Himalayan salt

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Himalayan salt is rock salt (halite) mined from the Punjab region of modern 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 has been claimed to provide numerous health benefits, but no scientific support exists for such claims.

Geology

Himalayan salt

Himalayan salt is mined from the Salt Range mountains,[1] the southern edge of a fold-and-thrust belt that underlies the Pothohar Plateau south of the Himalayas. Himalayan salt comes from a highly folded, faulted, 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 have been thrust southward over younger sedimentary rocks and eroded to create the Salt Range. Although Himalayan salt is sometimes marketed as "Jurassic Sea Salt", this salt precipitated in subsiding rift basins along the edge of Gondwanaland much earlier, between 600 and 540 million years ago.[2][3][4] The Jurassic period took place 145 to 199 million years ago. [5]

History

The first records of mining are from the Janjua people in the 1200s.[6] 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.[1][7]

Mineral composition

Himalayan salt crystals

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.[1] 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.[8][9]

According to one estimate, Himalayan salt is 98% sodium chloride, with negligible levels of minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.[10] Himalayan salt is nutritionally similar to table salt,[11] though it lacks the beneficial iodine added to commercial iodised table salt.[10]

Uses

Salt rock lamp

Himalayan salt is used to flavor food. It is recognized by its distinctive pink hue, which has led to a misconception that it is healthier than common table salt.[11][12] There is no scientific evidence to support such assertions.[12][13][14][15] Blocks of salt are also used as serving dishes, baking stones, and griddles.[16] In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration warned a manufacturer about marketing the salt as a dietary supplement with unproven claims of health benefits.[17]

Himalayan salt is also used to make "salt lamps", wherein light bulbs are placed within hollowed blocks of Himalayan salt, that give off a pinkish hue.[18] There is no evidence that such lamps provide any health benefits.[11][19][20]

Himalayan salt is also used in spas, where it is used to line the walls of the chamber. There is no scientific evidence that such spa treatments have any health benefit.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Qazi Muhammad Sharif; Mumtaz Hussain; Muhammad Tahir Hussain (December 2007). Viqar Uddin Ahmad; Muhammad Raza Shah (eds.). "Chemical Evaluation of Major Salt Deposits of Pakistan" (PDF). Journal of the Chemical Society of Pakistan. Chemical Society of Pakistan. 29 (26): 570–571. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  2. ^ Jaumé, S.C. and Lillie, R.J., 1988. Mechanics of the Salt Range‐Potwar Plateau, Pakistan: A fold‐and‐thrust belt underlain by evaporites. Tectonics, 7(1), pp.57-71.
  3. ^ Grelaud, S., Sassi, W., de Lamotte, D.F., Jaswal, T. and Roure, F., 2002. Kinematics of eastern Salt Range and South Potwar basin (Pakistan): a new scenario. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 19(9), pp.1127-1139.
  4. ^ Richards, L., King, R.C., Collins, A.S., Sayab, M., Khan, M.A., Haneef, M., Morley, C.K. and Warren, J., 2015. Macrostructures vs microstructures in evaporite detachments: An example from the Salt Range, Pakistan. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 113, pp.922-934.
  5. ^ "Jurassic Period Information and Facts". Science & Innovation. 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  6. ^ Maurer, Hermann (2016). "Khewra Salt Mines". Global Geography. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  7. ^ Weller, J. Marvyn (May–June 1928). "The Cenozoic History of the Northwest Punjab". The Journal of Geology. Chicago Journals. 36 (4): 362–375. doi:10.1086/623522. JSTOR 30055696.
  8. ^ "Salt Mines". Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Freeman, Shanna. "How Salt Works". HowStuffWorks. Archived from the original on July 21, 2017. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Sipokazi Fokazi (30 October 2017). "Himalayan salt: Benefits of staying in the pink". Independent Media, South Africa. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d Alexandra Sifferlin (28 June 2017). "Does Pink Himalayan Salt Have Any Health Benefits?". Time. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  12. ^ a b Mull, Amanda (5 December 2018). "How Pink Salt Took Over Millennial Kitchens". The Atlantic. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  13. ^ "David Avocado's Himalayan Salt Debunked". Bad Science Debunked. January 18, 2016. Archived from the original on July 21, 2017. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  14. ^ Hall, Harriet (19 August 2014). "Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)". Science-Based Medicine. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017.
  15. ^ Sipokazi Fokazi (30 October 2017). "Himalayan salt: Benefits of staying in the pink". South Africa: Independent Media. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  16. ^ Bitterman, Mark (January 30, 2008). "Safe Heating and Washing Tips for Your Himalayan Salt Block". Salt News. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017.
  17. ^ "Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations Herbs of Light, Inc". Food and Drug Administration (FDA). June 18, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  18. ^ Banu Ibrahim. "Everything you need to know about buying Himalayan salt lamps".
  19. ^ Julianna LeMieux (24 January 2018). "Pseudoscience Is Everywhere – Even The Gift Shop Of The American Museum Of Natural History". The American Council on Science and Health. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  20. ^ "Do Salt Lamps Provide Multiple Health Benefits?". Snopes.com. April 8, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2018.

External links

  • "Video: Himalayan Salt Cutting process". Folk Market via YouTube. 25 February 2015.
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