Epsom Salt Uses and Benefits: Contrary to its name, Epsom salt is in fact not a variety of salt. It is known as a salt due to its visual similarity to regular table salt and its chemical structure. It is actually a compound of Magnesium, Sulfate, and oxygen and gets its name from a saline spring in the town of Epsom, Surrey, England where it was first discovered. It is an age-old folk remedy for a number of ailments including muscle pain and cramps. Due to the presence of Magnesium in its chemical compound, it also helps to reduce stress and provide relaxation. Over time, it has become one of the most preferred detoxification agents in contemporary times and can be found in many bath salts sold commercially.
When Epsom salt is dissolved in water, it frees the Magnesium and sulfate ions which are then absorbed by the skin into the body. Magnesium is necessary for a number of bodily functions including mood elevation, reducing stress and anxiety, regulating blood pressure, maintaining normal nerve function and helping the absorption of calcium. Maintaining a positive magnesium level in the body will help facilitate day to day activities.
However, it is important to know that the uses and benefits of Epsom salt are not limited to the human body. Epsom salt has been found to be very beneficial in cosmetic products as well. It is a very good exfoliating agent and is used in many beauty products that are targeted towards removing dead skin and blackheads (Also Read: Castor Oil for Lips ). It is also useful for removing foot odor and can even be used towards removing hairsprays and in hair volumizers. Epsom salt can also be used in household cleaning products such as tile cleaners, hand washes, for removing detergent accumulation in washing machines and as a deterrent for slugs. It is also a very helpful ingredient for homemade insecticides, maintaining the green colour of grass in your lawn and as a fertilizer for house plants.
Many DIY beauty products, home care products and health remedies involving Epsom salt can be found online and you can choose one that suits your requirements and budget. However, do conduct a patch test on your skin before applying any DIY beauty product and consult your doctor before pursuing any course of health remedy including Epsom salt because it can have some serious side effects.
The best brands selling Epsom salt include but are not limited to the ones mentioned above. The brand of Epsom salt you should purchase also depends on how you intend to use it. Different brands suit different requirements such as bath salts, foot soaks, cosmetic products, household and cleaning products and gardening. Therefore it is important to conduct sufficient research in order to ensure you chose a variety that is best suited to your individual requirement.
Epsom Salt Uses and Benefits
Epsom salt has multiple uses and benefits and some of them are listed below for your perusal:
Epsom Salt for plants
Adding Epsom salt in your fertilizer will replenish depleted magnesium in the soil and is generally considered to be safer than commercial fertilizers. Magnesium is one of the main components of chlorophyll which gives plants their green colour. Epsom salt, when mixed into the soil provides the nutrients necessary to help them stay green and in good health.
Magnesium and Sulphur help in increasing the effectiveness of fertilizers (composed primarily of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) which aids in preventing the yellowing of leaves, makes plants grow bushier and improves the blooming of flowers. Sprinkling a mixture of 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of water in your garden, lawn or in your flower pots can go a long way in providing your plants a healthy life.
Epsom Salt for Bathing
Even though the benefits of an Epsom salt bath have not been proven scientifically yet, enthusiasts believe that soaking in an Epsom salt bath can do wonders for reducing aching muscles and joints. Epsom salt baths are used as a home remedy for a number of conditions such as fibromyalgia, muscle sprains, insomnia, Psoriasis, sunburn and Arthritis pain, If you’re suffering from Arthritis, consider reading our guide for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Even though the credibility of these soaks towards alleviating or reducing the intensity of any of the above-mentioned conditions remains to be proven, when Epsom salt is dissolved in warm water, magnesium and sulfate ions are released. These are then absorbed by the skin which helps in the reduction of swelling and aches.
For a comforting a relaxing bath, you should mix 2 cups of Epsom salt for every gallon of warm water. Increasing the concentration of Epsom salt can make the skin dry. It is advisable to soak in it for 15 minutes to get some relief from the conditions mentioned above. However, it is advisable to consult with your doctor before beginning any alternative therapy to get clarity on the amount to be used and the duration of the soak.
Epsom Salt for skin
Epsom salt crystals are great for exfoliating dead skin and softening rough patches along the knees and elbows. Include this in your bathing routine to get soft and supple skin that lasts for days. You can mix Epsom salt with some water to make a basic body scrub (use very little water so as to not dilute the Epsom salt) or you can make your own body scrub with Epsom salt using any of the DIY scrub recipes available online. In fact, you can also mix Epsom salt in Petroleum jelly to create a quick lip scrub at home.
However, before you use Epsom salt as a body scrub, it is advisable to conduct a patch test to ensure you aren’t allergic to it. If you’re allergic to Epsom Salt, Castor Oil could be really helpful in getting you a young and beautiful skin for sure.
Epsom Salt drink
Epsom salt has been used as a laxative for over 400 years since it was first discovered. Drinking a solution of water and 4 teaspoons of Epsom salt (for adults) can help people suffering from constipation with their bowel movements and reduce digestive discomfort. You can take up to two doses of this solution in a day but drinking any more than that isn’t recommended. Even though Epsom salt is a natural laxative, it shouldn’t be consumed for more than 7 days at a stretch. It is also advisable to consult your doctor if you develop chronic constipation and get proper medical help rather than drinking this every day since it also has its share of side effects.
