Pure salt consists of two elements sodium and chlorine. Its chemical name is sodium chloride and its formula is NaCl. Its mineral name is halite. Table salt is a chemically simple combination of these two components, sodium and chlorine. The basic components of salt are, by themselves, potentially dangerous. Sodium will ignite immediately if it is exposed to water, and chlorine is poisonous if ingested. In combination, though, the two elements form sodium chloride, commonly known as salt. Sodium chloride crystals are cubic in form. Table salt consists of tiny cubes tightly bound together through ionic bonding of the sodium and chloride ions. The salt crystal is often used as an example of crystalline structure. It can be modified by temperature. Different types of crystal have different uses. It varies in color from colorless, when pure, to white, gray or brownish, typical of rock salt (halite). Chemically, it is 60+% elemental chlorine (Cl) and 39+% sodium (Na).
Salt has become inexpensive and is so readily available that we take it for granted. However, historically, salt was a commodity that was heavily taxed and wars were fought for possession of it and its mines or factories. In some ancient civilizations, salt was so important that it served as currency. Where salt was scarce, it became very valuable, even as valuable as gold. “Do not seek gold, find salt for there lives not a man who does not need salt.” Salt was traded ounce-per-ounce with gold. Everyone craves salt, rulers going as far back as the Chinese emperor Yu in 2200 B.C. have tried to control and tax it. Salt taxes helped finance empires throughout Europe and Asia, and even revolutions.
In the body, salt is as important to humans as water or air, in fact each of us contain from four to eight ounces of salt. Salt helps maintain the normal volume of blood in the body and helps keep the correct balance of water in and around the cells and tissues. It is also necessary for the proper function of nerve fibers, and plays an important part in the digestion of food and is essential in making the heartbeat correctly.
The sodium found in salt is an essential nutrient. Sodium, together with calcium, magnesium and potassium, helps regulate the body’s metabolism. In combination with potassium, it regulates the acid-alkaline balance in our blood and is necessary for proper muscle functioning. Salt is essential to our well being.
The Source of Salt
All salts come from a sea. The oceans that once covered the earth left a generous supply of salt beds and underground deposits which provide pure salt unpolluted by modern humankind. Crystalline salt deposits are found on every continent and in many different compositions.
Salt’s Many Uses
Only about five percent of the world’s annual salt production ends up as seasoning on food. The vast majority goes to chemical plants, and is utilized by industry. The top five are salt, sulfur, limestone, coal and petroleum.
Salt has thousands of uses, more than any other mineral. Salt is essential. In humans, it is a basic component of taste, along with sweet, sour and bitter. In cooking, salt acts as more than seasoning highlighting flavors and accenting them. As a dry crystal, it preserves meat and fish by drawing out the moisture. During the lifetime of the average American, he or she will use 28,000 pounds of salt.
Salt as a Healing Agent in the Bath, In the Kitchen
Not all salt is the same. The ordinary table salt that most of us eat is too refined; it lacks the minerals we need. Salt cures are not new. For thousands of years sick people traveled to rudimentary spas to soak in salt springs. SPA means salve per aqua or ï¿½health through waterï¿½. Moreover, that water was salt water or salted water using any number of a variety of Bath salts. Today’s spas that are more luxurious offer salt baths, salt glows, salt rubs and salt polishes to exfoliate dead skin, stimulate circulation and relieve stress. Use a pound of salt per bath. Soak 20-30 minutes. Add hydrosols to acidify the water to the pH of your skin and to add fragrance.
Dead Sea Salt
The waters of the Dead Sea are unique, having a total salt concentration that is 10 times higher than ocean water, reaching 33% versus 3%. However, that is not all! The composition of the brine is also unique, comprising magnesium, potassium and calcium chlorides, in addition to a high concentration of bromides. This extraordinary chemical composition has made the Dead Sea salts an ideal addition to the bath for people seeking relief from skin and rheumatic disorders, and relief of stress. In fact, these soothing miracle-working waters have a reputation that dates back over 2000 years when the Roman historian Flavius noted. “The Dead Sea cannot be praised too highly. Travelers take this salt home because it heals the human body and is therefore used in many medicines.”
Bringing the Dead Sea’s properties right into the bathtub for relaxation and relief, the soothing effects of the Dead Sea can now be enjoyed in the home. Now every bathtub, hot tub, Jacuzzi and whirlpool can be a private spa, brimming with these therapeutic salts from the Dead Sea with its life giving minerals. Use them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – whenever and wherever you want relief or relaxation.
Dead Sea Bath Salts can also be used as a raw material in the cosmetic industry.
