Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Healing Epsom Salt

My arms look like I got in a fight with a cat and lost. Really it's only scratches from picking ollalaberries, but painful none-the-less. It didn't hurt today when I was picking, but later it started to burn a bit. (I thought better about posting a photo of my arms). Apparently, the berries have a small bit of poison in the thorns. Yep, I think they do.

Anyway, I'm trying an Epsom Salt soak tonight while I watch the new BBC version of Jane Austen's Emma. I'm hoping it will take the sting away and speed up the healing process.

Back in June, a friend recommended I try soaking my finger that I had cut with a butcher knife in Epsom Salt. I had a deep cut which should have been stitched up, but I was in a hurry and didn't want to go to the hospital. After about 3 or 4 weeks of triple antibiotic cream and a band aide, it was getting worse. (Think maybe it was infected?)

So when my friend recommended that I soak it in epsom salt, I started a routine of twice a day in hot water and epsom salt. In one day, the improvement was huge! And the tenderness that had been getting worse - painful, in fact - began to subside. Within 3-4 days the pain was gone and the healing was almost complete! It was amazing

What is Epsom Salt?

First, it isn't really salt. It's a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Second, it got it's name from a bitter spring at Epsom which is located in Surrey, England.  

Why does it work so well?

Because it is easily absorbed through the skin, epsom salt is ideal for soaking sore muscles and skin issues in the bath. 

What does the magnesium do?

Magnesium regulates over 325 enzymes in the body, reduces inflammation, and can reduce muscle soreness as well as help with nerve function. And according to Salt Works, it can help prevent artery hardening.

What about sulfates? 

Sulfates are helpful with improving nutrient absorption. It also helps flush toxins from the body, thus the reason some wise doctors recommend a good soak in the tub with epsom salt. If you have a migraine headache, you can try soaking in it as well.

A Few Uses for Epsom Salt

• relieves muscle cramps
• sooth sprains and bruises
• soothes hives, poison ivy, and other stings
• eases the discomfort of gout
• helps treat toenail fungus
• exfoliates dead skin
• dislodge blackheads
• hair volumizer
• eliminate foot odor
• relieve constipation
• eases stress and relaxes the body
• helps with insomnia
• relieves migraine headache
• eliminates body toxins
• helps heal cuts
• and lots of other things, such as in the garden!

Do I have your attention yet? Thought so. It certainly got my attention when it worked so well on my cut. Please remember that I'm not a doctor. I'm just a mom that found something that worked for me. I can't make any promises; I can only share what I've researched and my own experience. But, it certainly is something that you might want to add to your medicine cabinet and try once in a while.

For more information on Epsom Salt, you can visit the Epsom Salt Council or Salt Works. There's more information than I can include in a blog post. You may want to hop on over there and look around and glean some more nuggets. I just wanted to pass along the idea to give it a try. I'm certainly glad I did!

Bath Soak Recipe

Add 2 cups of Epsom Salt to a standard size bath tub (double the amount for a large soaker tub) and add warm or cool water to your preference. Throw in a handful of peppermint leaves if you have skin irritations and you want additional benefits. Or add a few drops of your favorite essential oil, such as lavender to help you relax. Soak at least 12 minutes.

For a foot soak, add 1/2 cup to a dish pan of water.

Please share your experience using Epsom Salt and what you do with it?


  1. I grew up in my Grandparents home and Grandma used Epsom Salts for many things, but especially for soaking sprains and cuts. I have made lovely bath salts with it. It's just one of those things every pantry and medicine chest should have. And, like you say, in the garden, too! (for changing the color of your hydrangea!)

  2. We also love "The Salts" as my son calls them.
    Another great remedy for soreness and healing is Mentholatum Ointment..it is great for torn cuticles and insect bites, cracked heels etc. It takes the soreness out and speeds healing too!!

  3. I will have to remember this next time my 5 year old gets bit by ants. This seems to happen a lot to her.

  4. This is so great to know! I love this kind of information. I have a friend who's been dealing with an infection due to nerve damage resulting from her diabetes. I am going to pass this info along to her...thank you for sharing!!

  5. I've only really used them in the tub, and haven't noticed anything worth reporting, but I still use them. We made scented bath salts with them as a craft project at MOPS once.
    Another good thing (that isn't very expensive) to keep around the house!

  6. Our doctor recommended Epsom Salt for my daughter's ingrown toenails. She loved it and still asks to soak occasionally (although there's no longer a need). I also had a runner recommend an Epsom Salt soak after the marathon I ran on Sunday. I absolutely agree with Lady Farmer that it should be something kept regularly in the medicine cabinet. It's economical too!

