Natural Sea Salt
Natural sea salt is the most basic of condiments. It possesses the power to rejuvenate the body’s bio-systems. Clean, unrefined, natural sea salt offers countless health benefits because of its complex beneficial minerals and bioelectric power and by maintaining a physiological electrolyte balance: it balances alkalinity/acidity levels, restores good digestion, relieves allergic symptoms and skin diseases. Natural unrefined sea salt provides renewed energy and at the same time gives higher resistance to infections and bacterial diseases. Proper electrolyte balance in the body is achieved by maintaining a relatively high potassium content inside the cell and a high sodium concentration in the fluid outside the cell. In centuries past, salt, the universal necessity, was also appreciated as an effective medicine. It was used either alone as an energiser and detoxifying agent, or in conjunction with healing plants.
Khoisan’s sea salt source is free from pollutants and is unrefined and unprocessed. It is produced using only the natural elements of sun, wind, sea and plants from the unpolluted sandveld. Khoisan’s edible sea salt is packed with trace elements and minerals, giving this salt its distinctive and delicious taste. This supercharged sea salt has none of the anti-caking additives of over processed, de-mineralised table salts made to industrial requirements. It is pure and natural just as nature intended it to be.
Pure, unrefined sea salt is hard to obtain as it is a lot more labour intensive and goes through a gentler production process allowing all minerals and trace elements to remain intact. Thus its taste differs tremendously, with a stronger and more delicious taste. One can recognise it by its taste and texture. It will never look completely dry as it has no anti-caking agents in it. Today, salt is mass produced by large companies that are catering for the industrial markets. They generally harvest out of very large crystallisers once a year. The salt then goes through an intensive program to get it to meet industrial standards i.e. 99.9% Sodium Chloride. Important minerals are washed out due to extensive washing and the intense heat that the salt is subjected to in the ovens destroys most of the trace elements.
Scientists have discovered that the mineral content of sea water is almost identical to that of the human body and that sea plants contain proteins, fats and sugars similar to our own. Stress and tension creates an imbalance in minerals and trace elements found in the body which are hard to replace by nutrition alone. Seaweed contains iodine, which acts on the thyroid to regulate the body’s metabolism. The properties of seaweed also improve circulation and assist in the elimination of toxins.
Salt & Your Health
The human embryo spends the first nine months of its life floating in a miniature ocean. In this salty environment of amniotic fluid it grows over three billion times in weight. At no time in our entire existence, from the moment of conception onward, are we without the need for salt.
Medical and scientific studies condemning table salt have only examined refined salt, a biologically damaging, completely unnatural and chemical, substance. In the industrial refining process, as many as 82 trace minerals and essential macronutrients are forcibly removed, leaving only a single compound made of sodium and chloride.
If these 82 nutritive substances were left as they occur in clean natural unrefined sea salt, salt would again be whole and fulfill its vital role to enhance life and maintain optimum health.
The industrial salt refiners technology is geared for mass- production, mainly for industry, yielding most refined, white sodium chloride. The high technology methods we have inherited from the era of the Industrial Revolution were never designed to produce mineral-rich, food-grade salt.
Our bodies contain three internal oceans that require frequent mineral replenishment of many trace elements:
Extracellular Fluid that bathes every living cell in a mineral-rich solution.
Each one of these complex solutions surrounds and circulates through our body. These single elements work in conjunction with all the others to regulate optimum body function.
Comparative analysis shows that these fluids are very similar in their chemical composition. Since they are so intimately interconnected, the three body fluids greatly influence one another. That is why a variation of the body’s external environment (heat, diet, humidity, electromagnetic forces, acidity etc.) has such a definite bearing on the body’s internal climate. External influences quickly modify these fluids. As an example, bathing in sea water has an immediate strengthening effect on the lymphatic system. Oppositely, bathing in our city tap water will weaken the lymph system and drain the body’s precious minerals.
When living in a temperate climate and working under normal conditions, most individuals take in more than enough salt from their daily diet to meet all essential daily requirements.
For those who have symptoms of high blood pressure, sufferers are advised to watch their salt intake. However research has shown that one of the causes of this disease is an excess of sodium in relation to a lack of potassium. The over-refining of sea salt (which may originally come from the sea) to the specifications of industry removes all trace elements, retaining only sodium chloride and chemical additives to ensure a free flowing product. This table salt then sold as ‘sea salt’ bears no relationship to natural sea salt.
Using unrefined pure sea salt and increasing potassium intake is usually most effective in lowering high blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include meat, potatoes, and the freshest of fresh fruit and vegetables, including avocados, melons, bananas, tomatoes, and whole grains, pumpkin pips and nuts. (Source: Book “Wasser & Salz – Urquell des Lebens” by Dr.med. Barbara Hendel, Peter Ferreira, Bio-Physical Scientist).
