What comes to mind when you think about salt? A big bowl of buttery popcorn? Or maybe a salty ocean breeze. You’re probably not thinking about how it can help balance and heal the body, but that’s the benefit of bamboo salt!
We aren’t doctors and this is not medical advice, but we do think it’s worth talking to your healthcare provider about adding bamboo salt to your routine.
What Is Bamboo Salt?
Bamboo salt is a type of traditional Korean salt made by roasting sea salt or rock salt in a bamboo container along with various herbs. The roasting process helps add trace minerals and other beneficial compounds to the salt, giving it a unique taste and color. Many believe bamboo salt has medicinal properties and is commonly used as a seasoning when cooking and as a remedy for some health conditions.
What Does Bamboo Salt Taste Like?
The flavor of bamboo salt is different from the salt you’re likely used to. It’s described as smoky, earthy, and slightly sweet with a “roasted” taste from the production process. The type of bamboo and roasting process used can change the flavor. Some people feel it has a slightly bitter aftertaste. Because of its unique flavor, bamboo salt is often used as a finishing salt, rather than a cooking salt.
How Is Bamboo Salt Made?
Bamboo salt is made by adding layers of salt and bamboo charcoal to a clay pot, which is sealed and roasted over an open fire several times. This process is said to enhance the mineral content and increase the therapeutic properties of the salt. Bamboo salt is often more expensive than other types of salt because the process is labor-intensive and time-consuming. The manual labor and environmentally friendly bamboo make the process very sustainable.
Making bamboo salt involves several steps:
- Sea salt or rock salt is placed in a bamboo container and heated over an open flame.
- The bamboo container is sealed, and the salt is roasted for several hours.
- After roasting, the salt is mixed with various herbs and ingredients like jujube, ginseng, and clay.
- The mixture is put back into the bamboo container and heated again with a layer of charcoal on top.
- The bamboo container is sealed again, and the salt is roasted for several more hours.
- The process is repeated several times, with the salt being roasted and mixed with herbs and other ingredients each time.
- After the final roasting, the salt is cooled and packaged for sale.
The process adds minerals and beneficial compounds to the salt, giving it a unique taste and color. The ingredients and roasting process depend on different recipes.
Take a look at this quick video to see how bamboo salt is made!
How Do You Use Bamboo Salt?
Bamboo salt is most often used in cooking and self-care because of its high mineral content and unique flavor profile.
Cooking and Tea
Bamboo is a great addition to your kitchen, and bamboo salt is no exception. It’s often used as a seasoning to add flavor to soups, stews, marinades, and other dishes. Keep it on your counter in a salt cellar to use as a finishing salt sprinkled on cooked veggies, meats, and fish.
Those who like to preserve food use bamboo salt to pickle vegetables and fruits or to make brine for fermentation. Bamboo salt can also be added to hot water to make tea, which is said to help with digestion and other health issues. Bamboo salt is more flavorful than table salt, so you may need to use less of it when seasoning. Taste as you go and enjoy this unique earthy flavor!
Bamboo is often used to replace plastic containers or beads in personal care products. Some natural or organic skincare products such as scrubs, masks, and soaps use bamboo salt as a natural exfoliator. The mineral-rich salts are often mixed with natural aromas to make a perfect bath soak. Be sure to do your research as some companies may list bamboo salt on the label, but don’t actually use the real thing.
Bamboo salt is also used in traditional Korean medicine because it's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It's used to treat a variety of conditions like digestive issues, skin problems, and respiratory infections. Bamboo salt can be taken orally or applied topically.
What’s the Difference Between Bamboo Salt and Other Salt?
You’re likely using salt while cooking and might be wondering what’s the difference with all these types of salt. Generally, it comes down to flavor, sodium content, and how each salt is processed.
Table salt is the most common type of salt. While Bamboo salt is made by roasting salt in bamboo containers, table salt is mined or pulled from evaporating saltwater. It’s highly refined, and it often contains added iodine and anti-caking agents.
Table salt is made from sodium chloride while bamboo salt can contain other minerals and herbs added during the roasting process. It has a neutral taste compared to the smoky flavor of bamboo salt.
