The white Gold of the Algarve: Sea Salt

The white gold of the Algarve: Sea salt

Dr.Hauschka Med Sensitive Saltwater Toothpaste incorporates natural salt from the wide seas. It contains more than 80 minerals, for example magnesium, potassium, calcium, iodine and selenium, and trace elements detectable in sea water in their natural complexes and thus in a form which is ideal for utilisation by the human body.

Unrefined salt, a pure product of nature

After harvesting, sea salt is usually washed to remove impurities from the bottom of the salt pans and then dried with gas burners or in electric ovens. The washing in saturated salt solution leads to recrystallisation processes and the thermal treatment to oxidation processes as a result of which many of the original minerals and trace elements are lost. One of the victims is the highly volatile iodide contained in sea salt in very small amounts and this is the reason why many conventional manufacturers artificially enrich their salt with potassium or sodium iodate.

MARISOL sea salt from from traditional marine salt works in the Eastern Algarve, situated in the Ria Formosa Natural Park. After harvesting it is merely dried in the sun, partially ground and then packed. It thus has a natural residual moisture content of five to eight percent.

The microbiological and chemical purity of the natural sea salt is regularly monitored by Certiplanet, a E.U. accredited Portuguese food certifier as well as by Natural Food Certifiers (NFC, for kosher supervision) based in New Jersey, USA, and independent laboratories. The contents of heavy metals, pesticides, nitrites and nitrates and health-hazardous organisms are below the analytical detection limits.

MARISOL sea salt is absolutely unadulterated and contains no additives, neither bleaches nor flow enhancers, which sometimes give salt a bitter taste. The producers rely only on the sun, wind and sea.

The salt gardens of Tavira

Sea salt comes from Portugal´s Eastern Algarve. In the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve, along the Atlantic coastline of Tavira, one can still find traditional salterns where sea salt is harvested by hand following the region´s millennial tradition of salt-gathering, which is nowadays subjected to a rigorous quality management.

Quality is paramount

Clean Atlantic water and careful manual harvesting, favoured by the absence of industrial emissions and the dry, windy climate of the Algarvian summers, allow to produce a premium sea salt. Depending on the weather patterns during the harvesting season, production may vary and consequently, stocks can be limited sometimes.

As quality is paramount, Marisol sea salt is selected only from natural, unprocessed salt of traditional salterns. By paying fair prices to the producers, Marisol aims at maintaining the handicraft traditions and at establishing a sustainable salt production. The certification by Certiplanet and Natural Food Certifiers guarantees careful hand-harvesting and the salt´s safeness with regard to the chemical composition. Marisol, however, guarantees quality and taste.

Tradition and production

The compact clay floors of the salt pans permit exact creation and harvesting of the crystallisation surfaces.After the winter break, which is used for maintenance and repair of the salt pans, the salinas are flooded again for the first time between the end of April and the middle of May, depending on the weather conditions.

The sea water first enters pre-concentration basins. When it has evaporated to a salt concentration of 180 g/l it is fed into numerous small individual salt pans. Here the brine crystallises out at about 280 g/l.It is very important to wait for the beginning of the good weather period. If a late thundery shower falls on the first fine salt crystals on the surface its large drops will hit the bottom of the pan and contaminate the brine; the salt is then only good enough for washing and artificial drying.

The area required for traditional salinas operation with hand-harvesting of the salt is enormous. Only about one seventh of the total salt pan area is used for crystallisation, the rest is divided between the preconcentration basin and the feeding and draining channels.

Medicine and skin care: sea salt on the skin

Whether it is a matter of conviction or just a fashion: The use of sea water in thalassotherapy and in skin care products owes its success to the healing action natural sea water evidently has on the human organism. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans were aware of its therapeutic action: Hippocrates taught his students methods for treatment of skin diseases, rheumatism and sciatica using compresses and cold and warm water baths with sea water.

This long forgotten knowledge has now been revived by modern thalassotherapy. In warm baths minerals and trace elements are taken up by the skin; in inhalation therapy the sea water aerosol taken up through the lining of the airways has a stimulating and regeneration action. People with atopic eczema who visit the Ria Formosa report tangible and visible improvement of their symptoms as a result of their stay by the sea.