  7. I put Epsom salts on my tomatoes. Just sprinkle it around the base of the plant and water really really well. No blossom end rot!

  8. Now if I just had someone to draw my bath for me I would be set.

  9. Okay, it's the next morning and the sting from the plant scratches is significantly better. In fact, it doesn't hurt AT ALL! I also applied some topical aloe vera type gel after the bath. I'm really liking this epsom salt thing! It's a good thing because I'm headed back out to face the plants in a few minutes!!

    Thanks for all the comments!

  10. You have my attention!!!! I'm picking some up this afternoon! Thanks

  11. Thanks Amy. I'll definitely check this out!!! I think I could actually use some Epsom salts today! Who knew? I'm glad your finger is healed up well because of that!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  12. Last week I was bit by something under my thumb nail. By the end of the night my thumb was throbbing and swollen to where I thought it would pop. I knew that epson salt was good for removing toxins so I soaked my thumb in it a few times a day for two days and the welling and the pain were both gone. definitely something to keep around.

  13. It was just the thing when my ankle was so swollen from an insect bite I couldn't wear my shoes. I haven't used it for anything since, but I like the idea of using it with cuts and scratches.

  14. Epsom Salts are a pure mineral compound (magnesium sulfate) in crystal form. The crystals are formed from evaporated brine pools in the earths crust.

  15. I just bought a big bag of Epsom Salts. I have been told it helps alleviate the aches and pains of fibromyalgia, which I have. Haven't tried it yet, but I plan to do so today. Your article is very informative. Thanks for sharing.

  16. My son has a tendency to get ingrown toenails (I know, gross!) and we always soak his toe in hot water with Epsom salt. It seems to work wonders!
    Maybe Epsom salt should be right up there on the list with white vinegar and baking soda for miracle stuff!

  17. Hi Amy! I continue to just LOVE your blog. You know so much useful information! :)

    I was going to email you to ask you this but I couldn't find your email anywhere on your blog. I was wondering if you could give a review of the gnowfglins e-course that you took. I think it was titled "Real Food Basics" or something like that. I was going to sign up to take it this past time but my husband suggested I wait until the first class was done in case any tweaking needed to be done. But I am very interested in signing up for it this next time. What were your thoughts about it? Was it easy to follow? Worth the money? Did you learn anything new? I'd love to hear your thoughts!! Thanks!

  18. Amanda, I'm thrilled to be the bearer of good news!! Wardeh has now started offering her class for free! A donation is always appropriate, but she wants to bless everyone and feels that the Lord would have her open it up to everyone. So jump over there asap! And yes, the course was excellent!

  19. I'm a huge fan of epsom salts (I always have them in the house). I thought I remember reading somewhere that they can be used for rose bushes. Worth some investigating...Great post!

  20. Epsom salt is excellent for rose bushes...bigger blooms, brighter colors...and I can't prove this but it seems to me that the bugs aren't quite as bad on the blooms.

  21. They also do great for tomatoes peppers and eggplant. Just a handful around the bottom of the plant and it gets watered in by the rain! I always have it on hand.

  22. Last year my brother was bitten by a brown recluse spider. It bit him on the tricep while he was sleeping. It woke him up and he found the spider in the sheets. After 24 hours the pain was unbearable and was swollen horribly. When I found out about the bite, I had him apply a natural salve with plaintain (a common weed), which helped with the pain. The doctor said it was the worse case he had seen and would require removal of most of the tricep. A family member suggested he try soaking in Epsom salts. Although the poison was already well in his system and the skin had turned black, the Epsom salt slowly reversed everything and it healed. He did not lose any flesh at all! Highly recommend this!

  23. Anonymous - that's truly an amazing story! I've seen brown recluse bites and they're really bad. Hope I never have one (or my family), but I'll definitely remember this! If it works for that, it must work for many other bites as well!

  24. Where do you find Epsom Salts at the store? I've looked in many places with no luck. And can never find someone that works there. Thanks!

  25. Robin, I'm surprised you weren't able to find it, but if you have a co-op, you might try there. That is where I prefer to get mine. Or, ask the pharmacist next time you're in the store, but sounds like you might need to try another store:-)

  26. Okay, let me rephrase that - after re-reading it, sounds like I was surprised that YOU couldn't find it. On the contrary, I was surprised the STORE made it so difficult to find!

  27. I know what you meant lol. No worries. :) I've just gotten hooked up with a co-op called Azure Standard and hope to order with them next month so I'll check their catalogue. I can check the pharmacy section of Walmart again too if that's where it usually is. Thanks!

    1. I found the Epsom salt in the bath & body section by the bubble bath


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