Watch any credible, international cooking show or channel online, and chances are they will use Kosher salt or sea salt in their preparations. And if it is neither, then it is almost always Himalayan Pink Salt. But what if even these exotic items are too regular for you? What if we told you about a salt made in Tripura which has its roots in South Korea, and has medicinal properties too? We are talking about Bamboo salt.
Confused? Read on.
But first, it is important to understand that the term ‘medicinal properties’ is not being thrown around lightly. Bamboo salt is used for a variety of reasons, from curing ulcers to treating toothaches.
And this is why one Tripura resident took it upon himself to get into making bamboo salt. Samir Jamatia, a resident of the Gomati district in Tripura, has pedigree when it comes to working with bamboo. As a skilled bamboo technologist who was trained in China, Jamatia has worked with the National Bamboo Mission and the Bamboo Society of India in the past.
It helps that his home state, Tripura, grows 21 species of bamboo in over 3,246 sq/km of forests and planned forestry. Jamatia has been involved with several innovative bamboo-based products, like bamboo rice, bamboo tea, bamboo salt and even utensils made out of bamboo waste.
While Bamboo salt has enjoyed a revival of late, Jamatia has been working with bamboo for over a decade. He visited China in 2009, where he was pursuing a diploma in bamboo-based products, Jamatia told EastMojo. This explains his encyclopaedic knowledge of bamboo, especially Bamboo salt.
Bamboo Salt aka Jukyeom is known as Swom in Tripura’s Kokborok language. Almost 1,000 years ago, Korean doctors and monks developed this salt to use as a remedy for various illnesses, and more importantly, the process of making the salt remains similar, with just a few changes.
The salt is developed by putting sea salt into cases made from bamboo trunks with three years of growth. After that, the cases are sealed with natural, mineral-rich yellow clay. They are then roasted for 10 hours between 1,000-1,500 degrees celsius in a furnace with wood or bamboo used as fuel. In ancient times, the process was repeated only two or three times. However, it was discovered by those doctors through repeated experimentation that Bamboo Salt gained higher medical effectiveness if it was baked for more time. This repeated baking process enhanced the amalgamation of minerals from the bamboo and the yellow clay into the sea salt too.
Jamatia shares many benefits of Bamboo salt. It can reduce toothache when applied onto a decaying tooth, or if gargled with water. It also helps with hair loss, getting rid of body odour and relieving Sinusitis. Applying bamboo salt onto skin or washing the skin with bamboo salt water improves skin.
This explains why the medicinal salt is valued as high as ₹1,200 and sometimes more for a kilo.
Jamatia said he hopes that the government will campaign on behalf of these products and give financial support to this bamboo-based industry. This will improve Tripura’s economic strength and also put the state on a global map, he added.
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