Health Benefits Of Black Salt

“Those who take an extreme view of health reform are in danger of preparing tasteless dishes…. Salt, instead of being deleterious, is actually essential for the blood.”
Counsels on Diet and Food, 207
 
What is Black Salt?
Harvested throughout Asia’s southmost regions, kala namak—as it is traditionally hailed by the Urdu and Hindi languages of Pakistan and Central India, respectively—is a pungent-smelling and flavorous seasoning that has a history of therapeutic and culinary use. In recent years, it has taken the vegan and vegetarian communities by storm because of its ability to perfectly mimic the taste and smell of eggs in plant-based, eggless dishes, such as scrambled tofu.
 
Black Salt Facts
Surprisingly, it’s not really black. While it may be referred to as “black salt,” it is generally dark brown or dark violet with a hint of pink translucence. When crushed or ground into smaller crystals or powder, that pink becomes more prominent. Don’t feel deceived if you purchase ground black salt and it appears pinkish-gray or light purple—it’s still black salt. You should also be prepared to watch it turn a deep red during cooking.
 
Note: In order to harness the greatest benefits of black salt, you should avoid purchasing any pre-ground versions, as the potency diminishes over time once the crystals have been crushed and the compounds have been introduced to the surrounding air and air-bound moisture. This is reminiscent of Christ’s words: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13 KJV).
 
Derived from the volcanic sea salt mines of the Himalayas, black salt’s purity mirrors that of its pink cousin. Some don’t consider it a true salt because its sodium chloride (salt) content is not its most potent or defining trait. Instead, they perceive black salt to be more of a sulfur. After all, the very look, smell, and flavor of black salt is due to its high sulfide content. Its iron sulfide, for example, gives off its unique “black” coloring, while its hydrogen sulfide causes its distinctive eggy smell and flavor.
 
You may cringe at the thought of using a seasoning that smells like hard-boiled egg yolks, but most black salt veterans will assure you that they do not notice a smell in the container, nor in the dish itself once the black salt has been cooked. It is only during cooking that the smell is temporarily noticeable. Its flavor is not like its sulphuric odor, either. It is pleasant and balanced, especially for egg-replacement dishes.
 
The Many Names of Black Salt
There are a handful of “false” black salts on the market, but they are not purposefully false—they are merely confused for culinary black salt by those who are not familiar with it yet. Even though true black salt can derive from volcanic rock salts, it has never been called Black Lava Salt. Black Lava Salt is a natural but slightly processed medicinal. It is sea salt blended with activated charcoal and will not improve the taste or appearance of your scrambled tofu.
 
Nowadays, most true black salts are labeled appropriately and simply as “black salt,” which makes online purchasing a worry-free breeze. Still, it is best to be aware of black salt’s other names, just in case:
  • Himalayan Black Salt
  • Himalayan Rock Salt
  • Kala Namak
  • Indian Salt
  • Indian Black Salt
  • Indian Volcanic Rock Salt
  • Indian Rock Salt
  • Sulemani Namak
  • Kala Loon
  • Bire Noon
Black Salt Health Benefits
Like mint, fennel, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander, and saffron, black salt has a cooling effect throughout the body, which is why it is known throughout Asia as a “cooling spice.” While not overtly noticeable, this “cooling” is due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-acidic effects.
 
Some who suffer from severe heat-caused inflammation insist that the cooling effect is noticeable. Those with chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) claim that including black salt in their diet has improved their digestion by significantly reducing inflammation, nausea, and gaseous bloating.
 
In India, for example, it is a common practice for those who complain of digestive issues to mix black salt with lemon juice and a thyme-like spice (ajowan). This is drunk before a meal because it prepares the stomach for food and helps balance digestion. In western society, lemon juice is added to hot water and has the same preparatory and soothing effect on the stomach and intestines. Even without the added benefit of ajowan, it would be interesting to observe how much more effective hot lemon water would be for digestion if a pinch of black salt were added.
 
