Dead Sea salt

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Salt along the shore of the Dead Sea

Dead Sea salt refers to salt extracted or taken from the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea is popular with tourists from all over the world for its reputed therapeutic effects. The water of the Dead Sea has a salt content of 29%, compared to 4% in the oceans,[1] and is consequently substantially denser. This allows anyone to easily float on Dead Sea water because of its greater density. Its mineral composition is also different from ocean water since only 12–18% of Dead Sea salt is sodium chloride. A 2006 analysis of a commercial Dead Sea Salt product measured a 2.5% sodium chloride content; by comparison, 85% of the salt in normal ocean water is sodium chloride.

History[edit]

Various cultures and groups of people have visited the Dead Sea for therapy, dating back to the time of the ancient Egyptians,[2] utilizing the salt in various unguents and skin creams, as well as soaps, just as it is used today.[3]

Mineral composition[edit]

The Dead Sea's mineral composition differs from that of ocean water, varying with season, rainfall, depth, and temperature. In particular, the salt in most oceans is approximately 85% sodium chloride while Dead Sea salt is only 12-18% sodium chloride. Refined table salt is approximately 97% sodium chloride. An analysis of major ion concentrations in the water of the Dead Sea gave the following results.[2]

Major ions of Dead Sea water
Ion Concentration (mg/L)
Chloride and Bromide 230,400
Magnesium 45,900
Sodium 36,600
Calcium 17,600
Potassium 7,800

The Dead Sea's overall salt concentration is 340 g/L.[2]

On the other hand, the compounds used in retail Dead Sea salt are obtained from the mineral-rich mud of the Dead Sea. Runoff streams flowing into the Dead Sea brought in large deposits of this gray-black mud during the Holocene era. An analysis by Dr. Olga Yoffe at the Geological Survey in Jerusalem determined the major minerals present in this mud.[2]

Minerals of Dead Sea mud
Mineral* Content (percentage)
Silicon dioxide 20
Calcium oxide 15.5
Aluminum oxide 4.8
Magnesium oxide 4.5
Iron(III) oxide 2.8
Sodium oxide 1.7
Potassium oxide 1.3
Titanium(IV) oxide 0.5
Sulfur trioxide 0.4
Phosphorus pentoxide 0.3
Chloride 6.7
Bromide 0.2
  • Expressed in equivalent oxides, as appropriate; for example the neutral sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) would be analyzed as basic sodium oxide (Na2O) and acidic sulfur trioxide (SO3), neither which occur in free form in the mud.

Therapeutic benefits[edit]

The Dead Sea is a popular center for wellness and health today.[4] Dead Sea salts have been reported to have the following benefits:

Rheumatologic Conditions – Dead Sea salts can be effective in balneotherapy of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis. The minerals are absorbed while soaking, stimulating blood circulation.[5]

Common skin ailments – Research has demonstrated that skin disorders such as acne and psoriasis are relieved by regular soaking in water with added Dead Sea salt. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends Dead Sea and Dead Sea salts as effective treatments for psoriasis.[6] One study[7] concluded that the high concentration of magnesium in Dead Sea salt was instrumental in improving skin hydration and reducing inflammation.[8]

Allergies – The high concentration of bromide and magnesium in the Dead Sea salt can relieve allergic reactions by cleansing and detoxifying.[8]

Skin ageing – Further research into Dead Sea salt benefits has shown a 40% reduction in the depth of wrinkling.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ History of the Dead Sea
  2. ^ a b c d Ma’or, Zeev et al. "Antimicrobial properties of Dead Sea black mineral mud", International Journal of Dermatology, May 2006. Retrieved on 2008-04-13.
  3. ^ The Rough Guide to Jordan: the rough guide. Matthew Teller, Ian J. Andrews, Tony Howard, Rana Husseini. Published by Rough Guides, 2002. ISBN 1-85828-740-5, ISBN 978-1-85828-740-9
  4. ^ Fontanarosa, Phil (2002). Alternative Medicine: An Objective Assessment. New York: American Medical Association. p. 112. ISBN 1-57947-002-5. 
  5. ^ Harari, Marco; Shani, Jashovam. "Demographic evaluation of successful antipsoriatic climatotherapy at the Dead Sea (Israel) DMZ Clinic". International Journal of Dermatology 36 (4): 304–305. doi:10.1046/j.1365-4362.1997.00204.x. 
  6. ^ "The Dead Sea" National Psoriasis Foundation. Retrieved on 2008-04-10.
  7. ^ Proksch, Ehrhardt MD, PhD et al. "Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin", International Journal of Dermatology, February 2005. Retrieved on 2008-04-13.
  8. ^ a b c Ehrhardt, Proksch; Nissen, HP; Bremgartner, M; Urquhart, C. "Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution: follow-on review". International Journal of Dermatology 46 (2): 177–179. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2005.02079.x. PMID 15689218.