epsom salts

What is Epsom salt?

Do you want to know more about Epsom salt? Are you wondering what it is exactly and what the link is to using salt for health-related purposes?

The prospect of doing anything with salt other than to use it to add some flavour to your meals may sound a bit bizarre, but Epsom salt happens to have lots of health benefits.

Just so you know, Epsom salt and table (cooking) salt are two totally different things. The Epsom variety is a chemical compound that contains three ingredients, magnesium, oxygen and sulphur.1 The reason why it’s referred to as a salt is because of its chemical make-up.2 Epsom salt has been around for a very long time. It was reportedly first discovered in Epsom, Surrey way back in 1618.3 Many centuries later, it’s used far and wide as an alternative treatment for numerous ailments, mainly because it contains magnesium, which happens to be a mineral that many people are lacking in.4 Magnesium is responsible for making sure a lot crucial things happen in our body, for instance, regulating blood sugar levels and making protein, bone and DNA.

How does Epsom salt work?

Using Epsom salt is relatively straightforward; you take the bag or carton of salt and dissolve it in some warm water. The magnesium and sulphur are then released from the salt crystals, creating a solution that’s absorbed by the skin.5

What is Epsom salt used for?

You can use Epsom salt for lots of things:

You can bathe in it

Epsom salt baths are one of the most common uses of Epsom salt. Run your bath as you usually would and then add around one to two cups of Epsom salt to it.

You can soak your feet in it

Another popular thing to do with Epsom salt is to create an Epsom salt foot soak in your bath or in a bowl of warm water, which is particularly good to help treat cracked heels.6 Make sure the water fully covers your feet and then add half a cup of Epsom salt. Soak your feet for around 30 to 60 minutes and moisturise them afterwards, as the salt can dry your skin out.7

You can exfoliate with it

Use the salt crystals to remove dead skin cells by mixing them with a little bit of water. If you’re planning on exfoliating your face, combine one tablespoon of Epsom salt with aloe vera gel and rinse with warm water. Alternatively, mix Epsom salt with petroleum jelly to make a lip scrub.

You can gargle with it

Because of its antioxidant properties, Epsom salt can be used as a mouthwash. Take two tablespoons of Epsom salt, pop them into a cup of lukewarm water and then gargle away.

You can water your plants with it

Yep, that’s right. Using Epsom salt for plants is a thing. The magnesium’s said to help flowers to grow, plants to grow bushier and the overall colours to be more vibrant. Hydrated magnesium sulphate is essential for healthy plant growth.8

What are the benefits of using Epsom salt?

Just as there are many different ways you can use Epsom salt, there are just as many advantages to using it.

Epsom salt benefits – at a glance

  1. Boost magnesium levels

  2. Helps with sleep

  3. Helps to make the skin look smoother

  4. Helps to relax tired muscles

Benefit 1: Boost magnesium levels

There’s a lot of widespread discussion out there about Epsom salt bath benefits, particularly in relation to magnesium absorption. According to research carried out by the University of Birmingham, prolonged soaking in Epsom salt can increase blood magnesium concentrations.9

Benefit 2: Help with sleep

Magnesium can help our bodies produce melatonin, which is the hormone that promotes better sleep.10

Benefit 3: Smoother skin

To create your own scrub combine one cup of Epsom salt with half a cup of coconut oil. This will exfoliate your skin and will help get rid of dead skin cells to reveal softer and smoother skin.

Benefit 4: Relax tired muscles

Epsom salts have a relaxing effect on your body, so can help to relax tired muscles after a long day.

Last updated: 4 August 2020