Benefits of Salt Therapies and the Original Himalayan Salt Inhaler – Symphony Natural Health


Effects of Salt on Bacteria, Viruses and more, plus how it supports Mucus

What is amazing about mucus, and we still don’t understand how it does this, is that it is selective – allowing nutrients and other vital molecules to enter, while creating an environment that is inhabitable to dangerous pathogens like bacteria and viruses.*^

Interestingly, the composition of mucus can differ between people and varies depending on factors such as age and diet, implying that healthy people have healthy mucus. Even the time of year can impact the composition of mucus, which may play a part in why we more often get colds or the flu during winter months. Mucus is also abundant in breast milk, protecting infants against viruses such as rotavirus and HIV. In a recent study funded by the NIH (National Institute of Health) and published in the Journal of Biomacromolecules, it was found that covering human cells with a layer of mucus trapped human papilloma virus, influenza A and Merkel cell polyomavirus (a human viral pathogen), preventing them from infecting the cells. It was also discovered in the same study that salt has a strong effect on how effectively mucus blocks viral entry. High salt concentration makes the mucus less penetrable, which offers a possible explanation for why gargling with salt water, or using a neti pot with salt water or a Himalayan Crystal Salt Inhaler often soothes symptoms.

The scientist behind this research, Dr. Ribbeck from MIT, is now investigating how salt enhances the performance of mucus and how viruses manage to overcome the defensive mucus barrier in some cases. She hypothesizes that bacteria may act as an accomplice, breaking down the sugars found in mucus and clearing the way for viruses to get through the mucus with the bacteria to the cell. Then, even more concerning, once viruses infect the cells they can “return the favor” by shutting down many of the body’s immune defenses, giving bacteria a better chance to establish their own infections. 8 This further highlights the essential dual role salt can play as both supporting healthy mucous production and an environment that is inhospitable to pathogens.*^

By using osmosis, salt destabilizes bacteria here high concentrations of salt kill some types of bacteria through its dehydrating effect. When bacterial cells lose all of their water it dehydrates the cell, causes a loss of the cell’s structure, leads to enzyme and protein malfunction, and eventually causes the death of the cell. 9

Salt has been used in food preparation for thousands of years due to its antimicrobial properties. More recent research has shown scientifically how salt destroys bacteria known to cause extreme illness in humans, such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimuium, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes.

Research at the University of Manchester has also demonstrated “salt’s ability to support healthy inflammatory processes” In an animal study they tested the effects of hypertonic fluid saltwater therapy to reduce swelling, which activates a group of proteins called NLRP3 which in turn release inflammatory mediators. These activate neighboring cells to increase inflammation and negatively impact our immune system. However, when a hypertonic salt solution was administered, it drew the water from the cells shrinking them back to their original size, resulting in deactivating the signal for inflammation. 10

Another potential adjunct application to safeguard against unwanted pathogens is the addition of salt to surgical masks which is currently being researched by Professor Choi at the University of Alberta. Dr Choi said, “surgical masks were originally designed to protect the wearer from infectious droplets in clinical settings, but they alone don’t help much to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases such as SARS, MERS or influenza”. The masks may well trap the virus-laden droplets, but the virus is still infectious on the mask. Merely handling the used mask opens up new avenues for infection. Even respirators designed to protect individuals from viral aerosols have the same issue. Salt-treated filters within masks may prove to be beneficial. Salt is naturally absorbent, and could theoretically absorb and dehydrate pathogenic droplets before going airborne. 11

Source link: by By Corey B. Schuler, MS, DC, LN, CNS at