What are the benefits and uses of Epsom Salt? Widely used to relieve numerous minor health problems, Epsom salt is best known as one of the major components of bath salts. Bathing with it can give relief to sore muscles and achy feet while helping reduce stress and eliminate toxins from the body. From enhancing beauty to improving your garden, Epsom salt has dozens of uses, making it deserving to be in every home.
What is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt was discovered and produced in the 17th century at Epsom, in Surrey, England. It is different from Himalayan salt or regular salt, which is made up of sodium chloride.
Also known as magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is made up of small, colorless crystals that have a similar appearance to table salt. Despite having the same physical characteristics, it has different properties. For example, Epsom salt makes your skin silky and smooth, while table salt has drying effects.
Research reveals that many people lack this essential mineral due to a combination of factors, such as the decline of magnesium levels in our environment and food. One of the best ways to increase magnesium levels in the body is by using Epsom salt in beauty enhancements and around the house.
When purchasing Epsom salt, it is important to know the difference between ‘food grade’ Epsom salt and non-food grade. The former bears the ‘USP’ designation, which means that the product is certified according to the standards set by Food and Drug Administration and the United States Pharmacopeia. The latter is created for agricultural purposes.
15 Amazing Benefits and Uses of Epsom Salt in Your Home
1. Relieves Pain and Inflammation
Epsom salt has been used for years to alleviate all kinds of pains and aches. Whether your arthritis is acting up or your muscles are sore after extensive workouts, soaking your body in the tub may give you immediate relief.
- Epsom salt bath can help loosen stiff joints and relax muscles. It also promotes restful sleep to speed up your body’s recovering process.
- Fill up a tub with warm water. While the water is running, add 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt. Soak your body in the water for at least 10 minutes and relax.
- Consider adding 5 to 10 drops of any essential oil of your choice and 2 cups of baking soda so you can fully de-stress.
It is believed that soaking in an Epsom salt bath allows the minerals to enter your body through the skin. This treatment is commonly used for dealing with arthritis swelling and pain, fibromyalgia, sore muscles, sprains, and bruises.
2. Boosts Magnesium and Sulfate Levels
Lack of magnesium and sulfate are dangerous. Although sulfate deficiencies are rare, magnesium deficiency is common due to the prevalence of low-quality processed foods and soil depletion. Low magnesium intake has been connected with everything, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
Soaking your body in Epsom salt baths can increase both sulfate and magnesium levels as both make their way through your skin.
3. Arterial Health
Epsom is believed to promote cardiovascular health and help prevent various ailments, such as strokes, coronary artery disease, and heart attack. Soaking your body in Epsom salt bath may help reduce inflammation and protect the elasticity of your arteries.
Healthy arteries mean lower chances of blood clots and plaque build-up that could damage the arterial walls. Thus, it reduces the risk of heart attacks and other related medical conditions.
4. Removes Splinter
A splinter is a small debris or fragment of any object that entered and became lodged inside the skin. It can be caused by thorns, wood, rock, glass or metal, and results in irritation and throbbing. It some cases, splinters are painful and have to be dealt with immediately. Pressing it could cause it to go deeper into the skin, making it harder to remove.
One of the best ways to remove small splinters easily is by using Epsom salt. This treatment will also stop the pain immediately.
- Add 1/3 cup of Epsom salt in a cup of warm water.
- Mix it well to completely dissolve.
- Soak the affected toe, finger or body part for about 10 minutes.
- Then, use a sewing needle or tweezers to remove the splinter easily.
5. Relieves Constipation
Epsom salt can be used as a laxative to make your stool softer. It is approved by FDA to relieve constipation naturally. When used internally, it increases water in the digestive tract and cleanses your colon. According to studies published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, there is a strong evidence that magnesium sulfate “has potent laxative effect in vitro through the release of digestive hormones and neurotransmitters.”
While it can provide temporary relief from constipation, it shouldn’t be used as a long-term solution. It is also not meant to be a substitute for other healthy diets. Consuming Epsom salt dissolved in water can also cause side effects, such as severe diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and dehydration.
