Minerals in Himalayan Pink Salt: Spectral Analysis

slab of himalayan pink salt

Himalayan Pink Salt: A Brief History

Below is a spectral analysis of Himalayan pink salt as it is typically found, reveals the wealth of natural elements it contains. The list is derived from a variety of analysis techniques deployed in order to fully identify all the trace minerals, electrolytes, and elements contained in a typical sample of Himalayan salt.

Himalayan pink salt is recognized for its distinctive color, flavor, and mineral content. I personally love Himalayan salt for many culinary and curative uses. In particular, I love that it can be ground down to virtually any size crystal grain, from a fine powder that’s great on popcorn to medium grains that can be measured easily for recipes to coarse grains that are great for a salt grinder.

Himalayan salt is extracted from salt deposits in Salt Range of Pakistan. The salt deposits formed between 600 million and 800 million years ago. They are the most extensive salt deposits in the world, and possibly the oldest. The area where the Salt Range is now located was once covered by a shallow salty sea. High temperatures and low rainfall led to the gradual evaporation of the sea, leaving behind layers of salt and other sediment that were in turn were covered by layers of other sedimentary rocks like limestone and sandstone before tectonic activity thrust the plate deep under the earth. Salt acts a lot like a liquid under high pressure, so as it was compressed by the rock above, it formed big blobs that go hundreds or even thousands of feet thick called salt domes.

The formation containing what we now call Himalayan pink salt were later uplifted by tectonic activity, exposing the salt deposits to the surface where they were discovered about 2000 years ago by Alexander the Great. But nothing came of it until… (as legend has it) the Moghul emperor Akbar the Great re-discovered a deposit on a hunting expedition and opened the Khewra Salt Mine, creating a great source of revenue to the empire and now the largest and oldest salt mine in Pakistan.

Himalayan pink salt is mined using a “room and pillar” method, which involves drilling shafts into the ground and excavating large chambers around the salt deposit, leaving enough pillars of salt in place to keep the deposit from collapsing. The large salt rocks are then hauled to workshops where the are broken up and mechanically ground and screened to the desired crystal grain size, or worked into various shapes such as lamps, blocks, platters, and even shot glasses.

Himalayan Pink Rock Salt

Himalayan Pink Rock Salt

Regular price $ 18.00

Himalayan Pink Salt is a pure, hand-mined salt found deep inside the pristine foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. This 600 million year old, Jurassic era pink sea salt is known for its healing properties and is used by health professionals, spas and individuals who are interested in utilizing natural products to heal the body and relax the mind. For centuries, salts have been used as folk remedies for a variety of health issues, believing it stimulates circulation, lowers blood pressure and removes toxins such as heavy metals from the body.

    Ingredients: Rock salt

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    5 fun facts about Himalayan Pink Salt

    Magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron are common elements in Himalayan salt. The pink color may come in part from magnesium, while the red is from iron oxide (yes, good old fashioned rust), though it is present only in trace quantities.

    Traditional uses of Himalayan pink salt include cooking heating a big block of salt in the fire and cooking right on the block. While I have written two books popularizing and expanding on this technique, including the first book ever written on the subject (Salt Block Cooking by Mark Bitterman), salt block cooking was likely invented by the Pakistanis, Afghanis, and Indians who had early access to blocks of salt. Namak mandi is a traditional meat dish that is popular in the Salt Range where Himalayan salt is mined. Lamb or beef is seared on a super hot salt block, allowing the salt to infuse into the meat, brown it, and add flavor. The meat then served with naan bread, salad, and chutney.

    There is more than one Himalayan pink salt, tapping deposits that formed at different places and times. The Khewra Salt Mine in the Punjab province is the largest salt mine in Pakistan and produces the majority of the Himalayan Pink Salt sold to export markets like the USA. The Warcha mine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province produces a salt that is often darker in color than some other Himalayan salts. Some feel (I’m not so sure I pick up on it, personally) that salt from the Kalabagh mine over the fertile Indus river valley has milder taste compared to other mines. Color varies from white to pink to red to silver-grey and even, occasionally, blue. Purity (absence of rocky debris) varies greatly even within the same mine as great swirling marled formations are exposed within salt seams extending deep into the earth.

    The Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan produces 385,000 tons of salt per year, supporting the local economy as well providing a source of revenue from exports to other countries. While it is the largest of Pakistan’s mines by far, it delves into only a tiny fraction of a truly massive salt deposit running along much of the 186 mile Salt Range mountains from which it is mined. The deposit is as much as 1,600 feet deep in places, and miles in width. Estimates of the total reserves in Pakistan are all over the place, but are always going up.

