Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Benefits of Himalayan Salt

I use Himaylan Pink Salt at home for flavoring foods. I had never even heard of it until some raw foodie friends recommended it and now I don’t use anything else.

When most people hear the word “salt,” they think of sodium chloride. This is what is commonly sold in stores, and usually has one or more of the following added to it: calcium silicate (anti-caking agent), dextrose (sugar), and iodine.

Himalayan salt is different. It comes from an old lake bed (the lake evaporated in the past) in northern Pakistan at the base of the Himalayan mountains.  It is hand-mined, hand-washed, and sun dried. Its crystal structure is not unlike precious gems, and proponents of the salt make all sorts of claims about its benefits. Here are some of the suggested uses and benefits of Himalayan salt.

1. Air purifier

It is said that a large chunk of Himalayan salt placed near the computer or television reduces the effects of the radiation these appliances emit. It also has been credited with neutralizing second-hand cigarette smoke in the air and absorbing other airborne impurities. It is especially effective when heated, such as when the salt chunk is made into a lamp.   

2. Skin cleanser

Himalayan salt contains magnesium and bromine, which have a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the skin. This makes it especially beneficial for those suffering from dermatitis due to allergies. Mix some of the salt with a gentle skin cleanser or water and use on the skin, massaging it well. Rinse.

3. Brine

Himalayan salt can be made into a brine, or sole, that has various uses. To make the brine, mix a few crystals with pure spring water. When they dissolve, mix in a few more. Keep doing this until the crystals no longer dissolve. Then, you can use the brine for a variety of things, such as:

* Toothpaste – Add undiluted brine to your toothpaste to clean your teeth, strengthen your gums and freshen your breath.

* Upper respiratory and sinus health – Heat brine in a pot and inhale the steam. Cover your head with a towel to keep the vapor near your face. Inhaling the steam can help ease headaches associated with sinusitis and other factors.

If you use a neti pot to cleanse and flush your nasal passages, you can use Himalayan salt. Add 1/2 teaspoon to a full neti pot.

* Health drink – Add 1/4 teaspoon of brine (up to 1 teaspoon is considered okay) to 8 ounces of pure spring water and drink. Do this in the morning on an empty stomach and continue drinking pure water throughout the day. This drink can help balance your body’s pH and, with a little lemon juice added, it helps balance your electrolytes.

Himalayan salt can be used in fine crystal form as a substitute for table salt as well.

All salt is not created equal. The refined, iodized, commercial salt sold in stores is a far cry from natural Himalayan salt. Don’t try to subsititute commercial salt in any of the above suggestions – it’s entirely different, and could cause problems if used as described above.

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