Kala Namak or the Himalayan black salt is an unrefined volcanic rock salt. Despite its name, it appears brownish purple in rock form due to traces of iron and minerals. The sulphur compounds in Kala Namak give it a distinctive pungent smell. When grounded, the crystals appear light pink in colour.
Kala Namak is extensively used in India, Pakistan and some Asian countries. According to Ayurveda, Kala Namak is full of therapeutic benefits. It contains 84 natural minerals and trace elements that are found in the human body. The easy absorption of Kala Namak into the body helps regulate and balance natural functions.
Kala Namak has the following benefits:
1. Cooling spice- During hot summer in India fruit juices and drinks are flavoured with Kala Namak to replace salt lost by excessive perspiration thereby creating an electrolyte balance
2. Relieves intestinal gas, heartburns and aids digestion
3. Kala Namak is low in sodium hence it is prescribed to patients with high blood pressure or those on low salt diet
4. Excellent healing agent – Kala Namak when added to warm bath water, replicates a hot thermal spring. The replenishing nutrients stimulate circulation and alleviate aches and pains while acting as a natural disinfectant.
In India, Kala Namak is regularly used in small quantities as a condiment in Indian cuisine and is added to chaats, chutneys, raita, pickles and other snacks. Kala Namak is also manufactured synthetically. Though it resembles the traditional salt, the synthesised version has a lower mineral content.