Pass the Saltbush – Salt Grown on Land & In Gardens (Australian Bush Tucker)

Instead of importing salt from overseas or even from other states (salt from the Murray River or great lakes of Western Australia), Ayurveda advises to get your salt (and any other food item) from your local habitat (“desa”).

Last week, while spending time with a local indigenous family, one of the knowledgable fellas convinced me to stop buying salt, and rather, replace it with very salty wild leaves harvested from land.

This highly resonated with me and aligns with the principles Ayurvedic nutrition.

Even though Ayurveda says “the best salt is rock salt,” (usually Himalayan rock salt), the priority is to get salt from your local area (“desa”), since nature’s local harvest is providing the antidote to the biological influences you incur from your local habitat and climate.

Right on the low coastal rocky cliffs near where we were camping, scrambling among other shrubs, I found a native plant called “Sea Berry Saltbush” (Chenopodium candolleanum).

There are many other varieties of saltbush, and I was shown others and tasted them, (such as Ruby Saltbush / Enchylaena tomentosa, pictured right).

But it was the semi-succulent glossy leaves of Sea Berry Salt Bush that won my taste buds. Very salty leaves (hence a potential replacement for salt) but also herby in flavour. The slimy texture (picheela guna) is one component that I love. Plus, it has bunches of edible bright red berries.

Note, in Ayurveda it is recommended to use a variety of salts in your diet (rock, sea, lake, mineral, black, earth, alchemised etc.), even if you import some, that is beneficial (spice-trade routes), but I recommend your primary salt of choice should be as local as possible.

If you want to learn how to forage for food, attend a local workshop. In Sydney I recommend Diego Bonetto.

If you want to buy Salt Bush, you can get dried (not as juicy as fresh) from my favourite spice company (by far) Herbies.

Image credit for Ruby Salt Bush: Paten Park Native Nursery


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