Black salt has been used in Ayurveda for centuries and is a common ingredient in Indian cuisine because of its numerous medicinal properties. It is rich in essential minerals and often recommended for individuals with high blood pressure and those on a low-salt diet. Though it is said to have many health benefits, the claims are not well-founded since no scientific research has been conducted on this salt yet.
Black salt is said to reducing body weight, treat constipation and bloating, improve digestive health, relieve muscle cramps, and reduce heartburn. In this article, we have talked about all the potential benefits of black salt, how it is different from regular salt, the uses of black salt in cooking, and its possible side effects.
Table Of Contents
What Is Black Salt?
Black salt is a rock salt that comes from the salt mines located in the Himalayas. This salt has a pungent smell and takes on a light pink color when ground into a fine powder. It contains a unique sulfurous component that is frequently compared to boiled egg yolks and is super healthy.
According to Ayurveda, black salt is considered to be a cooling salt and the most beneficial variety of salt.
The chemical composition of black salt includes sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, sodium bisulfate, sodium bisulfite, sodium sulfide, iron sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide.
Types of Black Salt
There are three types of black salt: black ritual salt, black lava salt, and Himalayan black salt.
1. Black Ritual Salt
Black ritual salt (also known as witches salt) is a mix of ashes, sea salt, charcoal, and sometimes black dye. This salt is not recommended for eating.
Some people keep this salt under their bed or sprinkle it around their yard because they believe that it can protect them from spirits.
2. Black Lava Salt
Black lava salt (also known as Hawaiian black salt) comes from Hawaii and has an earthy flavor.
It is used as a finishing salt and sprinkled on food at the end of cooking.
Black lava salt adds a mild smoky flavor to dishes.
3. Himalayan Black Salt
Himalayan black salt (also known as Indian black salt) has a savory flavor and is commonly used in cooking.
Indian black salt has a pungent sulfurous smell, and it is widely known for its medicinal properties.
This salt adds a great smoky flavor to dishes.
Since there are three different types of black salt, you must be wondering…
Is Black Salt Better Than White Salt?
Black salt is different from white salt in taste and the way it is processed. Unlike regular iodized salt, it is claimed to not increase the level of sodium in your blood.
Black salt has a unique sulfurous aroma and a deep smoky flavor. Table salt has a salty taste (1).
All processed foods contain white salt (2). Table salt contains additives like aluminum silicate and potassium iodate. Potassium iodate especially is harmful to health as it can cause tissue damage through lipid oxidation (3), (4). When compared with table salt, black salt contains fewer additives.
Now that you know how different white salt and black salt are from each other, let’s check out the health benefits that the latter is famous for.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Eating Black Salt?
1. May Aid Weight Loss
Black salt is said to aid weight loss by dissolving and disintegrating enzymes and lipids to prevent the accumulation of fats in the body. This is why it is an essential part of Ayurvedic weight-loss products like Lavana Tailam.
High sodium intake is associated with an increase in appetite, which consequently spikes energy intake and leads to weight gain (5). In contrast, black salt is believed to contain lower amounts of sodium and to aid in managing body weight. However, limited research is available to support this point.
2. May Cure Constipation And Bloating
Black salt is an integral part of several Ayurvedic churnas and homemade digestive pills. This is because it is believed to treat constipation, stomach irritation, and many other stomach ailments.
Black salt is also claimed to improve digestion and reduce acid reflux, acts as a laxative, and relieve gas and bloating. However, scientific research is needed to support these claims.
3. May Relieve Muscle Spasms And Cramps
Black salt may help in relieving painful muscle cramps. Potassium, a mineral available in black salt, is essential for proper muscle function (6). Thus, replacing your regular salt with black salt may help keep muscle pains and cramps at bay, though not enough research is available to prove the same.
4. May Reduce Water Retention
Water retention is caused by the accumulation of fluids in the tissues or cavities in your body. One of the causes of water retention is the excess consumption of sodium (7). Compared to white salt, black salt is said to have lower sodium content, making it a potential treatment for water retention. However, research is required to understand the exact mechanism responsible for this benefit.
