When you think of salt you may envision a shaker of white granules on your kitchen table. However, there is more to salt than just this refined version. pink Himalayan salt, with its light pink hue, has made a name for itself in the wellness world.
There is more to Himalayan pink salt then just using it as a flavoring on food. This unique salt can be part of a holistic wellness routine in relaxation, skincare, and muscle relief, to name a few. From lamps and candle holders to bath salts, there are many uses for this mineral-rich salt. And along with its versatile uses, Himalayan pink salt holds potential health benefits too.
Himalayan pink salt can provide health benefits for skin through exfoliation and hydration. And for internal health, you can use this salt to hydrate and improve breathing. Not only that but just being in the vicinity of this salt can also help improve mood. Its gentle pink hue can be relaxing in and of itself.
Therefore, before you start to write your grocery list for this week, read below to learn more about Himalayan pink salt. Along with learning its origin, you’ll learn about its nutritional profile and how it can heal both body and mind. Then you can keep reading to learn ways you can apply it to your daily routine to reap its health benefits. Once you know the benefits it can provide, it will become a staple in your health and wellness routine.
Where does pink Himalayan salt come from?
The name of this salt kind of gives the origin of this salt away. This minimally processed rock salt comes from a region of Pakistan near the Himalayan foothills. In particular, some say it comes from the Khewra salt mine, which was established in the 1820s.
However, it’s thought that Himalayan salt mines formed about 500 million years ago. They weren’t discovered until around the 4th century BC by Alexander the Great and his soldiers. Centuries later, the reign Mughal emperor Akbar made this unique salt a traded commodity.
The nutritional profile of Himalayan pink salt
When it comes to nutrient content, Himalayan pink salt has its pros and cons. On the upside, Himalayan salt is less processed than table salt, so retains more nutrients. Also, the pink hue of this salt is likely to come from the iron content in the salt. Other minerals in Himalayan pink salt include trace levels of minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, to name a few.
And although Himalayan pink salt isn’t necessarily lower in sodium than table salt, some say it tastes saltier than table salt. Therefore, you need less of it to get a similar salty flavor. Over the long-term, this helps you reduce sodium intake.
However, one downside is that if you plan on using Himalayan pink salt daily instead of table salt be aware of your iodine intake. This is because table salt contains added iodine that helps prevent the thyroid condition known as goiter. Sea salt has much less iodine than table salt, so you need to be sure to add it to your diet in other ways like through foods such as cod and tuna fish, seaweed, shrimp, dairy products, and whole-grain bread and cereals.
How to use Himalayan pink salt
There are several ways you can use Himalayan pink salt in your health and wellness routine. These ways include:
- Flavoring on foods through salt granules or prepping food on a Himalayan pink salt cutting block
- In skin scrubs mixed with essential oils
- As part of bath salt soak mixtures
- Mixed with warm water with or without essential oils for a foot soak or facial spray
- Combined with purified water and fruit juice as a natural sports-type drink
- Using a Himalayan pink salt lamp or candle holder
- Sitting in a “salt room” with high concentrations of Himalayan pink salt
This versatile salt, in its many forms, holds a variety of health benefits to heal both body and mind.
Health benefits of pink Himalayan salt
Depending on how you use Himalayan pink salt, it can provide a variety of health benefits. For example, if you use Himalayan pink salt on food, you can enjoy a salty taste without using as much salt. In turn, you can reduce your overall sodium intake.
If you use Himalayan pink salt in your skincare routine, then you can enjoy several benefits. If you use the salt as part of skin scrub, or exfoliant, then you can help make your skin brighter. Not to mention that when you remove the dead skin cells on the uppermost layer of skin, you can improve the effectiveness of topical skin treatments. This is because the treatments will be able to penetrate further into the skin.
Another benefit of exfoliation is increased collagen production, which in turn can keep your skin looking younger and healthier. Collagen is a protein that makes skin smooth and prevents fine lines and wrinkles. It helps to do this by keeping the skin moist.
Another application of Himalayan pink salt that can hydrate skin is by making a facial spray. You can make a hydrating facial spray by mixing a bit of Himalayan pink salt with warm water and essential oils. Essential oils that are beneficial for the skin include lavender or frankincense, which hold anti-inflammatory properties. These properties, along with the hydrating properties of Himalayan pink salt, can tone the skin and reduce the risk of fine lines and wrinkles.
An example of a recipe for a do-it-yourself facial spray includes 1 teaspoon of carrier oil like almond or coconut mixed with 2 ounces of warm water and 24 drops of 100% pure lavender essential oil. Just combine all ingredients and spritz on clean skin to keep your face fresh and hydrated throughout the day.
Relaxation and breathing
There is not much research on the mental health effects of Himalayan pink salt, but some of the studies available show promise. For example, one animal study looked at the effect of a Himalayan pink salt lamp on hormone levels in the body. After 14 weeks of exposure, the animals exposed to the lamp had increased levels of tryptophan and serotonin metabolism. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is the main ingredient in serotonin. And once serotonin, also known as the “feel-good” hormone is made, it promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.
