You’ve heard about Himalayan salt. In fact, you may even be using it right now. After all, it’s been increasingly making its way into kitchens across the country and beyond. But odds are, you’re not taking advantage of its many different uses. Most use it like they would traditional salt, and many people, whether they use it or not, aren’t aware that there is a dramatic difference between standard table salt and this natural salt.
Table salt contains 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals, like moisture absorbents and iodine. And, as its dried at temperatures of over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, that excessive heat alters its natural structure.
Himalayan Crystal Salt is by far the purest salt on the planet – it contains no pollutants, toxins or chemicals. It also has a unique flavor and a wealth of health benefits, as it contains the same 84 natural minerals and other elements found in the human body – and, as the minerals exist in colloidal form, that means they’re tiny enough for the cells to easily absorb.
This pink-hued salt, of course, got its name from where its derived from, the Himalayan mountains, the tallest mountains in the world. Some 250 million years ago, in the same place these very peaks now stand, there was a primordial sea. In that ancient body of water was a pristine ecosystem, and as the Earth’s plates moved over the millennia, it pushed the mountains high into the sky, while the sea evaporated and left its life-sustaining minerals crystallized in the heat of the sun, forming what we now know as Himalayan pink salt.
As a result, it’s totally pure, having spent many thousands of years maturing under extreme tectonic pressure, far away from impurities, which means it’s not polluted with the heavy metals and industrial toxins of today. And it’s hand-mined, hand-washed, and minimally processed.
According to renowned physician Dr. Mercola, this purest of sea salts has the ability to:
- Promote blood sugar health
- Support respiratory health
- Help regulate the the body’s water content
- Assist in the absorption of food particles in the intestinal tract
- Promote sinus health
- Prevent muscle cramps
- Promote a healthy pH balance in the body’s cells
- Assist in the generation of hydroelectric energy in the body’s cells
- Promote bone strength
- Support the libido
- Promote and regulate sleep
- Reduce anxiety
- Regulate blood pressure
- Promote vascular health
A study conducted in 2003 at the Inter-University of Graz in Austria, gave participants water with Himalayan salt added and they experienced positive changes in nervous system functions, connective tissues, respiration and circulation as well as increases in brain activity, concentration levels, weight loss, quality of sleep and noticeable growth in hair and nails.
Although Himalayan salt is great for adding to dishes when cooking and sprinkling on popcorn, with so many benefits, doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of it in every way possible?
Here are some ideas for using it you probably haven’t thought about.
1. Bath salts
Bath salts are great for soaking in. The ancient Greeks even recommended seaside health resorts in order to help cure skin diseases, and 16th-century physician and alchemist Paracelsus proclaimed that a salt bath was “better than all the health spas arising out of nature.” The healing powers of a salt bath, are still valued this day, due to its many well-documented health benefits – but, Himalayan Bath Salts takes that to a whole new level. It also gives your bath a beautiful pink-hue, creating the ultimate at-home spa treatment.
As Himalayan pink salt is so rich in minerals, soaking in a solution of bath water infused Himalayan salt allows the skin to soak up these minerals, including calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc, in a process known as dermal absorption.
Detoxification is important too, due to the countless toxins we’re all exposed to on a daily basis, from our food, our water, the air we breathe, household and personal products, and more. In fact, it’s been estimated that we encounter some 700,000 to 2.1 million different toxic chemicals every day. A 2012 study conducted by the University of California at Davis indicated that the average person is exposed regularly to cancerous levels of toxins, including DDE, dioxins, and arsenic – 100% of children that were tested were found to have cancer levels that exceeded the benchmarks set for these chemicals.
By bathing in Himalayan salts, some of these toxins are pulled out of the skin through a process known as reverse osmosis. You’ll find numerous options for purchasing Himalayan bath salts, including Spice Lab’s fine grain, quick dissolving bath salts, available on Amazon, with a 2.2-pound bag available here.
To use them as a detox, experts advise showering first, and then filling the tub with water that’s just at or slightly above body temperature to allow for maximum absorption. Dissolve the salts in the tub as it fills with water, and if using essential oils, add them to the running water. Soak for 30 to 40 minutes, or as long as it feels comfortable. Sip water while soaking to prevent dehydration.
