Epsom salt, named for 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.
What are the health benefits of using Epsom salt?
The wonders of Epsom salt have been well known for hundreds of years and unlike other salts, Epsom salt has beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind and soul. Some of the countless health benefits include relaxing the nervous system, curing skin problems, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating cold and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body. One of the simplest ways to ease stress and stress-related problems is to soak in a tub full of hot water with a few cups of Ultra Epsom® Salt. Some of the magical benefits of Epsom salt include:
Eases stress and relaxes the body
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 lower blood pressure, create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.
Relieves pain and muscle cramps
An Epsom salt bath is known to ease pain and relieve inflammation, making it beneficial in the treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma and migraine headaches. In addition, it has been known to heal cuts and reduce soreness from childbirth. Mix a thick paste of Epsom salt with hot water and apply to get soothing comfort. Try soaking your aching, tired (and smelly) feet in a tub of water with half a cup of our Ultra Epsom Salt. Epsom salt softens skin and will even neutralize foot odor.
Helps muscles and nerves function properly
Studies show that Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves and enzymes. Magnesium is also known to be critical in the proper use of calcium, which serves as a main conductor of the electric impulses in your body.
Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots
Epsom salt is believed to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease and strokes by improving blood circulation, lowering blood pressure, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths.
Makes insulin more effective
Proper magnesium and sulfate levels increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body, helping to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.
Numerous studies have revealed that Epsom salt can be used to treat constipation. Taken internally, Epson salt acts as a detoxifying agent for colon cleansing. The salt acts like a laxative by increasing water in the intestines and can bring about temporary relief from constipation. However, it is strictly warned that Epsom salts should not be used to relieve constipation without the consultation of a physician.
Eliminates toxins from the body
The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it. For a detoxifying bath, at least once weekly add two cups of our Ultra Epsom Salt to the water in a bathtub and soak for 10 minutes.
What are some uses of Epsom salt?
Whether you like a relaxing soak or wish to enhance your beauty effortlessly, making Epsom salt a part of your daily routine can add a whole lot of goodness to your way of life. To experience the numerous heath benefits of Epsom salt, take relaxing, stress-relieving Epsom salt baths three times weekly by adding 2 cups Ultra Epsom Salt to a warm bath and soaking for at least 12 minutes. For the added benefit of moisturizing your skin, add 1/2 cup olive oil or baby oil. Do not use soap as it will interfere with the action of the salts. Try to rest for about two hours afterwards. If you have arthritic joints move them as much as possible after an Epsom salt bath to prevent congestion in the joints.
As a foot bath, pamper weary feet by adding 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water. Relax and soak feet for 20 minutes. If you like, rub away any calluses using a pumice stone. Dry feet, then add two drops of peppermint essential oil to your favorite natural moisturizer, like shea or coconut butter, and rub in thoroughly to lock in the moisture. If you are pregnant or have any health concerns, check with your doctor before using Epsom salts.
Epsom salt uses: HEALTH
Athlete’s Foot - Soak feet in an Epsom salt bath to help relieve the symptoms of Athlete’s Foot.
Remove splinters - Soak affected skin area in an Epsom salt bath to draw out the splinter.
Treat toenail fungus - Soak your affected toes in hot water mixed with a handful of Epsom salt three times a day.
Soothe sprains and bruises - Add 2 cups Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak to reduce the pain and swelling of sprains and bruises.
Ease discomfort of Gout - Ease the discomfort of gout and reduce inflammation by adding 2-3 teaspoons of Epsom salts into a basin and immersing the affected foot/joint. The water should be as hot as it is comfortable. Soak for about 30 minutes.
Epsom salt uses: BEAUTY
Exfoliate dead skin - In the shower or bath, mix a handful of Epsom salt with a tablespoon of bath or olive oil and rub all over your wet skin to exfoliate and soften. Rinse thoroughly.
Exfoliating face cleanser - To clean your face and exfoliate skin at the same time, mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom salt with your regular cleansing cream. Gently massage into skin and rinse with cold water.
Dislodge blackheads - Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt and 3 drops iodine into a half cup of boiling water. Apply this mixture to the blackheads with a cotton ball.
Remove foot odor - Mix a half cup of Epsom salt in warm water and soak your feet for 10 minutes to remove bad odor, sooth achy feet, and soften rough skin.
Remove hairspray - Combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of lemon juice, and 1 cup Epsom salt. Cover the mixture and let set for 24 hours. The next day, pour the mixture into your dry hair and leave on for 20 minutes before shampooing as normal.
