Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before using any of the herbs and/or remedies mentioned in this article.
Epsom salts are one of the cheapest and most versatile items you can buy. The magnesium and sulfate, which Epsom salts are comprised of, can be used in the garden, around the house, and when working with livestock. They are also base ingredients in many natural home remedies.
When stored in a cool dry place in a tightly sealed container, Epsom salts remain shelf-stable for a minimum of five years – closer to a decade in my personal experience.
A very long time ago in a small English town near London, the salts were discovered simply bubbling up from the spring. An area farmer found that the “bitter” smelling and tasting water healed his small wounds and scratches, causing others to become curious about this odd water.
This accidentally discovered magnesium-rich salt was ultimately named after the 1700s era town where it was found. Epsom became known as a natural spa town — likely the first, after people flocked there to take a soak in the Epsom saltwater.
Dr. Nehemiah Grew extracted the salt from the spring and later identified its as being magnesium sulfate. The salt aids the human body in regulating its copper, calcium, zinc, potassium, and vitamin D levels, as well as helping to flush out toxins.
Top Uses For Epsom Salts
1. Plant Leaves – Prevent the yellowing of leaves on vegetable plants by sprinkling 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts at the plant base once every two weeks. If treating a lot of plants, mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts with 1 gallon of water and spray the crops every 14 days.
2. Emergency Soap – Make a basic and simple cleansing soap by combining equal parts of coconut oil and Epsom salts.
3. Magnesium Deficiency – To prevent or treat a magnesium deficiency in plants, especially peppers or tomatoes, combine 2 tablespoons and 1 gallon of water and sprinkle or spray it over plants every 10 to 14 days.
4. Plant Root Treatment – To aid a plant with nutrient absorbency, mix together 1 gallon of water and half a cup of Epsom salts and place the root ball into the mixture for about one hour. Allow the root ball to air dry completely before planting.
5. Oily Hair Treatment – To eliminate excess oil from your hair or pet hair, add approximately 8 to 10 tablespoons of Epsom salts to a standard bottle of shampoo and use as normal.
6. Teeth Whitener – Mix together equal parts of Epsom salts and water to brush onto your teeth or to gargle to make a natural and inexpensive teeth whitener.
7. Pest Eliminator – Sprinkle Epsom salts around your exterior doorways and even the chicken coop to keep rodents, slugs, raccoons, and other pests at bay. Remember to reapply after rain.
8. Abrasive Cleaner – Mix 3 tablespoons of Epsom salts with 3 cups of hot soapy water to clean grimy messes and built-up grease.
9. Battery Regeneration – Combine equal parts of Epsom salts and either well or distilled water and stir thoroughly to combine. Once the mixture settles, soak weak batteries in the solution so the natural electrolytes stimulate conductivity.
10. Toenail Fungus – To treat or prevent both toenail fungus and athlete’s foot, combine 3 tablespoons of Epsom salts with only enough water to form a thick paste. Add three drops of tea tree oil and combine all ingredients completely by stirring rapidly. Smooth the paste onto the problem area for 25 minutes before wiping the area clean and rinsing with warm water.
11. Reduce Bruising And Inflammation – Pour two cups of Epsom salts into a warm small tub or full bath and soak in it until the water goes cold to reduce the discomfort of bruises and swelling of minor wounds.
12. Cookware Cleaning – Rub some Epsom salt onto burnt skillets, pots, and pans to remove the baked-on debris.
13. Skin Exfoliator – Combine 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and gently rub it onto your skin to exfoliate it.
14. Tree Stump Remover – Drill a hole at least three inches deep into a tree stump with a 1-inch wide drill bit. Fill the hole with Epsom salts. Allow the salt to remain in the hole for one to two weeks as it helps the wood to weaken and disintegrate before pulling the stump.
15. Washing Machine Cleaner – Toss half of a cup of Epsom salts into the washing machine and run it through as a large load to clean out any residue in the machine or the lines.
16. Plant Shock – Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt onto the lower stem of plants every day for seven days before transplanting or relocating to prevent shock.
17. Weed Killer – Mix together 4 tablespoons of Epsom salts, 1 quart of distilled white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. Stir the ingredients to combine thoroughly and then pour anywhere you want to prevent weeds from growing – being careful not to get the mixture on your fruit, vegetable, herb, or ornamental plants.
18. Splinter Remover – Soak the part of the body with the splinter into a mixture of 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts and only enough water to make a thick paste or poultice. Allow the injured area to soak for at least half an hour to allow the mixture to loosen the foreign object.
19. Fruit Tree Growth Enhancer – Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts for every single square foot of fruit bushes or trees. This process tends to have the best results on apple, plum, peach, and citrus trees.
20. Acne Treatment – To prevent or treat acne, mix a half of a cup of boiling water, 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts, and 3 drops of iodine. Combine the ingredients and once the mixture cools, dab it onto the acne spots with a Q-tip or cotton ball and allow it to remain there overnight – before washing clean in the morning.
21. Gout Treatment – To reduce the swelling and pain associated with gout, mix together 3 tablespoons of Epsom salts with water as hot as you can stand and stir to combine. Soak the gout stricken area for roughly 30 minutes several times a day or as needed to reduce the inflammation.
22. Sunburn Pain – To take the heat and discomfort out of a sunburn, mix together 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts and a half of a cup of Lukewarm water and spritz or gently dab the mixture onto the problem area.
23. Hairspray Remover – Mix together 1 cup of Epsom salts, 1 cup of lemon juice, and 1 gallon of water. Stir and shake to combine the ingredients thoroughly. Rub the mixture gently into the hair and allow it to settle for at least 20 minutes before rinsing and washing the hair as normal.
24. Insect Bites And Stings – To reduce the pain and swelling associated with insect stings, bites, and even poison ivy, combine 1 cup of warm water with 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts and gently dab or soak the injured area into the mixture.
25. Hair Volumizer – Mix together a quality leave-in conditioner with equal parts of Epsom salts. Warm the mixture up into a pan just slightly, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Rub the mixture gently into your hair and allow it to settle for 30 minutes before rinsing with Lukewarm water and styling as normal.
Epsom Salt Health Benefits
For centuries, Epsom salts have been used in a host of natural remedies created to treat arthritis pain and swelling, fibromyalgia, insomnia, and constipation, just to name a few. However, the effectiveness of these treatments has not been well researched.
When Epsom salts are dissolved in water its magnesium and sulfates are released.
Once upon a time, most folks garnered 10 percent of the sulfur the body needs from drinking water. But in our modern times, water is filtered through municipal facilities or consumed in manufactured bottled water instead of being taken fresh out of springs or deep water wells – unless you live in a rural area.
The filtering away of the sulfur content in water, coupled with the consumption of soda pop, energy drinks, and juices, can leave the body wanting for the vital nutrient, causing sulfur deficiencies and the health issues that can stem from their loss.
Infusing more Epsom salts into your daily or weekly regimen could help stave off such problems.
The human body can also suffer from a deficiency in magnesium, as well. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant inside of the human body. Magnesium is part of over 325 biochemical reactions that aid both the cardiac and nervous system. If the body does not garner enough magnesium, nutrients may not be absorbed properly.
Epsom salts and their plethora of uses are deemed safe for most folks. However, you should always consult your doctor before embarking on any type of natural remedy routine, even if the ingredients you would be using are only topical in nature.
Just because an item comes from nature doesn’t mean allergic reactions and drug interactions can’t occur, or that it’s safe for nursing or pregnant women to use.