There are many benefits associated with Himalayan rock salt.
Looking into the first hit from the still favourite search engine one lands on a journal from an otherwise respectable publisher in the medical sciences and finds:
The Global Proving of Himalayan Crystal Salt:
Themes for Himalayan Rock Salt:
– Comfortable with oneself/Confidence/ buoyancy
– Emotions: Grief/Sadness/Pain
– Moods: Irritable/Negative
– Mother-child theme
– Masculine/Feminine energy
– Old things/Memory
– Heart/Love Minor themes
– Past life
– Watched, being
– Cobweb sensation Co-incidences
– Work in bathroom/Sink/Tap
– Cosmic events The Higher Self
– Spiritual side – Meditation Food
– Food theme
– Food affinities The cosmic projection
– Physical: Eye
– Physical: Head
– Physical: Hips
– Physical: Lips: Herpetic eruptions
– Dental issues
And this sums up quite nicely what a big cure-it-all this is. It's a miracle food and priced accordingly!
But how can it be so effective? – Simple answer: it's old, it's pure, it's from an obscure Eastern region associated with mysticism; and it is even said to contain "all 84 trace elements" the human body needs in the perfect ration! –– Wait a minute. Pure and 84 elements? That are in a human body and needed? How exotic!
OK, really? Health Benefits?
What is pink Himalayan salt?
Pink Himalayan salt is mined in Pakistan and may be up to 98 percent sodium chloride.
Translation: It's not from the mountains of the Himalaya but one of the largest salt mines in the vicinity of Lahore. Looking at a map locating Khewra Salt Mine one is hard press to identify the surroundings with the claimed origin of these salts. It's in Punjab and not in the Karakorum mountains. Exposing the first lie about it right in its name.
Pink Himalayan salt is chemically similar to table salt. It contains up to 98 percent sodium chloride. The remainder of the salt is made up of trace minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which give the salt its light pink tint.
Translation: Mostly table salt, with some dirt left in.
The presence of these minerals also explains why Himalayan salt tastes different to regular table salt.
That might settle this issue. But even the yellow press can make this clearer:
Pink Himalayan salt is nutritionally very similar to regular salt. It’s just prettier and more expensive.
If we inquire about this opinion on a site dedicated to evidence based medicine and promoting science in general the picture gets bleak:
Even if this analysis is accurate, it is meaningless for health and if anything is worrisome. The amount of minerals in it is too minuscule to make any difference, and we already get plenty of the same trace minerals from other foods. They claim that two double-blind studies were done, but no such studies are listed in PubMed. There is no evidence published in peer-reviewed journals that replacing white salt with pink salt makes a shred of difference or leads to any improvement in health.
If you read down the list of minerals, you will notice that it includes a number of radioactive substances like radium, uranium, and polonium. It also includes substances that act as poisons, like thallium. I wouldn’t be worried, since the amounts are so small; but if anyone believes the trace amounts of “good” minerals in Himalayan sea salt are good for you, why not believe the trace amounts of poisons and radioactive elements are bad for you?
The claim that pink Himalayan salt contains 84 trace minerals may be true, but the claim that it “promotes health and wellness” is false until proven otherwise by legitimate clinical studies. While waiting for evidence, I’d just as soon my salt didn’t contain uranium.
Is this a Scam?
There were several chemicals analysis undertaken to verify at least the claims about mineral contents of this salt:
According to an analysis by the University of Technology Clausthal the salt as sold contains just 10 different minerals:
Außerdem entspricht der Anteil an Natriumchlorid nicht dem internationalen Standard für Speisesalz: Der müsste bei mindestens 97 Prozent liegen. Die untersuchten Proben enthalten etwa 94 bis 95 Prozent Natriumchlorid und etwa drei Prozent Polyhalit.
Translation: international trade regulations proscribe a content of 97% sodium chloride for regular table salt whereas Himalayan Salt only contains 94–95% and in addition 3% polyhalite
Various consumer rights organisations have been alerted to this expensive salt and the outrageous claims made about it:
They all concluded that the place of origin is bogus, the claims about the mineral content and mineral needs of a human body are bogus, physiological benefit claims are bogus.
If there are no benefits, are there dangers?
Looking for the health status of the people in the region where this salt is mined and consumed is very instructive: the people there live in the so called Himalayan goitre belt! While regular table salt should be iodised now that Khewra salt is not. And lack of iodine leads some problems in the region where those lucky people always eating Khewra salt for cheap should be much healthier than we who have to pay so much for it.
Even if this is a Scam, I like how Looks and Tastes
Complete bogus it may be, but it is pretty, I get my iodine from elsewhere and pricey stuff tends to taste better? Well, only if you know that it is prices!
In the current study, there were no significant differences among TS and other gourmet-style salts with respect to meat quality and sensory characteristics of fresh poultry breast meat products. Objective tenderness, flavor, and overall cook loss yields were not altered due to the replacement of TS with other gourmet salts. Subjective tenderness, juiciness, and flavor notes were also not significantly different among salt treatments. The use of alternative salts with lower sodium content in chicken marination may be a healthy alternative to TS, with respect to potential sodium reduction (especially SGDG) and mineral enhancement, without sacrificing meat quality or sensory attributes. Sonoma gourmet salt may also potentially increase marination yields.
Usually, the claimed benefits are a reason for scorn. If in this case there are not even taste benefits then we have to conclude that there is only a single one health benefit associated with pink Himalayan salt: it's so expensive that the gullible buyers will have less money to waste on other detrimental supplements or health foods.