Himalayan rock salt is claimed to be literally hundreds of millions of years old and to contain many minerals. In fact, it is claimed to contain all the trace elements needed by the human body. This salt is also claimed to having healing properties. The salt was said to be found in the Himalayan mountains, a range of peaks that spans Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and India. However, an investigation conducted by Tourist Watch that was published in 2002 showed that there are no salt mines in the Himalayas. The salt is actually mined in the Khewra mine in Pakistan, one of the largest salt mines in the world.
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Due to the high mineral content, Himalayan rock salt has become prized for its health benefits. According to Saltworks, a company that sells various types of salt, Himalayan rock salt contains 84 trace elements and iron.
The look of rock salt changes depending on how it is processed. It can be very finely cut so that it appears more like a powder or it may be coarsely cut, so that it appears like small rocks. The salt can range in color from white to pink to deep red. The color is determined by the mineral content and the iron level of the salt.
Health Benefits: Lamps
Himalayan rock salt is said to be mined from a location that once contained very ancient oceans, about 250 million years old. Due to that and the high mineral content of this type of rock salt, many health benefits are claimed to come from using this product. For instance, lamps made of this salt are said to help with relaxation, stress relief, insomnia, and headaches, among other health concerns. In addition the salt is claimed to clear the air of tobacco smoke and help people with bronchitis or asthma breathe more freely, according to Peter Ferreira at Wealden Natural Health.
Health Benefits: Spa
For centuries in Europe salt works are said to provide health benefits to those who swim in them. This mindset may be behind the claim that Himalayan salt baths are beneficial. As one eBay reviewer mentioned, it helps to regenerate the skin, making it feel healthy.
As no health claims for the rock salt seem to have been scientifically substantiated by doctors, the only plus to using Himalayan rock salt may be the different color and taste it adds to food. According to registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky at MayoClinic.com, there is no nutritional difference between table salt and sea salt. Because Himalayan (Pakistani) rock salt is mined from an area that was a pre-historic ocean, according to Pak Travel, a Pakistanti ecotourism site, it technically could be considered a form of sea salt. Note that the term rock salt is often used to simply means the salt is coarsely ground. It does not necessarily describe its chemical content or where it is from.