Saindhava lavana or rock salt is considered best among all salts. It is the advised for daily use as per Ayurveda. Its qualities, usage and health benefits are quite different from regular salt. Let us find out.
Sanskrit Synonyms: Saindhava, Sheetashiva (because it is coolant in nature), Sindhuja (because it is found in Sindh region of Punjab), Naadeya (because it is found in the banks of rivers), Manimantha
English name – Himalayan salt, Himalayan rock salt, Himalayan pink salt
Hindi name – Sendha namak, Sendha lon
Marathi name – Shende Lon
Gujarati name – Sindhalun
Bangali name – Saindhava Lavan
Tamil name – Intuppu
It is available from mines of Punjab. It is of two varieties –
1. Shweta Saindhava – (white in colour)
2. Rakta Saindhava – (Red in colour)
Anyone of these can be regularly used in the name of Rock salt.
Chemical composition –
Sodium chloride is the major ingredient making upto 98 %. It contains many useful minerals and elements. It also contains Iodine, Lithium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Chromium, Manganese, Iron, Zinc, Strontium, etc. Read more.
Qualities of Saindhava lavana:
Taste- Salt, slightly sweet taste,
Qualities - Light, Unctuous,
Effect on Tridosha – We have learnt that salt taste usually increases Pitta, but Saindhava Lavana, being cold in potency helps to balance Pitta.
Because of its Salt taste, it balances Vata and
It helps to relieve chest congestion due to sputum accumulation, because it also relieves Kapha.
Hence it is one of the rare Ayurvedic substance that balances all the three Doshas.
Rock salt uses -
As per Charaka, it is one of those ingredients, that can be taken on daily basis. (Pathya). (Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5/12)
Rochana – improves taste
Dipana – improves digestion strength
Vrushya – acts as aphrodisiac
Chakshushya – good for eyes, helps to relieve infection
Aviidahi – (unlike regular salts), Saindhava Lavana does not cause burning sensation.
Hrudya – good for heart
Hikkanashana – useful in hiccups
Sendha namak Use in respiratory disorders - Kapha vilayana, Kapha chedana – It helps to dissolve / disintegrate Kapha. This property is the reason, it is included in Lavana Bhaskar Churna – used in respiratory disorders (also in digestive disorders), because it helps to dissolve or disintegrate and expel sputum.
Use in joint disorders of stiffness For the same reason, it is used in many medicines that are used to relieve joint stiffness – such as Dhanwantaram Tailam, Brihat Saindhavadi Taila and Saptavinshati Guggulu.
Usually in cases of Rheumatoid arthritis, where there is stiffness of joints, Rock salt is used as an ingredient in oils for external application and tablets for oral intake.
How to use rock salt for fomentation –
This is useful in cases of joint disorders, or wherever Kapha is more, as in sinusitis.
In case of joint disorders with stiffness, apply the oil prescribed by your doctor, leave it for 10 – 15 minutes. Then, take a cup of Sendha namak inside a cloth. Make it into pack. Heat it on a pan, check for heat tolerance on your skin. Once it is tolerable, gently apply this rock salt pack over the affected joint. You can reheat and re-apply on the joints. You can do this for 4 – 5 minutes.
Even while doing Nasya therapy, after doing massage with suitable oil (as advised by doctor), you can give hot fomentation with the same technique, before using Anu taila as nasal drops. It helps to liquify sputum and to relieve sinusitis, migraine etc.
Use of rock salt in Basti –
Basti is a Panchakarma – enema procedure. While formulating the basti liquid, rock salt is added to prepare an emulsion. It helps to dissolve and expel Doshas from intestines.
Use of Saindhava in obesity and high cholesterol – because it has the dissolving and disintegrating effect, it is widely used in anti-obesity products like Lavana taila and anti-cholesterol products.
Where to buy rock salt – Within India, it is available in any Ayurvedic medical shop across India. Outside India, it is available in amazon website, like the one below in USA (Affiliate)
Use in gastritis and bloating – Rock salt is widely used as ingredient in many stomach care products like Hingwastak Churna, because it improves digestion without causing stomach irritation, without worsening gastritis.
Vibandhaghna – relieves constipation, bloating.
Culinary uses: Rock salt is famously used in making many yummy dishes including Pani Puri, Masala Puri, Ice creams etc. Many households use rock salt as the main salt, in place of common salt.
Rock salt side effects – It is not indicated in people with high blood pressure, edema and water retention.
In very high doses, it may increase blood pressure.