Did you ever pay attention to what goes in your pedicure tub at the salon? Or do you remember your grandmother asking you to soak your legs in salt water when you had a sore ankle from soccer practice? When you did it, you were relieved of all the stress.
Don’t you think there was something to do with the salt? If you thought that it was the regular table salt or rock salt in the bath, you are wrong!
Let me introduce you to the star of the spa – Epsom salt or Epsomite.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Epsom Salt?
- How Does This Magic Salt Work?
- What Are The Benefits Of Using Epsom Salt?
- Epsom Salt – The Handy Troubleshooter
- Side Effects Of Using Epsom Salt
- How To Use Epsom Salt And How Much Is Recommended?
What Is Epsom Salt?
Chemically, Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, which breaks down in water to give magnesium and sulfate ions. These magnesium ions pass through the layers of the skin and enter your blood directly and get to work (1). That’s such an interesting shortcut, isn’t it?
So How Does This Magic Salt Work?
Epsom salt is rich in magnesium ions. When the salt comes in contact with your skin, the ions pass through multiple dermal layers and reach the bloodstream. This way, there is no involvement of the GI (Gastrointestinal) tract.
It is because of this transdermal movement of magnesium that Epsom salt is used in medicine to cure hypomagnesemia (low levels of magnesium).
Where else do you think this property could be applied and used? Here you go – gardening, cookware maintenance, machines and their maintenance, beauty, etc.
This article will talk about all of these and more – read on!
What Are The Benefits Of Using Epsom Salt?
1. Relieves Stress And Eases Your Body
Since your skin readily absorbs magnesium, it restores the electrolytic balance in the cells. This change in balance has a direct effect on your muscles, brain, and thereby, hormones.
These hormones could have a variety of functions like free radical scavenging, activating ion channels, etc. All in all, Epsom salt and hot water are a match made in heaven!
Add about two cups of Epsom salt to your hot water bath twice or thrice a week and see the change.
2. Relieves Foot Ache, Strained Muscles, And Bruises
Nothing works better than a relaxing foot soak in hot water with Epsom salt if you have a foot ache, muscle pull, or bruises.
Magnesium acts on the muscle cells to restore its levels. This boost brings about a soothing effect along with the healing. Now you know what goes into that pedicure tub!
Dip your feet in a tub with hot water and add 50 gram/liter of Epsom salt to it. Stay for 30-40 minutes.
Dipping your feet in salt water might not be advisable if you have wounds or blisters because of high sugar (diabetes-related). Consult your physician before using the foot soak.
3. Is An Excellent Laxative
If you are sleepless due to stomach cramps and have not passed stools for over a day, you are looking at the correct page. When taken internally, Epsom salt act on the muscles to relieve the cramps.
It increases the water content in your intestines and flushes out colon waste by triggering the digestive enzymes and neurotransmitters when taken in right amounts (2).
Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt to a glass of water along with some lemon for best results. A hot water bath with Epsom salt will also help in curing constipation.
4. Helps In Removing Splinters And Treats Toenails Fungus And Inflammation
Splinters (shards in the skin) are one reason I hate working with wood. On countless occasions, I had to dip my hands in hot water to get rid of them. Little did I know that the water had Epsom salt in it!
Healthy magnesium levels in the body can efficiently fight inflammation as a result of injury, infection, stress, or allergies.
Soak the affected area in hot water with Epsom salt for about 30 minutes, thrice a week, to get rid of infection or inflammation.
5. Strengthens Hair And Boosts Hair Volume
Having a bad hair day? Or a frizzy hair week altogether? Epsom salt is your savior! To remove excess oil that is making your hair look flat and limp, use this salt along with your hair products. It gives your hair volume and bounce. It can also control the frizz and dullness of dry and damaged hair.
However, keep in mind that the magnesium in Epsom salt might react with the pigments if your hair is colored. Washing color-treated hair with Epsom salt might cause the color to fade off.
