SWANSON: Dr. Hendel, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us today. To start with, can you give our readers some information about your background?
Dr. Hendel: I’m delighted to speak with you, Lee, and excited to share my salt with your customers. I graduated with a degree in medicine from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. I have been working as a holistic health physician for over 20 years and, since 1993, I have operated a clinic that has successfully managed to synthesize the traditional allopathic form of medicine with the naturopathic approach.
SWANSON: Being an American, I wasn’t aware how prestigious Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich is in Germany, and the world for that matter.
Dr. Hendel: Yes, the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich is considered one of the most elite and prestigious universities in Europe. It is home to 28 Nobel Prize laureates and is regularly awarded top marks in national and international rankings. Its history dates back to the late 1400s, and in October of 2006 it was officially named the German “Elite University.” That distinction made clear that Ludwig-Maximilians University is the best university in Germany and, like Harvard in the U.S., one of the world’s most elite schools.
The natural pink hue of the salt crystals comes from natural trace minerals.
SWANSON: Thanks for that background; I know our customers appreciate it. You parlayed that extraordinary education into an extraordinary career with the founding of Germany’s “Water & Salt” movement. What is the essential premise of this movement? Is it right to call it a “movement”?
Dr. Hendel: I think it is appropriate to call it a movement, because what we’ve done is to motivate people into thinking differently about health and nutrition and behaving differently for the benefit of their daily wellness. The essential premise is that water and salt are two of the most fundamental substances necessary for life, and through understanding and balancing these elements we can dramatically improve our health, well-being and the quality of our lives.
SWANSON: How do water and salt affect human health?
Dr. Hendel: Life comes from the ocean. Millions of years ago the earth was a watery planet, totally enveloped in a salty, primal ocean. This water of the ocean—a natural water and salt solution—contains the essential energy for the creation of life. All life forms on this planet have emerged from the ocean. Our own bodies are 50% to 65% water. Sodium, or salt, is our primary electrolyte, which means it conducts electricity through water, allowing nerve impulses to pass between cells. Our blood is about 0.9% sodium.
SWANSON: You refer to water as “the pillar of life.” Please explain this to our readers.
Dr. Hendel: Water is the pillar of life forms. It is the beginning and the end of a life cycle. Our life and our health are completely dependent upon water. Beyond its biophysical life-giving effect, water is also a solvent, transporter and cleanser. It facilitates the transport of nutrients and the removal of waste products through our metabolism. Because of water’s importance to health, I recommend that everyone drink at least two quarts of high-quality water every day. I consider pure spring water to be the best.
SWANSON: Ok, now let’s get to the main topic of our discussion, which is salt. When most Americans think of salt, they think of the table salt we all use in our salt shakers. But the salt you recommend—natural Himalayan Crystal Salt— is different. How?
Dr. Hendel: What we know as common table salt is actually sodium chloride, which obviously is a combination of sodium and chloride. Many people know this, but few realize that about 2.5% of it is actually other added chemicals. This table salt is not remotely comparable to the 100% natural Himalayan Crystal Salt that I use and recommend. The natural Himalayan Crystal Salt contains sodium in an organic complex that includes all the natural elements found existing in the “primal ocean” where all life originated.
SWANSON: This would be the original salt that our ancestors considered so valuable they fought wars over it, correct? How did we end up “modernizing” salt into what we see on our tables today?
Dr. Hendel: That’s right, Lee. Salt was once considered “white gold,” and I still use that term to describe my Himalayan Crystal Salt. As societies developed and demand grew, salt purveyors looked for ways to refine their product, increase production and maintain consistency. The result was that natural salt could be obtained from a variety of sources and “chemically cleaned” to create the familiar white granules we recognize today. This “new” salt reduced nature’s organic complex to a simple combination of sodium and chloride. Essential minerals and trace elements were removed as impurities. Originally, the proponents of sodium chloride may have believed they were doing a good thing by creating a pure, consistent product. But sodium chloride is an isolated, refined substance with very little connection to its natural origins. Similar to refined white sugar, salt, once regarded as white gold, was converted into white poison.
SWANSON: How does table salt burden the body?
