Himalayan salt

Himalayan salt

Himalayan salt

Himalayan salt

Himalayan salt
Himalayan salt
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Himalayan salt

Himalayan salt

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Salt from Khewra Salt Mine near Khewra, PunjabPakistan

Himalayan salt is rock salt (halite) mined from the Punjab region of Pakistan. The salt often has a pinkish tint due to mineral impurities. It is primarily used as a food additive as table salt, but is also used as a material for cooking and food presentation, decorative lamps, and spa treatments. The salt is marketed with claims that it benefits health, but no clinical evidence exists for such claims, which are therefore described as pseudoscientific.[1]

Geology[edit]

Himalayan salt is mined from the Salt Range mountains,[2] the southern edge of a fold-and-thrust belt that underlies the Pothohar Plateau south of the Himalayas. Himalayan salt comes from a highly foldedfaulted, and stretched thick layer of Ediacaran to early Cambrian evaporites of the Salt Range Formation. This geological formation consists of crystalline halite intercalated with potash salts, overlayed by gypsiferous marl and interlayered with beds of gypsum and dolomite with infrequent seams of oil shale. These strata and the overlying Cambrian to Eocene sedimentary rocks were thrust southward over younger sedimentary rocks, and eroded to create the Salt Range between 600 and 540 million years ago.[3][4][5]

History[edit]

Though local legend traces the discovery of the salt deposits to the army of Alexander the Great,[6] the first records of mining are from the Janjua people in the 1200s.[7] Himalayan salt is mostly mined at the Khewra Salt Mine in Khewra, Jhelum District, Punjab, which is situated in the foothills of the Salt Range hill system in the Punjab province of the Pakistan to the Indo-Gangetic Plain.[2][8] It is primarily exported in bulk, and processed in other countries for the consumer market.[6]

Mineral composition[edit]

Himalayan salt is chemically similar to table salt. Some salts mined in the Himalayas are not suitable for use as food or industrial use without purification due to impurities.[2] Some salt crystals from this region have an off-white to transparent color, while impurities in some veins of salt give it a pink, reddish, or beet-red color.[9][10]

Analysis shows the main content of Himalayan salt to be about 96% sodium chloride, with the remaining content consisting of typical minerals, most in minute quantity.[11][12]

Himalayan salt is nutritionally similar to common table salt,[12][13] though it lacks the beneficial iodine added to commercial iodised table salt.[14][15]

Uses[edit]

Himalayan salt is used to flavor food. Due mainly to marketing costs, pink Himalayan salt is up to 20 times more expensive than table salt or sea salt.[16] The impurities giving it its distinctive pink hue have given rise to the misconception that it is healthier than common table salt.[13][17] There is no scientific evidence to support such assertions.[12][17][18][19] In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration warned a manufacturer of dietary supplements, including one consisting of Himalayan salt, to discontinue marketing the products using unproven claims of health benefits.[20]

Slabs of salt are used as serving dishes, baking stones, and griddles,[21] and it is also used to make tequila shot glasses.[22] In such uses, small amounts of salt transfer to the food or drink and alter its flavor profile.[23]

Himalayan salt is also used to make "salt lamps", wherein light bulbs are placed within hollowed blocks of Himalayan salt to radiate a pinkish hue.[24] Claims that their use results in the release of ions that benefit health are without foundation.[13][25] Similar scientifically-unsupported claims underlie use of Himalayan salt to line the walls of spas, along with its use for salt-inhalation spa treatments.[13]

See also[edit]

Relative article
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