Kala Namak (Black Salt), Rock Salt (Sendha Namak) and Table Salt - Medicinal and Other Uses
Salt And Its Importance
Salt is a mineral whose chemical formula is NaCl. Salt contains 40% sodium and 60% chloride on a weight basis.
Salt is imperative to live and is one of the basic elements of the human body. Existence of the human body is not possible without this element.
Salt is used to improve food flavour & preserve food. It regulates various functions of the body and is involved as a building block for various complex functions.
Salt is of many types. In Ayurveda, importance is given to consuming the right type of salt.
Varieties Of Salt
Salt is available in a variety of forms. Some of them are:
Table salt, sea salt, Celtic salt, pickling salt, seasoned salt, kosher salt, popcorn salt, pretzel salt, rock salt, black salt, etc.
For health purposes, Ayurveda uses 3 types of salts, viz:
Table Salt called Namak in Hindi
Rock Salt called Sendha Namak in Hindi
Black Salt called Kala Namak in Hindi
It is these 3 types of salts that I refer to in this article.
Black Salt Crystals
Black salt is also known as Kala Namak.
It is a dark purple-pink salt when in the solid form. When powdered fine to a pink to dark greyish pink with a typical flavour and aroma somewhat akin to eggs.
Black salt is more hygroscopic than common salt and tends to absorb moisture pretty fast. Store it away from moisture and keeping the cap of the bottle or jar tightly closed helps by maintaining it in a dry form longer.
Black salt is used in preparing Indian snacks, chaats, chutneys, raitas and is used as a flavouring for many fried snacks, by sprinkling it as a topping. It is sprinkled on fruits too.
Black salt has a lower sodium content than table salt and its use helps to lower blood pressure.
It also helps in reducing gas and heartburn, is used as a digestive aid and a laxative.
Kala Namak | Black Salt
Rock salt is also known as Sendha Namak.
Rock salt is obtained from the rocky salt mountains and from the vast beds of dried-up ancient lakes and seas. These beds may be hundreds of meters deep.
It is usually colourless to yellow in colour but may also be in various hues of blue and pink, depending on the minerals in it.
It is a much larger grained, coarse, unrefined salt which contains a number of minerals. It is mainly used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines, and also consumed during religious fasting as it is considered pure.
Rock salt is also used as a condiment and food preservative. It is less salty and has a lower sodium content than table salt and hence lowers blood pressure.
It is also used as a digestive aid and to relieve heartburn, a laxative and as a condiment besides being used by roadside vendors of ice cream who sprinkle it over ice to freeze homemade ice cream.
Ayurveda considers rock salt as the best form of salt for the human body.
Sendha Namak (Rock Salt) & Its Health Benefits [In Hindi With English Subtitles]
Reduce Salt Intake
Excessive intake of salt:
Makes the urine & perspiration smell strong.
Leads to excessive thirst.
Raises blood pressure.
Some Ayurvedic Uses Of Salt
Take black salt, carom seeds, small Harad (Chebulic myrobalan dried fruit) and dry ginger in equal quantities. Grind all together. Take 1 tsp of this mix an hour after dinner for relief.
Take 15 gms Bhang(a preparation of the leaves and flower buds of the Hemp plant-cannabis indica) and 1 tsp salt. Boil this in 1 litre of water. When suitably cool dip a cloth in this water, wring the cloth to remove excess water and foment on the area of pain. Do this twice a day. Relieves in 2 to 3 weeks.
If digestion is weak, there is alternating constipation with loose motions and pain, take 5 gms black salt in hot water for relief.
In Shaky Teeth
Take a little black salt and some sesame oil. Massage the gums and teeth with this mixture.
For Tired & Painful Feet
Add salt in hot water and dip the legs up to the knees in the water. Massage the calves with this hot water too.
Put 4 tsp salt in a litre of hot water. Give fomentation with a cloth dipped in this.
In Insect Bites
Put salt in water and rub on the bite. It relieves burning, pain and swelling.
- Keep a pinch of salt on the tongue and 10 minutes later drink a glass of cold water.
- Put 3 gms salt in 1/4th cup water. Sniffing this water also relieves headaches.
Strain ground rock salt in a muslin cloth. Mix 1 part of this salt with 4 parts mustard oil. Brush and massage teeth and gums with this daily for relief. This also relieves tooth pain and sensitiveness of the teeth.
Put 1/2 tsp in 1/2 tsp honey and lick.
- Roast salt on a pan till it turns brown. Dose for children 1/2 tsp and for adults 1 tsp mixed well in a glass of hot water taken before the time the fever strikes. Take on an empty stomach. It prevents the fever from coming on and even if it comes it is a low-level fever.
Take for 2 to 3 days.
- Take 1 part rock salt and 4 parts brown sugar. Grind both fine. take 1/2 tsp of this 3 times daily for 2 to 3 days on empty stomach, before the time fever normally strikes.
Add a pinch of salt to hot water and drink.
Take 6 gms each of rock salt, black pepper and turmeric. Grind and add a glass of water to this and boil this till 1/2 glass of water remains. Drink hot for relief.
