Bamboo salt, or Jugyeom, is a mineral rich salt of very high purity and alkalinity that is carefully prepared according to a thousand-year-old Korean Buddhist monk tradition. A staple in most Korean households for culinary and medicinal use, bamboo salt is quickly becoming renowned around the world for its premium quality and vast health benefits.
History of Bamboo Salt
Bamboo salt was originally developed by Buddhist monks nearly one thousand years ago as a traditional medicine for the Korean people, (and is why it’s also known as Korean bamboo salt). It’s made by filling bamboo stalks with sea salt and roasting it at a high temperature to remove toxins and infuse the salt with minerals. In the 20th century, a renowned Korean herbalist and healer, Kim Il-hoon, determined that roasting sea salt 9 times with bamboo, clay, and pinewood, including a high heat firing with resin, removes more toxins, maximizes mineral potency, and optimizes bamboo salts’ therapeutic potential.
How Is Bamboo Salt Made?
Bamboo salt is unlike any other salt on earth due to its meticulous, labor-intensive production process that amplifies the healing benefits and purity of sea salt. Honoring ancient Buddhist monk traditions, bamboo salt is handcrafted in small batches over 25 days:
- First, natural sea salt is hand-harvested from the Western coast of Korea and dried in the sun.
- The salt is then deposited into 3-year-old bamboo pillars and sealed with red clay collected from deep in the Korean mountains.
- Next, the bamboo pillars are placed in an iron kiln and roasted over a pinewood fire at 1472°F. As the bamboo heats up, oil seeps from the wood and is absorbed into the salt, infusing minerals, flavor, and health-enhancing properties.
- After 8-15 hours, the bamboo is incinerated and a white salt pillar remains.
- The salt pillars are then ground, and re-sealed into new bamboo stalks to be roasted 1 to 9 times. With each firing, the salt’s purity, alkalinity, mineral content, therapeutic properties, and sulphur flavor increases.
The two most popular types of bamboo salt are roasted 9 times and 3 times:
Bamboo Salt 9X, also known as nine times roasted bamboo salt, purple salt, or amethyst salt, is the highest quality bamboo salt available. For this particular salt, the firing process is repeated 9 times total; however, the 9th firing process occurs slightly differently as the salt is roasted with a resin fire at (above) 2732°F, which causes the salt and bamboo to melt into liquid. The mixture is then left to solidify into crystalized, highly alkaline 11.5 pH purple salt that is free from toxins and rich in bioactive minerals with a unique savory sulphur flavor.
Bamboo Salt 3X, also known as three times roasted bamboo salt or grey salt, is roasted 3 times total. The result is a toxin-free, mineral-infused sea salt with a 10.10 pH and a mild sulphur flavor ideal for cooking and seasoning.
Why is Bamboo Salt Better Than Other Salts?
Bamboo salt is superior to most other salts because many consider it to be the highest quality salt and the healthiest salt due to being toxin free, rich in minerals, and highly alkaline.
Free of toxins
Due to the pollution of our earth and its waters, many salts contain contaminants such as microplastics and heavy metals including lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic. Consumption of these heavy metals have detrimental health effects. The production process of bamboo salt removes these toxins because the high temperature in which it’s heated results in the evaporation of heavy metals, micro-plastics, and other harmful compounds.
Rich in minerals
Bamboo salt contains 70+ bioactive minerals such as K, P, Ca, Mg, Si, Fe, Cu, Ba, V, Mn, Zn, Ge, Mo, Se, Pt, S, Sr, B, Li, which are essential for the production and activation of enzymes and biological activities. In fact, bamboo salt has a chemical composition that is very similar to that of our bodies!
Bamboo salt is highly alkaline with a 10.10 pH (foods greater than 7 are considered alkaline) for grey salt and a 11.5 pH for purple bamboo salt. The salt’s high pH neutralizes acidic food and its alkali-forming mineral composition has an alkalizing effect on of the body.
A revered salt
Lastly, according to Chinese medicine, bamboo salt is said to have “Qi” or energy flow that is beneficial for the body and mind due to the fact it’s produced using energy from all 5 elements [hand-harvesting sea salt from Korea’s west coast (Water); filling and sealing bamboo stalks with clay deep from the mountains (Earth); heating at a high temperature (Fire); using pine tree logs (Wood); and roasting in an iron kiln (Metal)]. It’s also important to note that nine is a sacred number in Korea and symbolizes completeness and achievement of health in the Baha’i faith.
