Uses and benefits of Epsom salt

Epsom salt is a pure mineral compound made of magnesium and sulfate. These naturally-occurring minerals have numerous health, fitness, and beauty benefits ─ and you can find Epsom salt almost anywhere you purchase personal care items, including grocery stores, pharmacies and popular online retailers. For human use, the Epsom Salt Council recommends only Epsom salt with the USP designation.

Health benefits of Epsom salt

Health uses and benefits of Epsom salt

Combat magnesium deficiency

Many Americans are deficient in magnesium due to diets high in processed foods. Burton M. Altura, Ph.D., says this can lead to numerous health risks, including high cholesterol, atherosclerosis (where plaque builds up inside your arteries), high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, inflammatory conditions and nervous disorders. To combat this deficiency, Altura recommends soaking in Epsom salt, which is actually magnesium sulfate. Dr. Christiane Northrup, an award-winning, board-certified OB/GYN says that Epsom salt can be absorbed through the skin and help replenish magnesium stores. You can also supplement your diet with magnesium-rich foods, including kelp, dark chocolate, almonds, tofu, and seafood.

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Fight off colds and the flu

If you feel a cold coming on, doctors recommend soaking in Epsom salt to help your body rest, recover and detoxify. Dr. Theresa Ramsey, cofounder of the Center for Natural Healing in Arizona, says that soaking in Epsom salt helps spur a process called vasodilation, which increases white blood cell production and helps the body fight illnesses quicker. Dr. Margaret Philhower says that the magnesium in Epsom salt also helps to relax muscles and alleviate body aches. Dr. Mao, a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese medicine, says that the sulfur in Epsom salt helps kill bacteria and fungus.

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Reduce inflammation and itching from sunburn, bug bites, and rashes

According to Dr. Joe Matusic, a pediatrician in Charleston, W.Va., and an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the Charleston division of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Epsom salt can help soothe common summer ailments that itch or burn the skin. This includes mosquito bites, bee stings, mild sunburn, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. To apply, either create a compress with a washcloth, cold water and Epsom salt, or take an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt works by drawing the moisture out of lesions caused by rashes, and reducing the swelling caused by bites or stings.

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Soothe sore feet and fight fungal infections

To reduce foot odor, soothe dry skin, and decrease swelling, Dr. Jeffrey Bowman, an award-winning foot doctor, recommends soaking your feet in Epsom salt. This pure mineral compound of magnesium sulfate can be absorbed through the skin and helps ease muscle and joint pain, swollen and inflamed feet, foot and toe fungal infections, and odor and skin problems. He says that Epsom salt acts as a wicking mechanism to help draw out infections from the superficial surface area and prevent them from growing larger.

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Alleviate Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and hormonal migraines

According to Dr. Taz, who has served as the medical expert for CNN Headline News and has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, magnesium is a foundational micronutrient for the hormone pathways. As a result, a magnesium deficiency could be a contributor to many common women’s health conditions, including PMS, hormonal migraines, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. To help alleviate the symptoms of these women’s health conditions, Dr. Taz recommends eating magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, almonds, and dark chocolate, taking a magnesium supplement or soaking in Epsom salt, which is actually magnesium sulfate.

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Ease muscle aches and cramps with Epsom salt

Fitness and wellness uses and benefits of Epsom salt

Ease muscle aches and joint pains

If you suffer from strains, sprains, or arthritis, Dr. Mao, an award-winning doctor and best-selling author, recommends soaking in Epsom salt. He says that the magnesium and sulfate are easily absorbed through the skin, and the magnesium helps improve blood flow and relax your muscles and extremities. Marni Sumbal, an exercise physiologist and board-certified sports dietician, also recommends soaking in Epsom salt after a workout because it helps to repair muscle damage and offset delayed inflammation. Pain expert Vicky Vlachonis recommends a Salt & Pepper bath for chronic pain that includes two cups of Epsom salt and three to five drops of aromatherapy black pepper oil. She says this bath helps soothe muscles, heal the mind, and lead to a deeper sleep.

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Improve sleep

A magnesium deficiency can lead to restless nights. Wellness guru Chris Johnson recommends Epsom salt baths and foot soaks to his clients to restore magnesium levels in the body. He says he has clients who after soaking in Epsom salt sleep through the night for the first time in years because it helps to relax their muscles. Carolyn Dean, M.D. N.D., one of the nation’s top natural physicians says the reason Epsom salt helps you sleep is because the magnesium relaxes muscles, improves digestion, balances blood pressure, and in turn, gives you more energy.

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Reduce stress

Excess adrenaline and stress are known to drain the body of magnesium. A deficiency in magnesium can reduce your levels of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation. One of the ways to boost your magnesium levels is to soak in Epsom salt, which is actually magnesium sulfate. Jeff Halevy, a fitness expert, recommends Epsom salt soaks along with meditation and yoga to help reduce stress. Dr. Susan Albers says the water therapy of soaking in an Epsom salt bath helps quiet and relax the body, as well as center you and help you make better choices.

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Use Epsom salt as a natural exfoliator

Beauty uses and benefits of Epsom salt

DIY bath salts and bath bombs

Bath salts and bath bombs make great gifts and perfectly complement self-care routines. However, they can get expensive. Natural beauty expert Janice Cox has shared many DIY recipes that feature Epsom salt, which she calls the gateway to natural beauty. Some of her recipes include Super Muscle Soothing Salts that boost circulation and reduce inflammation, a Warming Mustard Bath that opens up your pores and helps improve sleep, and a Relaxing Lavender Oatmeal Bath that calms the skin and helps you relax.

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Exfoliate face and body

Epsom salt is a great natural skin exfoliant all year round. During the summer months, celebrity skin care guru Ole Henriksen suggests exfoliating your body with Epsom salt, coffee grounds, eucalyptus oil, and sesame oil to boost circulation before sun exposure and allow for better absorption of sunscreen. Dale Noelle, founder of TRUE Model Management, suggests exfoliating dry lips during the winter months with a mixture of Epsom salt, olive oil, and fresh strawberry, and using an Epsom salt and oatmeal face mask to both exfoliate and moisturize your skin.

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Prep for a manicure or pedicure

Epsom salt can be used both as a soak to help soften skin and cuticles, and as an exfoliant to remove dry skin, calluses, and rough patches. Celebrity podiatrist Suzanne Levine recommends soaking your feet in Epsom salt for 15 minutes every day to combat swelling in the summer heat, and creating a natural foot exfoliant by combining Epsom salt with 5-10 percent glycolic cream.

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Gardening uses and benefits of Epsom salt

Epsom salt can be used in the garden to replenish the important nutrients magnesium and sulfate in the soil. These naturally-occurring minerals can help seeds germinate and produce vitamins for higher yields and more blooms. For best results, have your soil tested by your county extension agent to see if your soil has a magnesium or sulfate deficiency.

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Craft uses of Epsom salt

Epsom salt is a go-to craft ingredient for its likeness to fresh fallen snow. There are a number of holiday-themed crafts you can make, from shimmering luminaries to ice-frosted windows and indoor snowballs. Epsom salt can also be used for science crafts for kids, including a crystal garden and a unique suncatcher. Get some inspiration via our articles below.

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