The Importance of Including Sea Water Salts in the Macrobiotic Diet

Thalassotherapy uses sea water as a means to improve health.

It is now widely accepted that life originated in a marine environment.

Physiologist and biologist Rene Quinton, a French citizen, was the first person in recent times to recognize and verify the remarkable similarity between sea water and mammalian lymph and blood plasma. Quinton discovered that sea water possessed an amazing compatibility with living organisms. He ultimately validated his studies by conducting scientific experiments in hospitals. The results he obtained were dramatic. Several terminal patients regained their vigor through application of his sea water therapy.

Rene Quinton worked in collaboration with Drs. Potocki, Mace and Jarricot. He labored for 4 years to perfect proper techniques and establish correct dosages. In 1904, he released the results of his hospital work in a book titled, L'Eau de Mer, Milieu Organique (Sea Water, Organic Medium).

Rene Quinton’s book was re-issued in 1995 as reports of remarkable cures using his techniques began to become more widely known. In 1921, Dr. Jamcot had published The Marine Dispensary, the results of his therapeutic experiments in the treatment of childhood diseases using Quinton's formulas.

The Great Salt Controversy

At the same time many medical doctors began urging the general population to cut back on the use of salt. High blood pressure, heart trouble, kidney disease, edema and eczema were attributed to overuse of salt. Many people began to believe a diet containing NO added salt was best for health. The popularity of the low/no-salt trend continues, though some doctors question this advice.

Sea Salts vs. Refined Table Salt

Salts obtained from solar evaporation of sea water are entirely different from modern refined salt. The plural "salts’ is deliberately used here, because sea water salts are actually a complex blend of trace minerals, as well as calcium and magnesium salts. This complex blend is essential to life, as Quinton’s research demonstrated. Table salt today is primarily kiln-dried sodium chloride with anti-caking agents added. Trace minerals, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium salts are removed in processing. Kiln-drying involves scorching salt at high heat to remove moisture. This refining process creates a product that is unnatural and hard on the body. It is the true culprit that contributes to high blood pressure, heart trouble, kidney disease and eczema, among other problems – not the complex blend of life-supportive minerals known as sea salt.

The Use of Sea Salt in Macrobiotic Cooking

Traditionally, Japanese people used sea salt obtained by evaporating sea water in making miso, tamari, umeboshi and many varieties of pickled vegetables. They also used it widely in making noodles and preparing every day meals.

Sea salt not only allows human life to achieve the critical balance between potassium found in plant life and the sodium found in blood plasma and lymph, but it also preserves food against spoiling. Using sea salt in cooking protects food from bacterial contamination, and it also keeps bacteria from establishing colonies within our bodies. Miso, tamari, umeboshi and pickled vegetables will spoil if the correct amount of sea salt is not present during fermentation. Too much sea salt retards fermentation and too little leads to spoilage.

Today, many manufacturers of miso, tamari, umeboshi and pickled vegetables are using refined salt in making their products. It did not take manufacturers long to discover their products did not ferment properly when they used refined salt. That is, activity of aspergillis enzymes that ferment their products was blocked due to the presence of refined salt. However, refined salt was cheaper because it could be mass-produced in large quantities.

Instead of returning to the use of sea salt, however, they simply added enzymes to assist the fermentation process, and then had to add glucose to further stimulate enzyme activity. All this to accomplish a semblance of what will occur naturally without the addition of these products. It seems in Japan as in the Western world, people decided that rather than maintain the natural way to produce foods with real nutritional value, quality can be sacrificed for accelerated processes that allow products to be brought to marketable quality.

Maintaining the proper levels of sea salt in our bodies is crucial to a disease-free existence. When studying Macrobiotic cooking The MOST IMPORTANT lesson to learn is how to balance the use of salt properly. Too little will leave yourself and those you cook for open to illness; too much can lead to high blood pressure, edema, irritability, excessive thirst, craving for strong Yin and damage to kidneys, stomach and other internal organs. Finding the correct balance is essential. Everyone must take the time to discover what the correct amount is for him or her.

