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What Are the Medical Uses of Kala Namak?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Ayurvedic medicine practitioners consider kala namak, also known as black lava salt or sanchal, a cooling spice that individuals often use to regulate electrolytes or the gastrointestinal tract. Containing a number of minerals, people also generally use the volcanic salt to improve anemia. People frequently drink the mineral combined with fluid, but also sprinkle the powdered crystal on food or add the salt to bath water. Besides the Middle East, the black Indian salt is also popular with people in France, Japan and Spain.

Mined from ancient volcanoes in Pakistan and India, kala namak is a natural rock salt containing about 97 percent sodium chloride and 3 percent iron, which partially contributes to the mineral’s distinctive color. Kala Namak also has a characteristic sulfur aroma produced by the trace elements calcium sulfate and sulfate. In rock form, the mineral appears dark brownish pink to dark violet in color. When pulverized into granules or a fine powder, the salt may be pink to light purple in color. Some people combine the salt with ground harad seeds, which supposedly also have medicinal and aphrodisiac properties.

The hot, arid climate of the Middle East typically causes people to perspire profusely. Along with losing water, sweat generally contains important electrolytes, including sodium. The people of these dry sweltering atmospheres may consume kala namak in foods or liquids to ensure proper sodium/potassium balance. Women in these desert environments often add a pinch of the mineral to fruit or vegetable dishes and dips. The powder form may also be found as an ingredient in mineral water.

Salt in the digestive tract extracts water from the body by osmosis. Kala namak acts as a digestive aid in reversing constipation and allowing individuals to eliminate flatulence. Individuals may partake of the laxative in lemonade made with lemons, ginger and the black salt. People may also roast the salt in a copper vessel until a color change occurs, mix the salt with warm water and drink the intestinal gas treatment. Some believe the body absorbs the iron contained within the black salt, thus correcting iron deficient anemia.

Many use kala namak in warm bath water, replicating the hot thermal springs found around the world. The salt and sulfur content not only reportedly alleviate aches and pains, but also act as a natural disinfectant. Individuals use the aromatic sulfur and salt water to heal topical inflammation and infections. Cultures may also use the pungent mixture for clearing and enhancing healing of the respiratory tract.

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Discussion Comments
By JaneAir — On Oct 26, 2011

@strawCake - I agree, the smell of sulfur isn't very appetizing. However, I once used some bath salts with kala namak in it, and I have to say it felt great.

It was so relaxing! When I tried this, I had worked a few shifts in a row and I was really achy and just felt overall crappy. This stuff worked really well and I definitely felt better after the bath. Now I always keep some on hand.

By strawCake — On Oct 25, 2011

Black Lava Salt would be a great name for a rock band. I'm just saying. It sounds very rock'n'roll.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to try this salt on food once and I passed. It smells like rotten eggs, probably because of the sulfur content. I think if I had any of the ailments this stuff supposedly helps with, I would probably use something else.

However, I do think this stuff sounds great for hotter climates. Anything that can protect people from dehydration sounds like a good idea. But, lucky for me, I don't live in a hot climate!

By burcidi — On Oct 25, 2011

I have both anemia and iron deficiency and have been looking for some home remedies. I'm so happy to have found out about this. Do you know how much I should take and how often to get benefits? Does it have any side effects or risks?

I actually first heard about this salt in a health forum. Someone on the forum said that she is using this salt in place of regular salt because apparently it doesn't affect blood sodium and blood pressure. She was recommending it to high blood pressure patients.

I also read about another salt, called Himalaya salt that is claimed to do the same thing. Is kala namak and Himalaya salt the same thing then? They sound very similar.

By candyquilt — On Oct 25, 2011

@alisha-- Kala namak in oil for joint pains sounds like a great idea! I've been using this salt in my foot soak for years. It's so good for aching feet, really takes the pain away.

I used to use epsom salt in hot water to soak my feet before I found kala namak. That was good but I think kala namak is better. I really believe that salt found in volcanoes have beneficial minerals and elements in them that others don't.

Whenever I have a long day at work, or after we go hiking with my boyfriend, I do this soak and it does wonders. I get such a good night's sleep afterward.

By discographer — On Oct 24, 2011

My family is Indian and my grandmother always makes a kala namak drink whenever anyone has gas, flatulence or bloating problems. It doesn't taste too great, especially when it's just mixed in water. But it's not too noticeable in fruit juice or smoothies. I made this once after a huge holiday meal and it really helped.

I've also seen my grandma fry kala namak with some other spices, cool the oil and apply it on her joints. She has some arthritis and joint aches and pains. She says it works, but I don't know what the role of kala namak is in this since it also contains other spices in it.

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