Add equal proportions of hair conditioner and Epsom salt (three teaspoons of each) to a bowl. Mix well and apply from the scalp to the tips. Leave it on for about 2 minutes and wash with cold water. Say hello to happy hair!
6. Exfoliates And Repairs Skin
By now, you are aware that magnesium can pass through your skin effortlessly. When applied topically, the magnesium ions interact with water and hydrate the skin. According to a study done by volunteers in 2005, skin roughness and inflammation reduced significantly when seawater rich in magnesium was used for bathing and cleansing (3).
Epsom salt thoroughly exfoliates your skin and gets rid of the accumulated dead skin patches, blackheads, tan, and cuts or infections that give rise to inflammation.
What more do you want? You found your all-in-one skin troubleshooting agent in Epsom salt – didn’t you?
7. Regulates Insulin Production And Diabetes
People with diabetes tend to lose magnesium in their urine. Low levels of magnesium make the tissues insensitive to insulin around them (4). Also, the cells fail to transport glucose to the sites where insulin is produced in the absence of magnesium and sulfate (5).
Due to these complications, glucose remains in the blood without being metabolized by insulin – worsening the situation for a person who has diabetes.
Epsom salt supplies both magnesium and sulfate in abundance to solve such issues. However, the dosage and mode of intake are crucial. Consult your doctor before using Epsom salt for this purpose.
Apart from enhancing your health, Epsom salt serves many purposes in your garden and washrooms. I’m sure you’d want to know what they are. Read on!
Epsom Salt – The Handy Troubleshooter
- A rich source of magnesium and sulfate, Epsom salt increases the fertility of soils and accelerates plant growth.
- Clogged washing machines? Fill the washing tub with hot water and add some Epsom salt. Run the complete wash cycle to get rid of detergent and hard water salt build-up.
- Sprinkle some Epsom salt in your garden and at entry points to keep garden pests at bay.
- Tired of scrubbing dirty bathroom tiles? Mix equal amounts of Epsom salt and detergent and use as a scrub for bright and gleaming tiles.
- Epsom salt, when sprinkled on lawns, leaves the grass fresh and green by providing necessary nourishment to the soil.
- Is your car stuck in ice sheets in the driveway? Sprinkle Epsom salt generously and watch it work!
- Epsom salt is one of the cheapest deodorants. Put a few crystals in your sweaty shoes or soak your feet in the hot salt water bath and say goodbye to odor.
How these bitter-tasting white crystals of magnesium salt gained fame is a fascinating story. Read the snippet as you scroll down.
Success Story Of Epsom Salt
Magnesium sulfate got its name from a small town in England, Epsom, in Surrey, where it was discovered. A local cowherd passing through Epsom walked across a pool of water. Thirsty cattle refused to drink water from that pool as it tasted that bitter. But, on evaporation, it had a laxative effect.
However, it was observed that this water from a natural hot spring healed the wounds of animals that waded in it.
Seeing this, people from neighboring towns started to visit Epsom to experience numerous health benefits. Years of research led to the discovery of the reason behind the healing effects of Epsom waters.
Today, Epsom salt is one of the best, cheapest, and effective cures for arthritis, sprains, cardiac irregularities, and mental disorders.
Didn’t you feel the urge to go buy Epsom salt right away? I’m sure going to sprinkle it on everything I see!
But am I doing it right by adding it to everything I see? Can you ingest Epsom salt? What happens if there’s an overdose? The answers are right below.
Side Effects Of Using Epsom Salt
1. Could Make Foot Wounds Worse
Stay away from Epsom salt baths or foot soaks if you have diabetes-induced foot wounds. Epsom salt might dry out the skin, causing irritation and aggravation of the wound.
2. Might Cause Diarrhea
Magnesium sulfate can be a harsh laxative, leading to loose motions and diarrhea. In such cases, you can switch to magnesium oxide and related salts for relief from constipation.
But if you are experiencing regular, persistent constipation, it’s time you see your doctor.
Thankfully, the occurrence of these side effects is very rare. It is safe to use Epsom salt in fixed, small doses to reap its benefits. So, what is the recommended dose? Let’s find out!