Finding the Right Amount of Salt for Each Person

The correct amount of salt gives flavor to food. Sea salt and salty condiments like miso and tamari should be added to cooking for flavor, but not so that salt is the main ingredient or the predominant flavor! Sea salt should be added during cooking, not served at the table! Making Goma-sio (toasted sesame seeds ground together with desiccated sea salt) available on the table is an excellent way for each person to adjust their own food to the proper salt level.

Many people find they cannot tolerate much salt at the beginning, or at various stages of Macrobiotic practice. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. One is that their kidneys have been weakened by bad diet over many years and cannot process salt effectively. Salt can build up and cause water retention and bloating or swelling around the knees and ankles. If this occurs, they must cut back or eliminate use of salt altogether until kidneys have the chance to strengthen over time.
  2. In conjunction with the foregoing, if they have consumed a lot of meat and other animal flesh-foods over a number of years, they must cut back on salt because too much salt remains locked up in body tissues. This animal tissue derived salt must be discharged first. Use of ginger and daikon radish in cooking, in tea or served with rice or vegetables, along with use of shiitake mushrooms in cooking will assist the elimination of this animal-flesh salt. At some point, which can be years ahead, the body will eliminate this animal flesh-derived salt and it will be able to tolerate more salt in cooking and used as condiments.

Value of Salt

Salt is the great purifier, and protector of health. Why go to all the trouble to discharge animal protein-derived salt from your body? Because being able to absorb the proper amount of salt is essential to maintaining the proper isotonic balance of salt in the blood, and protecting us from infectious disorders.

Our blood should be salty to protect ourselves from disease. The Gospel of Mark quotes Jesus as teaching, "Salt is good…therefore, have salt in yourselves and live at peace, one with another."

Today many people cannot tolerate the amount of salt required to remain healthy. As a result getting sick from time to time has become an inescapable aspect of the human condition we take for granted.

This does not need to be a fact of life. We do NOT have to struggle with illness during our lives. We CAN change ourselves into healthy, disease-free individuals. We do NOT need modern drug companies to spend billions on research and development of new drugs, processes and equipment to keep us healthy. Indeed these inventions only distract from the essential responsibility each person must assume: to maintain their health and the health of their families and loved ones by learning how to prepare health-giving meals.

Sea salt is an inexhaustible resource, and could be made available world-wide at low cost to allow people everywhere to keep themselves and their families healthy, nor matter how impoverished they might be. We do NOT need antibiotics, vaccines and other "wonder drugs" that cost millions to produce, and which many people cannot afford without government subsidies. These modern devices do NOT build the immune system; rather they tend to weaken it, leaving people who use them more and more susceptible to recurrences of the disorders they are trying to overcome. They also encourage disease micro-organisms to mutate into ever-more antibiotic-resistant forms.

Helping people learn how to apply Macrobiotics successfully is SO important at this critical time in the evolution of humanity. Not only for this generation, but also for generations yet to come. Will our species rebuild its ancestral vigor in time, or will we continue to witness more and more people succumbing to genetically modified strains of bio-weapons, heart disease, cancer, AIDS, birth defects, immune deficiency disorders and other disorders?

Macrobiotics gives you a choice. Whether you choose the Macrobiotic alternative as the way to regain life and health for yourself and your family, or you choose drugs, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, bio-engineering, organ transplants and cloning is up to you and your judgment.

The second option may not be yours anyway if your insurance company denies these expensive procedures and you find you cannot afford them. Some governments, already staggering under the expense of the war on terrorism and health care, may find they cannot help either.

If the modern medical system were reorganized to teach people the simple Macrobiotic principles of health, the cost of healthcare would be reduced dramatically. It is time for governments around the world to take a closer look at what Macrobiotics offers: a lost-cost way for people to restore and maintain health. It also improves the environment because it is based on sustainable agriculture rather than soil-destructive farming practices. Everything is positive about Macrobiotics and nothing is negative, save the fact that it will reduce dependence on expensive modern medical procedures, processed food, refined sugar and grain milling companies’ devitalized products.

Thanks to the Internet, news about Macrobiotics can now travel at the speed of light to every corner of the Earth. You can do your part by copying anything posted on this website and distribute as freely as possible to whomever is interested. You will be doing your part to change the course of history away from immanent self-destruction to a new era of peace, health and prosperity – not just for a privileged few, but for all people everywhere.

-- Fred Pulver