Pink Himalayan salt is considered a luxury salt among cooks and consumers alike. It is available in two different forms are fine beach sand and coarse sea salt. The pinkish color and texture of this salt are attributed to the sodium chloride crystals found in it. Himalayan pink salt contains trace minerals like potassium and magnesium, which make it ideal for health-giving uses.
Pink Himalayan salt is sandy, fine rock salt mined mainly in the Punjab area of Pakistan. The fine salt, which sometimes has a slightly pinkish tint because of trace minerals, is used for food seasoning, cooking, and even as a spa treatment and decorative medium. It is popular as table salt in American restaurants because of its ability to add subtle nuances of flavor and aroma to food without raising the level of acidity in the stomach. Consumer goods manufacturers also use this salt in making dietary supplements, cosmetics, and skincare products because of its mineral content that increases body moisture.
The Himalayan pink salt industry is thriving in Pakistan's rural areas bordering the Indian Punjab province. With the increased commercialization of the farming sector in Punjab, many small-scale farmers have been forced to migrate to cities to seek work. To encourage these rural poor to move to cities, the government has granted tax concessions to help them sustain their livelihoods. One of these tax breaks is the exemption of sales and imports of these salts. To encourage local entrepreneurs to benefit from this privilege, the government has established the Sindh River Business Development Agency (TBADA) which is a division of the Federal Government's Research Wing, located in Karachi.
The TBADA was designed to assist small entrepreneurs with providing salt at subsidized rates and opening up a market for the products. Since many of these small scale entrepreneurs belong to the poorer class of society, the salt industry was promoted as a social venture. Through the Sindh River Basin Commission (SLBC), the government was able to convince the private sector to produce and distribute affordable Himalayan pink salt at affordable prices. The association between the Sindh River Basin Commission and the Himalayan Pink Salt Industry Association of Pakistan (HPSI) made it possible for consumers to access this source of salt at affordable prices.
The production of this type of salt has become an important source of income for the farming communities along the river banks. In addition to this monetary gain, salt from this region is used in several Pakistani dishes such as biryani and Ulmus. Although there is little difference in taste between the normal sea salt and the Himalayan pink salt produced in Pakistan, the latter has become known for its extraordinary mineral content which makes it even more popular among customers all over the world. The presence of trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, and selenium in this type of sea salt has increased its popularity as well as demand worldwide.
There is some debate regarding the exact origin of Himalayan pink salt. Although there are reports that tell about how the salt was obtained, other reports suggest that its development may be traced back to the now disappearing Goan Sea. One of the possible explanations for this is that the salty water of the sea was rich in substances such as sulfur, sodium, potassium as well as chloride. These elements were so abundant that they caused a kind of chemical reaction wherein sodium chloride was separated from sulfur and potassium, forming the mineral known as Himalayan salt.
Despite the debates on the age of Himalayan salt, it is certain that this type of table salt was discovered by the people of the Indus Valley Civilization. They believed that the water in which the salt was stored was purified by the air and thus it had a purifying effect. Even today, this type of salt is used in many Indian dishes. The use of Himalayan pink salt even spread to the Arab countries where its use became popular especially with the advent of table salt. This is attributed to the fact that it is believed to have more mineral properties than the conventionally used table salt.
Today, Himalayan pink salt is popular not only in India but also in Pakistan and other South Asian countries. Many restaurants in these areas serve this salt on their menu as it is believed to have a healthy effect on the body. It has also become quite popular in the west as alternative medicine advocates suggest that it can help to cure certain ailments. It is believed to relieve fever, treat colds, headaches, stomach aches, indigestion, and diarrhea as well as easing muscle pain and stress. Indeed, the benefits of this type of salt came from its various mineral and nutritional content as well as its ability to promote better blood circulation.