5. May Cure Heartburn
Heartburn is caused by excess acid accumulating in your stomach. The alkaline nature of black salt is said to balance the acid production in the stomach and treat heartburn. This salt is also believed to be full of minerals, making it highly appropriate to be used to cure acidity. However, there is minimal research to support this claim.
6. Works As A Great Cleanser
Adding a small amount of black salt to your cleanser or scrub may help impart some glow to your skin. This is because the granular texture of the salt can help unclog pores and reduce the oiliness and dullness on your face. For best results, do this every night before you go to sleep.
7. May Stop Hair Fall And Reduce Dandruff
Anecdotal evidence suggests that black salt may boost your hair’s natural growth and reduce dandruff. The minerals in it are claimed to strengthen your hair and treat split ends, though there is limited research to prove the same.
It is claimed that black salt acts as a natural detoxifier. Check out the next section to know more about this potential benefit.
How To Use Black Salt For Detoxifying?
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that black salt may act as a natural detoxifier and remove all toxins from the body. Though there is no scientific data that proves this, you can try out the following remedy if you are in the mood for some detox.
Mix one tablespoon of black salt in a glass of warm water. Drink it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
There are a couple of different ways that black salt is used to improve your skin. Check them out in the next section!
How To Use Black Salt For Skin
1. Cleansing Solution Using Black Salt For Healthy Skin
This solution works as a natural detoxifier to flush out all toxins and cleanse your intestines and kidneys. This, in turn, is said to make your skin look healthier.
What You Need
- 1 cup black salt
- Wooden/ceramic spoon (because black salt reacts with metal)
- 1 glass jar
- 2 cups distilled water
What To Do
- Put the salt in the jar and fill it with distilled water.
- Let the solution sit overnight. Check in the morning to ensure that all the salt has dissolved in the water. Add more salt if required.
- Add one teaspoon of this solution to a glass of warm water and drink it on an empty stomach every morning.
2. Black Salt Scrub For Skin
The granules of black salt work as a physical exfoliant to remove the dirt and dead skin cells accumulated in your pores. This makes your skin look brighter and healthier.
What You Need
- 4 cups unrefined black salt
- 1 cup baking soda OR Epsom salt
- 1 cup base oil (olive/coconut/jojoba)
- 10-12 drops of any essential oil of your choice
What To Do
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
- Adjust the quantity of Epsom salt/baking salt according to your skin type. Decrease its quantity if you have sensitive skin as it a slightly harsh ingredient.
- For scrubbing, start with your feet.
- Rub the scrub in a circular motion all over your body. DO NOT use this scrub on your genitals, nipples, and other sensitive areas.
- Wash it off with warm water and pat yourself dry with a towel. Avoid using soap after you are done with the scrub.
Apart from skin and health, black salt is also used in cooking to make delicious dishes. Check out a tasty recipe below!
How To Use Black Salt In Cooking?
Black salt is commonly used as a flavoring agent in cooking. To reap the maximum benefits of black salt, mix it with table salt in equal proportion and use it in your dishes. It can also be used to store food items.
Recipe Using Black Salt
Chickpea Flour Scramble
- Black salt: 1/8 teaspoon
- Chickpea flour: 1/2 cup
- Water: 1/2 cup
- Turmeric powder: ¼ teaspoon
- Baking powder: 1/2 teaspoon
- Flaxseed meal: 1 tablespoon
- Paprika powder: ¼ teaspoon
- Nutritional yeast: 1 tablespoon
- Regular white salt: ¼ teaspoon
- Onions, chopped: ¼ cup
- Vegetable oil: 1 teaspoon
- Green chili: one half
- Tomato purée: 2 tablespoons
- Garlic: 1 clove
- Asparagus/bell peppers/zucchini/other vegetables of your choice: 2 tablespoons each
- Black pepper or cilantro: to garnish
- Blend all the ingredients (excluding the vegetables) together and keep the mixture aside.
- Heat half a teaspoon of oil in a skillet over medium flame.
- Add garlic and onions to it and cook until translucent.
- Add the chili and vegetables, and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and mix them in well.
