Epsom Salts, the common name for Magnesium Sulfate are a chemical compound containing Magnesium and Sulfate in a crystallised or powdered form. It has numerous uses from personal hygiene and bathing, colon cleansing to sprinkling round plants to adjust the chemical balance.   

The high magnesium content within Epsom Salts helps to draw acids through the skin when added to a warm bath.

It is one of the few things that SHOULD be in your house as it replaces a lot of non-green products and is effective.

Caution: ES was used all the time back in the early 20th century.  People were continually treating themselves for what they saw as ‘constipation’ but overdid it.  You need to be very sensible.

One tablespoon of the salt contains about 35g (grams) of magnesium sulfate, or roughly 3.4g of elemental magnesium. This is a very large amount, –  the daily-recommended allowance is between 300-400 mg (milligrams) daily. Many people do not realize ingesting too much Epsom salt can kill you. Between 1841 and 1909, seven patients were reported to have magnesium toxicity and five died. The first reported death by using an Epsom salt enema was in 1943. Magnesium enemas were commonly used on infants up until the early 1970s when it was discovered as the cause in some deaths brought on by hyper-magnesemia.  As with all chemicals, MORE is not necessarily BETTER.

Certain drugs may interact negatively with Epsom salts. These include tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, oxytetracycline, sparfloxacin, penicclamine, digoixin, and nitrofurantoin. It is important to consult with your doctor before taking Epsom salts if you use any of these medications. To be completely safe you should talk with your doctor about Epsom salts if you take any over the counter medications, minerals, vitamins, or herbal products whatsoever.  Personally, I prefer it as a bath, a house cleaner and garden additive.

Here are some uses:

1. Bath

Relieve aching limbs, muscle strain and back pain by soaking in a warm bath to which you have added a cup full of ES. . This bath can also add to your body’s defenses and assist in healing cuts, reduce soreness from childbirth and give some relief to colds and congestion from within the body.  It is the ingredient in a lot of expensive bath salts. Soaking in it, you will absorb vital magnesium into the body helping to relieve stress as magnesium helps to produce serotonin, the chemical that lifts your mood to help you relax so a night-time bath is great if you can’t sleep.  If you THEN recycle that water around your gardenia or lemon trees, you will notice those plants greening up and looking great too.

2. Exfoliant.

Mix with olive or coconut oil and sugar, a few drops of your favourite perfume or essential oil. One tablespoon of ES, a cup of gritty sugar, oil to make a paste.  This assists in the removal of dead skin and helps to promote circulation.  Keep this in the fridge in a screwtop jar or Tupperware.

3. Use that same mix as a foot scrub. It will help to kill off nasty odours!

ES alone (one tablespoon of ES to a basin of water) is a great foot soak, cold or hot water according to your preference and the weather. Soak for 60 minutes while you watch re-runs of fave shows on TV. (because we all know there’s nothing new to watch these days!)

4. Body Scrub & Detoxification.

Quantites are not vital here.  mix some salts in your hand with some olive oil and then massage into the body in the bath or shower. Again, use the water on the lawn or trees.

5. Good for pregnant women.

Bathe once a week as above to draw out toxins. Do not use very hot water.  Keep it lukewarm.  Dry Skin after will stimulate the blood positively.

6. Laxative.

Epsom salts are a laxative. The salts can be mixed with water and taken orally or used in an enema. They increasing water in the intestines and bring temporary relief to your constipation. However, there are dangers in using Epsom salts or ANY chemical to induce a little lower body action as your intestines quickly adjust and will stop reacting to diet the way it should.  Better to eat oats for breakfast – a large bowl every day with fruit added

7. Treating oily hair.

Mix 8 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1/2 cup of shampoo, wash your hair using 1 tablespoon of the mixture, and rinse well with cold water.  Store the rest in the fridge (LABELLED so you don’t eat it).

8. Treating thinning hair.

Add equal parts of hair conditioner and Epsom salt, warm the mixture, apply, leave on for 20 minutes, and rinse well with warm water.

9. Garden.

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

Tomatoes: 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks.

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 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt per 2 litres 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.

Sage: Do NOT USE! This herb is one of the few plants that Epsom Salts will kill.   It will also kill thyme and mint and perennial basil so be careful.   I just don’t put it near herbs any more.

OK on a grass lawn but NOT on a chamomile lawn. Green up the grass with the magnesium and iron in Epsom salts. For every gallon of warm water, add two tablespoons of Epsom salts. Spray the solution over the grass, then follow with a good watering with plain water.  My father in law called it his ‘magic greener’!

10. Water recycling.

You can add a bit of Epsom salts to your bucket or drainage system to keep it fresh and the resultant trace elements will be good around most plants as above.

11. Battery extender.

Give the car battery a boost when it sounds like it’s about to die. Dissolve 1 oz. of Epsom salts in a little warm water. Add the solution to each battery cell to get a little more life from the battery until you can replace it.

12. Clean the bathroom.

Great for  tiles – use equal parts of Morning Fresh dishwashing liquid and Epsom salts. Spread the mixture on and scrub away the accumulated filth.  Rinse off with warm water and dry to avoid streaks.  This is used by a friend of mine who does up old houses and rents them out.  Cheap!

13. Animal deterrent.

Deter possums with the unpleasant taste of Epsom salts. Sprinkle it around fence lines and entry points to your house and garden.

14. Make frosted windows for Christmas.

We would do this at school each year:

Mix stale beer and Epsom salts until the salts are completely dissolved. Stipple or wipe the mixture onto the windows in a frost pattern, drawing arcs at the bottom corners and when it dries it looks real!  Warm water will remove it.

15. Remove Blackheads.

Half a cup of boiling water to a teaspoon of Epsom salt and 3 drops iodine. Apply this mixture to the black heads with a cotton ball three times daily.  Then after they are loose, do not squeeze.  Use the above face scrub instead.

16. Treats yellowing toe-nails and foot fungal conditions

Soak affected toes in hot water mixed with a palm full of Epsom salt three times a day.

17. Prevents snail and slugs

Sprinkle some Epsom salts around your seedlings. Slugs and snails won’t cross it without shriveling up.

Do you have any more uses we haven’t listed here?  If so, send us your comments!  Most of these I have accumulated over the years from my mother.

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