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All salt ultimately comes from sea water; either directly obtained from the ocean itself, or mined from the deposits of ancient dried up seas. These deposits occur as huge veins of salt which can extend thousands of feet in depth. Some of this ancient seawater bubbles up to the surface, rather than forming crystalline deposits. This brine is then boiled down to leave the salt behind, while water is left to evaporate.


People discovered salt deposits by following the trails worn by animals that frequented them. These trails would later become roads, and settlements would spring up beside them. As people began to shift from eating game, which is very rich in salt, to cereals, supplementing one's diet with salt became more prevalent. The demand soon became far higher than the supply, due to insufficient mining techniques. This kept the price high, so high in fact that in the sub-­Sahara it's value equalled that of gold by the 6th century AD. In parts of central Africa, salt became currency. Not surprisingly salt came to be known as "white gold".


Over land and sea, salt routes encompassed the entire planet, but the demand wasn't just for flavour and food preservation. Salt is very good antiseptic, so much so that Roman name for salt, "sal", is derived from "Salus" the name for the Roman god of health. Part of a Roman soldiers pay would be in salt, we derive the word "salary" from "salarium argentum", which was the term for a soldier's wages. The phrase "not worth his salt" finds its origins in the common Greek and Roman practice of buying slaves with salt.


Religious and spiritual practices began to venerate salt for its purifying qualities. It was used in Hebrew sacrifice to purify the meat, to the Jewish people it came to signify the eternal covenant between God and Israel. The Romans would place grains of salt on the lips of an eight-day-old baby. This ritual is echoed by the modern Roman Catholic ceremony of baptism, where a morsel of salt is placed in the mouth for allegorical purification. Salt is also a metaphor for the grace and wisdom of God in Christian catechism (a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for teaching)


During the middle ages, the purifying qualities of salt were woven into superstition. The spilling of salt was a very bad omen. If someone were to do so, he or she would throw some of the salt over his or her left shoulder. This was done in the belief that evil spirits congregate on one's left side, as the left side was seen as sinister (in Latin, "sinister" can mean left, there is another word for left in Latin "laevus").


Today we think of salt as a cheap food additive, that we are told is bad for us. The truth is, too much of anything is bad for you, and cheap table salt has harmful additives and no mineral content. Therefore, there is a perception that salt is so harmful because the studies were done on table salt, and why not, after all, that's the kind of salt that most people eat. Peer-reviewed studies done on the effects of Pink Himalayan salt, show amazing health benefits of this clean, natural, mineral-laden substance. The importance of salt goes back to our very origins and beyond, as it is important to all life on this planet.

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