Along with relaxing you, there are claims that Himalayan pink salt helps purify the air and relax your breathing. Some people even swear by visiting Himalayan pink salt rooms that allow them to relax surrounded by walls of the salt. However, there is not much research to support this except for anecdotal evidence by salt miners in Europe. Such miners seemed to have rarely any respiratory issues, not to mention younger-looking skin.
Also, the beautiful pale pink hue of the Himalayan pink salt lamp can provide a relaxing ambiance to any room. And particularly, you can use this kind of lamp as a soothing night light to help you sleep.
Soothe sore muscles
Another way to relax with Himalayan pink salt is through the creation of a soak. You can either add Himalayan pink salt, with or without added essential oil, to your bath or to a foot soak. Just mix 2 tablespoons of Himalayan pink salt per gallon of warm water to create a salt bath or foot soak.
This type of mineral-rich soak can help soothe sore muscles and hydrate skin in your feet. Salt experts suggest that this soothing quality of Himalayan pink sea salt helps reduce inflammation of the muscles and joints. In turn, it can help relax the body and promote better sleep.
And by adding some magnesium flakes, from either Dead Sea salt or Epsom salt, you can help your skin absorb the minerals from pink salt better. This will allow your skin to absorb more of the many trace minerals found in Himalayan pink salt.
Homemade health booster
Although it doesn’t claim to be a cure-all, you can use Himalayan pink salt as a home health remedy. One way to do this is by creating an electrolyte elixir. This type of homemade concoction provides an electrolyte boost without any artificial colors or flavors found in sports drinks.
You can make your own electrolyte boost by combining ¼ teaspoon of the pink salt with 32 ounces purified water. You can also add in ½ cup or so of fruit juice like lemon juice or orange juice for vitamin C. Also, if you want a touch of natural sweetness, you can add a tablespoon of honey.
Another health booster you can make with Himalayan pink salt is a saltwater gargle. A gargle can help soothe sore throats and/or loosen mucus to help you feel better. And as an added bonus, this elixir can help kill bacteria causing your virus. Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow any doctor’s orders. However, you can use this home remedy to lessen symptoms as you recover.
Making a saltwater gargle is easy. This simple mixture just combines one-half teaspoon of finely ground Himalayan pink salt with eight ounces of warm water. To use effectively, make sure to gargle as much salt water as possible around the back of the throat. Then, rinse around the mouth, teeth, and gums before spitting the gargle out. You should gargle once or twice a day for the most effectiveness.
How to add Himalayan pink salt to your daily routine
The variety of uses of Himalayan pink salt can seem overwhelming. Therefore, use the following tips to start reaping the benefits of Himalayan pink salt one at a time.
Invest in a small shaker of Himalayan pink salt or a jar of coarse granules. Experiment with a few tablespoons of pink salt in your bath one day. Then maybe another day, sprinkle on your food. Then, once you know what Himalayan pink salt applications you benefit most from, you can invest in more salt.
Replace some salt with Himalayan pink salt in the recipe
To make sure you receive the iodine you need from table salt, be sure to consume at least ½ to ¾ teaspoon daily. You can easily get this from the foods you eat throughout the day. However, you may want to track for a day or two to make sure. Then, once you know you meet your iodine needs, you can use Himalayan pink salt in recipes. For example, you can use it to inject flavor and minerals in normally salt-laden rubs or marinades for meats.
Add Himalayan pink salt to your beauty and wellness routine
From facial sprays to scrubs, there are several ways you can use pink salt for beauty and wellness. Instead of buying salt in bulk with the intention of using it in many ways, try one at a time. Maybe make a skin scrub with about 10 to 15 drops of essential oil and ½ cup of the carrier oil of your choice. See how often you use it realistically. Then once you find the creations you use the most, then you can invest in more salt to have on hand.
Along with these uses, it may not hurt to add a Himalayan pink salt lamp to your décor. This way you can help stimulate your “feel good” hormones and calm your mind.
Final thoughts about Pink Himalayan Salt
Even though there aren’t many studies to support the claimed benefits of this salt, experts suggest that it’s still worth using. This is because it could provide a placebo effect. In other words, simply sitting in a salt room could at the least relax your mind. And in that way, you could feel less stressed. This feeling on its own could improve your well-being.
The only way to know if Himalayan pink salt is right for you is to try it. So, add a shaker of it to your shopping list today to start reaping the body and mind benefits of this natural and healing mineral.
Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, health editor, and founder of LighttrackNutrition.com. She has been a dietitian since 2010, and has helped thousands of patients in arenas like weight management, fitness, long-term care, rehab, and bariatric nutrition. Staci has also been writing and editing since 2011 for such websites as CDiabetes, Anirva, and Casa de Sante, to name a few and has been a featured expert for websites like Shape.com, ThisisInsider.com, and Eat This Not That. Staci hopes to provide others accessible, accurate, and practical health and wellness information so they can make lasting healthy lifestyle changes.