- Pour the chickpea batter over it and cook for a couple of minutes, until the edges begin to set.
- Drizzle half a tablespoon of oil onto the edges.
- Scramble it all and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
- Let the mixture cool for 1 to 2 minutes before breaking it up into smaller chunks.
- Sprinkle some black pepper generously over chickpea scramble and garnish with salt and cilantro.
This is an easy recipe that you can have any time of the day, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Black salt is quite easy to find in stores or online. But if you would like to make your own black salt at home, check out the method given below.
How Do You Make Black Salt?
- Mix regular white salt with small q1uantities of amla, bahera, harad seeds, babul bark, natron, and charcoal. All of these ingredients can be found in an Ayurvedic store.
- Seal this mixture in a ceramic jar and heat it in a kiln for 24 hours.
- Take the mixture out of the kiln and let it cool down completely before storing it in a glass or ceramic jar.
The final outcome contains traces of magnesium, iron, and sulfates. But, these are not harmful to your health. Products that contain sulfates are considered to be safe for consumption and can be used to prevent bacterial growth (8), (9).
Black salt is also manufactured synthetically by combining sodium chloride with small quantities of sodium and ferric sulfate and sodium bisulfate.
Where To Buy?
You can find black salt in local stores. If you can’t find this salt locally, you can also get it online. Here are the best picks for the different kinds of black salt.
- Chandru’s Indian Black Salt (Kala Namak) – Buy it here!
- The Spice Lab Himalayan Black Salt – Buy it here!
- Viva Doria Hawaiian Black Lava Sea Salt – Buy it here!
Though black salt is generally safe for consumption, it does have a few side effects that you need to keep in mind. Check them out in the next section.
What Are The Side Effects Of Black Salt?
Black salt is usually safe when consumed in dietary amounts. However, excess consumption of this salt may lead to some adverse effects. It may also pose problems during pregnancy due to its high sulfate content. It may also lead to hypertension in pregnant women. However, limited research is available on these adverse effects of black salt. So, limit the usage of black salt and consult a doctor if you experience any side effects after consumption.
Black salt is a good alternative to regular salt. Some argue that it adds a better flavor to dishes.
Though limited research has been conducted on this ingredient, it is said to reduce body weight, treat heartburn, and help in the treatment of various ailments. Excess consumption of black salt may lead to adverse effects, so limit its intake to enjoy its benefits.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What is the chemical composition of black salt?
Black salt mainly consists of sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, magnesia, ferrous sulfate, greigite, and ferric oxide. The sodium content in this salt is lower than that of table salt or sea salt (36% when compared to the 39% of table salt). On the other hand, it has larger traces of potassium, calcium, and magnesium than table salt.
What to prefer – black salt or table salt?
The answer to this question varies depending on the situation. Table salt contains a significant amount of iodine that is relatively absent in black salt. So, if you are suffering from thyroid-related troubles and are in need of iodine, it is better to go for table salt.
However, black salt is rich in essential trace minerals that have many health benefits and pose relatively fewer risks.
- The taste of table salt, European Journal of Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Dietary Salt Intake and Hypertension, Electrolytes and Blood Pressure, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Potassium iodide, but not potassium iodate, as a potential protective agent against oxidative damage to membrane lipids in porcine thyroid, Thyroid Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Lipid Peroxidation and Its Toxicological Implications, Toxicological Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Dietary sodium intake and overweight and obesity in children and adults: a protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis, Systemic Reviews, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Role of Potassium in Regulating Blood Flow and Blood Pressure, American Journal of Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Dietary Influence on Body Fluid Acid-Base and Volume Balance: The Deleterious “Norm” Furthers and Cloaks Subclinical Pathophysiology, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Sulfites inhibit the growth of four species of beneficial gut bacteria at concentrations regarded as safe for food, PLoS One, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The Efficacy of Sodium Bisulfate Salt (SBS) Alone and Combined With Peracetic Acid (PAA) as an Antimicrobial on Whole Chicken Drumsticks Artificially Inoculated With Salmonella Enteritidis, Frontiers in Veterinary Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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