Dr. Hendel: While our bodies require a minute amount of salt per day, many of us are over-saturated with sodium chloride. The body recognizes table salt as an aggressive cellular toxin, an unnatural substance, and wants to eliminate it as quickly as possible in order to protect itself. In almost every preserved product, salt is used as part of the preservation process. So, by adding more salt with a shaker of table salt to already salted food, the body receives more sodium chloride than it can get rid of. The body now tries to isolate the overdose of salt. In the process, water molecules surround the sodium chloride in order to ionize it into sodium and chloride to neutralize it. Where does the water come from? It comes from our cells. And what happens to cells when they give up their water content? They suffer. We end up with too much extracellular fluid—the bloat that people experience.
SWANSON: You mentioned that table salt also contains other additives. Are you talking about things like iodine and fluoride?
Dr. Hendel: Yes, that’s right. These things, originally added to address what were perceived to be deficiencies in the human diet, have no business in our food supply today. Iodine and fluoride can be toxic.
SWANSON: The salt industry would have us believe that the iodine in salt is good for our thyroids and the fluoride helps to strengthen our teeth.
Dr. Hendel: That’s the premise, but the human body is simply not in any position to metabolize artificially provided iodine and fluoride compounds. The scientific insights on adding iodine and fluoride to sodium chloride must be critically examined. Both of these compounds only add to the perils and increase the aggressiveness of sodium chloride.
SWANSON: Let’s talk about the healthy form of salt—white gold, as you refer to it. What’s so special about your Himalayan Crystal Salt?
Dr. Hendel: First, it’s important to understand natural salt deposits and where natural salt comes from. Salt is plentiful in the oceans, which cover 70% of the earth’s surface. However, the oceans are being degraded to waste-disposal dumping facilities and are being polluted with heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. Salt deposits are also found in underground salt mines and consist of 95% rock salt. Since rock salt is a wholesome natural substance, it is far more valuable than table salt. Biochemically, it is nonaggressive. However, the elements within the rock salt from mines have not undergone sufficient compression to fully fuse into a crystalline grid or lattice of structured order. This means that even though all or most of the natural elements on earth are found in rock salt, they are too coarse and unrefined to be absorbed in our cells. The best salt is 100% pure crystal salt that exists within mountains. This is ancient salt that, through years of intense compression, has achieved a crystal structure that holds all the earth’s minerals in balance. This crystal salt is still as pure as the ancient primal oceans and contains all the elements as found in our bodies.
SWANSON: And the best source of this pure crystal salt is the Himalayan Mountains?
Dr. Hendel: Yes, that’s correct. My Himalayan Crystal Salt has been subjected to enormous pressure over millions of years. This pressure is responsible for creating the salt crystals. This crystal salt, in its most perfect form, is geologically referred to as “halite.” In ancient times it was called “king’s salt” because its use was reserved for nobility only.
SWANSON: And the specific crystal salt that you recommend comes from one particular mine in the Himalayas?
Dr. Hendel: Yes, I have a special agreement with the operators of a rare and unique salt deposit in the foothills of the Himalayas. The structure of the crystal salt in this particular deposit is of such superior quality that it’s nearly perfect. I’ve never seen a more perfect crystal salt. The degree of compression within this mountain range was so extreme that it created perfectly structured crystal grids.
SWANSON: Let’s talk now about the health benefits of substituting regular table salt in our diets with 100% Natural Himalayan Crystal Salt. You refer to it as white gold for health. Why?
Dr. Hendel: First, it’s important to understand that my Himalayan Crystal Salt is more than just sodium chloride. It contains all the natural elements, identical to the elements in your body—the very same elements found existing in the primal sea millions of years ago. Himalayan Crystal Salt is salt in its purest native form. Instead of interferring with our bodies like sodium chloride, it actually helps maintain a state of optimal health by contributing to a perfect natural balance of minerals and trace elements.
SWANSON: Aside from simply replacing the salt on our tables with your Himalayan Crystal Salt, you recommend using the salt in many ways— for baths, for topical applications, as a sinus flush. How is your salt used in these ways?
Dr. Hendel: The booklet that I’ve written especially for your Swanson customers explains all the wonderful uses for this salt in great detail. But as a primer, let me explain that it all starts with a specific salt-water solution called sole (pronounced “so-lay”). Sole is water that is completely saturated with natural salt.
I encourage everybody I work with to consume the salt in this way—one teaspoon daily—for optimum health. Alternately, we use it as you mentioned, all of which is detailed in the booklet.
