Saindhava lavana or rock salt is considered best among all salts. It is advised for daily use as per Ayurveda. Its qualities, usage and health benefits are quite different from regular salt. Let us find out.
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
Is Rock Salt harmful to the body?
No. In fact, rock salt is hailed as a must have daily ingredients in our diet, by Ancient Ayurvedic Master – Charaka.
English name – Himalayan salt, Himalayan rock salt, Himalayan pink salt, Halite
Hindi name – Sendha namak, Sendha lon
Marathi name – Shende Lon
Gujarati name – Sindhalun
Bengali name – Saindhava Lavan
Tamil name – Intuppu
Kannada name – Saindhava Uppu, Saindhava Lavana
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.
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.
Qualities , effect on Doshas
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 a 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
Avidahi – (unlike regular salts), Saindhava Lavana does not cause burning sensation.
Hrudya – good for heart
Hikkanashana – useful in hiccups
Use in respiratory disorders
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 with stiffness
Use in joint disorders with 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.
Use for fomentation
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 on 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 liquefy sputum and to relieve sinusitis, migraine etc.
Use for enema
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 in obesity
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.
Use in gastritis, bloating
Use in gastritis and bloating – Rock salt is widely used as an 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 tasty dishes including Pani Puri, Masala Puri, Ice creams etc. Many households use rock salt as the main salt, in place of common salt.
Use in digestive disorders
It aids in digestion by stimulating digestive fire, balances natural production of HCl, and is prescribed for laxative and digestive disorders. It improves appetite, removes intestinal and abdominal gases, cramps, and soothes heartburn.
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.
Miscellaneous benefits of Saindha namak:
- Rock salt is used as a home remedy for curing many disorders and ailments such as relief from rheumatic pain and herpes, inflammation and irritation from insect bites.
- Consumption of rock salt along with lemon juice can help in eliminating stomach worms and controlling vomiting.
- It is beneficial for people suffering from respiratory problems and sinusitis. Gargling with rock salt helps relieve throat pain, throat swelling, dry cough and tonsillitis. Rock salt is dissolved in water to prepare brine which is used in facial steams for patients suffering from asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis or other nose and ear discomforts.
- Rock salt can be used as easy remedy for Halitosis- Bad breath, a teeth whitener or mouth freshener. Gargling with rock salt provides relief against sore throat. Its pungent smell suppresses the pungent odour of undigested food.
- One of the most amazing benefits of rock salt is that it overcomes muscle cramps. Those experiencing muscle cramps can mix a spoon of rock salt in water and sip it to get relief within a few minutes.
- By providing all the essential trace elements, it is a fast nervous stimulant, relaxes body and mind, it greatly improves the respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems to a significant extent like aspirin.
- It helps in maintaining the flow of salivary and digestive juices. You can add a pinch of rock salt with few shredded mint leaves and coriander leaves to curd, lassi to make a refreshing beverage.
- It strengthens the bones and connective tissue. It increases blood level due to its Iron content hence useful in anemia.
Use in newborn care
Care of the newborn:
अथ खलु जात मात्रम् एव बालम् उल्वात् सैन्धव सर्पिषा मार्जयेत्।(वाग्भट)
Acharya Vagbhata tells ‘Immediately after the birth of the child, the Ulva (secretions or cheesy white coating enveloping the body and face of the new born child) over the body and face should be cleansed by wiping and rubbing it with the mixture of Saindhava Lavana (Rock salt) and Sarpi (ghee).
Inducing vomiting to get rid of phlegm from newborn’s oral cavity:
First of all a cotton swab should be smeared with ghee and placed over the crown of the head of the new born child. Later the child should be given emesis using the mixture of Saindhava Lavana (rock salt) and ghee. This emesis will bring out the deeply stuck phlegm from the throat and stomach. This will make the child breathe easily. Charaka Sharirasthana 7/43
Read related: Ayurvedic Care Of The Newborn Baby: Jatamatra Paricharya
Does rock salt contain iodine ? Can it be used daily in place of common salt ? If yes , what other sources can iodine be taken from to fill the deficiency caused as a result of rock salt ?
Rock salt contains Iodine. Hence no need of other Iodine sources.
Curd, Banana, milk, pineapple, Strawberry, cheese, potato, egg, fish, are other sources of Iodine.
Does rock salt cause grey hairs?
Ayurveda only says that excess use of salt makes the hairs grey. So, limited use of rock salt in daily diet does not cause grey hairs.
Use in Rasashastra
Saindha namak in Rasashashtra – metals and mineral processing for medicines:
Makshika Shodhana – In purification of pyrites, it is used. For this, 1/3rd of rock salt is mixed with pyrite and heated.