Epsom salt, named from a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Long known as a natural remedy for a number of ailments, Epsom salt has numerous health benefits as well as many beauty, household and gardening-related uses.
Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the amazing health benefits. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.
Most people know about the importance of calcium and vitamin D, but many Americans are also magnesium deficient. Also many do not realize if you are magnesium deficient your body can not use any of the vitamin D you ingest orally or absorb via the sun. Many Vitamin D deficiencies are caused from magnesium deficiency and the bodies inability to utilize vitamin D. Doctors say it stems largely from the increasing prevalence of processed foods in our diets. Today, 68 percent of U.S. adults consume less than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium, according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, and 19 percent consume less than half of the RDA.
Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in the cells. Experts believe that bathing with Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you to look better, feel better and gain more energy. Magnesium ions also relax and reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline. They create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.
Soaking in Epsom salt is a truly effective way to relieve muscle aches and pains. In muscular chemistry, among many other functions calcium is the mineral that the muscle fibers use to bind and contract. Magnesium, which is present in high amounts in Epsom salt, is the mineral necessary to “unbind” muscle fibers. So a muscle spasm simply cannot stand up against Epsom salt. Actually, magnesium also performs over five hundred additional functions. In terms of soreness though, the magnesium may makes the tissue cell walls more permeable, reducing toxicity and increasing nutrient exchange throughout the tissue more easily, thus the lactic acid, a primary cause of soreness, is expelled from the body more easily.
21 Uses For Epsom Salts
(recipes for some of the uses below are readily available via the internet)
- As a relaxing Magnesium Bath Soak – Add at least 1 cup of epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.
- Splinter Removal- Soak in concentrated epsom salt water to pull out a splinter.
- Magnesium Foot Scrub- Make a homemade magnesium scrub for a boost of magnesium and super soft skin.
- Better Vegetables- Add a tablespoon of epsom salt to the soil below a tomato plant to boost growth.
- Facial Wash- Add a pinch of epsom salt to your usual face cleaner for a skin exfoliating magnesium boost.
- Tile/Grout Cleaner- Mix equal parts of liquid dish soap and epsom salts and use to scrub tile and grout. Rinse well for a streak free shine.
- Body Aches- Add 2 cups of epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for at least 20 minutes to help relieve muscle sprains and for a transdermal magnesium boost.
- Homemade Sea Salt Spray- Make your own sea salt spray to add texture and volume to hair.
- Water House Plants- Help house plants grow by adding a couple tablespoons of epsom salt to the water when you water them.
- Volumizing Hair Mask- Combine equal parts of conditioner and epsom salt and leave on hair for 20 minutes. Rinse well and let air dry for thicker hair.
- Foot Soak- For a concentrated magnesium boost, add 1 cup of epsom salt to a hot foot soak and soak for 20 minutes. (This is good for those that can not get in and out of the bath for safety and medical reasons).
12. Get rid of slugs- Have slugs in your garden or on your patio? Sprinkle epsom salt to deter them.
13. Making Magnesium Lotion- Using magnesium flakes is a better option, but in a pinch, you can use epsom salt to make homemade magnesium oil.
14. Laxative- For occasional constipation, a teaspoon of epsom salt dissolved in water can help. Check with a doctor first.
15. Beautiful Roses- Add a tablespoon a week to the soil around rose bushes before watering for faster growth.
16. Soil Prep- Before planting, we add a few bags of epsom salt to the soil in the garden and water in to help replenish soil magnesium levels.
17.Headache relief- There is evidence that soaking in a soothing epsom salt bath may help relieve headache.
18.Smooth skin- Mix 1/2 cup epsom salt with 1/4 cup olive oil and scrub skin in the shower for healthy and smooth skin.
19.Itchy Skin or Bug Bites- Dissolve a tablespoon of epsom salt in to 1/2 cup of water and cool. Spritz on itchy skin or apply a wet compress to help relieve itching.
20. Minor Sunburn Relief- Use the same ratio in the itchy skin relief above and spritz on to minor sunburns to help soothe them.
21.Help Kids Sleep Better- Add a cup to kids’ bath water before bed to help them sleep peacefully.
Do not use magnesium sulfate as a laxative without medical advice if you have: severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, a perforated bowel, a bowel obstruction, severe constipation, colitis, toxic megacolon, or a sudden change in bowel habits that has lasted 2 weeks or longer.
Not all uses for magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) have been approved by the FDA. Epsom salt should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using this medication if you have diabetes, kidney disease, or other medical conditions. You may not be able to use magnesium sulfate.
Never use a higher dose of magnesium sulfate than recommended on the package label, or as your doctor has directed. Using too much magnesium sulfate can cause serious, life-threatening side effects.
If you have rectal bleeding or if you do not have a bowel movement after using magnesium sulfate as a laxative, stop using the medication and call your doctor at once. These may be signs of a more serious condition.