Pink Himalayan salt can be used both for cooking and as a beauty accessory. Himalayan salt is coarse rock salt mined from beneath the Himalayan mountains in northern Pakistan. The salt, which sometimes has a reddish-brown tint due to mineral contaminants, is mostly used as a cooking ingredient but also is used for food presentation and decorative lamps, salt blocks, and other spa products. It has a high magnesium content that imparts a rich pinkish color. This pink color is highly desired by many consumers, who prefer the color and its many uses over more common alternatives such as white table salt. Himalayan pink salt is an excellent alternative to synthetic salts, which are commonly used in place of natural sea salt.
Salt is the result of the dissolution of rock materials that once existed millions of years ago. Today's table salt and seawater have less dissolved minerals than those of even 100 years ago. A cubic meter of sea or lake salt contains approximately 0.35 milligrams of sodium chloride (LC), approximately one-eighth of one percent of the earth's total sodium chloride minerals.
Pink Himalayan salt was originally created by digging deep into the Earth's crust to mine the salt deposits. The process takes many months and requires a great deal of manpower. The fine crystals of mineral matter found in the rock combine with the natural lifting power of water to rise to the top, where they settle and form into beautiful pieces of the finest sea salt available. Many of these salts have a high mineral content and are extremely expensive. They also take a long period to form, which explains why Himalayan salts are available only from remote mountain villages.
The potential benefits of Himalayan pink salt and other such Himalayan products have led to a boom in sales worldwide. This high demand for these products has increased the cost of the mineral. In an effort to combat the inflation of the Himalayan region, more people have begun to buy them in smaller quantities, as well as in containers that hold a lesser amount of the mineral dust. A single gram of Himalayan salt can be used approximately three times each year as an alternative to table salt. These tiny particles are known as trace minerals and contain much of the same active substances as do salt clays and seawater.
There are two types of minerals commonly found in ancient sea salt mixtures. One type is magnesium chloride or common salt. The other is sodium chloride or chloride of sea salt. Salt clays and seawater are actually mineral aggregates held together by an organic binding agent. Himalayan pink salt and other sea salt minerals are made by breaking down the minerals using heat and pressure.
The history of Himalayan pink salt and other sea salt mines in Pakistan can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization. These early people mined the nearby salts for food, water, and jewelry. One historical account states that the legendary queen of Sheba married a boy who mined the salt for her. Legend has it that the queen became soothed by the beautiful sight of the shimmering crystals that she fell in love with the boy and gave him to be her mate.
Although it appears that ancient people knew more about the mineral composition than we do today, modern mineral exploration and mineral identification techniques are constantly being improved. Scientists now know that Himalayan Pink Salt and other salts in Pakistan's foothills are made of much more than sodium chloride. Some have even discovered hematite or a variety of iron minerals. These minerals can add another layer of nutrition to the foods that we eat. They also serve as an anti-aging agent. Recent tests have shown that eating them regularly can keep arteries clogged and help slow the aging process in humans.
Although Himalayan Pink Salt and other types of natural salts seem relatively harmless, the potential benefits of their trace minerals are still being studied. Some argue against the idea that consuming them can keep you healthy. Trace minerals are "like vitamins", they argue because they help our bodies maintain our health. When our bodies don't get the right nutrients, we feel tired and lose energy. If those nutrients can be added through a healthy diet, why would trace minerals that are naturally present be harmful? Scientists are continuing to study the effects Himalayan pink salt and other Himalayan salts may have on our health and well-being.