Bamboo salt and sea salt are different in their composition and production process, but sea salt is one type of salt often used to make bamboo salt. It’s also used in cooking and as an ingredient in personal care products like bath salts and scrubs. Many chefs prefer sea salt because it’s considered to be more flavorful than table salt.
Sea salt is obtained by evaporating seawater. The seawater is collected in shallow ponds where the water evaporates leaving behind salt crystals. These salt crystals are harvested and processed to remove impurities. It’s considered a healthier alternative to table salt because of the minerals from seawater like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The minerals can vary depending on where the salt is from.
Rock salt is another type of salt sometimes used to make bamboo salt. It’s mined from ancient evaporated salt deposits and is mainly made from halite (sodium chloride). Rock salt is typically off-white or gray and is used as a de-icing agent for roads, as a food preservative, dietary supplement, and for cooking.
Himalayan salt is a type of rock salt mined from the Himalayan mountain region. It has a pink color and high mineral content, including iron, potassium, and magnesium. It’s thought of as a healthier alternative to table salt and is used in seasoning and personal care products.
Like bamboo salt, Himalayan salt is believed to have some health benefits. Many use it to regulate water content in the body, promote healthy pH balance, support respiratory health, and for better sleep.
Why Is Bamboo Salt Purple?
Salt is usually pictured as a white granular substance, but bamboo salt has a distinctive purple color. The color is believed to come from the iron in the bamboo container the salt is roasted in. The iron reacts with the salt during the roasting process, forming iron oxide, which gives the salt its purple color. The color is also thought to be from the high mineral content.
Benefits of Bamboo Salt
Bamboo salt is believed to have healing and preventative qualities due to the minerals and production process. While there is limited research on all the ways bamboo salt can support our health, a few of the more common benefits are:
1. Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation can be found throughout the body in our muscles, joints, skin, and digestive system. It’s caused by poor diet, external stress, or autoimmune diseases. Bamboo has anti-inflammatory properties and bamboo extract or salt is often used to ease symptoms.
Bamboo salt is rich in minerals that can help reduce inflammation and promote healing in the body. While you can take bamboo salt orally or apply it topically, it's frequently added to a warm bath to help sore muscles.
2. Improved Detox and pH Balance
Bamboo salt has detoxifying properties, which help remove toxins from the body. Our liver, kidneys, and digestive system are a natural detoxification system and bamboo salt helps increase the flow of harmful substances through this system.
It may also help to balance the body's pH levels because it’s naturally alkalizing. This means it’s less acidic and can help balance our bloodstream and digestive system.
3. Clear Respiratory System
If you’ve ever experienced a salt cave, you might understand the role salt can play in our respiratory health. Bamboo salt is believed to have antimicrobial properties, which may fight off microorganisms that cause infections. It's also believed to help clear nasal passages and relieve symptoms of sinus congestion and sore throat.
Bamboo salt is beneficial for respiratory health and can be inhaled through a saline solution. Some traditional practitioners recommend it as a gargle solution for a sore throat or adding it to a warm bath to help with respiratory issues.
4. Better Digestion
Bamboo salt may help to improve digestion, it’s also said to help with constipation, bloating, and gas. This is likely due to the improved detoxification and waste products being moved more quickly through the body. Less than a teaspoon of powdered bamboo salt can help improve your gut health.
5. Reduced Blood Pressure
Bamboo salt is sometimes used to lower blood pressure by removing waste from the body including excess salt. The best way to lower blood pressure is to eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and avoid smoking. Bamboo salt is not a substitute for a healthy diet but can support your health. Always check with your healthcare provider before adding bamboo salt to your diet.
Where Can You Buy Bamboo Salt?
Bamboo salt can be found at online retailers and natural food stores. There are different grades of bamboo salt, and some brands are of higher quality than others. It’s best to shop with someone familiar with bamboo salt. You’ll find it in the spice, health food, or alternative health sections of specialty shops such as The Meadow.
Bamboo Salt May Support Your Health Goals
Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, bamboo salt can contribute to health and wellness. It's been used in traditional medicine for centuries to remove toxins and increase minerals in the body. If you'd like to experience the benefits of bamboo salt, talk with your doctor about how to add it to your routine.