Health Benefits of Sendha Namak (Rock Salt) and Kala Namak (Black Salt)
Types of Salt
It's well-known that too much salt can cause health problems, but, in moderation, salt is essential for fluid balance and blood pressure management. We can avoid iodine deficiency by using a bit of regular iodized table salt every day, but why not also try using some of the most delicious and healthy salts the world has to offer?
There are many types of salts. Some are mined from dried up lakes and some from sea water. The most common types are:
- Table salt. This is the regular, refined salt that is mixed with minute amounts of iodine. Eating a small amount of iodized salt daily is important for health to avoid iodine deficiency.
- Kosher salt. These are large grains of crystal salt used in Kosher cooking.
- Sea salt. Salt produced from sea water.
- Pickling salt. Pickling is very fine and has no additives. It's used in brines used to pickle foods.
- Celtic salt. Celtic salt is harvested from the Celtic Sea near Brittany, France.
- Seasoned salt. This refers to a variety of salts mixed with herbs or spices, such as garlic or onions.
- Sendha namak (Himalayan rock salt). This is a large crystalline salt that's harvested from the Punjab region of Pakistan. The crystals are off-white, pink, and sometimes dark red in color. Research shows that this type of salt may offer benefits for those of us with kidney disease.
- Kala namak (Black salt). This is a dark, reddish-black crystalline salt that turns a pinkish grey color when ground up. It has a distinct, sulfurous odor and taste.
According to Ayurveda, Sendha namak is the best for eating. The next best is Kala namak.
Himalayan Rock Salts of Different ColorsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Sendha Namak (Rock Salt)
Sendha namak is the Indian name for Himalayan rock salt. It is a large-grained, coarse salt, also called halite or land salt, that's available in many grocery and health food stores. It dissolves readily in water. Here are some more key things to know about this delicious salt:
- Sendha namak is mined from underground deposits of dried lakes in the Punjab region of Pakistan. It is unrefined, non-iodized and contains no additional anti-caking agents. It can be white, pink, red, or even blue in color.
- It is lower in sodium than regular table salt and contains 94 trace minerals, as opposed to the three that are in common table salt. Since this salt is pure, it is used during religious fasts in India.
- It is used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is said to be good for the heart, beneficial for people with diabetes and to prevent osteoporosis. According to Ayurveda, this salt reduces depression and stress, prevents and treats muscle cramps, regulates blood pressure, aids digestion, and relieves skin problems and arthritis.
- In India, it is used in making chutneys, raita (yogurt sauces), chaats, snacks, and other dishes.
- This salt lowers the freezing point of water and can be used in ice cream machines.
- Research has shown that Sendha salt is more beneficial than other edible salts for patients suffering from chronic kidney disease.
Kala Namak (Black Salt)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kala Namak (Black Salt)
Black salt, or Kala namak, is dark brown (almost black) but changes to a pinkish-grey powder when it's ground. It is also referred to as sanchal.
- It has a sulfurous smell—much like boiled eggs—from its natural sulphur content.
- Kala namak is rich in iron, which is why it is so dark in color.
- This salt is harvested from the natural salt mines in Northern India and Pakistan.
- Black salt is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine, and as a condiment in Indian cooking. It's added to chaat, chutneys, and even sprinkled on fruits and other Indian snacks before eating. It tastes great on cut vegetables, too.
- Black salt is low in sodium. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat indigestion, constipation, gas, and heartburn. It is also used to treat high blood pressure and anemia.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider, before taking any home remedies or supplements or starting a new health regimen.
© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly