Himalayan salt, Himalayan pink salt, Himalayan sea salt – these terms have been creating quite a buzz during recent times, whether in relation to the preparation of gourmet dishes, or in holistic health.
But what is it, really? Himalayan salt is commonly used in cooking, often as a fancier substitute for table salt in brining solutions, marinades, as a preservative for salted or cured food, and to finish a dish.
It is also used in bath products, such as bath salts. Its composition is a mix of 95-98% sodium chloride and 2-3% polyhalite and trace amounts of about ten mother minerals. Its pink color can be attributed to the presence of iron oxide.
A brief history of Himalayan salt
Known as the most beneficial and cleanest salt available on the planet, Himalayan salt was formed about 250 million years ago from the residue of the sun’s energy drying up the original, primal sea, which is why its crystal-like properties mimic the composition of the ancient primal ocean.
Geologists have theorized that the Great Salt Range was formed when tectonic plate movements resulted to the formation of a mountain range that trapped a shallow, inland sea. The sea, over time, slowly dehydrated and got buried deep in the earth, where it formed thick, mineral-rich sea salt deposits. It would become untouched for millions of years as civilizations formed all around it, until its discovery about 800 million years ago.
Today, Himalayan salt is mined in the Khewra Salt Mine located in the Punjab region of Pakistan, a site that attracts over 250,000 tourists annually, who come mainly to see the unearthing of huge bricks of this unique pink salt. Its foothills are located about 310 kilometers from the Himalayas, 298 kilometers from Amritsar, India, and 260 kilometers from Lahore.
Benefits of Himalayan Salt
Apart from making dishes more mouthwatering and effectively aiding in food processing and preservation, Himalayan salt has numerous health benefits. Because ingesting too much salt can have adverse effects to the body, particularly for those who are trying to avoid bloating and heartburn, among other health issues, it is a good idea to invest in Himalayan salt lamps.
Himalayan salt lamps are carved from a larger salt crystal, often colored, with an incandescent light bulb or a candle inside. These lamps emit a soft, glowing light when illuminated, its attractive glow suitable for ambient mood lighting or as night lights.
It is also believed that heated salt crystals emit negative ions, or positive energy waves into the air, thus improving moods.
Here are some of the benefits of having Himalayan salt lamps in your home or office:
They reduce symptoms of allergy and asthma. Himalayan salt lamps remove microscopic particles of dust, mold, mildew, and the like from the air, which effectively decreases your risk of getting air-borne allergies. It is also known to declog your airways, so it is good for people with asthma.
They cleanse and deodorize the air. This is probably the most well-known benefit of Himalayan salt lamps, and why many people use them. They effectively remove dust, pollen, cigarette smoke, and other air contaminants through a process called hygroscopy, where they attract water molecules from the surrounding environment and then absorb molecules, as well as any foreign particles they may be carrying, into the salt crystal. Because heat is produced by either the light bulb or the candle inside the lamp, the same water then evaporates back into the air. Where do the trapped particles of dust, pollen, and smoke go? They remain locked in the salt.
- They help ease coughing and itchy throat. Breathing in lots of positive ions in the air causes cilia (microscopic hairs) that line the windpipe, or trachea, to do a poor job of keeping contaminants out of our lungs. Through the hygroscopic cycling or airborne particles, positive ions are also absorbed into the Himalayan salt lapms. When the heated salt releases cleansed water vapor back into the air, negative ions are expelled, which has the opposite effect on our airways. Cilial activity increases, keeping lungs clear. Therefore, Himalayan salt lamps help the body filter air more efficiently so that foreign particles that you may be breathing in do not make it to your lungs.
- They are an environmentally-friendly light source. The reserves from which they are mined from measure between 80 and 600 million tons, and is projected to last another 350 years given the current extraction rate. The base is usually carved from a sustainable wood, and the Himalayan salt lamps themselves use either a low-wattage bulb, or a candle. This means that you get to reduce your carbon footprint while getting all the health benefits.
- They help improve your mood. Himalayan salt lamps naturally enhance your mood, helping you relax and unwind. Owners have also reported that they help improve concentration. The absence of negative ions on your body helps improve blood and oxygen supply to the brains and other organs, and boosts the production of serotonin, also known as the “happy hormone,” because they are neurotransmitters that literally make people feel happy.
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