier and enhances the hormones which in turn ameliorate sleep.
It increases libido.

15.  EATING AND COOKING PLATES:
Rock salt is used inthe making of eating and cooking plates.


HOW TO USE
The Himalayan Pink Rock Salt has various uses. Broadly the uses can be classified into two major categories.

        • Dietary Uses
        • Non-dietary Uses

Dietary Uses:
The Himalayan Pink Rock Salt can be used in cooking just like the normal table salt. It can be used in sauces or for marinating and also in all other foods that are cooked.
The Himalayan Pink Rock Salt is most commonly found in tiny granules just like the normal table salt. But it is not uncommon to find lager and medium sized crystals also. 


Considerations for cooking:
It is important to consider how finely a salt is ground before measuring any kind of salt by volume. If the salt is coarse, then we may need more quantity. On the other hand if the salt is finely ground, a small amount will be sufficient.
For example: One teaspoon of finely ground salt contains 2300 mg of sodium, whereas, one teaspoon of coarse salt contains less than 2000 mg of sodium.


Non-Dietary Uses:
Just like the dietary uses, pink salt also has various non-dietary uses.

Pink salt is used in bath salts and soaps which improves the skin condition.
Salt lamps made out of the Pink Himalayan Salt acts as an air freshener that removes pollutants from the air. Salt lamps are made of blocks of rock salt with a light inside that heat the salt.

Manmade salt caves are also constructed to improve the skin and solve respiratory problems.