    Himalayan salt is not renewable, but nor it is not exhaustible. It will take millions of years for the salt you consume to re-evaporate into a salt flat, get buried under sediment, be thrust deep into the earth by plate tectonic forces, and compress to the pure pink halite you know and love as Himalayan Pink salt. But fear not, we won’t be running out of it anytime soon. There are 10.5 billion tons of salt deposits at the Bahadurkhel mine alone. At the current rate of 139,268 tons per year, it will last 75,394 years. And while our progenitures are waiting for more salt deposits to form, all of that mined salt will available along with 50 quintillion (50,000,000,000,000,000,000) kilograms of salt within our planet’s oceans.

    Here's what people are saying...


    Simply the very best...

    "I am an avid cooker and this salt is a staple in my kitchen, flavoring my family’s food everyday. I am convinced your pink Himalayan salt makes everything taste just right- no other brand can hold a candle to its flavor."

    Michelle P.


    "I did lots of research around salt trying to extend the best flavor I could out of my fresh cooking And came across Bittermans salt and found it to be the highest quality. Is made the world of a difference to my cooking."

    Steve F.

    My Secret Weapon

    "I buy this salt all the time because it's a flavor enhancer to EVERYTHING. It's divine on eggs and anything spicy, but it's also a treat on fruit, especially watermelon. It has a slight sulfur bite to the smell, and a big umami hit. I haven't yet tried it on anything it hasn't improved."

    Erin M.

    4 common myths and misconceptions about Himalayan Pink Salt...

    Pink and Blue Rock Salt

    Himalayan salt is not from the Himalayas.

    Rather, it is primarily from the Punjab province of Pakistan about 100 miles south of the Himalayas. There are no commercially available salts from the Himalayas for wont of oceans, salt lakes, salt springs, and salt deposits. In other words, the term “Himalayan Salt” is a colorful name for the natural pink salts of Pakistan.

    himalayan pink salt meets brick

    There is no such thing as “Himalayan Sea Salt”

    ...because there is no Himalayan sea! While the salt was indeed evaporated from a sea some 600 million years ago, calling it a sea salt is pretty misleading. Himalayan salt is halite, the mineral form of salt found in the earth. If you want a sea salt, buy a sea salt. If you want a rock salt (sometimes called a mineral salt), buy a rock salt!

    building a wall of pink himalayan salt

    Himalayan salt is 100% natural...

    ... but 100% natural doesn’t tell the whole story. Heavy machinery is commonly used in some places where Himalayan salt is mined, just as it is with industrial sea salt. However, some smaller mines do employ manual methods only—again, just as do traditional sea salts. If natural and/or artisanal production methods are important to you, choose a Himalayan salt (such as ours) or an artisanal sea salt that is produced from mines that still use old-fashioned manual techniques.

    Pile of Himalayan Rock Salt Chunks

    Many believe Himalayan pink salt contains unique minerals...

    ... that are not found in natural sea salt. While it’s true that Himalayan pink salt contains trace amounts of minerals like magnesium and potassium, these minerals are also found in natural sea salt. Himalayan salt contains about 3% trace minerals—which makes them about average among natural salts in terms of mineral content. While industrially made sea salts contain less than 1% trace minerals, naturally made sea salts contain anywhere from 3% to 16% or more trace minerals.

    pink salt in a pile

    Minerals in Himalayan Pink Salt: Spectral Analysis

    The detailed spectral analysis* of Himalayan Pink Salt below shows all the trace minerals, electrolytes, and elements contained in Himalayan salt as it is typically found. Himalayan pink rock salt is popular among health food advocates who prize it for many reasons, the most popular being its unrefined nature and ancient provenance. Others still prize it for its relative abundance of trace minerals.