The research of Dr. John H. Laragh, MD, at the Hypertension Center of the New York – Cornell Medical Center, shows that the problem with high blood pressure lies not in the salt intake but in an overactive hormone system. When this system is overactive, renin levels are usually excessively high indicating a physiological need for salt. Thus salt starvation could occur if the patient is put on a low salt diet. On the other hand, low renin levels, which occur only in a third of hypertensive people, actually reveal a sodium excess. Only patients in the latter group should lower their sodium intake.
Another study published in the British Medical Journal, August 13, 1994, revealed that the blood pressure of a group of elderly hypertensives in The Netherlands was reduced by 8mm Hg systolic and 4mm Hg diastolic (mean reduction) when ordinary table salt was replaced with mineral rich salt. The results of these findings are attributed to the content of magnesium and potassium in sea salt.
The latest trends in medical research have determined that unprocessed sea salt (as opposed from salt extracted from inland sources and mined rock salts) have uses that range from those used traditionally for centuries, and those recently discovered, for example, as applied in the successful treatment of premature babies. (Time Magazine)
It is postulated that sodium must be present in the digestive system in order for vegetal and animal proteins to be transformed and absorbed. When the stomach contains a sufficient amount of hydrochloric acid, it properly digests the glucides of cereal grains and breaks down the fibres of vegetables.
Natural salt is also required to emulsify fats and oils in order for them to be digestible. Hydrochloric acid is produced only if chlorine is present in the right ratio. For some people, eating whole grains can cause an excessive craving for sweets, or ‘sweet and oily’ desserts. This cancels the effectiveness of a grain diet. The glucides contained in grains signal to the digestive system that a form of sugar is being chewed and will soon reach the stomach for processing. But with too little salt these glucides do not transform at all.
Current scientific research reveals that there are actually very few salt-related health problems. A healthy, active lifestyle demands a sufficient reasonable salt intake. The contention that our body can function on no salt at all or on a restricted ration of salt causes more problems than it is intended to solve!
Life is closely dependent upon the presence of sodium. However, to clearly understand the role of sodium in blood, we must examine it in combination with water and various ions: chlorine, potassium, calcium, hydrogen, etc. That is why it is more important to study the co-activity of sodium with these other ions, rather than the sodium element alone.
Sodium, in the form of sodium chloride, plays an important part in the primary processes of digestion and absorption. Salt activates the first enzyme in the mouth, salivary amylase. In the parietal cells of the stomach wall, sodium chloride is used to make hydrochloric acid, a secretion needed for digestion.
The leisure activities of people have increased considerably in the form of aerobics, and other physical activities such as marathons, mountain climbing, cycling and so forth.Some of these promote excessive sweating – an abnormal loss of salt through the skin, resulting in severe muscle spasms, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, muscular weakness and lassitude. The appetite disappears, food loses its flavour, and nausea and abdominal pain is common. In many cases the onset of these signs is precipitated by quenching the thirst with copious draughts of unsalted fluids. Professor Tim Noakes, the co-founder of the Sports Science Institute, said drinking too much water during exercise could lead to hyponatremia, or ‘water intoxication.’ The salt content of the blood is diluted, interfering with brain, heart and muscle function. The symptoms of salt deprivation are similar to those of dehydration – nausea, fatigue, apathy and confusion.
The transient, yearly trends of various restrictive salt diets, macrobiotic health diets and long-term vegetarianism also results in mild or sometimes severe cases of electrolyte disturbances in the blood supply to the body’s organs and nervous system. In many cases, these so-called ‘wonder diets’ are simply worked out by authors climbing on various bandwagons to make a quick buck at the expense of a gullible public.Generalised symptoms of anaemia, fatigue, depression, insomnia, abdominal pain and malaise result, particularly in women, who are more sensitive and susceptible to deprivations in their diet.
Excessive dehydration and sodium depletion may also occur in many illnesses as a result of fever, increased sweating, diarrhoea, vomiting and after surgery. The prompt correction of any associated electrolyte disturbance is often as important as treatment of the primary disease itself. Taking a bath with added sea salt crystals, and drinking a glass of water with a teaspoon of natural sea salt added assists in restoring the body’s equilibrium.
Uses For Salt
Saline solutions are used in every hospital in the world as an anti-bacterial aid and to restore essential electrolytes to traumatised and depleted bodily functions.
Natural sea salt is one of the most basic condiments used. Khoisan’s clean, unrefined sea salt possesses the power to rejuvenate and offers a higher resistance to infections and bacterial diseases. Proper electrolyte balance in the body is achieved by maintaining a relatively high potassium content inside the cell and a high sodium concentration in the fluid outside the cell.