Hair volumizer - Combine equal parts deep conditioner and Epsom salt and warm in a pan. Work the warm mixture through your hair and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
Epsom salt uses: HOUSEHOLD
Clean bathroom tiles - Mix equal parts Epsom salt and liquid dish detergent and use as a scrub on bathroom tile.
Prevent slugs - Sprinkle Epsom salt on or near interior entry points to prevent slugs.
As a hand wash - Mix Epsom salt with baby oil and keep by the sink for an effective hand wash.
Epsom salt uses: GARDENING
Fertilize your houseplants - Most plants need nutrients like magnesium and sulfur to stay in good health and Epsom salt makes the primary nutrients in most plant foods (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) more effective. Sprinkle Epsom salt once weekly to help nourish your houseplants, flowers and vegetables.
Keep your lawn green - Magnesium sulfate crystals, when added to the soil, provide vital nutrients that help prevent yellowing leaves and the loss of green color (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule) in plants. Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and sprinkle on your lawn to keep the grass healthy and green.
Insecticide spray - Use Epson salts on your lawn and in your garden to safely and naturally get rid of plant pests.
Epsom Salt Cures
ACHES AND PAINS
12/12/2010: Beth from Costa Mesa, Ca, Usa writes: "I have very tense neck and shoulders and was recommended to take an epsom salt bath. I went and had a deep tissue massage and then came home and soaked in an epsom salt bath for a half hour. The next evening I felt achy and with a fever and then proceeded with diareha. The symptoms only lasted for 2 to 3 days. Could this be the absorption of the epsom salts into my system or was this just a mild bug? Any ideas?"
01/19/2008: Susan from Brisbane, Australia writes: "I have been taking epsom salts all year every morning a few sprinkles in my 500m water bottle (room temp water) and my aches and pains have all but disappeared. I remember my grandmother always put epsom salts in her tea each morning just a few sprinkles and she said so she did not get arthritus. Well I have to say I think it works but what I want to know is too much bad for you internally anyone know thanks"
ACHES, PAINS, MENSTRUAL AND MUSCLE CRAMPS
05/25/2008 from Nowhereville, PA writes: "If you have menstrual cramps, charley horses, eye twitches or any other kind of muscle cramps or just general aches and pains, try epsom salts baths. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is an excellent source of magnesium, much more bio-available and less expensive than supplements. You can soak in it in the tub, or make a spray from 4oz by weight of epsom salts dissolved in 32 fluid oz of distilled water. Put the epsom salt/water mix in a spray bottle and spray it on after your shower (rub it in like lotion all over). This is a home made version of "magnesium oil" (magnesium chloride), only made with epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) instead. Magnesium from epsom salts is very well absorbed throught the skin and doesn't loosen the bowels like oral magnesium supplements do. If you want to use magnesium chloride to make homemade "magnesium oil", get some unscented magnesium chloride bath salts and proceed as for "magnesium oil" made from epsom salts. Since I started using epsom salts, my skin is no longer dry...due, I think, to the sulfer content of epsom salts. If you feel up-tight, tense, anxious, nervous, crampy, etc., take an epsom salt soak. Exercise, and stress of all kinds, depleats magnesium, which is why an epsom salt soak after a work out or a stressful day is so good for you."
10/22/2008: Amanda Rene from Anderson, CA writes: "Prepare a bath as directed on the epsom salt container. Do not use ANY soap, bubble bath, etc in this bath. Soak in it for a couple minutes. Then, using a washcloth, scrub the skin for a minute or so. Soak the area in the bath for 20 minutes. Towel dry. Do this daily or every other day.
I found this out accidentally and I was pleasantly surprised to see it had an effect on my rear-end acne. I've been trying to get rid of it for 2 months! Soap and exfoliators seemed to make matters so much worse. After the first two soaks, the skin appeared softer and no longer red and inflamed. The cyst like formations were going away! I've been doing this for a week now and my skin looks and feels so much nicer now. I still have a few bumps but I bet they will be gone in another week. I hope this works as well for others as it did for me!"