Chemical Composition of Dead Sea salt:
MINERALSHORTHANDAMOUNTRANGEMagnesium Chloride(MgCl233.331.0 – 35.0Potassium Chloride(KCl)24.320.0 – 28.0Sodium Chloride(NaCl)5.53.0 – 8.0Calcium Chloride(CaCl2)0.20.1 – 0.5Bromide(Br-)0.50.3 – 0.6Sulphates(SO4)0.150.05 – 0.2Insolubles0.030 – 0.3Water of Crystallization36.432.0 – 40.0
Organic Grey Sea Salt
For 1500 years, salt farmers have harvested the Noirmoutier Sea Salt by hand. Harvesting the salt is a cottage industry where the only ingredients are the sea, the sun, and man. Breton from SaltWorks organic sea salt from the Isle of Noirmoutier undergoes no treatment after harvesting.
Far from being mere sodium chloride, Noirmoutier sea salt concentrates countless benefits taken from the sea. As the seawater slowly moves from ocean to salt pan, exposed to wind and sun, its salt content keeps rising and the salt crystals are enriched with health-enhancing minerals. The lower sodium content allows for more available magnesium (in chloride form), calcium and potassium, as well as trace elements such as copper, zinc, iron, manganese, and even minute amounts of iodine and fluoride to be included. Being very natural
.049%Chloride601.25 mg50.90%Magnesium5.2 mg.441%Potassium2.7 mg.227%Silicon1.2 mg.052%Sodium460 mg33.00%Sulfur9.7 mg.820%
Seawater or Seaweed Baths –
As an herbalist and aromatherapist, I (Jeanne Rose) have taken a variety of baths using fresh and dried seaweed and many kinds of sea salts. Since fresh seaweed harbors millions of tiny creatures, my suggestion is to only use dried Seaweeds with no creatures. Use Seaweed that does not break up like Dulce or giant Kelp. Simply put a dried piece in your bath, add rubber duckies and cute play toys, watch the Seaweed grow and expand in the water until it gently unfurls and wraps around your body, add a cup of Normandy sea salt. Turn out the lights and contemplate the great oceans of the world. You can also collect gallons of seawater from the ocean, bring it home and add to your bath.
A favorite formula is to take 1 oz each of Dulce, Bladder wrack and Irish Moss and add to your bathtub along with 1 cup of sea salt. Have a nice soak. Rub your body all over with pumice stone or with the inside of an Avocado peel. This will exfoliate off the dead skin. After 20 minutes, have a rinse, wrap in a big linen towel and give yourself a facial or foot massage with gentle herbal oils.
Shower Bath –
A shower bath is simply that – taking a shower. Showers are to clean the skin, baths are to relax and refresh the mind. Precede your bath with a shower and use the bath for relaxation. Use aromatic showers in the morning to wake up and herbal baths in the evening for sleep.
For the aromatic shower, wash with good, handcrafted soap and pure water. You may precede the last rinse by applying several drops of essential oil to the clean, wetted skin, rub into the skin with your hands while standing under the warm shower. The room and your skin will smell good and you will improve the function of the immune system and may even aid your body in the defense against disease. Here is the time to use earthy oils such as Patchouli and Vetivert with herbal scents such as Rose Geranium and sweet Thyme.
Vichy Springs in California – Mineral Springs and Healthy Things.
Today I went to Vichy Hot Springs. It is a spring in northern California that has calcium along with naturally carbonated water. Little bitty bubbles form on your skin and if you run your hand along your arm or leg, the bubbles gather and coalesce. The taste of the water is like very alkaline soda water. I sat in the tubs for over 3 hours, rubbed my skin with Dead Sea-Scrub scented with Lavender and Spikenard, and used herbal creams and lotions. I feel like a new woman and cannot wait for my classes to start again.
Try a bath like this. Pour in as much club soda water as you want in the bath. Then add hot water to heat it up. Add 2 cups of Dead Sea salt and 1 cup of Rosemary verbenone hydrosol. Get in the bath and have a health experience with water and salt. Sit there for as long as you can, relax. Scrub your feet with Salt and Almond meal Scrub (Almond meal, Olive Oil, salt and 2% essential oils) or whatever you want – Jeanne Rose
SaltWorks, 18080 NE 68th St.; #A-150, Redmond, WA 98052, PH 425.885.7258, Fax 425-650-9876. http://www.saltworks.us/ This is a great resource on salt and they carry many kinds of salts for foods; wholesale and retail and many kinds of salts for bathing, including Breton, Bali Reef, Dead Sea Bobek and more.
Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy carries many products including The SPA booklet. The link is in the Author Box below.
McNulty, Ph.D, Amy K. The Benefits of Dead Sea Salt
Rose, Jeanne. SPA, a special handout. 219 Carl St., San Francisco, Ca. 94117
Copyright 2004 Jeanne Rose
Do not copy without author’s permission