Salt is an essential mineral for the human body and it is also one of the basic taste sensations. Traditionally, it is often used as a natural food preservative and ubiquitous food seasoning. Usage of salt and its consumption is traced worldwide in all cultures and cuisines. Let’s dive deep into the health benefits of salt regarding Ayurvedic and therapeutic properties.
Before learning about the health benefits of salt, let’s start with a brief background overview. Salt is a natural crystalline mineral composed of Sodium Chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to a larger class of salts. It is processed in salt mines from evaporating seawater (to obtain sea salt) and mineral-rich spring water in shallow pools. Edible salt is fortified with Iodine which is an essential micronutrient required for humans.
Ayurvedic properties and therapeutic benefits of salt
Ayurveda has described six tastes of which Lavana, a salty taste, is an essential component of daily meals. Lavana Rasa is composed of Water and Fire elements, which leads to salt being heavy and unctuous and increases Pitta Dosha respectively as per the elemental composition. Salt balances Vata due to being heavy in nature.
Salts in Ayurveda
Saindhava – Rock salt
Sourvachala – Black Salt
Bida – a type of black salt
Samudra – common/table salt
Romaka – earthen salt
Health Benefits of salt
Salt has immense health benefits. It is consumed as a flavor enhancer in cooking as well as used to make herbal formulations in Ayurveda. Some of the benefits are as follows:
- It gets quickly absorbed in the body and reaches the micro-channels (Strotas)
- It increases salivation by stimulating salivary glands, which act as a palate cleanser by improving taste.
- It acts as a carminative and increases digestive strength.
- It breaks down Kapha and channelizes its proper movement with the help of Vata.
- Salt has a specific salty taste that can dominate other tastes if used in excess, causing an increase in Pitta Dosha.
- Using salt internally and externally helps to clear the obstructions in circulation, leads to sweating, and opens pores. It is often used to induce sweating in Panchakarma.
Ayurvedic Uses and home remedies:
- In case of fever and high temperature, water is mixed with salt and a muslin cloth is dipped into the salty water, then kept on the forehead of the patient to lower body temperature.
- Saltwater gargles are often recommended to maintain oral health and hygiene.
- Water mixed with salt and sugar acts as a natural electrolyte balancer during dehydration.