04/26/2007: Elle from Concord, New Hampshire writes: "I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 11. At 18 (and it a lot of pain) I was given a book on curing arthritis naturally and set about doing it. One of the main proponents of the book was Apple Cider Vinegar. I took a cocktail of 2 teaspoons ACV, 1 teaspoon honey and 8 oz hot water twice a day. Within 2 or 3 weeks the flareups had ceased. It should be noted I also cut back on red meat and citric acids (they are everywhere!) which I discovered were a major trigger for me. And I took epsom salt baths twice a week. When I went back to my dr and had blood tests done my RA factor was down to a 2. (I have no idea what it was before but I am pretty sure 2 is almost nothing!) That was 25 years ago. I still have RA technically but I rarely have a problem with it. The first inkling I get that its sneaking back up on me I go back to the ACV. I still avoid my trigger food which have come to include, believe it or not, green beans. I believe trigger foods are different for everyone - only you can figure out what they are. I have not been on meds or seen a rhumatologist (sp?) in all that time. Thank god for ACV. Only for it I would be a cripple now instead of living the very full life that I do. I have to say that it makes me so mad that there is a very simple cure for RA and the medical world is not out there shouting about it. So many people suffer needlessly with this disease. If you have RA you owe it to yourself to go out there and find out what works for you. Find your triggers, try ACV, read all you can on natural cures. There is no magic pill - but there is a way and its all in your own hands. Goodluck and Good Health. Elle"
08/18/2009: Jean from Franklin, Wi writes: "No idea where I ever got the idea to try this, but it has worked every time for me. When I get a cold sore, I put a crystal of epsom salt on it. It stings for a bit, but within a short period of time the pain is down, a few hours I know its already on the mend, and the next day its usually about 1/2 to 2/3 cleared up. It only needs to be done once."
03/28/2011: Tina from Sylvania, Ohio, Usa replies: "Yes, Epsom Salt works for me when it somes to cold sores. I had one developing on my lip, I popped the lump, then held some epsom salt on it twice that day and by the next day the area was flat and healed."
07/15/2009: Esther from Tacoma , Washington writes: "My son just arrived last week from San Diego with my 3 yrs old grandson who is in a terrible state with eczema. They are spending a fortune on Dr. and Ointments. I took my little grandson and put him into Epsom Salts baths for the past four days and the bleeding has stopped he is not scratching and it is drying out. I remembered that people came from all over the world to Israel for the salts baths at the dead sea so I applied what I learned from living in Israel and it is working. At first it hurt him but after a minute he was fine with the salt water. Try it. Esther Golden Pavek."
05/31/2008: WT from Spartanburg, SC writes: "I read somewhere that Epsom salt baths would cure eczema. My secretary has a friend who has a kid who suffers with it really bad, to the point he doesn't sleep well because of it. After I mentioned it to her, the friend tried it and she was floored with the results. It began clearing up very quickly and he has been sleeping very well lately. Another friend tried it with great results. People are simply amazed at the results."
03/27/2011: Gayle from Mountain Home, Ar writes: "Epsom salts has lots of remedies and more than I thought. One of those that wasn't mentioned that works for me is a food reactions remedy. I have candida and if I have eaten dairy or another sensitivity food, I will get very bloated and have heart irregularities and espsom salts in water takes the problem away within 20 minutes. The only remedy a doctor recommended was charcoal. I would like to find another way to help with the food sensitivites when needed. Thanks for your site."
12/05/2008: Donna from Ogallala, USA writes: "I have suffered with GH for close to 30yrs. One of the things that has helped stop an outbreak is to soak in a hot bath with epsom salts or other mineral salts. When I feel an outbreak coming I soak in the saltbath and the blisters either do not come out or go directly into the scab phase leaving out the painful part in the middle. I will try cutting out the sugar in my diet."
12/12/2007: Rhonda from Tallahassee, FL writes: "Epsom salt may be more appropriate for soaking, as the magnesium diffuses into the bloodstream more slowly, however heed to the warning labels on the bag. If you use Epsom internally as a supplement for magnesium you want to avoid giving yourself a potassium deficiency, and that goes with any magnesium supplement, but is especially important for those on a diet low in potassium, or have low blood potassium levels. Diarrhea is a sign you have taking too much, unless you're intentionally trying to use it as a laxative. I would include grapefruit and oranges in my diet especially if using Epsom, and would not use Epsom internally long periods; have a blood test done, or watch out for signs of potassium deficiency if you're a chronic Epsom user. I read that magnesium taurate was once said to be the best form of magnesium, citrate being next, especially for those with mineral imbalances and prone to heartbeat irregularities."
PREVENT CEREBRAL PALSY IN BABIES
Tom from Waltham, MA writes: "I saw an article online today about how Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) was used to prevent Cerebral Palsy in babies. Just google "epsom salt" and "Cerebral Palsy" if you are interested to read some of the articles about this. Very interesting. Keep up the GREAT work. I LOVE this site! -Tom"
07/03/2007: Rick from New Bloomfield, PA writes: "No particular ailment, but I have been interested in Magnesium supplementation ever since I had a couple of "racing heart" episodes several years back, and discovered that I could calm things down by taking Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) in water... awful taste and also a powerful laxative. I began to wonder how I could get the same effect in a more palatable way, without the laxative effect. Eventually I found the"Magnesium" webpage and learned the following:
How to make your own Magnesium water [like the 'Noah' water being sold by a certain company, which bottles water from a spring that is naturally rich in bicarbonates of Magnesium].