To learn more about the benefits of a Himalayan salt bath and how to take one, read this article.
2. Himalayan Salt Inhaler
If you’ve ever used a Neti pot then you know how well salt water can work to clear up the sinuses – that’s the same idea behind a Himalayan Salt Inhaler. It helps to eradicate bacteria and bonds to many contaminants that could be stuck in the nasal cavities due to breathing polluted air.
Salt inhalation therapy has been used for decades to boost overall respiratory strength and lung capacity. Research from the 1800s discovered that breathing the pure salted air in salt mines could help reduce respiratory problems as well as the general irritation caused by smoking and air pollution. According to the Star Tribune, “In 1843, a physician named Dr. Feliks Boczkowski noticed that workers at a salt mine, unlike other miners, did not have respiratory or lung problems. He attributed their healthy lungs to the air climate inside the salt mine.” It wasn’t long after that spas opened up in Poland’s salt caves, eventually spreading in popularity throughout Eastern Europe and Russia.
The benefits, which include reducing inflammation in the lungs as well as relieving the symptoms of asthma, colds, allergies, hay fever and sinus congestion, are believed to be thanks to the salt’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you’re forced to spend time in any environment with smoke, smog, pet dander or dust, using a Himalayan salt inhaler may be your best bet for reducing their effects.
There are multiple different types of inhalers available, including the Neti Inhaler, which contains pure Himalayan pink salt along with the essential oils of peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree. A set of two sells from this page on Amazon.
3. Himalayan Salt Lamps
Himalayan Salt Lamps not only offer a soothing glow to any environment, they also help to improve air quality by attracting pollutants and helping to neutralize the effects of electronics, making them ideal for use at home and in the office.
Having a Himalayan Salt Lamp in a room you spend a lot of time in is said to help boost one’s energy level, focus and mood. The soft orange hues are noted for their especially soothing, relaxing color. They also emit some negative ions, which when reaching the bloodstream, are believed to produce biochemical reactions that raise levels of serotonin, AKA the “happy hormone,” which can alleviate depression and relieve stress.
If you’ve ever breathed in the air around a place like a magnificent waterfall, a tranquil mountain or waves lapping the seashore, you’ve probably noticed how fresh the air felt and how easy it was for you to breathe. That experience is not something that’s just in your head, but the result of negative ions. The forces of nature, through phenomenon like ocean waves, waterfalls, rain storms and the like, create negative ions which help neutralize and balance positive ions creating a number of positive effects on our health and well-being.
While you might think these lamps would be really pricey, they’re actually rather inexpensive. The Levoit Himalayan Salt Lamp is our top pick when it comes to high quality, authentic salt lamps and is available from this page.
4. Himalayan Salt Sole – The ultimate sports drink
You can make your own perfect sports drink using Himalayan pink salt too. When consumed this way, in a solution of water that’s been completely saturated with Himalayan Pink Salt, you’ll be fuelling your body with electrolytes that help regulate hydration. If you take a look at the ingredients in a sports beverage, you’ll see electrolytes listed, like sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), and chloride (Cl?) – in one or more of their forms. That’s because the body absorbs electrolytes quicker than if you were to drink the water on its own. When combined, the body takes in the water and electrolytes together for faster hydration. The problem with store-bought sports drinks is that they’re not only expensive, they’re typically filled with sugar and chemical preservatives that harm rather than help the body.
Himalayan Pink Salt, with its rich concentration of minerals, flood the body with the nutrients it needs, including fluid regulation. You can make your own, a solution known as Sole, by following these step-by-step instructions:
- Place an inch of food grade Himalayan Pink Salt chunks (The Spice Lab offers a 2-pound bag of 1″ – 2″ chunks on Amazon) into a glass jar, ideally one with a lid.
- Add 2 to 3 inches of filtered water above the salt chunks, totally covering them with water. Allow them to sit overnight.
- In the morning, if the salt crystals have dissolved, add a few more chunks to the water.
