Everyone uses salt in the kitchen. Or maybe you use bath salts. But have you heard of bamboo salt? A salt from Korea that is made with bamboo. It is known to heal all sorts of things. But what exactly is bamboo salt?
Bamboo salt is something that has been used for hundreds of years in Korea. There, it has the name Jugyeom. It is an ancient tradition that originated with Buddhist monks in Korea who were looking for a quick way to dry sea salt. Later, its purifying effects were noticed and it was used in healing rituals. Traditionally, bamboo salt that has been roasted up to three times was used. In Eastern medicine it has long been known as an important healer. It is said to be good for everything from mouth ulcers to high blood pressure, troubled intestines or restless muscles. An eye bath with bamboo salt is recommended for irritated eyes.
In the process, attention is paid to "Qi"; an energy where all five elements meet. The salt from the seawater (water), the red clay from the mountains (earth), when baking in a cast iron pan (metal) softwood is used (wood) on a fire with temperatures of over 1700 degrees Celsius (fire).
This Korean tradition remained the same for all the years until someone was born in the early 1920s who would change it forever. Doctor Kim Il-Hoon was the first to say: "Why only 3 times? Why not 9 times?". Nine is known in East Asia as the most sacred number. It symbolises completeness and the attainment of full health. Thus, the nine times roasted bamboo salt has been on the market since the 1980s.
Salt is extracted from sea water (Fleur de sel). This salt is first dried for 3 years. Then 3-year-old bamboo is cut into pieces at the nodes. These pieces are then filled with the salt. In the mountains in Korea, red clay is harvested, which is specially used to cover these bamboo salt pillars. Next, these salt pillars are burned in an oven. It is important that pine trees are used as fuel. After the first roasting, the salt is ground again and goes into the bamboo and covered with clay into the oven one more time. This process is repeated up to 9 times. After the ninth time, you have a very dark salt that has completely melted into a kind of liquid lava. After the salt has hardened, it is again chopped into small pieces and is ready to be packed for sale.
The salt is thus enriched with the minerals from the bamboo. There is activated bamboo charcoal in the salt, but also large amounts of sulphur. The salt smells strongly of sulphur and has a high PH value. The price is remarkable: you pay €250 for a kilo!
We bought a small pot to test it and the smell was immediately noticeable. The strong sulphur smell is not to be underestimated. The taste is also quite intense. In Korea, this salt is taken, among other things, as a kind of vitamin pill: let it melt under the tongue three times a day. After smelling the salt, I could only persuade a handful of colleagues to taste it. The taste was then quickly repressed with a piece of chocolate.
Nowadays, bamboo salt is seen more and more often in Europe in alternative medicine. There are doctors in Germany, for example, who prescribe it as a remedy. For example, bathing in bamboo salt is said to be very good for people with skin complaints such as psoriasis. However, although many people swear by it, it is not an officially recognised medicine. Of course, nothing can be said about its healing powers after just one taste. For that, you will have to try it yourself.
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