Epsom Salt detox
An Epsom salt detox can be done by ingesting a solution of Epsom salt or by soaking in an Epsom salt bath. Enthusiasts suggest that drinking Epsom salt can help with detoxification by cleaning the colon which also aids in weight loss. Due to its natural laxative effect, Epsom salt tends to increase the frequency and ease of bowel movements. On the downside, being a natural laxative, you might experience diarrhea like symptoms upon excessive or frequent ingestion of the Epsom salt and water solution.
A safer and more relaxing way of detoxification using Epsom salt is through an Epsom salt detox soak. Supporters suggest that an Epsom salt bath helps to pull the toxins out of the body which can help to restore the body’s natural balance. An added benefit of an Epsom salt detox soak is the absorption of Magnesium into the body which c.
Epsom Salt for hair
Since sufficient scientific research regarding the actual benefits of Epsom salt is yet to be conducted, conclusive proof regarding the benefits and effectiveness of Epsom salt for improving hair texture, volume and overall health is not available.
However, some experts suggest that it can boost hair health when applied to the scalp since it contains magnesium which has been known to be a key mineral for improving hair texture and quality. However, this depends on whether to not the nutrient can be absorbed through the skin which in itself is a debatable concept.
Though the jury is still out on the ability of the skin to absorb nutrients by coming in contact with them through a skin soak or a bath, Epsom salt has been known to be useful for taming frizzy and dry hair by adding moisture to it. This can be done by mixing equal parts conditioner and Epsom salt and applying it to your hair like a regular conditioner and washing it off after 2 minutes.
Some health and beauty experts also suggest that it can be mixed with equal parts of shampoo and used to clean your hair. It acts as an exfoliant on the scalp as well and helps to remove dead skin and chemical build-up helping your hair follicles to breathe better.
Epsom Salt foot soak
It is suggested that Epsom salt soaks may help in increasing the magnesium levels in the body. However, it isn’t always possible to have a proper bath and Epsom salt foot soaks are a great alternative for people on the move. They are a great source of increasing your body magnesium level while providing relief to your tired feet. Dr. Jeffery Bowman also suggests that immersing an infected area in Epsom salt for a certain amount of time can help in drawing out the toxins to the surface of the skin. Doing this repeatedly might help to reduce the infection or expedite the healing process. You also can mix some essential oils such as lavender or lemongrass in your foot bath to make it more therapeutic and relaxing.
An Epsom salt foot soak can make the skin dry so remember to moisturize your feet post your soak.
Epsom Salt on face
The benefits of Epsom Salt towards the treatment for acne are purely anecdotal at best and it is advisable to consult a doctor before pursuing any kind of alternative treatment. However, believers have suggested that Epsom salt can be effectively used in order to combat acne and similar skin related problems. This might be due to the presence of Magnesium which is beneficial for the skin and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Acne is mostly caused due to the deposition of oil and other impurities in the pores which get infected and inflamed leading to skin problems such as acne. Epsom salt can be used in the form of face masks, facial soaks, spot treatments, face cleansers and exfoliant to remove excess oil, dead skin cells and dirt. After Epsom Salt, application of Olive Oil extract cream on your face; could be really helpful .
Epsom Salt for Aging
As we grow older, our skin tends to become dry due to the skin’s depleted ability to of the Sebaceous gland to produce oil. This dryness makes the wrinkles and fine lines look even more profound. Due to a large number of antioxidants found in Epsom salt, it can help prevent premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles. Wrinkles and fine lines are the first symptoms of aging. Along with age, factors such as our eating habits, smoking habits, genes and exposure to direct sunlight also play a key role in determining the onset of these signs.
Bathing in Epsom salt or applying it on your face through face masks will help to rehydrate the skin. Applying regular moisturizer to your skin after an Epsom Salt bath will help to retain the skin’s moisture thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Epsom Salt during pregnancy
Epsom salt soaks and foot baths are a great way of relaxing yourself. It is common to experience stress, leg cramps, aching feet and hemorrhoids as the pregnancy matures. The Magnesium present in Epsom salt can help to reduce these symptoms of pregnancy. Magnesium is one of the vital nutrients required by our body requires on a daily basis. The daily Magnesium requirement can usually be met through a balanced diet. During pregnancy, the body’s requirement for Magnesium increases and soaking in a relaxing Epsom Salt bath for 15-20 minutes may help to meet to increase the body’s Magnesium level. If you are short on time, a foot soak can also help to give some relief to tired and aching feet.
Epsom salt is considered to be safe for pregnant women unless it is ingested or if the bath has very hot water in it.
Epsom Salt soap
Epsom Salt soap bars are a great way to utilize some of the benefits that Epsom Salt is known for such as pain relief, destressing and exfoliating your skin. They can be made at home using one of the many tutorials available online or purchased commercially. If you are short on time, it can be used as a substitute for an Epsom Salt soak as well.
