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Salt

 

by the red flower STAFF

 

    just a pinch of salt contains a multitude of stories, places and human history. Mankind and animals alike crave it, as it is essential to life and pleasure, salt represents the interconnectedness of all living things. The types of salt are infinite in nature, each shaped by the sun, land and sea providing it with a unique mineral composition of over 30 different elements.

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea."

-- Pythagoras

This seemingly innocuous substance has driven mankind to wars, and helped build nations just as easily as it has destroyed them. This ancient element appears throughout our history, culture, cuisine and commerce in every civilization. As one of the first commodities, it bore the value of the extreme and careful measures it took to produce it. Before it seasoned our palettes or salted our roads, salt's primary use was to preserve. Salt curing was first adopted before the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago and it is this capacity of preservation that makes salt a symbol of longevity, permanence and wisdom.

Salt was a universal and versatile healing element throughout the history of medicine and health. Before it became a scapegoat of dieticians and a lightning rod for health debates, the Greeks used it to treat everything from skin lesions, digestive troubles and respiratory disease. The Romans were equally attuned to salt's curative powers, with Emperor Augustus claiming to be cured of all infirmities after taking curative baths in mineral springs -- establishing one of the most enduring health trends of all time.

Despite the ubiquity of salt in our homes and tables, not all salt is created equal. Common salt that is mass produced is 99.7% sodium chloride and deprived of its defining mineral properties. There are hundreds of salt varieties from different regions across the world, all of which come from the sea or the mined from the earth. Each salt used in red flower products was chosen for its purity of substance and inherent health-giving nutrients in each variety.

Noirmoutier Salt

Dipped in hues of continual blue, the sky of Noirmoutier Island overlooks the abundant salt marshes that cover the French island and the 'paludiers' that harvest the pans. Drawing upon two millennias worth of history and artisanship, this little island of the coast of Brittany produces natural sea salt, rich in sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc and other health-enhancing minerals. Hand-harvested from the warm brine of the sea, the salt is intricately tied to its environment, with bits of organic materials, like algae, that enrich the crystals, tinting them pink and gray and giving the salt its defining character. Unprocessed, and unadulterated, organic sea salt maintains its nourishing minerals and lacks the toxicity that comes from the refining and bleaching process of commercial table salt that attributes to salt's bad reputation. In the skin, potassium helps to maintain water balance for improved cellular renewal and rids the skin of metabolic wastes and impurities, while calcium further deeply cleans the pores for an overall refined texture.

Dead Sea Salt

"Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin."

-- Department of Dermatology,

University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

The sea salt with the most illustrious reputation is that of the Dead Sea. For over a thousand years, these healing waters have accumulated a highly unique mineral diversity that can only be found in the reservoir. With over 35 different therapeutic minerals present, the salt is a storehouse of high concentrations of magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium and bromine that work to detoxify the body, drawing excess oils and other impurities from the skin. One of salt's most unexpected qualities is its ability to bring moisture to the skin.

Dead Sea salt has the highest concentration of magnesium of any salt, which has the ability to attract and retain moisture in the skin, providing a level of superior hydration to ease psoriasis, eczema, and other inflammatory conditions. Soaking in bromine -- a popular nineteenth and early twentieth-century sedative also has a remarkably relaxing effect on muscles and nerves to reduce fatigue.

Japanese Noto Salt

The Japanese continue to preserve their traditional salt-making methods, with coastal production dating back to the 5th century. Along the Noto Peninsula, the water is among the cleanest in Japan, the knowledge of salt making practices is passed down through the generations. Careful not to upset the local ecology, the salt is gathered unwashed and unrefined to retain its plentiful nutrients. Considering the means that go into the production of sea salt, salt as a whole, holds much symbolic importance in Japanese culture. Representing purification, it was sprinkled on stage before each performance in traditional Japanese theater to ward the actors of evil spirits. In restaurants, small plates of salt are placed at entrances as another protective practice. Even Sumo wrestlers throw salt into the ring to purify it before they begin their match.

Epsom Salt

Most commonly touted in footbaths and the natural aisle of every drugstore, Epsom salt has come a long way since its first discovery in a mineral spring in Epsom, England back in 1695. Characterized by a compound of magnesium sulfate, the mineral salt is most effective as a soak, to ease sore muscles, reduce swelling and inflammation, eliminate odor and soften skin. A plentiful source of magnesium, Epsom also has an antibacterial and astringent effect to treat rashes and accelerate the healing of wounds. Magnesium is also responsible for regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, and when readily absorbed into the skin -- it aids in muscle and nerve function while sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraines.

Applying sea salt to the skin is akin to taking a plunge in the ocean, as the seawater contains many essential elements such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids that have biological balancing effects. Salt is as essential to the body as water itself, and sustains every system as much as it beautifies the skin. The true profundity of salt is its endless capacity to heal the body and skin internally as well as externally. It is a study in contrasts and seemingly no constraints. It brings moisture and nutrients to the skin just as it exfoliates and softens. As an antiseptic, it reduces itchiness, treats psoriasis, dermatitis and chronic eczema. When the skin is dehydrated and begins to appear blotchy and dull, salt works to return it to a normal balance. Even for irritations like acne, salt water works to draw out impurities and kills bacteria that accumulate with oily skin. As it cleanses, it also stimulates cellular renewal for fresh, revived skin.

 

"Of all the precious stones that the earth gives us, salt is the most precious of all."

-- Justus von Liebig

German chemist and one of the founders of organic chemistry.

Running the gamut from A-Z, it seems the body can benefit from every mineral found in salt. Sea salt contains all of the elements of the deep earth that have accrued since the beginning of time. From bromide -- that increases blood circulation to tired muscles, to copper -- that boosts the immune system and to zinc -- that soothes inflammation and irritation on the skin. Minerals are crucial to maintaining healthy skin

Sea Salt benefits the following red flower products:

Isla das Rocas Revitalizing Sea Salt Scrub,

Organic Birch Mineral Hydrotherapy Soaking Plunge,

Hinoki Mint Mineral Bath Soak,

Neroli Cypress High Atlas Bath Soak and Bioactive Berry White Peat Exfoliant.

"Salt has a sort of instantaneous effect of taking dead skin cells off the surface of the skin. It does it very gently, leaving the skin smoother and more able to absorb moisture and nutrients. It's especially effective when combined with warm water, which increases circulation. One of the best ways to keep skin youthful, energized, and healthy is to increase blood flow while pulling moisture and minerals in. Salt converts the water that you put on your face to give skin a higher mineral content --and minerals are absolutely crucial to healthy skin."

-- April Long

Sea Salt Benefits, Elle Magazine.

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