Note: Though taking in too much black salt can temporarily affect the acidity of the stomach, which could be problematic in breaking down that specific meal, over-seasoning with black salt is simply unpalatable and not many would make that mistake—twice.
Another benefit is black salt’s capacity as a natural laxative. For those who endure consistent constipation, adding a very small amount of black salt to meals throughout each day is gentle and helpful, especially if coupled with cumin. For the more acute and sudden onset of constipation due to stress, sickness, injury, or a poorly-planned meal or eating schedule, a more direct approach with black salt is best:
  • 1 cup room-temperature water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground coriander (optional)
  • 1 pinch black salt
After blending the ingredients with a whisk or fork, drink this concoction (known as “digestive lassi”) at midday or a few hours before bedtime. This will allow for the quick—but not frighteningly-quick—evacuation of digested material through the bowels. Unlike over-the-counter laxatives or even the DIY sea salt flushes, the inclusion of vegan yogurt and black salt in this laxative recipe is a soothing alternative. The black salt reduces inflammation throughout the intestinal lining, while the vegan yogurt promotes a healthy population of beneficial bacteria, which is generally harmed by the use of laxatives.
 
While the main benefits of black salt seem to revolve around digestion, it is important to note that most health concerns are rooted in the gut to begin with. Therefore, what you choose to season your food with is central to your health and overall appearance just as any other food is. The key to any seasoning is its mineral and vitamin content. No matter how careful you are in preparing and planning your macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates), it is the intake of micronutrients that allow the body to even process or use the macronutrients to your benefit.
 
For instance, distilled water contains no trace minerals, which is why it pulls minerals and contaminants from your body as it passes through. It may be good for detoxification, but for the daily consumption of water, a natural spring water or a filtered water that has trace minerals added is best because those minerals are vital to bodily hydration, as well as the absorption and utilization of other nutrients. The muscles, for example—especially the heart—depend heavily on mineral and salt intake—otherwise known as electrolytes. This is why black salt, like pink Himalayan salt, is an excellent addition to your regular meal planning.
 
Black salt contains low sodium and a noteworthy trace mineral count of iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Its properties allow for it to be helpful against:
  • abdominal distension
  • abdominal pains or cramps
  • acidity
  • anemia
  • bloating
  • flatulence
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • intestinal gas
  • loss of appetite
  • obesity
  • skin diseases
  • hair loss
In fact, in many Asian countries, black salt is used as one of the key ingredients in the following natural and over-the-counter medicinals:
  • Antacid
  • Anti-flatulent
  • Antioxidant
  • Anthelmintic (It helps to remove worms and parasites, namely within animals.)
  • Adaptogenic
  • Carminative
  • Demulcent (It relieves irritation of the mucous membranes caused by inflammation.)
  • Digestive Stimulant
  • Potential Fat Burner
  • Haematinic (It helps to increase hemoglobin levels.)
  • Hematogenic (It aids in the formation of red blood cells.)

Conclusion
Black salt may not be black, it may not be a true salt, and it may not cause miraculous healing, but it retains the same healthful traits as pink Himalayan salt, encourages consistent and effective digestion (which is beneficial for all health issues), and carries a powerful punch of nostalgia and comfort for those who miss eggs.
 
Have you tried black salt yet? Feel free to share your experience below!
Genobia Simpson

Genobia Simpson

Genobia is a wife and mother, and her duty has always been in the kitchen. But now, as the Lord has given her a greater understanding of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, she is able to supply nutritious meals and natural remedies (when necessary) for her family. She now has a great passion to share this wonderful truth with others who may not know where to start, how to prepare simple plant-based recipes, how to avoid sickness/diseases, and how to apply natural remedies.

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I do not consider your case hopeless; if I did my pen would not be tracing these lines.

— Ellen G. White, Testimonies For The Church, vol. 2, p. 562