Epsom Salt cream
Epsom salt creams available commercially are a great way to reap the benefits of Epsom Salt without having to invest a lot of time. You can apply it to your skin as a moisturizer or night cream. The antioxidants present in Epsom salt and its anti-inflammatory properties also make Epsom Salt based creams a good alternative for people suffering from Acne. The creams also travel well and can be carried conveniently if needed as compared to packs of Epsom salt.
Epsom Salt and baking soda bath
We have already discussed the benefits of an Epsom salt bath. Some articles suggest that adding baking soda to your Epsom salt bath can go a long way towards partaking in the therapeutic benefits. Baking soda has sodium and bicarbonate ions in it which is very helpful for removing odors and bacteria which is why it is also a common compound used for preparing oral hygiene and cleaning products. Some studies also suggest that baking soda can also help people suffering from fungal infections, Eczema, yeast infections and diaper rash. In fact, its ability to reduce skin inflammation and irritation can also benefit people suffering from hemorrhoids, vulva irritation and chickenpox. An Epsom Salt and Baking Soda bath is a good idea for reducing stress and skin detoxification as well.
Epsom Salt Vs. Rock Salt
Epsom salt is Magnesium Sulfate named after a spring in Epsom, England where it was first discovered whereas Rock salt is a compound of Sodium Chloride and closer to regular table salt in its chemical composition. It can be found in the sedimentary beds of evaporated seas and lakes.
The primary difference between Epsom Salt and Rock salt is that Epsom salt cannot and should not be consumed whereas rock salt consumption is widespread since it promotes digestive health. It also has other minerals like zinc, potassium, manganese and iron which further adds to its health benefits. You can also use it as an exfoliant much like Epsom salt to remove dead skin cells and keep your skin, hair and nails healthy. It may also be beneficial for people with low blood pressure due to its high sodium chloride content. It also acts as a wonderful agent for a soak to help you destress. However, consuming more too much Rock salt may have some side effects including electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, high blood pressure as well as heart and kidney-related problems.
Epsom Salt for enema
Enema is the process of introducing a substance (usually liquid) into the rectum with the intention of expelling body waste (stool). It is used to treat cases where people suffer from extreme constipation since it stimulates stool excretion.
Some studies suggest that enemas are an extreme measure and it is best to avoid undergoing one. Enemas are unsafe for people with compromised renal function since it can lead to a condition known as Hypermagnesemia (the presence of extremely high magnesium content in the blood) which has been known to even be fatal in certain cases.
A case report published in the Journal of Acute Medicine suggests that Enemas comprised of Magnesium should not be injected in patients with a history of renal function impairment or compromised gastrointestinal motility. Since Epsom Salt is primarily a Magnesium compound, enemas containing Epsom Salt might end up doing more harm than good.
However, it is also important to understand that Enemas containing Epsom salt have been used by doctors for many years to relieve people suffering from severe chronic constipation and can be beneficial if done in a proper medical setting by a doctor after weighing the pros and cons.
Epsom Salt can have some side effects especially when used in DIY beauty and homecare products depending on the concentration of Epsom salt used. When using in beauty products it is advisable to conduct a patch test on the skin/ hair to ensure it doesn’t cause any allergic reaction or unwarranted side effects. When using in DIY home cleaning products, apply a small amount first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration before bringing it into daily use.
Epsom salt is generally considered safe but due to the presence of magnesium sulfate, it can have a laxative effect when consumed. It can lead to an upset stomach, cause diarrhea and bloating when consumed outside the prescribed dosage. Excessive consumption can also cause nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and headaches. In some extreme cases, an overdose of magnesium (present in Epsom salt) has also been known to cause breathing trouble, slow heart rate, coma, paralysis and even death so you should always consult your doctor before using Epsom salt as an alternative therapy for your ailments. The appropriate dosage of Epsom Salt depends on how it is to be used. For consumption or inclusion in any DIY products, the amount of salt to be should be as per the recommended usage. However, it is best to consult your physician before consuming it or using it for assistance with any ailment.
Though a lot of research has to be conducted to conclusively prove the extent of the benefits derived from Epsom salt, it has been used for these purposes for many years and is definitely worth a try after consulting with a medical professional to have a clearer idea about this can benefit you.
Note: Please go through the dosage column before use
Epsom Salt Brands
Although Epsom Salt comes in pure and raw form and doesn’t need a brand to be associated with it for purity. However, some brands in India provide extensive variety of Epsom Salts which increases benefits and usability of the product. Some of the best brands of Epsom salt available in India include:
1. Epsoak Everyday
2. Dr. Teal’s Eucalyptus and Spearmint
3. Tea Tree Oil Therapeutic
4. Minera Dead Sea Salt
5. Westlab Unscented
6. Mesmara Epsom Salt
7. Nankings Epsom Bath Salt
8. Organix Mantra Epsom Bath Salt
9. Wishcare Natural & Pure Epsom Bath Salt
10. Nyassa Dead Sea Salt with Essential Minerals