By Dee Braun
I remember as a kid when my Great Aunt Grace would put some Epsom Salts in a dish pan, add really warm water and soak her feet because they hurt.
So, to me, that's what Epsom Salts was all about - a remedy for painful joints in old folks. Little did I know!
Times have changed - or have they?
All the talk about 'Natural Remedies' and 'getting back to basics' always floors me because my great aunt and my grandmothers were all doing this stuff when I was a little girl. So did my mom...and so have I. So, for me, there's been no 'getting back to' anything.
However, I'm not too old to learn and since learning is one thing I LOVE to do, I decided to learn more about Epsom Salts after reading a snippet on detoxification. Here's what I've found.
Studies show these benefits from the major components of Epsom Salt may:
* Ease stress and improves sleep and Concentration
* Help muscles and nerves function properly
* Regulate activity of 325%2B enzymes
* Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots
* Make Insulin more effective
* Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps
* Improve oxygen use
* Flush Toxins
* Improve absorption of nutrients
* Help form joint Proteins, brain tissue and mucin Proteins
* Help prevent or ease Migraine Headaches
The Many Uses of Epsom Salts...
1) Wash your face before going to bed
According to recent studies in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, deposits of nicotine and carbon monoxide (from secondhand smoke and pollution) can wreck havoc on the skin..
To cleanse your face - Mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt with your regular cleansing cream. Just massageinto skin and rinse with cold water.
2) Troubleshoot with the right homemade mask
Apply this mask in the shower, to your damp face, to lock in the moisture. For normal to oily skin, mix 1 tablespoon of cognac, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk, the juice of 1 Lemon, and a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt. For normal to dry skin mix 1/4 cup of grated Carrot, 1 1/2 teaspoons of mayonnaise and a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt.
3) Smoother Softer Skin
Pour two cups into a bath of warm water. Lean back and relax. As you soak, the natural action of Epsom Salt helps soften the rough, dry patches of your skin. You can also rub Epsom salts all over the body, while wet, then rinse and towel off. Rubbing Epsom salts directly on the body exfoliates skin and leaves it smooth and silky. They make a great gift to give someone when you put them in a nice glass jar with lid and tie on a pretty ribbon. You can add scent to them by sprinkling them with essential oil. Or mix Epsom salts with baby oil and keep by the sink if you wash your hands a lot.
4) Add Body to Your Hair
Combine 3 tablespoons of deep conditioner with 3 tablespoons of Epsom Salt. Microwave the mixture for 20 seconds. Work the warm mixture through your hair from scalp to ends and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Promotes body and life in your hair and restores curl to permed hair.
5) Remove Hairspray and Gel Buildup
Combine a gallon of distilled water, a cup of Lemon juice (fresh or bottled), and 1 cup of Epsom Salt. Cap the mixture and let it sit for 24 hours. The next day, pour the mixture into your dry hair and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then shampoo as normal.
5) Soak tired, aching feet (this one sounds familiar!)
Soak aching, tired feet in a pan of water with half a cup of Epsom salts and not only will your feet feel better, but they'll smell better too. Epsom salts work to neutralize odor and soften skin. Soak feet until they feel better then rinse and dry well. A full bath should contain 2 cups of Epsom salts for relief of tired feet, back muscles, legs or just as a way to have softer skin.
6) Combat oily hair
The salts do wonders for the hair, absorbing oil from problem hair by adding 8 tablespoons of Epsom salts to a half a cup of shampoo that's formulated for oily hair. Put a tablespoon of the shampoo mixture on dry hair and work it in and around the scalp area, rinsing it out with cold water. To rinse it well, and further treat oily hair, pour a cup of apple cider vinegar over the hair, leave on for 5 minutes, and then rinse with cool water.
7) Soak out splinters
Did you know, for instance, that soaking a splinter in Epsom salts can release the splinter and help the area to heal?
