As people increasingly turn toward natural products (soaps, shaving creams, deodorants, etc.) and stores such as Meli Lips, a tsunami of information can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction. Himalayan salt is but one example.

Let’s start with the basics. Pink Himalayan salt is from the Punjab region of Pakistan, near the foothills of the Himalayas. It is often promoted as “one of the purest salts available.” Chemically it is similar to table salt that contains up to 98 percent sodium chloride. The rest of the this salt consists of trace minerals; potassium, calcium and magnesium which give Himalayan salt its signature light pink hue. This is also why the salt has a different taste.

Just as with common table salt, Himalayan salt is used to cook, to season meals, and for food preservation. In block form this unique pink salt is carved into serving dishes and cutting boards. It is also used as candle holders and lamps. Lamps?

The salt taken from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan is believed to be several million years old, and is revered for its purity. Lamps from made from these blocks of salt have a distinctive look and when lit emit a warming pink glow. That alone is often reason enough for people to purchase these lamps. However, there are also claimed health benefits.

Primarily salt lamps change the electrical charge of the air in a room, a natural ionizer if you will. Simply put, ions are compounds that carry a charge because they have an unbalanced number of protons or electrons. They are produced naturally in the air when alterations occur in the atmosphere. As an example waterfalls, waves, storms, natural radioactivity and heat all produce air ions, as do commercially produced air ionizers. Some studies indicate that Himalayan salt lamps produce ions by attracting water particles that evaporate off as a salt solution when heated by the lamp, forming mostly negative ions. It should be noted that knock off salt lamps have been linked to house fires. Always turn to professionals when looking to purchase a lamp.

While the scientific verdict on the health benefits associated with salt lamps is still out, for centuries people suffering from respiratory conditions were told by their doctors to spend time in salt caves, an ancient practice known as halotherapy. The Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, a world heritage site, served this purpose for centuries. An entire church, statuary, and chandeliers were carved from salt and today this mine is one of the most visited sites in Poland. Interestingly some animal based studies have shown that exposure to high levels of negative ions in the air have a positive affect on levels of serotonin, a chemical involved in mood regulation as well as sleep.

Do you have questions about Himalayan salt or lamps? Do you have questions about the benefits of essential oils? The professionals at Mel Lips are here to answer your questions, and to help guide you to living a more natural lifestyle.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America