    Element Ion Atomic # Concentration Method/Source
    Hydrogen H 1 0.30 g/kg DIN
    Lithium Li 3 0.40 g/kg AAS
    Beryllium Be 4 <0.01 ppm AAS
    Boron B 5 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Carbon C 6 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Nitrogen N 7 0.024 ppm ICG
    Oxygen O 8 1.20 g/kg DIN
    Fluoride F 9 <0.1 g Potentiometric
    Sodium Na 11 382.61 g/kg FSM
    Magnesium Mg 12 0.16 g/kg AAS
    Aluminum Al 13 0.661 ppm AAS
    Silicon Si 14 <0.1 g AAS
    Phosphorus P 15 <0.10 ppm ICG
    Sulfur S 16 12.4 g/kg TXRF
    Chloride Cl 17 590.93 g/kg Gravimetric
    Potassium K 19 3.5 g/kg FSM
    Calcium Ca 20 4.05 g/kg Titration
    Scandium Sc 21 <0.0001 ppm FSK
    Titanium Ti 22 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Vanadium V 23 0.06 ppm AAS
    Chromium Cr 24 0.05 ppm AAS
    Manganese Mn 25 0.27 ppm AAS
    Iron Fe 26 38.9 ppm AAS
    Cobalt Co 27 0.60 ppm AAS
    Nickel Ni 28 0.13 ppm AAS
    Copper Cu 29 0.56 ppm AAS
    Zinc Zn 30 2.38 ppm AAS
    Gallium Ga 31 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Germanium Ge 32 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Arsenic As 33 <0.01 ppm AAS
    Selenium Se 34 0.05 ppm AAS
    Bromine Br 35 2.1 ppm TXRF
    Rubidium Rb 37 0.04 ppm AAS
    Strontium Sr 38 0.014 g/kg AAS
    Yttrium Y 39 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Zirconium Zr 40 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Niobium Nb 41 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Molybdenum Mo 42 0.01 ppm AAS
    Technetium Tc 43 Unstable artificial isotope N/A
    Ruthenium Ru 44 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Rhodium Rh 45 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Palladium Pd 46 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Silver Ag 47 0.031 ppm AAS
    Cadmium Cd 48 <0.01 ppm AAS
    Indium In 49 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Tin Sn 50 <0.01 ppm AAS
    Antimony Sb 51 <0.01 ppm AAS
    Tellurium Te 52 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Iodine I 53 <0.1 g Potentiometric
    Cesium Cs 55 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Barium Ba 56 1.96 ppm AAS/TXR
    Lanthanum La 57 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Cerium Ce 58 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Praseodymium Pr 59 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Neodymium Nd 60 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Promethium Pm 61 Unstable artificial isotope N/A
    Samarium Sm 62 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Europium Eu 63 <3.0 ppm TXRF
    Gadolinium Gd 64 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Terbium Tb 65 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Dysprosium Dy 66 <4.0 ppm TXRF
    Holmium Ho 67 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Erbium Er 68 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Thulium Tm 69 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Ytterbium Yb 70 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Lutetium Lu 71 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Hafnium Hf 72 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Tantalum Ta 73 1.1 ppm TXRF
    Wolfram W 74 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Rhenium Re 75 <2.5 ppm TXRF
    Osmium Os 76 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Iridium Ir 77 <2.0 ppm TXRF
    Platinum Pt 78 0.47 ppm TXRF
    Gold Au 79 <1.0 ppm TXRF
    Mercury Hg 80 <0.03 ppm AAS
    Thallium Ti 81 0.06 ppm AAS
    Lead Pb 82 0.10 ppm AAS
    Bismuth Bi 83 <0.10 ppm AAS
    Polonium Po 84 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Astatine At 85 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Francium Fr 87 <1.0 ppm TXRF
    Radium Ra 88 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Actinium Ac 89 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Thorium Th 90 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Protactinium Pa 91 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Uranium U 92 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Neptunium Np 93 <0.001 ppm FSK
    Plutonium Pu 94 <0.001 ppm FSK

    g/kg – Grams per kilogram
    DIN – German Standards Institute
    ICG – Ionchromatography
    AAS – Atom absorbtion spectrometry
    TXRF – Total reflection - X-Ray - Floresence-Spectometry
    ppm – Parts per million
    FSM – Flamespectrometry
    FSK – Frequency Spectroscopy

    Source: From the book Water & Salt, The Essence of Life by Dr. Barbara Hendel MD and Peter Ferreira

    *The chemical analysis of salts like Himalayan Pink salt generally involves several steps. Moisture is determined by the very straightforward but precise process of heating a sample and measuring weight loss. Chloride can be determined using titration with a silver nitrate solution.  Sodium can be determined using flame photometry. Additional analyses may be performed to determine a host of other desirable minerals in the salt, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc., and to determine other naturally occurring but nonetheless undesirable minerals such as heavy metals. These analyses may involve techniques such as ion chromatography, atomic absorption spectroscopy, or inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. For the sake of simplicity, all of these analytic processes are lumped together under the term "spectral analysis."

    salt blocks on display

    Health Benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt

    Some people believe that Himalayan salt has health benefits. It very well may, but determining any medicinal uses should always start (and hopefully finish) with advice of a doctor or similar health expert. That said, salt is credited in various health traditions with helping to regulate blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation. Himalayan pink salt is frequently indicated in Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine that originated in India emphasizing the use of natural remedies to promote health and well-being. According to Ayurvedic principles, rock salt (specifically, the one we know as Himalayan pink salt) is said to have a balancing effect on the body's doshas (energies). It is also believed to support healthy digestion, improve skin health, and promote a healthy pH balance in the body. Himalayan pink salt is often called for in Ayurvedic cooking as well as in Ayurvedic treatments such as salt scrubs and salt baths. Understanding specifically why Himalayan tock salt is beneficial, and how to realize these benefits, is outside the scope of my expertise, but it is important to note that Ayurveda considers different kinds of salts to have different properties. So under no circumstances is Himalayan salt to be considered a cure-all.

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