Saindhava lavana or rock salt is considered best among all salts. It is advised for daily use as per Ayurveda. It is also called Himalayan sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. One of the advantages of this salt is, it is derived from In-land. It is told that the in-land sea salts are the salts deposited from a previously existing ocean, many thousand / lakhs of years before. It is told that these types of in-land sea salts are far better than the regular sea salt derived from the oceans, which has more chances of mercury and other poison exposure.
How it is formed?
Rock salt is a mineral with many different compounds mixed in it. It is also called mineral halite. Sodium chloride is the main ingredient. Hence, its chemical formula is NaCl.
It is formed by the evaporation of salty water (such as sea water) which contains dissolved sodium and chloride ions. It is usually found dry lake beds, in areas covered by sea in the past, inland marginal seas, enclosed bays etc. At the places where there was ocean, the salt deposits are formed and are buried under. Salt being very light in weight, tends to move up and hard rocks and other ores, being heavy, tend to settle down at the bottom. Due to this, the salt beds often “punched up” through the sediments to create dome-like structures.
This is why rock salt deposits are found in states like Utah, which is land locked. It means there was sea at that place, many million years before.
Because it is not contaminated by the impurities of the ocean and because it is mixed with other minerals, rock salt is considered purer and more beneficial.
Is Rock Salt harmful to the body?
No. In fact, rock salt is hailed as a must have daily ingredients in our diet, by Ancient Ayurvedic Master – Charaka. All ancient Ayurvedic masters have recommended rock salt for daily intake.
Sodium chloride is the major ingredient making upto 98 %. It contains many useful minerals and elements. It also contains Iodine, Lithium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Chromium, Manganese, Iron, Zinc, Strontium, etc.
Table salt has more iodine than rock salt. If you are advised to follow low iodine diet, then rock salt is a better option.
If you want to take iodine, raw milk, cheese, yogurt, potatoes, seafood, prunes, eggs, etc. contain iodine.
Qualities , effect on Doshas
Taste– Salt, slightly sweet taste,
Qualities – Light, Unctuous,
Effect on Tridosha – We have learnt that salt taste usually increases Pitta, but Saindhava Lavana, being cold in potency helps to balance Pitta.
Because of its Salt taste, it balances Vata and
It helps to relieve chest congestion due to sputum accumulation, because it also relieves Kapha.
Hence it is one of the rare Ayurvedic substance that balances all the three Doshas.
Rock salt uses
As per Charaka, it is one of those ingredients, that can be taken on a daily basis. (Pathya). (Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5/12)
Rochana – improves taste
Dipana – improves digestion strength
Vrushya – acts as aphrodisiac
Chakshushya – good for eyes, helps to relieve infection
Avidahi – (unlike regular salts), Saindhava Lavana does not cause burning sensation.
Hrudya – good for heart
Hikkanashana – useful in hiccups
Use in respiratory disorders
Sendha namak – Use in respiratory disorders – Kapha vilayana, Kapha chedana – It helps to dissolve / disintegrate Kapha. This property is the reason, it is included in Lavana Bhaskar Churna – used in respiratory disorders (also in digestive disorders), because it helps to dissolve or disintegrate and expel sputum.
Use in joint disorders with stiffness
Use in joint disorders with stiffness For the same reason, it is used in many medicines that are used to relieve joint stiffness – such as Dhanwantaram Tailam, Brihat Saindhavadi Taila and Saptavinshati Guggulu.
Usually in cases of Rheumatoid arthritis, where there is stiffness of joints, Rock salt is used as an ingredient in oils for external application and tablets for oral intake.
Use for fomentation
How to use rock salt for fomentation –
This is useful in cases of joint disorders, or wherever Kapha is more, as in sinusitis.
In case of joint disorders with stiffness, apply the oil prescribed by your doctor, leave it on for 10 – 15 minutes. Then, take a cup of Sendha namak inside a cloth. Make it into pack. Heat it on a pan, check for heat tolerance on your skin. Once it is tolerable, gently apply this rock salt pack over the affected joint. You can reheat and re-apply on the joints. You can do this for 4 – 5 minutes.
Even while doing Nasya therapy, after doing massage with suitable oil (as advised by doctor), you can give hot fomentation with the same technique, before using Anu taila as nasal drops. It helps to liquefy sputum and to relieve sinusitis, migraine etc.
Use of rock salt in Basti – Enema therapy
Basti is a Panchakarma – enema procedure. While formulating the basti liquid, rock salt is added to prepare an emulsion. It helps to dissolve and expel Doshas from intestines.