Infections can be prevented at source by using Khoisan Sea Salt crystals in liquid form. Modern science does not endorse all of the traditional uses of salt but it is, and has over the centuries, been used for therapeutic purposes:
A saturated solution used regularly for cleaning the teeth helps to improve the gums and prevents infections of the mouth. (Ask your dentist!)
- Use of a saline solution to gargle with as an anti-bacterial treatment for oral and throat sores/infections.
- Irrigating the nostrils and sinuses with saltwater provides relief to congestion and allergy symptoms.
- A pinch of salt rubbed on a mosquito, fleabite or bee sting allays pain and irritation.
- Irrigating skin wounds with saltwater sanitises and prevents the transmission of bacteria.
- Bathing in water with added sea salt (± twice a week) acts as a tonic and is antibacterial.
- Use natural sea salt crystals on their own (without artificial perfumes and coatings) as a body scrub/exfoliate.
- A saturated solution of sea salt crystals in a bidet to relieve the symptoms of piles and genital infections.
With new, resistant virus infections proliferating, washing your hands in salt water in the morning and afternoon is a natural way of preventing the transmission of bacteria.
- Splash/spray sea water on your face every morning – a saline solution is eminently hostile to germs.
Khoisan bath salt crystals contain a high level of minerals and vitamins that can be absorbed by the skin in much the same way as aromatherapy oils. As you soak in a bath of KHOISAN’S SEA SALT CRYSTALS (use a cupful), these not only soften the water, but ease away any aches or infection while stimulating and detoxifying the skin. The addition of essential oils to some ranges adds to the powerful effect of the sea salt.
Use natural sea salt in your swimming pool! No more eye and ear infections, dry skin and hair, and best of all, the chlorine manufactured by a salt chlorinator is wholly natural, and has no potentially carcinogenic by-products, such as chloroform.
Use either unwashed seaweed, cut in small pieces and add to compost, and/ or dilute one cup of seawater to three litres of water. Spraying it on your vegetables every two months or so is like treating them to a vitamin and mineral supplement, and they’ll love you for the boost. It will also restore valuable nutrients back to the soil.
MIKE PURVIS, BSC (HONS) COMP THERAPIES, DIP NUTR THERAPY, has a BSc in Complementary Therapies from the University of Westminster, and a diploma in Nutritional Therapy also from the UK. Mike and his wife Nicola Zaina, who is also a nutritional therapist, have opened a health shop at the Adelphi Centre in Sea Point called The Healing Tree where they also offer consultations. They are both founding members of the South African Association for Nutritional Therapy (SAANT). Contact Mike by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent times few food substances have been more slated than salt. ‘Cut down salt’, is one of the first calls to be heard from the medical profession, especially when heart or circulation problems are evident. But how did we get to this point?
Clearly, salt wasn’t always held in such disdain. If someone was considered to be the ‘salt of the earth’ it was a compliment to that person, and certainly didn’t mean that they were in danger of a heart attack! Animals given a ‘salt lick’ were not given it to precipitate a quicker death, but to promote health. In some parts of the world salt has been used as a unit of currency, such was its worth. Indeed salary is derived from the Latin word salarium, which was the sum given to soldiers to buy salt.
One major reason for salt’s drop in fortunes is due to that villain of the 20th century – refining. Naturally occurring salt contains over 60 different minerals, such as magnesium and lithium. By far the biggest contributor is sodium, with over 98% of salt being sodium chloride, but the other elements are also important. Refined salt, on the other hand, is over 99.9% sodium chloride.
It is essential to have sodium for bodily processes such as nerve transmission, but it needs to be kept in balance with potassium for cells to function correctly. The sodium-potassium pump is a well known physiological concept that helps cells to receive nutrients and remove waste products. Without this pump, which relies on both potassium and sodium, cells would not function properly.
Most foods contain much higher levels of potassium than sodium, and this is particularly true of fruit and vegetables. Our ancestors were estimated to receive over ten times more potassium in the diet than sodium, and the body learned to excrete excess potassium because it was so plentiful, but held onto sodium. Since the advent of table salt, and the reduction in consumption of fruit and vegetables in favour of meat which contains more sodium, we now on average consume twice as much salt as potassium – a massive change. The body still holds onto sodium, but sodium has a strong affinity with water. This results in the body holding onto more water which increases blood pressure causing the well-documented correlation between salt consumption and hypertension.