How To Use Epsom Salt And How Much Is Recommended?
The recommended doses are:
Foot Soak: ½ cup of Epsom salt + a basin full of hot water
Hot Water Bath: 2 cups + a bathtub with hot water
Read on for tried and tested Epsom salt recipes for your soul!
#1: The Soothing Body Bath
What You Need
- 2 cups of Epsom salt (pure, bath grade)
- Regular body wash (Do not use bath soaps as they might react with the salts.)
What You Need To Do
- Draw your bath with warm to hot water. If you are using a bucket, fill it up with tolerable warm to hot water. Arrange enough water for a complete body wash.
- Add two cups of Epsom salt to the bath. Let it dissolve and settle for 2 minutes.
- Slowly sink into this heaven and soak for 10 minutes.
- For an added moisturizing effect, add a few drops of olive oil or baby oil to your bath.
- Wash and feel the difference!
#2: The Rejuvenating Footbath
What You Need
- ½ cup of Epsom salt (pure, bath grade)
- A pedicure tub or a regular basin (your feet should be dipped fully)
- Pumice stone (optional)
What You Need To Do
- Fill your pedicure tub or regular basin with warm-hot water.
- Add half a cup of Epsom salt to it. Let it dissolve.
- Dip your tired, injured feet in the tub. Sit back and relax for 20 minutes.
- Scrub and peel off the dead skin with a pumice stone, if needed.
#3: The Magical Magnesium ‘Oil’
If you don’t prefer using salt crystals in your bath, you can try using magnesium oil, extracted from Epsom salt. Ironically, it doesn’t have oil and is only concentrated magnesium sulfate solution, which gives you a greasy afterfeel.
What You Need
- ½ cup filtered water (Do not use hard water)
- ½ cup Epsom salt flakes
What You Need To Do
- Bring the filtered water to a boil in a non-aluminum saucepan. Switch off the flame/heat.
- Add the Epsom salt flakes and stir to dissolve them.
- Let the solution cool down. Transfer it to a bottle and store at room temperature.
- Use it topically on your skin. It might first give a tingling-stinging sensation, which subsides with time.
So, What’s My Take?
To sum it up for you, Epsom salt is undoubtedly one of the most effective home remedies. You ought to have some of this at home because it is an all-rounder.
It should be the first thing on your list while setting up a (DIY) home spa, a garden, or a kitchen.
Make sure you stick to a well-known manufacturer and take an informed decision. The best place to buy Epsom salt is here.
If this article motivated you to buy Epsom salt, and if you found the recipes effective, please let us know in the comments section below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Can Epsom salt be used to cure arthritis?
Yes. Epsom salt can heal arthritis, which is another inflammatory disease. In fact, Epsom salt provides relief to inflammation caused due to various reasons – bacterial infections (cellulitis), athlete’s foot, simple cuts and bruises, etc. – by providing magnesium that, in turn, reduces the C-reactive protein (CRP) production. CRP is a marker for inflammation in the body. Higher the magnesium, lower the CRP levels.
What are the alternatives to Epsom salt?
Sea salt is a safe substitute for Epsom salt in foot soaks or baths. You can also use oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, or essential oils to condition and pamper your skin, scalp, and feet.
Can you ingest/eat Epsom salt?
Oral intake of Epsom salt is rarely prescribed. It has drastic side effects due to the sudden gush of magnesium in the blood. That’s why you have to take a lot of fluids while doing this.
One dose can be dissolved in about 200 mL (8 oz.) of water for immediate consumption under the strict guidance of your physician.
1. “Myth or Reality-Transdermal” US National Library of Medicine, Nutrients
2. “Medical Management of Consti…” Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery
3. “Bathing in Magnesium-rich sea salt…” International Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine
4. “Magnesium and glucose metabolism” US National Library of Medicine
5. “Implications of magnesium deficiency..” Biological Trace Elements Research, US National Library of Medicine.
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