Here, honey, rock salt and fat material (herbal ghee or oil) is made into a combination along with decoction and paste. It is administered. Here, rock salt helps to make a colloid or emulsion by efficiently mixing all the liquid and solid materials together. This way, when this is administered via enema, it stays in the intestines and does its function better.
In Vamana therapy:
Ahead of Sadyovamana (quick emesis therapy), high dose of ghee is advised. It is administered mixed with rock salt for quick absorption and action at tissue level.
Even in the emesis liquid, rock salt is mixed to stimulate the expulsion of Kapha Dosha.
Use in obesity
Use of Saindhava in obesity and high cholesterol – because it has the dissolving and disintegrating effect, it is widely used in anti-obesity products like Lavana taila and anti-cholesterol products.
Where to buy rock salt – Within India, it is available in any Ayurvedic medical shop across India. Outside India, it is available in Amazon website.
Use in gastritis, bloating
Use in gastritis and bloating – Rock salt is widely used as an ingredient in many stomach care products like Hingwastak Churna, because it improves digestion without causing stomach irritation, without worsening gastritis.
Vibandhaghna – relieves constipation, bloating.
To relieve bloating and constipation, it is often made a combination with Haritaki or Triphala and administered.
Culinary uses: Rock salt is famously used in making many tasty dishes including Pani Puri, Masala Puri, Ice creams etc. Many households use rock salt as the main salt, in place of common salt.
Use in digestive disorders
It aids in digestion by stimulating digestive fire, balances natural production of HCl, and is prescribed for laxative and digestive disorders. It improves appetite, removes intestinal and abdominal gases, cramps, and soothes heartburn.
Dose, Side effects
Daily recommended dose sendha salt is 1.5 – 2 grams per day.
Rock salt side effects – It is not indicated in people with high blood pressure (hypertension), edema and water retention.
In very high doses of more than 4 grams per day, it may increase blood pressure, may cause early greying of hairs, increase of body warmth, burning sensation etc. symptoms suggesting an increase of Pitta Dosha.
Some people make a false claim that it helps in reducing blood pressure. But this is not true.
If you are advised to follow a sodium restricted diet, then it is better to avoid Sendha namak.
Can it be taken when one has high blood pressure?
It depends on the blood pressure. If your doctor has recommended not to take any salt at all, then it is better to avoid Saindhava Lavana. If your doctor has permitted you to take a little of rock salt, then limit the rock salt intake to just 500 mg per day.
Miscellaneous benefits of Saindha namak:
- Rock salt is used as a home remedy for curing many disorders and ailments such as relief from rheumatic pain and herpes, inflammation and irritation from insect bites.
- Consumption of rock salt along with lemon juice can help in eliminating stomach worms and controlling vomiting.
- It is beneficial for people suffering from respiratory problems and sinusitis. Gargling with rock salt helps relieve throat pain, throat swelling, dry cough and tonsillitis. Rock salt is dissolved in water to prepare brine which is used in facial steams for patients suffering from asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis or other nose and ear discomforts.
- Rock salt can be used as easy remedy for Halitosis- Bad breath, a teeth whitener or mouth freshener. Gargling with rock salt provides relief against sore throat. Its pungent smell suppresses the pungent odour of undigested food.
- One of the most amazing benefits of rock salt is that it overcomes muscle cramps. Those experiencing muscle cramps can mix a spoon of rock salt in water and sip it to get relief within a few minutes.
- By providing all the essential trace elements, it is a fast nervous stimulant, relaxes body and mind, it greatly improves the respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems to a significant extent like aspirin.
- It helps in maintaining the flow of salivary and digestive juices. You can add a pinch of rock salt with few shredded mint leaves and coriander leaves to curd, lassi to make a refreshing beverage.
- It strengthens the bones and connective tissue. It increases blood level due to its Iron content hence useful in anemia.
Use in newborn care
Care of the newborn:
अथ खलु जात मात्रम् एव बालम् उल्वात् सैन्धव सर्पिषा मार्जयेत्।(वाग्भट)
Acharya Vagbhata tells ‘Immediately after the birth of the child, the Ulva (secretions or cheesy white coating enveloping the body and face of the new born child) over the body and face should be cleansed by wiping and rubbing it with the mixture of Saindhava Lavana (Rock salt) and Sarpi (ghee).
Inducing vomiting to get rid of phlegm from newborn’s oral cavity:
First of all a cotton swab should be smeared with ghee and placed over the crown of the head of the new born child. Later the child should be given emesis using the mixture of Saindhava Lavana (rock salt) and ghee. This emesis will bring out the deeply stuck phlegm from the throat and stomach. This will make the child breathe easily. Charaka Sharirasthana 7/43
Read related: Ayurvedic Care Of The Newborn Baby: Jatamatra Paricharya
Does rock salt contain iodine ? Can it be used daily in place of common salt ? If yes , what other sources can iodine be taken from to fill the deficiency caused as a result of rock salt ?