SWANSON: What are the benefits of consuming the salt in this way? Is it any different than just eating the salt as part of our diets?
Dr. Hendel: Many people avoid salt in the diet, even good salt like this, and that’s understandable. My recommendation for one teaspoon of sole daily is simply a way to ensure an adequate intake. My experience, and that of my clients, is that consuming the Himalayan Crystal Salt sole in this manner has beneficial influences on energy, digestion, hydration, complexion and more. After a couple weeks of doing this, people generally feel good and look good, to the point where they’re encouraged to continue the practice and even recommend it to others.
SWANSON: Many people today in the U.S. are very conscious about eating foods that contribute to a proper acid/alkaline balance in the body, and salt plays a role. How does your Himalayan Crystal Salt affect pH balance?
Dr. Hendel: Unlike sodium chloride, my Himalayan Crystal Salt is an exceptional aid for harmonizing the body’s acid/alkaline balance. When water is leached from the cells to neutralize sodium chloride, the body is thrown into an acid state. This does not occur with my naturally balanced Himalayan Crystal Salt.
SWANSON: A big part of your “Water & Salt” program in Germany focuses on cleansing and detoxifying. How does Himalayan Crystal Salt help us toward that goal?
Dr. Hendel: Natural spring water and Himalayan Crystal Salt help flush toxins and unwanted substances out of the body. To see it in action, try this simple experiment: Dilute some pure Himalayan Crystal Salt in spring water. Pour it into an electric hot water kettle and watch while the water boils. You’ll see the limestone deposits from your tap water on the heating rods dissolve. It may look like magic but it’s a simple chemical and physical reaction.
SWANSON: How does it work?
Dr. Hendel: The energetic structure and the ional effect of the Himalayan Crystal Salt in the spring water breaks apart the molecular compounds and hydrates, or dissolves, the elements in the limestone. A similar process happens in the body. Pure spring water and a small amount of Himalayan Crystal Salt each day help free your body of toxins and other waste matter. It’s one of the reasons people just plain feel good after taking a daily teaspoon of sole for just a few weeks.
SWANSON: You spoke about the “energizing effect” of Himalayan Crystal Salt. Please tell our readers about the Vinegar Test that illustrates the differences between common table salt and 100% Pure Himalayan Crystal Salt.
Dr. Hendel: Certainly. You can do this test at home using common vinegar. Take two glasses and add one inch of vinegar to each glass. Then add two tablespoons of regular table salt into one glass and the same amount of my Himalayan Crystal Salt in the other glass. You will see how the regular table salt will start to foam, emitting aggressive chemical gases. Pure Himalayan Crystal Salt, on the other hand, will sink to the bottom and dissolve without any reaction. The reactions of your body are similar. Just as with the vinegar and table salt, your body must sacrifice its own precious energy to neutralize the table salt. 100% pure Himalayan Crystal Salt, on the other hand, is an energy carrier. Which effect would you prefer?
SWANSON: You know, I was skeptical at first. But now that I’ve replaced my regular table salt with your Himalayan Crystal Salt and began taking a teaspoon of sole each day, I’ve found that my energy levels and particularly my digestion and skin health have improved tremendously. You’ve really made a believer out of me, and I’m just amazed that such a fundamental difference can come down to something as simple as a change in salt.
Dr. Hendel: Thank you very much, Lee; it’s hearing people say those things that encourages me and helps me continue bringing this message to people around the world.
SWANSON: When I started using your Himalayan Crystal Salt, I stopped using regular table salt entirely. Now I try my best to buy salt-free foods so as to avoid sodium chloride as much as possible. Do you recommend that people completely eliminate common table salt from their daily diets?
Dr. Hendel: I do. In my opinion sodium chloride in the form of table salt is a dangerous cellular poison that the body tries to eliminate or stores with an enormous expense of energy. Table salt needs to be eliminated from our daily diets and replaced with salt in its holistic, natural form; and the purest, most natural form of salt is my Himalayan Crystal Salt. Our bodies need this type of salt in its holistic state, with all its inherent natural elements, so that we can function in vibrant good health the way nature intended.
SWANSON: Thanks very much for your time and for the valuable health information, Dr. Hendel.
Dr. Hendel: It’s been my pleasure, Lee. I wish your many customers in America the very best on their quest for better health.