Sendha namak, a type of salt, is formed when salt water from a sea or lake evaporates and leaves behind colorful crystals of sodium chloride.
It’s also called halite, saindhava lavana, or rock salt.
Himalayan pink salt is one of the best known types of rock salt, but several other varieties exist.
Sendha namak is highly valued in Ayurveda, a system of alternative medicine originating in India. According to this tradition, rock salts offer numerous health benefits, such as treating colds and coughs, as well as aiding digestion and eyesight (
However, you may wonder if these claims are backed by science.
Here are 6 evidence-based benefits and uses of sendha namak.
It’s a common misconception that salt and sodium are the same thing.
Although all salts contain sodium, sodium is only one part of a salt crystal.
In fact, table salt is also called sodium chloride because of the chloride compounds it contains. Your body requires both of these minerals for optimal health (4, 5).
Notably, sendha namak offers trace levels of several other minerals, including iron, zinc, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and copper (6).
These minerals give rock salt its various colors.
However, since the levels of these compounds are minuscule, you shouldn’t rely on sendha namak as a primary source of these nutrients.
Rock salts contain various levels of trace minerals, such as manganese, copper, iron, and zinc.
You may know that too much salt can harm your health, but too little sodium can be detrimental as well.
Too little sodium may cause poor sleep, mental problems, seizures, and convulsions — and in severe cases, coma and even death (
In addition, low sodium levels have been linked to falls, unsteadiness, and attention disorders (
A study in 122 people hospitalized for low sodium levels found that 21.3% had experienced falls, compared with only 5.3% of patients with normal blood sodium levels (
As such, consuming even small amounts of rock salt with your meals may keep your levels in check.
The health effects of low sodium levels include poor sleep, seizures, and falls. Adding sendha namak to your diet is one way to avoid low sodium levels.
Salt and electrolyte imbalances have long been linked to muscle cramps.
Electrolytes are essential minerals that your body needs for proper nerve and muscle function.
In particular, imbalances of the electrolyte potassium are believed to be a risk factor for muscle cramps (
Because sendha namak contains various electrolytes, it may help relieve some muscle cramps and pains. Nonetheless, no studies have specifically examined rock salts for this purpose, and research on electrolytes is mixed.
Several human studies suggest that while electrolytes reduce your muscles’ susceptibility to cramps, they don’t necessarily prevent cramps (
Furthermore, emerging research indicates that electrolytes and hydration may not affect muscle cramps as much as was initially believed (
Therefore, more studies are needed.
The electrolytes in sendha namak may reduce your susceptibility to muscle cramps, but more research is needed.
In traditional Ayurvedic practices, rock salt is used as a home remedy for various digestive ailments, including stomach worms, heartburn, bloating, constipation, stomach pain, and vomiting. It’s simply added to dishes in place of table salt (20, 21, 22).
However, scientific research on many of these uses is lacking.
Still, it’s worth noting that rock salts are commonly added to lassi, a traditional Indian yogurt drink.
Multiple studies show that yogurt may improve certain digestive conditions, including constipation, diarrhea, bacterial infections, and even some allergies (
Ayurvedic medicine utilizes sendha namak to treat stomach conditions and improve digestion, but studies are needed to confirm these claims.
Gargling with salt water is a common home remedy for sore throats.
Not only does research show this method to be effective, but organizations like the American Cancer Society recommend it (
As such, using sendha namak in a saltwater solution may help treat sore throats and other oral ailments.
One study in 338 people determined that saltwater gargling was the most effective preventative measure for upper respiratory infections, compared with flu vaccines and face masks (
However, specific research on rock salts is lacking,
Gargling salt water made with sendha namak may relieve sore throats and help prevent respiratory infections.
Sendha namak may boost skin health.
Ayurvedic medicine asserts that rock salts can cleanse, strengthen, and rejuvenate skin tissue.
Although evidence is lacking for many of these claims, research suggests that fluids and electrolytes may treat certain types of dermatitis (30).
Plus, a 6-week study found that bathing in a magnesium solution containing 5% Dead Sea salt for 15 minutes per day significantly reduced skin roughness and redness while significantly improving skin hydration (
Since sea salt and rock salts are very similar in their chemical composition, sendha namak may provide similar benefits.
Rock salts may improve skin hydration and other conditions, but more studies are needed.
Sendha namak has several potential side effects.
In particular, using rock salt in place of table salt may lead to iodine deficiency. Iodine, which is commonly added to table salt but not to sendha namak, is an essential nutrient necessary for growth, development, and metabolism (
Otherwise, the only other dangers associated with rock salt involve overconsumption.
Excessive salt intake may lead to conditions like high blood pressure and hyperchloremia, or high chloride levels — which can cause fatigue and muscle weakness (
Most dietary guidelines suggest limiting your sodium intake to 1,500–2,300 mg per day.
Unlike most table salt, sendha namak is not fortified with iodine. Thus, completely replacing table salt with sendha namak may raise your risk of iodine deficiency. You should likewise be sure to consume rock salt in moderation.
Sendha namak, or rock salt, has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to boost skin health and treat coughs, colds, and stomach conditions.
While research on many of these benefits is lacking, rock salts offer trace minerals and may help treat sore throats and low sodium levels.
If you’re interested in this colorful salt, be sure to use it in moderation, as excess intake may contribute to high blood pressure. You may also want to use it alongside other salts that have been fortified with iodine.