6. DIY Epsom Salt Body Scrub
Epsom salt has a slightly abrasive texture that helps remove dead skin cells, dirt and excess oil from the skin. Exfoliating not only remove impurities but also improves blood flow and promotes regeneration. In the regeneration process, the skin becomes tighter and firmer, resulting in younger-looking appearance.
Here’s a great recipe to make your own Epsom salt scrub. You will need 1/2 cup Epsom salt, 2 tablespoons of jojoba or olive oil, 1 tablespoon of crushed rose petals or lavender flowers, and 1 vitamin E capsule. For additional relaxing properties, you can also include 7 drops of your preferred essential oil.
- In a small bowl, mix Epsom salt, jojoba oil, and vitamin E.
- Add crushed rose petals or lavender flowers and mix thoroughly. You can also add 7 drops of any essential oil.
- Transfer it into an airtight container and store in a cool area.
7. Epsom Salt During Pregnancy
Pregnant women can also benefit from Epsom salt baths as it provides numerous benefits to expecting moms. It helps reduce back pain and sore muscles, making it an effective treatment for leg cramps. Magnesium sulfate also reduces aching or swelling feet during pregnancy.
- Add two cups of it in a tub filled with warm water and soak yourself in the mixture for 15 minutes.
- To reduce aching feet or hands, add one cup of Epsom salt in a basin filled with warm water. Soak your hands or feet in the solution for 15 to 20 minutes.
8. Reduces Stress
According to research from the University of North Carolina, lack of magnesium in the body increases stress reactions. Other studies also reveal that magnesium has a profound effect on neural excitability and stress. Magnesium salts like Epsom salt help improve neuropsychiatric disorders and alleviate stress levels.
Because magnesium is essential to the production of energy in cells, it is important to increase levels of this mineral to feel revived. To combat stress after a long day of work, add two cups of Epsom salt to your bathwater and have a nice, long soak.
9. Treats Common Foot Problems
Dissolving Epsom salt in warm water can help relax tired, aching feet. It also eliminates odor, reduces inflammation from gout, and treats infections, such as toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. Although it doesn’t cure the infection, it can help draw out the infection and boost medication effects by softening the skin.
People with sprains, bruises, and corns can also benefit from soaking their feet regularly to alleviate pain and inflammation.
- Fill a basin with warm water and add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt.
- Consider adding a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus or lavender essential oil for aromatherapy boost.
- Soak your feet for at least 30 minutes.
- Pat dry and apply moisturizer.
10. Aids in Weight Loss
Shedding extra pounds can be a difficult task, especially when you don’t have enough time to exercise or cook healthier meals. Long hours of work or studying also mean that you won’t be starving yourself, so how do you achieve your ideal weight?
One relaxing way to help the body shed extra pounds is by soaking in Epsom salt bath. Doing so will eliminate environmental toxins from your system as magnesium and sulfate enter your bloodstream through the skin. This will make you feel relaxed and more energetic, reducing your chances of overeating.
11. Soothes Mild Sunburn
One of the natural ways to soothe sunburn is by using Epsom salt. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate irritation and burning sensation. However, do not use Epsom salt if you have severe burns or open wounds.
- Add two tablespoons of Epsom salt in one cup of water and mix well. Transfer the solution into a spray bottle. Sprinkle it on the affected areas.
- Alternatively, you can prepare an Epsom salt bath and soak your body in the mixture to get immediate relief.
- For a quick solution, dissolve some Epsom salt in water and apply the mixture to your skin using a clean cloth.
12. Improves Blood Sugar Levels
Having healthy levels of magnesium can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Epsom salt contains not only magnesium but also sulfate, both help enhance the body’s ability to utilize and produce insulin. Studies show that a healthy consumption of magnesium is linked with a lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes in both women and men.
Using Epsom salt regularly, either transdermally or orally, can help improve blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of diabetes, and boost energy levels.
13. Hair Volumizer
Many people use Epsom salt as a hair volumizer. It is believed that it helps add volume to hair by removing excess oil from hair strands. It also prevents flat or lifeless appearance and slick or oily hair. Although there’s no research showing Epsom can improve hair, some health authorities say magnesium is an essential mineral for scalp and hair health.
