Salt Awareness Week serves to highlight the importance of reducing the salt intake .On this occasion let’s have a look at what Ayurveda describes about Salt.
Salt or Lavana is an indispensable part of our life . From our body to food , salt is present everywhere .
Etymology : According to Shabd kalpadruma – nirukti of Lavana is “ Lunati iti Lavanam “ i.e having cchedana property .
Attributes and Actions of Salt : The salt is pachak ( digestive ) , kledaka ( liquifacient ) , deepan ( stimulant ) , chyavana ( inductive of defluxion ) , cchedan ( depletive ) , bhedan ( disruptive ) , tikshna ( sharp ) , sara ( fluid ) , vikasi ( penetrative ) , produces avakaash ( deobstruent ) , vatanashak ( curative of vata )
It alleviates stambha (stiffness) , vibandh (obstructions and accumulations) , is sarva rasa pratyaneek ( overpowers the rest of the tastes ) and increases lalasrava ( salivation ) . It liquifies Kapha and mucous secretions . It is srotoshodaka ( clarifies the passage , softens all the tissues of the body ) , gives relish to food ( ruchikar ) , and is used in food . It is neither very heavy ( guru ) , very unctuous ( snigdha ) nor hot ( ushna ) .
Complications of Excessive Use of Salt :
Ayurveda prohibits excessive use of salt .
Salt though , possesses above said qualities , but its excessive use provokes pitta , increases blood , heat , thirst , causes fainting , dislodging of teeth , decreases fertility , impairs the function of sense organs , induces premature wrinkles , grey hair and baldness .
It also causes blood and skin disorders , acidity , gout , alopecia etc .
How to know Salty taste : On keeping in mouth , it dissolves , induces moistness , deliquescence , softness and mild burning sensation .
Types of Salt : There are mainly five types :
1) Saindhava Lavana ( Rock Salt ) : It is considered best among all the salts
2) Samudra Lavana ( Common Salt )
3) Bida Lavana ( a type of Black Salt )
4) Sauvarchala Lavana ( Potassium nitrate )
5) Romaka Lavana ( Earthern salt )
Sodium and Chloride are the major components of salt along with other minerals. They regulate the fluid balance of body , helps maintain acid base level , proper nerve conduction , muscular activity , blood pressure and movement of water between fluid compartments .
Uses : It is used as an anointment , in oleation and sudation procedures , basti , shirovirechana , vamana , shastrakarma ( surgical procedures ) , abhyanga , utsadana ( unction ) , anjana (collyrium ) , varti ( suppository ) and food .
Salt is an ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines e.g Arka lavana , Chitrakadi vati , Lavana taila , Agnitundi vati , Lavanabhaskar churna , Saindhavadi varti , Lavanadi anjana etc .
Though salt has many benefits but salt in moderation is key to health .