The table salt in your kitchen can be quite beneficial to your body. Table salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl), comes from rock salt--greyish-looking crystal cubes, which sometimes come in yellow, purple, pink or blue. Rock salt is the mineral halite and has been used in a variety of ways for healing since ancient times.
Rock salt has been used for healing starting with the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. In 1600 B.C., the Egyptians used rock salt in recipes for laxatives as well as vaginal suppositories to accelerate childbirth.
The ancient Greeks understood how eating salty foods affected digestion and eliminations. In 460 B.C., Hippocrates began using rock salt in a variety of remedies. For example, he used rock salt and water on the skin to cure skin diseases and freckles.
Dioskurides was a Roman doctor who also used rock salt extensively around 100 A.D. He usually mixed rock salt with substances such as vinegar, wine or honey for digestive remedies and skin diseases.
German physician Samuel Hahnemann, called the "Founder of Homeopathy," helped popularise homeopathy in the 19th century. Homeopathy is a way to treat disease by giving "minute doses of a drug that in massive amounts produces symptoms in healthy individuals similar to those of the disease itself." One of Hahnemann's healing treatments was natrum muriaticum, the name for table or rock salt. Natrum muriaticum "increases the production of red blood cells and albumin, a protein found in animal and vegetable tissue." Natrum muriaticum restores the body to health so the patient is not as susceptible to illness.
Baths and Inhalation
Rock salt baths started in the 16th century to increase circulation. Today, salt baths are used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and arthritis. Inhaling the steam from rock salt and water is anti-inflamatory and used to help heal respiratory problems. Neti pots are popular for this type of therapy. These small pots are filled with warm, salted water, poured into a nostril and allowed to drain out of the other nostril to clear sinuses.
Rock Salt Lamps
Natural ion generators are made from heating Himalayan rock salt crystals, formed at the base of the Himalayan mountains. Users claim this creates healing negative ions, which help balance your electromagnetic field, purify the air and instil calm.
Be aware that science has not publicly validated these rock salt lamp healing claims, nor those of any negative ion generators. However, a patent for portable negative ion generators was issued January 27, 2004, and created by HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp. in Canada. It states these generators are not for the general public but are for "medical doctors, police officers, professional athletes and military special forces" to enhance their performances without drugs.
Tips and Warnings
Consult with your doctor before using rock salt internally, especially if you have health problems. Hahnemann stated in the 19th century that taking an excessive amount of salt can be harmful to the body.
Buy edible rock salt online or in natural health food stores. Most of the rock salt you see in grocery or hardware stores contains other materials and are used for making ice cream or spreading on slick roads.