Mix 1 tsp salt in 1 glass of water (for adults). Drink once a day for 3 days. In case there is excessive thirst do not drink further. Drink water in sips to keep the tongue wet & moist but do not drink more water. It brings down the fever to normal sooner.
For Winter Skin Affections
Bathe with hot water to which salt has been added.
Add 1/2 tsp salt to a glass of water and drink for relief
Add salt to hot water and gargle with this. Also, give hot water (add salt to this water) fomentation.
In Rheumatic Fever
Tie some salt in a cloth. Warm this salt and foment the swollen area.
In Poisoning & Intoxication
Add 60 gms salt in water and give to drink. It ensures vomiting out of the poison or intoxicating substance.
For Relieving Rough Skin
Wash with hot water to which salt has been added. Also, use this water for hot fomentation.
In Sprains & Bruises
Roast salt in a pan. Put in a thick cloth and tie this. Foment the affected area.
Add a pinch of salt and glucose to water and drink.
When pain is constant put the thumb or a finger dipped in salt water for relief.
- Take dry ginger powder and powdered rock salt in equal measure. Mix well. Take 1 tsp of this with hot water.
- Mix 1 part rock salt and 4 parts ground Ajwain (Carom Seeds). Take 1/2 tsp of this twice a day, once in the morning & then in the evening.
- Take and grind equal quantities of rock salt, big cardamon, dry mint, ajwain and black pepper. Take 1 tsp of this with water daily.
For Liver Pain
To 1/2 tsp rock salt and 4 tsp mustard seeds add water and grind to a paste. Apply on the liver area. After 5 minutes wash it off and apply ghee. It relieves pain.
- Grind & mix equal quantities of rock salt, black salt and table salt. Take 1/2 tsp of this with hot water to stop hiccups
If you are on a no-salt diet due to medical reasons do not do this.
- Take 1/2 tsp black salt, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 tsp honey. Mix all and consume. It soon stops hiccups. One can take this every 20 minutes till hiccups stop.
- Boil 60 gms ground mustard seeds in 1 litre of water. Simmer till 250 ml water remains. Add rock salt to taste and drink.
For Cough & Phlegm
Suck some rock salt for relief.
In Toothache And Pain In Gums
Massage with rock salt.
In Tonsils, Throat Pain, Toothache & Swelling
Gargle with water to which salt has been added.
In Scorpion Bite
- Put 4 drops of saturated salt solution in the ear opposite to the side one is bitten. This relieves pain faster.
- Mix 1 part salt with 5 parts water. Apply this water in the eye as one would apply Kaajal. It promptly removes the effect of the bite.
Saturated salt solution can also be applied on insect bites for faster relief.
Those suffering from hysteria, epileptic fits, high blood pressure, swellings, kidney diseases, ringworm, itching, gout should not eat salt.
Table Salt is also called Namak.
Table salt is a refined form of rock salt along with some additives, like calcium silicate, to keep it free-flowing.
It is produced from rock salt or sea salt. Iodised table salt contains potassium iodide and dextrose (a stabilizer for the iodide)to prevent goitre and mental retardation.
Plain table salt is free from potassium iodide and dextrose.
Other Uses Of Salt
About 18% of the world's salt production is food grade, used for human consumption.
The major part of the production is used industrially to produce pulp, paper, in the textile industry as a fixing agent for dyes and in the manufacture of soaps and detergents.
Salt is also used in the rubber, glass, pharmaceutical, cosmetics leather, Pvc pipe manufacturing industries. It is also used for preservation of foods especially meats.
Commercial feeds for livestock, poultry and pets use salt as one of its ingredients.
Europe, United States and the snow belt regions worldwide use salt for winter road safety to remove snow and ice bonded to the road surface and as a strategy to prevent or delay snow and ice bonding to the roads.
Some Facts Relating to Salt Consumption
- All things that are consumed have good as well as bad effects. Whenever and wherever natural foods are suggested to relieve any health condition, it must be understood that their usage has to be in limited to a small quantity, and that too, only when necessary. Avoid its use if conditions aggravate.
- Use of salt in conditions like itching, boils, high blood pressure, swellings, is harmful. Hence, such people must avoid salt.
- It must be remembered that fruits and vegetables contain salt in the form of sodium naturally. This salt is enough to meet the body's need and requirement. There is no need to add extra salt. But we have been so conditioned and our bodies so attuned to extra addition of salt that we tend to sprinkle salt on food thinking the extra salt will make it tastier.
- Ayurvedic texts of Charak and Sushrit Shastras have expounded on the ill effects of high salt consumption, among them being, increased thirst, weakening of the sinews, hair loss & premature greying of hair, and even becoming unconscious.
- Hence, salt consumption should be as little as possible. People who stop salt totally find that they can enjoy the real taste of food albeit after remaining off salt for some time.
- We must, therefore, not think of salt as a necessary component of food but use it more as medicine and, that too, in as little a quantity as possible.
Did you know about that there were so many varieties and uses of salt?
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.
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Benefits Of Salt
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly