What is Himalayan Pink Salt?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Himalayan pink salt is perhaps some of the most attractive salt on earth. It has a light translucent pink color and is often sold in crystal form. You can find this salt in a fine grind, which is easy to use in a regular saltshaker. If you buy the larger crystals you’ll need a salt grinder or mill in order to measure the salt for recipes or use it as table salt.

Himalayan pink salt is considered some of the most attractive salt due to its taste and color.
Himalayan pink salt is considered some of the most attractive salt due to its taste and color.

The reason for the special color in Himalayan pink salt has to do with the addition of a number of different minerals present in the salt. In addition to sodium, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, and copper are all present in trace amounts. These additional minerals transfer color to the salt, with iron creating the pleasing pink color.

The iron in Himalayan pink salt is what gives it its unique color.
The iron in Himalayan pink salt is what gives it its unique color.

The salt is harvested in the foothills of the Himalayan mountain range and is essentially fossilized sea salt. Because of its taste and color appeal, it was used for currency in ancient times and it may still serve this purpose in modern days. Primarily, people from Nepal trade Himalayan pink salt for grain, which does not grow well or profusely in the foothills. Today, it may be more likely that the salt is sold and currency used to purchase grain.

Himalayan salt is harvested in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Himalayan salt is harvested in the foothills of the Himalayas.

People praise Himalayan pink salt for its crunch, and also because the salt in crystallized form is considered pure and unrefined. Due to lack of refining, it doesn’t lose its mineral content, as do other salts. It can be a bit healthier to consume, but it is still salt. While a little salt in the diet is excellent, don’t forget that a little goes a long way. Too much salt can easily translate to health problems like high blood pressure and water retention.

There are a number of companies on the Internet that sell versions of this salt, but you will pay quite a bit for it. An 8.75-ounce (approx 250 g) box costs about $13-15 US Dollars (USD). Even though it can be considered expensive, this largely depends upon how much salt you use in recipes or as table salt. The amount listed above can last for several months for an average sized family. You can find Himalayan pink salt in a few specialty stores, like Sur La Table®, and in a handful of natural foods stores. When it is unavailable in your area, check the Internet for this special salt.

Himalayan pink salt is considered to be a bit healthier than table salt and is frequently used in place of table salt to season food.
Himalayan pink salt is considered to be a bit healthier than table salt and is frequently used in place of table salt to season food.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


It's all marketing hype and BS. Unrefined = Impure, plain and simple. If you want to add micronutrients to your diet, at least take them in known amounts, such as from a 1-a-day vitamin + mineral tablet.

The main impurities in this salt are calcium, sulfur (probably as sulfate, thus making plaster with the Ca), K, Fe+3, Li, and a few other elements in insignificant trace quantities. It does *not* contain "84 elements" or whatever, it was *analyzed* for those elements, many of which are undetectable (< .0001 ppm) and many more of which are detectable but present in physiologically irrelevant concentrations.

If you think you are getting some sort of special benefit from spending 25x what pure FCC NaCl is worth, have at it and go for the Woo-Woo. You might also want to try homeopathic "Natrium Muriaticum" for good measure.


I am not associated with the salt industry, but will attempt to answer some of the questions. This salt is pink because there is iron oxide (i.e. rust) that naturally occurs in this salt deposit. This is mined salt, which originated in ancient seas (that's where all salt comes from). The difference between this and ordinary table salt is that it's not refined; it still contains all the elements of sea water instead of just sodium chloride contained in ordinary, refined table salt.

If you look at the list of elements that are found in sea water, they are found here too (including teensy amounts of thallium, iodine. bromine, and about 80 other elements). Is it healthier for you? I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, but I would guess it is. For one thing, the sodium is balanced with potassium, which might make sea salt less deleterious to your blood pressure. Many of the other elements contained in this unrefined salt are needed in trace amounts in your body. Plus, this stuff tastes a little better than regular table salt if you ask me.

One thing though -- if this is the only salt you use, you may become deficient in iodine (though if you were tested today, you'd probably find you are already deficient in iodine). Investigate Lugol's iodine, and talk to your doctor on whether you can/should take some Lugol's to supplement your iodine.


I am vision impaired and am allergic to aluminum. Do you know if the himalayan pink salt has aluminum in it? We use sea salt all the time, but I would like to start using this if I can. Any help would be great. --Debbie


I was reading in "Elements," an educational app, that Thalium was listed in some marketing materials as a trace element of pink sea salt. Is there any truth to it?


Pink salt is called Saindhava Lavanam in Ayurveda. It is a better substitute for normal salt. It's tastier and don't know what variety you get in US. My mom always uses this salt and it's pretty amazing!


if anyone in north yorkshire is looking for this pink salt then my shop sells it as well, along with plenty off all different kinds. The shop name is lewis and cooper ltd.


I bought rock salt of varying colors, mostly black and pink in Kathmandu. At home, when ground up it was salty but tasted of sulfur. Not particularly pleasant.


If any of you are in the US near a Trader Joe's (just an awesome food store), you can find stunning Himalayan pink sea salt crystals, in a 4.8 oz glass jar. And if that isn't exciting enough, it has a built in grinder, all for the whopping cost of US $1.99!

I bought it because it was too unusual and pretty not to. I'm online trying to see what I got. And I can't believe what some folks are selling/paying for it! Oh how I love Trader Joe's! Looking forward to trying this pretty salt after I figure out what exactly I will be consuming!


Can someone tell me if this kosher salt is sold in Malaysia and if so, where please? I am keen to use this salt for my cooking. And BTW, is the Himalayan pink salt recommended for good health? Thanks for responding. mm


I'm sue. My dad sells Himalaya Mountain Salt in pink color. what I can say is its a really great product for sure. In my country, Malaysia, my dad has sold this product nearly 20 tan.


@6 That's why Wikipedia is not an acceptable source in academic papers.


According to Wikipedia, Himalayan pink salt is nothing more than salt mined in Pakistan at the world's second largest salt mine.


It's not caused by Mercury sulphide. The color comes from halophilic archaebacteria and minerals.


anon35523, I'm in Delhi and looking for the pink salt. Can you please let me know which bazaar I can find it at? Thanks! --G


I've seen it suggested that the pink/red color of salt is because of cinnabar, a mercury sulphide. Is this true with Himalayan salt, which after all was originally a sea salt?


in delhi bazaars, 1Kg of Himalayan pink salt (raw) costs 50 roupees (USD $1). some people are making huge profits reselling it at very high price.


Recently a lot of interest has been generated in the usage of organic rock salt bar soap, or crystal rock salt soap for skin and health treatment. I find it very both amusing and even more annoying that most, if not all, sellers/suppliers took a lot of trouble to explain salt lamps but not salt soap.

There is little or no explanation or instruction on the actual usage of this product. I find it a sheer stupidity to sell such a product without clear procedures on its usage!

Please educate. thank you--regards jm jason

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