Contrast this with an experiment conducted in Finland from 1972 to 1992 when a large segment of the population switched from table salt to a magnesium/potassium salt. On average, heart attacks dropped by 55% and strokes by 60%.1
The Gerson therapy emphasises a diet high in potassium and low in sodium as it is considered that tumours and cancers diminish with increased potassium and low sodium in the diet.
Sometimes we crave salt and this may be a call by the body for minerals that it is lacking, but that are no longer present in most salts. Using unrefined salt may therefore reduce salt cravings.
A deficiency in zinc, which is very common due to the poor quality of our soil, decreases taste sensation, and this often leads to people adding salt to make foods taste better. In Chinese medicine, salt is one of the five tastes that the body can detect, the others being sweet, pungent, bitter and sour.
In Ayurvedic medicine it is thought that salt helps to ground people and make them feel more secure. It pulls the energy downward.2 Given the insecurity and fear felt by many people in society today, this quality may be another reason for the body craving salt.
If you are going to use salt, ask yourself if you really need it. Perhaps you are using the wrong type of salt, or are zinc deficient. Is it just a habit? Does it fill an emotional need?
Avoid table salt and refined sea salts that have lost essential minerals. Unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt are the most preferable and there are many good products available. It is not always obvious which salts have been refined, but remember that unrefined salt is normally clumpy. Salts that flow freely may have aluminium in them as a free-flow agent, which is not desirable, so always check the label. Low-sodium salts, where some or all of the sodium is replaced with potassium and/or magnesium, are particularly important for those with diagnosed hypertension. Herb salts are also an option as the herb content effectively reduces the amount of salt in a ‘pinch’, while still adding flavour.
Salt is frequently added to prepared foods and will be recorded as such on the ingredient list, but may appear as ‘sodium’ on the list of nutritional information. The best way to reduce salt intake is to prepare foods from flavourful raw ingredients and add herbs and spices for flavour – don’t add salt as a matter of course.
IT’S NOT ALL BAD
Certainly, salt in its natural form doesn’t deserve the bad name it has been given. It is a very cheap cure for minor mouth infections and sore throats when used as a gargle. It has been compulsory to iodise salt as part of the World Summit for Children’s plan to help eradicate thyroid disorders caused by an iodine deficiency. However unrefined sea salt and Himalayan rock salt have a natural balance of minerals including some iodine. So even in this case it would be preferred to salt that has had all the goodness taken out of it and then iodine added back in. Salt is also reputedly an antidote for radiation, which is why salt beds have been considered for storing nuclear waste. With all the electric smog in cities this quality of salt may at last give it some good press.
Finally, don’t go too far the other way and totally eliminate sodium from the diet, as the body needs some sodium and it is possible to be sodium deficient.
1. Clayton P. Health Defence. 1st ed. Aylesbury, UK: Advanced Learning Systems, 2001: 236.
2. Pitchford P. Healing with Whole Foods. 3rd ed. Berkeley, USA: North Atlantic Books, 2002: 196-204.
The Book: SODIUM CHLORIDE by KAUFMANN, has ±700 pages dealing with all aspects of NaCl – Sodium Chloride.
Standard Specification for Salt defines Refined Salt as Technical Types A & B (SABS: 638-961)
Type A has a NaCl content % by dry weight of 99.2%.
Type B has a NaCl content of 98.5%.
The salt as produced by solar evaporation of sea water brine, mechanically harvested and stockpiled into heaps is known as CRUDE SALT.
To refine this Crude Salt to a NaCl purity of 99.8% on a dry basis, it is re-washed up to 7 times by a partially treated controlled brine plus some fresh water. It is allowed to dry for a day or two in bins. Thereafter it is conveyed to a rotary hot-air dryer fired by gas, and heated to 365 degrees F, reducing moisture content to a few hundredths of 1%, and charring all organics by flame impingement. This industrial salt emerges as a sterile product, passing into a rotary cooler, then to grinders/crushers and electric screens, to be graded into various sizes for packing and shipment.
The abovementioned pure Sodium Chloride is defined as ‘REFINED SALT’, used for industrial purposes such as boilers, meat packing, fish curing, canning, water softening and many other purposes. However, it is also sold for human consumption.
In the case of Khoisan’s Solar Sea Salt products, the salt is not refined to this extent, is eco-friendly and has a low carbon footprint.
The NaCl content varies from 97% for natural hand-harvested salt; to 99% for washed, Grade I Coarse salt, which is defined as Crude Salt by Kaufmann.
There are other ways of producing Refined Salt directly from sea brine, but not using solar energy. The manufacturers use gas or electricity and therefore have a large carbon footprint, namely, Vacuum Pan Salt and Grainer Salt, which are used in areas where solar energy is not feasible due to weather conditions.
Imported Pan-Heated Salts also have a high carbon footprint and are not eco-friendly.