Science backs health boasts about Korean bamboo salt
Scientists recently confirmed the health benefits of what’s commonly called purple bamboo salt, named for the color imparted after several times through the preparation process.
Researchers from Kyung Hee University’s College of Oriental Medicine had a study published in a 2003 edition of the Journal of Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology on the correlation between consumption of the special salt and changes in inflammation.
“Our results suggest that purple bamboo salt importantly contributes to the prevention or treatment of inflammatory diseases.”
A Konkuk University study published in Meat Science magazine found that purple bamboo salt also may be a better flavor enhancer than pure sodium chloride salt. The researchers also found that bamboo salt has a higher pH than regular salt and high levels of potassium, calcium, and alkali minerals.
That seems to lend scientific credence to more than an eon of Buddhist monastic medicine on the healthful advantage of bamboo salt over regular sea salt and refined sodium chloride salt.
The monks who developed the salt started with salt collected from Korea’s coastline. They poured the salt into sections of bamboo trunks, sealed the ends with yellow clay and baked the bamboo-encased salt in fires stoked with pine needles and pine lumber. The salt reaches about 1,000 to 1,500 Celsius, which is almost the melting point of salt.
Monks of antiquity baked the salt only once or twice. But modern bamboo salt makers will repeat this process up to nine times. Each pass through the flames further refines the salt and infuses it with more bamboo essence.