- For oily hair, mix equal amounts of Epsom salt with your shampoo and wash your hair with the mixture. Some people shampoo their hair two times in a row for better results.
- For dry hair, mix equal parts of Epsom salt with hair conditioner. Shampoo your hair first before applying the mixture. Leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Epsom salt can also be used to remove styling product from your hair. Simply mix once up each of lemon juice and Epsom salt in a gallon of water. Let it sit for 24 hours and pour it over your hair. Leave it on for 15 minutes before washing and conditioning as usual.
14. Eliminates Toxins
Sulfates help the body get rid of toxins while providing a heavy metal detox to lower the internal buildup of harmful substances. Adding minerals like sulfate and magnesium to your bathwater starts a process called reverse osmosis. During this process, salt and unwanted toxins are pulled out from your body.
To have a detoxing bath, add at least two cups of Epsom salt in your bathwater. Soak your body for 40 minutes. This will give your body enough time to get rid of toxins and absorb the minerals in the water, helping you feel refreshed when you emerge from the bath. To prevent dehydration, make sure that you drink plenty of water before and after the bath.
15. Improves Your Garden
There are numerous reasons to use magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt in the garden. It increases plants nutrient uptake, speeds up growth, and increases flavor of vegetables and fruits. It also increases the output of vegetation and enhances overall health of your plants.
1. Aid in Seed Germination
Before sowing the seeds, you can add some Epsom salts as an amendment to give your vegetation a huge boost from the start. Magnesium helps strengthen cell walls and results in an increase in germination percentage.
2. Increase Nutrient Uptake
Fertilizers usually add magnesium to help the plants absorb essential nutrients, such as sulfur, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Because Epsom salt has magnesium, it can be used to improve your plants’ absorption rate naturally, especially if you want to avoid chemical fertilizers.
3. Deter Pests
Although it may not dehydrate slugs and snails like table salt, it can still help keep unwanted visitors from eating your plants. Crystals of hydrated magnesium sulfate are sharp enough to scratch or irritate the bodies and feet of pests in the same way as diatomaceous earth. Keep in mind that Epsom salt is highly soluble in water, so it will be washed away by water or rainfall.
4. Tastier Tomatoes
Most people have tomato plants in their gardens and their weight of fruits can exceed the plant size, resulting in magnesium deficiency. Tomato vines also tend to have calcium deficiency, that’s why both minerals compete for root absorption. To prevent this, use foliar spray with Epsom salt not only to soil but also on plants. This will reduce competition for absorption and it will transport magnesium to the plants quicker.
5. Help Plants Overcome Transplant Shock
Many plants wither when transferred from the greenhouse or seedling bed to the ground because of the injured roots or rapid environmental change. To help your plants overcome the shock, consider adding Epsom salt to the holes where you transplant them. It is best to cover the salt with a layer of soil to avoid direct contact due to the presence of concentrated minerals.
6. Sweeten Fruits
The most demanding stage of a plant’s lifecycle is the production of fruits, so it is important to provide it with all elements to deliver healthy fruits. Add one tablespoon of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and apply it to vines, nut trees and fruits, and bushes on a monthly basis.
7. More Vibrant Roses
Increasing the magnesium levels of your rose plants using Epsom salt can make your flowers vibrant, achieve fuller blooms, and deepen the color. It also increases chlorophyll level and improves the strength of the cell walls of the plants.
8. Prevent Leaf Curling
Leaf curling occurs due to lack of magnesium. Applying some Epsom salt to the soil around the roots will improve its absorption rate. You can also mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt with a gallon of water and apply it directly to the leaves.
Where To Buy Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is available at any drugstore. It is usually located in the laxative section or next to rubbing alcohol and peroxide. After purchasing, store it at a room temperature away from heat and moisture to prevent the salts from becoming compacted.
For external use of Epsom salt, it is recommended to add one to two cups of Epsom salt in a bathtub filled with warm water. Soak your entire body for at least 20 minutes. Alternatively, a half-cup of Epsom salt can be mixed with a large basin of warm water. Soak your feet in the mixture for 20 minutes.
When it comes to internal use, it is best to consult your physician or follow the instructions provided on the packaging.