8) Make a poultice pack for strains or sprains
If you have any strained muscles or sprains, you can take 1/2 to 1 cup of Epsom salts and make a "pack" with it to place on the affected area, wrap with hot towel and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. TIP: This can be a lot less messy and more relaxing if done in the bath.
9) Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots
Epsom Salt is also believed to help prevent Heart Disease and strokes by lowering blood pressure, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden Heart Attack deaths.
10) Makes Insulin more effective
This salt also increases the effectiveness of Insulin, helping to lower the risk or severity of Diabetes.
11) Essential to plant health
Most plants to survive good health need nutrients like magnesium and sulfur. Magnesium Sulfate Crystals when added to the soil, provides vital nutrients to help prevent loss of green color (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule), yellowing leaves. Epsom Salt makes the primary nutrients in most plant foods (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) more effective.
12) Get rid of raccoons
Are the masked night marauders poking around your trash can, creating a mess and raising a din? A few tablespoons of Epsom salt spread around your garbage cans will deter the raccoons, who don't like the taste of the stuff. Don't forget to reapply after it rains.
13) Deter slugs
Are you tired of visiting your yard at night only to find the place crawling with slimy slugs? Sprinkle Epsom salt where they glide and say good-bye to the slugs.
14) Fertilize tomatoes and other plants
Want those Big Boys to be big? Add Epsom salt as a foolproof fertilizer. Every week, for every foot of height of your tomato plant, add one tablespoon. Your tomatoes will be the envy of the neighbor-hood. Epsom salt is also a good fertilizer for houseplants, roses and other flowers, and trees.
15) Make your grass greener
How green is your valley? Not green enough, you say? Epsom salt, which adds needed magnesium and iron to your soil, may be the answer. Add 2 tablespoons to 1 gallon (3.7 liters) of water. Spread on your lawn and then water it with plain water to make sure it soaks into the grass.
16) Clean bathroom tiles
Is the tile in your bathroom getting that grungy look? Time to bring in the Epsom salt. Mix it in equal parts with liquid dish detergent, then dab it onto the offending area and start scrubbing. The Epsom salt works with the detergent to scrub and dissolve the grime.
17) Regenerate a car battery
Is your car battery starting to sound as if it won't turn over? Worried that you'll be stuck the next time you try to start your car? Give your battery a little more life with this potion. Dissolve about an ounce of Epsom salt in warm water and add it to each battery cell.
18) Get rid of blackheads
Here's a surefire way to dislodge blackheads: Mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt and 3 drops iodine in 1/2 cup boiling water. When the mixture cools enough to stick your finger in it, apply it to the blackhead with a cotton ball. Repeat this three or four times, reheating the solution if necessary. Gently remove the blackhead and then dab the area with an alcohol-based astringent.
19) Frost your windows for Christmas
If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, but the weather won't cooperate, at least you can make your windows look frosty. Mix Epsom salt with stale beer until the salt stops dissolving. Apply the mixture to your windows with a sponge -- for a realistic look, sweep the sponge in an arc at the bottom corners. When the mixture dries, the windows will look frosted.
20) Relieves Constipation
Numerous studies have revealed that Epsom Salt can also be used to treat Constipation. The salt acts like a Laxative. It increases the water in the intestines and can bring about temporary relief from Constipation. However, it is strictly warned that Epsom Salts should not be used to relieve Constipation without the consultation of a physician as it may prove to be harmful in some cases. For occasional Constipation or irregularity, adults can mix 2 to 4 teaspoons into water until dissolved and drink. Kids 6 to 12 take half of that. This can be used twice a day by taking the first treatment, waiting 4 hours and taking the second dosage if necessary.
Dee Braun, a single mom of 6 kids, is a Certified Aromatherapist, Certified Dr. of Reflexology and a natural health practitioner. Click now to visit Mom's Blog at http://www.moms-blog.com/ - a blog just for moms (and dads!) which offers more information on green living, children's health, child natural remedies and parenting advice and insight.