What is Epsom salt?
Epsom salt is also called as magnesium sulfate. It comprises 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 as a natural home remedy for different types of health conditions. In addition to health benefits, it also has benefits in beauty, gardening, and household cleaning.
Magnesium is a very important mineral in our body and its levels are known to be decreasing due to various reasons or a combination of reasons. They include the overuse of over-the-counter or prescription medications and excessive consumption of readily available foods or fast foods. All these issues take a toll leading to depleting levels of magnesium in the body. Hence, 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 down the muscles, reduces inflammation on any part of the body, 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 provides ease for those suffering from migraine headaches.
Epsom salt is very different from the traditional salt, which we use for our daily cooking needs. Epsom salt is known to improve our overall health. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for various purposes.
Uses of Epsom Salt
Epsom salt has multiple uses for health, beauty, gardening, and household cleaning. Let us take a look at some of its uses:
1. Beauty Uses
- Dead 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 your skin thoroughly.
- Gets rid of foot odor: To get rid of foot odor, mix half a cup of Epsom salt in warm water placed in a tub and soak your feet in the tub for around 10 minutes. This would help remove bad odor from the feet and also soften the skin, which has turned rough along with soothing aching feet.
- Acts as a 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. Keep it for some time and later rinse it with cold water.
- Increases hair volume: In a pan, take equal portions of Epsom salt and a deep conditioner. Warm it for some time. Work up this mixture through the hair and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes. Later, rinse it thoroughly with cold water.
- Exfoliates skin to remove blackheads: To dislodge the blackheads on your face, add a teaspoon of Epsom salt and three drops of iodine into half a cup of boiling water. Once it cools a bit, use a cotton ball and apply the mixture to the blackheads. Rinse your face properly when you're done.
- Hair 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 weary and stressful feet at least once a week. If you would want to go in for some rub to 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 of Epsom Salt
- Soothes athlete's foot: Fill a tub with warm water and add Epsom salt to it. Soak the affected foot in this water for some time. This would provide relief from the symptoms of athlete’s foot.
- Relieves the discomfort caused by gout: One can ease the discomfort and inflammation caused by gout by adding 2-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt into a tub. Keep the affected joint or foot into this tub. Make sure that the water is not too hot. It should be comfortable enough to keep the feet soaked for around 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.
- Removal of splinters: To effectively draw out splinters, one should soak the affected skin area in water mixed with Epsom salt.
- Jet lag recovery: After a jet lag, it becomes rather difficult to have a good night’s sleep or get back to the routines of daily life. By soaking yourself in an Epsom salt water bath, it can provide a relaxing effect, which will allow you to sleep faster.
- Keeps insomnia at bay: Whether it is jet lag or a hard day at work, getting a good sleep seems like a distant dream. If a person has a hard time falling asleep, then the use of Epsom salt can help achieve a good sleep since it relaxes the body. A relaxed body leads to a relaxed state of mind.
- Body relaxant: An Epsom salt bath is a good body relaxant. 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.
- Relief from cramps and pain: 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 would alleviate any kind of tension, stress, headache, and abdominal cramps.
- Regulating blood sugar levels: 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 salts, either in oral or transdermal form, blood sugar levels can be regulated, overall energy levels are improved on a daily basis, and the chance of developing diabetes is reduced.
- Provides 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.
- Elimination of toxins from the body: 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 a process, which is called as reverse osmosis. This process is known to pull out 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. Epsom Salt Uses in the Household
- Prevention of slugs: To prevent slugs, sprinkle some Epsom salt on or near the interior entry points.
- Cleaning of bathroom tiles: Mix equal portions of Epsom salt and a liquid dish detergent. Use this mixture as a scrub on dirty bathroom tiles. This should be done at least twice or thrice a week to get the clean tiles back again.
- Use as a 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.
- Washing pots and pans: 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. The salt crystals have an abrasive texture that will help clean the pans or pots easily without causing any damage to the cookware.
- Cleaning washing machines with detergent buildup: Fill up the machine tub 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.
- Boosts car batteries: Recondition car batteries by simply making a paste of Epsom salt and warm water. Apply this mixture to the battery cells and you will be surprised that your vehicle tends to start rather quickly.
4. Epsom Salt 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 would help in having healthy and green grass.
- Acts as an 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.
- Acts as a 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.
- Epsom salt can be called as a simple and cheap remedy for various issues.
- It comprises of magnesium and sulfate with colorless and tiny crystals.
- It looks quite similar to table salt but they aren’t very much the same since the traditional table salt is made up of sodium chloride.