Bamboo Salt Health Benefits
Because it’s free of contaminants, highly alkaline, and rich in bioactive minerals, bamboo salt offers many health benefits, including amplifying the nutritive benefits of food, replenishing electrolytes, improving immune function, and acting as an antioxidant:
- Bamboo salt amplifies the benefits of food by helping the absorption of nutrients into your cells via its mineral concentration.
- Bamboo salt balances and replenishes electrolytes better than conventional salt because it has lower conductivity than other salts and due to its small size, is rapidly absorbed through the cell membranes. This helps to regulate the electrolyte concentration of the body. In addition, the minerals in bamboo salt, such as potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, help promote the excretion of excess Sodium (Na), thus contributing to proper mineral balance within bodily fluids.
- Bamboo salt improves immune function due to its high antibacterial content. Compared to other salts, it is more effective at assisting the body in eliminating harmful viruses and bacteria.
- Bamboo salt acts as an antioxidant by activating various antioxidant enzymes. This helps the body eliminate free radicals, which are connected to most modern diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. Therefore, bamboo salt may also be helpful in the prevention of cancer and other serious diseases.
Bamboo Salt and Cancer
Bamboo salt shows promise in fighting cancer. One study demonstrated that bamboo salt can weaken cancer cells and tumor volume in mice treated with purple bamboo salt. Further studies suggest that bamboo salt may be an effective treatment in cancer therapy due to its ability to reduce tumor growth and increase survival rate of mice with cancer-related tissue damage. Researchers suggest that bamboo salt’s anti-cancer activity is connected to its capacity as an anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-aging, and immune-enhancing substance.
Bamboo Salt Uses
From cooking to electrolyte drinks and personal care, the uses for bamboo salt are many. Here are some ways to use bamboo salt.
- Dissolve a few crystals on your tongue as many as 10-20 times a day to benefit from the alkalizing, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory effects of purple bamboo salt.
- Bamboo salt for cooking. Use bamboo salt as a replacement for regular table salt while increasing your mineral consumption and benefiting from its alkalizing effects.
- Homemade electrolyte drink. Dissolve 1/3 teaspoon in 8 ounces of water to replenish electrolytes after exercise or physical labor. Note: Some charcoal might appear when bamboo salt is dissolved in water. This is normal, and the salt is still safe to consume.
- Bamboo salt toothpaste and sea salt mouthwash. Brush teeth with sea salt or use as a mouthwash to strengthen teeth and gums. Your mouth and gums will benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of bamboo salt
- Salt water flush for eyes and nasal care. Dissolve 1/10 teaspoon of bamboo salt in 8 ounces of purified water and use as an eye or nasal rinse to flush impurities and soothe sinus-related conditions.
- Foot bath salts and bamboo salt for skin. Dissolve 3 teaspoons of bamboo salt in 1 gallon of warm water and use it as a foot bath. Or, add a few spoonfuls of bamboo salt to your tub for a purifying, alkalizing, anti-inflammatory effect.
Bamboo Salt Side Effects and Cautions
Some people may experience nausea after consuming bamboo salts if you have digestion issues. Symptoms typically resolve in 2-3 days. If other ‘healing crisis’ symptoms are present, lower your dose, consult your healthcare provider, and gradually increase as tolerated.
Consult your healthcare provider prior to using this product if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, if you are taking any medication, have a medical condition, or are on a sodium-restricted diet, check with your healthcare provider.
Bamboo Salt Cost
Compared to many other types of salts, you can expect to pay more for purple salt. Authentic, high-quality bamboo salt costs nearly $100 for an 8 oz jar.
Why is it so expensive? Bamboo salt takes almost a month to create and every step of its production is done by hand. This careful, labor-intensive process ensures the highest quality salt possible that is free of contaminants, infused with minerals, and remarkably alkaline.
Despite the premium cost, bamboo salt is quickly becoming embraced by health enthusiasts around the world for it’s quality and medicinal value.
Buy Bamboo Salt
In the coming months, you’ll be able to purchase both authentic 9x roasted purple bamboo salt and 3x roasted gray bamboo salt from the PIOR Living online shop!
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher.