What is Epsom salt?
Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate. It is comprised of colorless and tiny crystals that look very similar to table salt. Both are not chemically the same since table salt contains sodium chloride. It has been considered a natural home remedy for multiple health conditions. It is also beneficial in beauty, gardening, and household cleaning.
Magnesium is an extremely important mineral in our body and its levels are decreasing due to the overuse of over-the-counter and prescription medications and excessive consumption of processed foods, among other reasons. All this takes a toll, leading to depleting levels of magnesium in the body. Epsom salt use can help improve and prevent the occurrence of various ailments.
The role of magnesium includes regulating the activity of over 320 enzymes. It helps calm muscles, reduces inflammation, and helps in proper nerve functioning. The role of sulfate is to improve the absorption of essential nutrients and to flush out unwanted toxins from the body. It also can provide ease for those suffering from migraine headaches.
Uses of Epsom salt
Epsom salt has multiple uses. Here are some of them:
- Skin exfoliation: Mix a handful of Epsom salt in a bathtub or shower. Also add a tablespoon olive oil or any bath oil. Rub this mixture all over your wet skin. Epsom salt gradually exfoliates dead skin cells and makes the skin soft and gentle. After scrubbing, rinse skin thoroughly, dry, and moisturize.
- Foot odor elimination: Mix half a cup of Epsom salt in warm water in a tub and soak your feet for approximately 10 minutes. This helps remove the odor and also softens the skin, along with soothing aching feet.
- Face cleanser: To cleanse facial skin and remove dead skin cells, add a teaspoon of Epsom salt to your regular facial cream. Gently use this mixture and massage on the skin. Let it sit, then rinse it with cool water.
- Hair volumizer: In a pan, add equal portions of Epsom salt and a deep conditioner. Warm it for some time. Work this mixture through the hair and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse it thoroughly with cool water.
- Blackhead scrub: To remove blackheads, add a teaspoon of Epsom salt and three drops of iodine into half a cup of boiling water. Once it cools down, use a cotton ball and apply the mixture to the blackheads. Rinse your face properly when finished.
- Hair primer spray: To prepare a hair spray, take around a gallon of water with one cup of lemon juice and Epsom salt. Cover this mixture and let it rest for 24 hours. The next day, use the mixture to apply to your hair as a spray and leave it for 20 minutes. You can then shampoo as normal.
- Foot pampering: For a nice foot bath, pamper those stressful feet at least once a week. If you want get rid of the calluses, then use a pumice stone and rub it on the heels and sides of your feet. Dry your feet and then add 2-3 drops of peppermint or any other essential oil to a natural moisturizer such as coconut or shea butter. Rub it on your foot so that the moisture gets locked in.
For those who are pregnant, it is still best to consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies or before using Epsom salt.
2. Health benefits
- Soothes athlete's foot: Fill a tub with warm water and add Epsom salt to it. Soak the affected foot. This can provide relief from the itching, burning symptoms of athlete’s foot.
- Soothes pain of gout: Ease the discomfort and inflammation caused by gout by adding 2-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt into a tub. Make sure that the water is not too hot. It should be comfortable enough to keep your body soaked for 30 minutes.
- Relief from toenail fungus: Mix Epsom salt into a tub filled with warm water and soak the affected toes in this water. Do this 3-4 times a day and you will find gradual relief from the fungal infection.
- Splinter removal: To effectively draw out splinters, soak the affected skin area in warm water mixed with Epsom salt.
- Jet lag recovery: By soaking yourself in an Epsom salt water bath, it can provide a relaxing effect, which will allow you to fall asleep quicker.
- Insomnia support: Whether it is jet lag or a hard day at work, getting good sleep may seem like a distant dream. If a person has a hard time falling asleep, the use of Epsom salt relaxes the body. A relaxed body leads to a peaceful state of mind.
- Stress relief: An Epsom salt bath is a good way to relax the body. Dissolve Epsom salt in warm water and enjoy the relaxation. Epsom salt gets easily absorbed into the body through the skin. It immediately starts its work inside the body. The magnesium ions present in the Epsom salt break apart and start to provide relief from stress by promoting the production of serotonin and a reduction in the effects of adrenaline. Magnesium also has a vital role in the production of energy cells. This, in turn, makes us feel invigorated without any feelings of anxiety and restlessness.
- Pain relief: The absorption of Epsom salt into the skin works to provide relief from pain, inflammation, and tension in the joints and muscles. Sit in a bathtub mixed with Epsom salt. This can alleviate any kind of tension, stress, headache, and abdominal cramps.
- Blood sugar regulation: Magnesium and sulfate are both known to improve the ability of the body to produce as well as use insulin. With the regular use of Epsom salt, blood sugar levels can be regulated, overall energy levels can improve, and the chance of developing diabetes is reduced.
- Relief from constipation: Another popular use of Epsom salt is being a saline laxative. Dissolve a teaspoon of Epsom salt into a cup of warm water and then drink it. However, avoid taking this remedy more than once a day. If the symptoms still persist or tend to worsen, then it is best to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Muscle and nerve functioning: Apart from providing relief in cramps, tension, and pain, there are several other positive benefits of magnesium sulfate for the human body. It aids in multiple functions of the enzymes, regulates proper fluid retention in the cells, and enables the body’s use of calcium to transfer the chemical signals throughout the nervous system.
- Relief to sprains and bruises: In a warm bathtub, add two cups of Epsom salt. Soak the affected area in it to provide relief from pain and swelling due to bruises or sprains.
- Toxin elimination: The sulfate present in Epsom salt is known to flush out the toxins and any other heavy metals from the body. It also provides relief from muscle pain and helps the body eliminate any kind of harmful substances. Our skin is a highly porous membrane and by adding the right and essential minerals in the bath water, it can trigger reverse osmosis. This process is known to pull salt out of the body, and along with it, other harmful toxins also come out. To make this detoxifying bath, add two cups of Epsom salt to your bath water and keep yourself soaked in it for 10-15 minutes. This process can be done at least once a week to relax and soothe your body.
3. Uses in the household
- Prevention of slugs: To prevent slugs, sprinkle some Epsom salt on or near the interior entry points.
- Bathroom tile cleanser: Mix equal portions of Epsom salt and a liquid dish detergent. Use this mixture as a scrub on dirty bathroom tiles.
- Hand wash: For an effective hand wash, use a mixture of Epsom salt with baby oil. Keep this mixture near the sink and use it as a hand wash.
- Dish washing: Epsom salt can also be used for washing pots and pans. Pour a small amount of Epsom salt into dirty pots and pans before you start to scrub them. Don't use this with nonstick pans. The salt crystals have an abrasive texture that will help clean the pans or pots easily without causing any damage to the cookware.
- Removal of detergent buildup: Fill up a washing machine with hot water and add Epsom salt to it. Start off the machine and run it on an agitate-soak-agitate cycle. This is done so that the detergent buildup gets dissolved.
4. Uses in gardening
- Maintaining a green lawn: When magnesium sulfate is added to the soil, it provides essential and vital nutrients that help prevent the leaves from yellowing and helps in maintaining the green color in plants. To prepare, add two tablespoons of Epsom salt into a gallon of water and then sprinkle the mixture on the lawn. This helps in having healthy and green grass.
- Insecticide: Using Epsom salt in lawns or gardens helps get rid of pests that attack the plants. It is also a safe product for the plants.
- Natural fertilizer: To stay healthy, plants often need vital nutrients such as magnesium and sulfur. Epsom salt is known to provide these primary nutrients to most plants. Sprinkle some Epsom salt once a week to help nourish houseplants, vegetables, and flowers in your garden.