Rock salt contains Iodine. Hence no need of other Iodine sources.
Curd, Banana, milk, pineapple, Strawberry, cheese, potato, egg, fish, are other sources of Iodine.
Does rock salt cause grey hairs?
Ayurveda only says that excess use of salt makes the hairs grey. So, limited use of rock salt in daily diet does not cause grey hairs.
Does it help in psychological problems such as anxiety and panic disorder?
Its minerals are useful in maintaining good health. But its benefits in psychological disorders are not yet established.
Can ascites patient use it?
Just 1 gram per day should be tolerable.
Use in Rasashastra
Saindha namak in Rasashashtra – metals and mineral processing for medicines:
Makshika Shodhana – In purification of pyrites, it is used. For this, 1/3rd of rock salt is mixed with pyrite and heated.
English name – Himalayan salt, Himalayan rock salt, Himalayan pink salt, Halite
Hindi name – Sendha namak, Sendha lon, Pakistani namak
Marathi name – Shende Lon
Gujarati name – Sindhalun
Bengali name – Saindhava Lavan
Tamil name – Intuppu
Kannada name – Saindhava Uppu, Saindhava Lavana
It is available from mines of Punjab. It is of two varieties –
1. Shweta Saindhava – (white in colour)
2. Rakta Saindhava – (Red in colour)
Anyone of these can be regularly used in the name of Rock salt.
Saindhava, Sheetashiva (because it is coolant in nature), Sindhuja (because it is found in Sindh region of Punjab), Naadeya (because it is found in the banks of rivers), Manimantha
Himalayan pink salt is NOT a source of iodine. Btw artificially Iodized salt is very dangerous since it causes thyroid dysfunction. If you are wanting to boost iodine then eat natural sources found in milk, dairy etc. Please do not take synthetic forms since they were not designed for the body and are detrimental to health and wellbeing.
Can we live fully on raw diet without any type of salt?
No. It is not healthy. As per Ayurveda, the wholesome food should contain all six tastes. Salt is also one among them.
Can indhuppu (rock salt) be used in children?
Can a kidney patient use it?
Yes, if he is not contra indicated for the use of sodium or sodium chloride.
Can obese people take it?
Yes. But it may not be useful for weight loss.
PCOS, thyroid patients?
They can use it.
Can it be used in cooking and making dishes?
Can pregnant mother take it?
Yes, but please take an advice from your doctor.
It can be used during lactation period.
I am using rock salt for over 3 months and found that the taste of food has increased and it feels good. I heard that it helps in curing thyroid problem tremendously. Which I followed from late Rajeev Dixit Ji.
A reader’s opinion:
Saindhava Namak (rock salt) is white in colour and is therefore different from Himalayan Pink Salt. I have both these varieties in my home. Himalayan Pink salt is different and it may have some other microminerals which give it Pink hue. Each salt has NaCl as main ingredient but give and take few microminerals, the colour changes. Himalayan Pink Salt is more crystalline in structure than Rock salt. In Delhi, when you ask for Saindhav Namak at any local grocery store, they hand you white salt often bound together in lumps. Both these salts have their origins in the western Punjab/western Himalaya salt mines now in Pakistan. In taste, I haven’t found much difference between Saindhav namak, Himalayan Pink Salt and Common salt. The difference in taste is a bit suble. The Kaala Namak (black salt) is definitely different from the Himalayan Pink salt although the colour of black salt is also light Pink. Black salt has distinct taste due to more sulphur content.
First of all it is natural and sea salt is processed and concentrated after evaporation of water. The difference is just like organic and non-organic products. Being natural it is easy to digest and assimilates faster in the body than sea salt. does not need fortification with iodine too as being other minerals in it. It extracts less iodine while digestion. It is best in all kinds of kidney disorders. In Fact all hypertension patients should switch on to rock salt however they should consume less quantity as recommended by all the doctors.
Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, and rock salt is made of sodium chloride plus a combination of minerals.
Epsom salt looks like rock salt, but Epsom is usually prescribed as a remedy for constipation. It is also used as bath salts.
Why rock salt is better than table salt?
Less sodium content is one reason. Another is, presence of other micro-nutrients and useful minerals. like Magnesium, Chromium, Manganese, Iron, Zinc etc.
Where is it available in the US?
Whole Foods and Amazon.