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|This article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2008)|
Himalayan salt is a marketing term for halite (commonly known as rock salt) from Pakistan, which began being sold by various companies in Europe, North America, and Australia in the early 21st century. It is mined in the Khewra Salt Mines, the second largest salt mine in the world, located in Khewra, Jhelum District, Punjab, Pakistan, about 300 km from the Himalayas, about 160 kilometres from Islamabad, and 260 kilometres from Lahore, and in the foothills of the Salt Range. The salt sometimes comes out in a reddish or pink color, with some crystals having an off-white to transparent color.
In 2003 the Bavarian consumer protection agency Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit analyzed 15 specimens of Himalaya salt sold in Germany and could detect at least ten different minerals, in addition to sodium chloride (98%). The agency stated that the salts come from Pakistan and can, like all salts, cause hypertension (high blood pressure) if over used. German public television broadcaster ZDF presented the analyzed chemical composition of Himalayan salt, stating that the specimen contained 95–96% sodium chloride, contaminated with 2–3% polyhalite and small amounts of ten other minerals. The pink color is due to iron oxide.
Large crystal rocks are also used as salt lamps. A salt lamp is a lamp carved from a larger salt crystal, often colored, with an incandescent bulb or a candle inside. The lamps give an attractive glow and are suitable for use as nightlights or for ambient mood lighting. Mined in Europe and Asia, salt crystals emit a soft glowing light and are hand-carved. Some believe that heated salt crystals emit negative ions or positive energy waves into the air. There is, however, no scientific evidence that salt lamps actually give out a measurable amount of "negative ions", nor is there any evidence of any health benefits from the lamps.