Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Scoop on Epsom Salt

There’s a great deal of information out there concerning the healing aspects of Epsom Salt. It seems to be taking Internet health and beauty interest boards by storm.

I’m always interested in learning more about natural products and procedures as an alternative to traditional medicines and chemical-laden beauty products; my interest in Epsom salt is no exception.

And because I have been taking Epsom salt baths – for detox and to soothe aching muscles – for years, I can personally attest to the effectiveness of the product for that purpose.


After a day of intense physical activity and the sometimes resulting sore muscles, it’s time for a good soak. Fill a tub with warm water, add two cups of Epsom salts, swish around to dissolve and soak for 20 minutes.

You may add a favorite essential oil for scent, but keep in mind that the salts’ purpose is to eliminate metabolic wastes through the surface of the skin, and it cannot absorb essential oil effectively if it is busy throwing off toxic wastes through the profuse sweating effect that results from Epsoms. So save your therapeutic aromatherapy bath for another time

Another thing about the Epsom salt bath: Don’t use soap, as it can interfere with the beneficial action of the salts. If you want to combine your soak with your daily body cleansing procedure, simply follow up your 20-minute soak with a shower. If that isn’t convenient, drain the tub, soap your body and use a plastic bowl to splash water all over yourself. In any case, I'm told you should always rinse yourself after the Epsom soak, as it can cause dryness if allowed to remain on the skin.

It is recommended that if at all possible, you rest at least an hour after your soak.

I refer to The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood (1996) as my source guide for all things related to essential oils, and in the case above, Epsom salt baths.

Caution: Avoid Epsom salt baths if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition. If in doubt, consult your physician.

Epsom salts in the garden

I have been using Epsom salt in the garden for a number of years as a fertilizer. It helps seeds germinate, makes plants grow bushier, produces more flowers, increases chlorophyll production and deters pests such as slugs and voles. It also provides vital nutrients to supplement your regular fertilizer.

Here are guidelines on how to use it:

Houseplants: 2 tablespoons per gallon of water; feed plants monthly.

Roses: 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks. Also scratch 1/2 cup into soil at base to encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth. Soak unplanted bushes in 1 cup of Epsom salt per gallon of water to help roots recover. Add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to each hole at planting time. Spray with Epsom salt solution weekly to discourage pests.

Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron): 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet. Apply over root zone every 2-4 weeks.


Lawns: Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader, or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer.

Trees: Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet. Apply over the root zone 3 times annually.

Garden Startup: Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting.

So what exactly IS Epsom salt?


Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral. It also is known as magnesium sulfate and is sold at pharmacies, gardening specialty shops and other stores. It is composed of rock-like crystals and is relatively inexpensive.

(The following information is from the saltworks website)

“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.”


Other health benefits claimed from the use of Epsom salt

Epsom salt has been well known for hundreds of years and 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.

According to research done by Leo Galland of the Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory, Asheville, N.C., the magnesium in Epsom salt has been shown to ease stress, improve concentration and increase the quality of sleep by having a depressant effect on the central nervous system. It also reduces inflammation, relieves pain and muscle cramps. It is beneficial to soak either the entire body or just the feet in Epsom salts approximately three times a week. 

Epsom salt is used to treat different conditions of the body in a variety of ways. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath reduces the swelling in joints such as ankles and knees, helps reduce the discomfort of injuries, helps clear up foot odor, athlete's foot and toenail fungus and as a diuretic. Consult your doctor prior to using it as a diuretic.

Other uses for Epsom salt:

Epsom salt, according to the Care 2 website, has many uses for hair. Mix equal parts Epsom salt and deep conditioner and heat the mixture in a pan. Use the mixture to coat your hair and rinse it out after 20 minutes for volume. To remove hairspray from your hair, combine one cup of Epsom salt, one gallon of water and one cup of lemon juice. Cover the solution and let it set for 24 hours before pouring it onto dry hair and shampooing out after 20 minutes. To remove excess oil from your hair, mix a half-cup of oily hair shampoo with nine tablespoons of Epsom salt. Apply a tablespoon to dry hair and, after rinsing with cold water, apply lemon juice for between five and 10 minutes.

Bathroom tile cleaner
When mixed with liquid detergent. It is also useful as a splinter remover, as soaking the affected area in an Epsom salt mixture will help to draw the splinter out. Some people also use it as a slug deterrent and for regenerating car batteries. For car batteries, add a mixture of one ounce of Epsom salt in warm water to each battery cell.

Remove splinters - Soak affected skin area in an Epsom salt bath to draw out the splinter.

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.

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.

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 to a half cup of boiling water. Apply this mixture to the blackheads with a cotton ball.

There are many other uses and you can find them with an Internet search. 

How about you? Do you use Epsom salt for anything?


  1. What a feast of information here Sanda - I had no idea you could use it to fertilise plants or for that matter that it originated from Epsom in Surrey - obvious I suppose on reflection.

    1. You should give it a try on your plants, Rosemary I have had great results with it. Epsom's salt has been around for a long time.

  2. Wow,brings back the memories,my G/father drank the salts in a glass of water each morning,G/mama always had a foot bath after she rode her horse.Have myself had the salt bath after a stressful day,it also helps remove splinters after a logging session.
    Just a thought, bought my first Dachshund from a breeder in Epsom.

    1. It seems people used Epsom salt more in past days than in recent years. I remember my dad using it from time to time. I haven't tried it for removing splinters, but I note that's one of its uses.

      What a delightful memory you had regarding your first Dachshund. Hope there will be another one in your future!

  3. I must get this stuff and soak in the bathtub asap.
    It seems to be a real health bomb!
    Thank you for all the information!

    1. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts after you use it for a tub soak. I'm really sold on the stuff!

      There's a ton of information out there about additional uses for Epsom salt.

  4. Have used Epsom Salts for bath soaks for years but had no idea it was useful in the garden. I'll pass the info on to DH. We have a couple of plants/shrubs that are looking puny, maybe it will help.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...