The Herb Stop Blog
Salt - Why You Need It
Sodium is a necessary mineral and considered to bring youthfulness to the body’s tissues. Sodium is indispensable for healthy digestion, capillaries and arteries, and to help maintain flexibility and mobility in the joints. Without proper sodium, the joints would stiffen and calcify prematurely, and the lining of the stomach would not secrete the necessary enzymes for healthy digestion. Sodium has the ability to dissolve calcium deposits around the joints, arteries, capillaries and muscles, allowing the bloodstream to carry them out of the body. Sodium is crucial for maintaining the health of every cell in the human system.
The sun is considered the sodium star, therefore all fruits and vegetables which ripened in the sun contain ample amounts of sodium. Other significant sources of sodium (besides unrefined salt) include seaweeds such as kelp, dulse and nori, as well as black mission figs, whey, celery and raw goat’s milk. Herbal sources include alfalfa, celery, parsley, spirulina, stinging nettles and raspberry leaf.
History of SaltOne of the first commodities known to mankind was salt. Salt bars were used as a currency, and governments were financed on salt taxes. In ancient Rome, soldiers were paid in “solarium argentums” which became the English word “salary”. Wars were fought over and paid for with salt. Throughout history, salt was at the forefront of wars, revolutions, and governmental policies. In the American Civil War, the Union attacked the South’s salt production facilities. As their salt supplies dwindled, they could not preserve their food, which meant their army could not be properly fed. There is no doubt that salt played a large role in the fall of the South.
Good Salt And Not-So-Good SaltToday, commercial table salt used in our food is the furthest thing from ideal. During the refining process of table salt, natural sea salt or rock salt is stripped of more than 60 trace minerals and essential micronutrients. Commercial refined salt is not only stripped of all its minerals besides sodium and chloride, but it also is heated at such high temperatures that the chemical structure of salt changes. In addition, it is chemically cleaned and bleached and treated with anti-caking agents, which prevent salts from mixing with water in the salt container. Unfortunately, the anti-caking agents perform the same function in the human body; so refined salt does not dissolve and combine with the water and fluids present in our system. Instead it builds up in the body and leaves deposits in organs and tissues, causing severe health problems such as high blood pressure, fluid retention and kidney problems. Two of the most common anti-caking agents used in the mass production of salt are sodium alumino-silicate and alumino-calcium silicate. These are both sources of aluminum, a toxic metal that has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and that certainly does not belong in a healthy diet. To make matters worse, the aluminum used in salt production leaves a bitter taste in salt, so manufacturers usually add sugar in the form of dextrose to hide the taste of the aluminum. Refined salt is very acidic, and since most illnesses are associated with acidity, refined salt should be avoided at all costs.
The Healing Power Of Unrefined SaltDr. Brownstein explains in his book “Salt, Your Way To Health”, that unrefined salt is a vital substance if you want to achieve good health. Unrefined salt, with all its minerals, supports the thyroid and adrenal glands, corrects dehydration, improves the immune system, hormonal system, nervous system and the cardiovascular system. He gives convincing evidence that devitalized, refined salt increases the risk for heart attacks, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol levels. Adrenal exhaustion, which is so very common in people suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other chronic conditions, may be due to a low salt, or refined salt diet. Nervous disorders, such as anxiety, brain fog and headaches may be reversed with adequate unrefined salt and water intake.
Taking a small amount of unrefined salt before a meal, especially if someone is deficient in hydrochloric acid, may improved digestion. The chlorides present in salt constitute the only readily available source of chlorides with which the body can manufacture hydrochloric acid, so vital for proper digestion in the stomach. Thus, taking salt before a meal allows any deficiency of hydrochloric acid to be made up before the food gets into the stomach.
If we use unrefined salt correctly and moderately, it can beautify the skin, giving it a soft glow, but too much unrefined salt can cause the skin to itch. Salt stimulates the appetite, as the stomach stores and needs it for healthy digestion.
Himalayan Pink SaltHimalayan Pink Salt is an unrefined salt that comes from the Himalayan Mountains at altitudes of over 10,000 feet. It is a fossil marine salt, rich in many minerals including Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Iron, giving the salt its beautiful speckled pink color. Himalayan pink salt is harvested once a year, in the springtime, from ancient sea salt deposits. The salt is transported down from the mountains to the Nepalese valleys by caravans of yaks. This is the principle income for the mountain peoples of the area. Himalayan Pink Salt is recognized for the beautiful pink color and high mineral content.
Grey Salt or Sel Gris (Celtic Salt)Grey salt or Sel gris is completely natural and unrefined. These salts are harvested using traditional Celtic methods. High in minerals and nutrients, the French salts are known to be among the best tasting salts.
Finishing SaltsWhether you are finishing off a gourmet dish or simply salting your French fries, the right salt can change your eating experience.
- Chile Verde Sea Salt - Bite into a grain of this salt and you’re in for a treat… the flavor explodes, just like you have bitten into a fresh green chili. This salt is more than simply spicy – it has a three dimensional flavor that is an unexpected surprise. This is great for Mexican dishes and seafood. How about trying a pinch of Chili Verde sea salt on a bowl of chocolate ice cream?
- Lime Twist Sea Salt - The natural flavor of lime is an international favorite. Thai food, margaritas, desserts... the uses are plentiful. Lime Fresco Salt is tart without being too sour. It is refreshing and versatile. Use to rim a drink glass, sprinkle on chicken or fish before grilling or add to a crisp salad for a surprising hint of citrus.
- Thai Ginger Sea Salt - Combine the clean simple flavor of sea salt with fresh, juicy ginger. The ginger flavor of this Fusion variety cannot be matched by powdered or synthetic flavorings. Use on grilled veggies, Asian noodles or fish. Great for chocolatiers and pastry chefs alike.
- Vanilla Bean Sea Salt - Made with genuine Tahitian Vanilla Beans mixed with a delicate hand-harvested sea salt. The combination of salt and vanilla accentuates sweet desserts.
- Smoked Alderwood Salt - A new breed of natural smoked salt, this Pacific Sea Salt is slow smoked over real alder wood for 48 hours, giving it an authentic, clean smoke flavor without the addition of any liquid smoke or artificial flavors/colors. Red alder wood has been used to smoke salmon and other meats for hundreds and hundreds of years, making it a true Northwest tradition.
Leilah & Natalie
**Consult your healthcare practitioner before using salt in your diet if you take pharmaceutical drugs or have a medical condition.