The Herb Stop Blog
Salts - 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 Salt
Today, 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.
In contrast, unrefined salt contains much more than sodium and chloride. It contains all of the elements necessary for life. Unrefined salt has not been processed through various machines to remove the minerals and other elements that are naturally part of salt. Furthermore, unrefined salt has not been exposed to harsh chemicals.
The Healing Power of Unrefined Salt
Dr. 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 Salt
Himalayan 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
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 Salts
Whether you are finishing off a gourmet dish or simply salting your French fries, the right salt can change your eating experience.
Smoked Applewood Salt - One of the most popular fruit woods used in smoking, Sweet Applewood is what fuels the fire for this sweet smokey salt. A subtle fruit wood flavor make a perfect match for fish, shellfish, poultry, pork, sausage, ham and turkey. This salt adds a unique BBQ touch to salads, pastas, veggies and sandwiches.
Alder Wood Smoked 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.
- Mesquite Smoked Salt - Cold smoked over real mesquite wood, this salt captures the big flavors of authentic Texas BBQ. Mesquite Salt is a light, sparkling smoked sea salt that is ideally suited for spice rubs and seasoning blends. Easily add an intense, smoky flavor to any dish.
- Hiwa Kai (Hawaiian Black Lava) Salt - This unique Hawaiian salt has a stunning black color and silky texture. Solar evaporated Pacifi c Sea salt is combined with activated charcoal. This complements the natural saline flavor, and adds numerous detoxifying health benefits.
- Hawaiian Alaea Salt - Alaea is the traditional Hawaiian sea salt used to season and preserve. A small amount of harvested reddish Hawaiian clay (*Alae) enriches the salt with Iron-Oxide. Savor a unique and pleasant flavor while roasting or grilling meats. It is the traditional and authentic seasoning for native Hawaiian dishes such as Kalua Pig, Hawaiian Jerky and Poke.
If you want to know more about the benefits of salt and why it is the most misunderstood nutrient please read the book “Salt, Your Way To Health” by David Brownstein, MD.
Written by Leilah