The assumption is that we could all use more magnesium in our diet, which may help reduce blood pressure, reduce the likelihood of kidney stones, etc.
Here's how to make your own Mg-rich drinking water:
Buy a bottle of Carbonated Seltzer water - NO SODIUM, just carbonated "fizz" water, unflavored. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Get another, larger bottle, and pour 2/3 of a capful of PLAIN (no-flavor) Philips Milk of Magnesia (which is Magnesium Oxide, an alkaline laxative) into the large bottle. (The bottle comes with a plastic measuring cup which is what I mean when I say 2/3 capful.)
Now quickly open the bottle of carbonated water (water carbonic acid) and empty it into the large bottle containing the 2/3 capful of Magnesia.
You will have a bottle of milky/cloudy liquid which is in the process of neutralization between the carbonic acid and the magnesium oxide-- leaving a neutral salt, Magnesium Bicarbonate.
Let the cloudy mixture sit for a while at room temperature, until the liquid clears; there will be some white precipitate at the bottom. Shake again and let sit again. When clear, refrigerate. THIS IS YOUR MAGNESIUM BICARBONATE CONCENTRATE. Unlike the chalky taste of straight Milk of Magnesia, or the biting-fizzy taste of seltzer water, your concentrate will have a strong, sweet, slightly "soapy" taste. You will be DILUTING it in water for drinking purposes.
When it has chilled, pour a small amount into an empty 1 liter bottle (approx. 1/2" of concentrate at the bottom) and fill the rest of the bottle with pure drinking water.
You have now created a sweet-tasting, Magnesium-enriched drinking water, and you're also getting your Bi-carbs without all the Sodium you'd be getting from Baking Soda.
I have been making and drinking this Mg water since Nov. 2006 (I write this in July of 2007) and have not had any bad effects from it. I take a bottle to work and sip it during the day. My resting heart rate seems to have gone down and I feel more relaxed in general. I can't say it has greatly improved my high blood pressure, but it has helped some, and I know I am getting enough Magnesium. Probably would be beneficial to supplement with Calcium for balance.
Try it and see what it does for you."
09/20/2008: Colton from North Lauderdale, Florida writes: "i'm allergic to a plant down here and unknowingly got in contact with it. i broke out in a really nasty rash on my arm and neck. A trainer at my gym told me to use epsom salt. He said it'll dry it out and kill the bacteria in it. i did and my rash cleared up in a few days and gott noticably better after each treatment. Mind you i tried all kinds of creams and allergy pills that had no effect what so ever."
06/04/2009: Aldo from Brisbane, Australia writes: "Epsom Salts Worked for Sciatica!
My mother came down with sciatica last week. Immediately she went to see my brother, who is a chiropractor. That helped her a lot but the pain and discomfort was still there for her. Since then she was resting her leg as often as she could and taking pain killers when needing to walk on it for any extended period of time. When I heard about it, I had a look on this site and noticed the epsom salts testimonials. I suggested that she try having an epsom salt bath and to drink a couple of teaspoons of it with a glass of water also.
Well, I called her this morning and my mother was so excited! She said that she had a bath for about 30 minutes (and read a magazine!) with 2 cups of epsom salts on Wednesday night before going to bed. She also drank a glass of water with 2 teaspoons of epsom salts with some honey to improve the taste. She said that she slept so peacefully that night and woke up in the morning with NO PAIN! She was over the moon!
On Thursday, she drank a couple more glasses of water, epsom salts and honey and she plans to have another bath tonight (Friday). There has been no sciatica pain since waking up Thursday morning.
Thank you to Jean and Gwen for posting your results, the good news has now spread to our family too and we are passing it on to others. God Bless."
02/19/2009: Gwen from Denver, CO writes: "I have found over the years that I will experience severe sciatica when I am severely constipated. When this happens I pull out the "big guns", Epsom salts. 2-4 teaspoons dissolved in water. Small amount of water followed by as much water as possible after wards. I'll use a straw to drink solution. Put straw to back of tongue beyond taste buds & suck. Taste terrible, but when I am in that much pain I'll do anything to relieve it! You can also add lemon or lime juice to lessen the taste. Pain starts to diminish after first trip to the pot. Works every time & I'm over it in less than 24 hour. Good luck & God/Goddess Bless!"