- The solution is ready when the water is fully saturated with salt, is unable to hold any more and the salt that is there no longer dissolves. As you use it, simply add more water and salt until the water is again totally saturated. There should always be some undissolved crystals at the bottom of the jar. As salt is a natural fungicide and antibacterial, it cannot spoil, so you can keep it for as long as you’d like.
To use, simply mix one teaspoon of the Sole into a glass of filtered water and consume every morning on an empty stomach.
5. Himalayan Salt Block
A Himalayan pink salt block can help you make healthier, more interesting, tastier dishes. They also go on a long way in beautifying your kitchen. You can not only cook on it, but you can use it to serve and display foods. Due to its crystalline structure, heat spreads evenly through the entire block rather than radiating from the middle and cooling toward the edges. Food prepared on it will cook at the same pace in the center as it will the outer edges. It also helps food hold its temperature, whether it’s hot or cold, which means you can leave it on your salt block without having to worry about it while you finish preparing other dishes.
Cooking on a salt block not only helps to impart its delicious taste but its many health benefits too. The amount that is actually absorbed can depend on several factors, however, like the oil content, thickness and moisture level of the food, as well as the temperature of the block. It’s excellent for helping to keep cool foods cool, such as fruits, cheeses, and meats. You can even leave raw foods on it such as sashimi, and they’ll actually start to cure, the longer they sit.
Zenware offers a highly rated 10″ x 6″ x 2″ Himalayan Salt Block from this page on Amazon. It’s not only a great idea for your own kitchen, but it makes a great gift for hard-to-please people who enjoy cooking and hosting dinner parties.
6. Himalayan Salt Foot Tiles
While it might sound strange, Himalayan salt can also help re-energize your sore, tired feet at the end of a long day in the form of foot tiles. Commonly used in spas, you just heat the tiles up in a 350 degree oven for five minutes and then place them onto a cotton towel, where you can rest your feet, allowing the salt to draw out toxins and impurities.
Salt and Light offers these tiles on Amazon from here, and each pair comes with a set of mini-towels in various colors.
7. Himalayan Salt Ball
Himalayan Salt Balls offer antibacterial properties that can help prevent odor causing bacteria from forming, making it ideal for use as a deodorant as well as a body cleanser. This is simply pure Himalayan salt, which in addition to reducing body odor, helps to balance the pH of the skin without stripping natural oils. Its abundance of minerals also nourish the skin, and it can even help to prevent or heal dry skin too. Some say that it helps heal skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis too.
To use it, you simply wet the salt ball with water and then rub it between your hands to apply the salt to anywhere you tend to experience sweating and odor, like the underarms and feet.
Zen Life’s Himalayan Salt Ball is available on Amazon.
8. Himalayan Salt Mortar and Pestle
Cooking with Himalayan crystal salt, as mentioned, is a great way to impart a delicious, unique flavor to food and infuse it with minerals. While you can achieve that by cooking over a Himalayan Salt Block, cleanup afterward can be tedious, making that product arguably better for preparing and displaying food, but a Himalayan salt mortar and pestle are ideal for this purpose. You can use it to grind up herbs and spices, crush garlic, or make up a chunky sauce like pesto or guacamole. Not only will your foods have added flavor and texture, but you’ll enjoy the health benefits of Himalayan salt too. Plus, as it’s naturally anti-microbial, clean up is as simple as wiping down the interior with a damp cloth.
Black Tai Salt Co. offers a Himalayan Salt Mortar and Pestle on Amazon here.
9. Himalayan Salt Bowl
A Himalayan Salt Bowl is both attractive and durable, making it another ideal addition to your kitchen. After all, if this salt has been around for a very, very long time, you should can count on yours to stick around for a while, maybe even for generations to come. With its lovely hue, some simply enjoy looking at it on a shelf, but it offers a lot more than just a pretty look.
As this bowl can withstand very high temperatures, you can even use it as a baking dish and a serving dish. It can also withstand freezing temperatures, so you can use it to put together a frozen custard, or, as it retains both hot and cold temps evenly, and for long periods of time, you can use it to keep fruits and other items crisp and cool throughout a dinner party.
The Spice Lab offers a variety of different sized Himalayan Salt Bowls, with its 8-inch version selling from this page on Amazon.