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Chemical Reaction: The Salt of the Earth

By: Steve Herman
Posted: August 28, 2008, from the March 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 4 of 4

Bamboo salt yields nothing to the ultimate in exotic varieties—Himalayan crystal salt—which originates from one specific location in the East Karakoram range of the Himalayan Mountains in Pakistan. The classic book on the subject, Water & Salt: The Essence of Life,5 develops the concept of sole (pronounced sol-lay), a mixture of salt and water roughly equivalent to brine. For skin, treatment involves a combination of drinking sole, applying it to the skin and incorporating it into mud masks.

Though the book does discuss concepts more mystical than conventional cosmetic science, and espouses some ideas that may seem contrary to rigorous science, its message is clear: if biochemical remnants of Earth’s origins in the seas remain, perhaps attention needs to be paid to the uses of sole. Trace minerals are important, so whether it is from the ocean, Dead Sea or a special spot in the Himalayas, salt has a fair claim to being essential for a healthy body and skin.


  1. M Kurlansky, Salt: A World History, Walker, New York (2002)
  2. A Ballabh, et al, A practical approach to produce near-spherical common salt crystals with better flow characteristics, Crystal Growth & Design, 6(7) 1591–1594 (2006)
  3.  H-Y SHIN, et al, Anti-inflammatory activity of Korean folk medicine purple bamboo salt, Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol, 25(3) 377–384 (2003)
  4. H-Y SHIN, et al, Inhibition of mast cell-dependent immediate-type hypersensitivity reactions by purple bamboo salt. Ethnopharmacol, 91(1) 153–157 (2004)
  5. B Hendel and P Ferreira, Water & Salt: The Essence of Life, Natural Resources (2003)