Magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, more commonly known as Epsom salt, is a water-soluble, bitter tasting white or colorless compound widely available for purchase at grocery stores and pharmacies. Both magnesium and sulfates, key components in Epsom salt, perform important functions in the body. Magnesium ensures proper muscle, nerve and enzyme functions, assists cells in properly using calcium, reduces inflammation, relieves pain, and plays a role in the prevention of heart disease and stroke. The body uses sulfates to stimulate the pancreases, flush toxins, and form brain tissue, joint proteins and mucin proteins. Use Epsom salt as home remedies for various health and wellness needs.
Tearing or overstretching a ligament, the tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint, results in a sprain. Sprains can be mild, moderate or severe and generally result in pain, swelling, bruising and limited use of the injured joint. Use Epsom salt as part of your treatment for sprains. Because sulfates promote the formation of joint proteins and magnesium reduces inflammation, soaking an injured ligament in warm water mixed with Epsom salt may provide immediate and long-term relief. The Epsom Salt Council recommends adding two cups of Epsom salt to a gallon of water for optimal benefits.
Remove dead cells and increase circulation for softer skin. Mix two cups of Epsom salt with one-fourth cup of petroleum jelly and a few drops of lavender oil. Use the mixture to gently scrub away dry patches of skin on the body. For your face, mix half a teaspoon of Epsom salt into any cleansing cream intended for deep pore cleaning. Use your fingers to massage facial skin. Rinse with cool water and pat dry.
Ease General Muscle Pain
Add two cups of Epsom salt to a warm water bath to ease general muscle pain and fade bruises. Soak in an Epsom salt bath water solution for 12 minutes. Rinse off in the shower or clean bath water after your soak. The magnesium in Epsom salt acts as a muscle relaxer, and the sulfates flush out harmful toxins.
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Use Epsom salt to remove splinters and heal affected skin. According to the Epsom Salt Council, an Epsom salt soak will loosen skin to draw out the splinter. Oftentimes a 15-minute soak will cause the wood to swell enough that the splinter will pop out on its own. Even if the splinter does not come out during the soak, the Epsom salt softens the affected area to make splinter removal by tweezers less painful.
Relieve Aching Feet
Give your feet a rest and relax after a long day with an Epsom salt foot soak. Dissolve one cup of Epsom salt in a large pan of warm water. Immerse feet completely for as long as feels right. Epsom salt has the ability to relieve aching feet for the same reasons that it can ease general muscle pain. The muscle-relaxing and toxin-flushing properties of the compound draw out soreness and soothe tired, battered feet.
According to the Epsom Salt Council, Epsom salt is a Food and Drug Administration-approved laxative. Follow the directions on the box to make your saline laxative. When used as laxative, Epsom salt relieves constipation 30 minutes to six hours after ingestion. Consult a health care provider before using Epsom salt for constipation relief or colon cleansing.
Anne Shirley studied journalism at Northwestern University and has been writing professionally online since 2010. She writes website copy, press releases, blogs and marketing materials for cycling advocacy nonprofits, professional cycling teams and individual athletes. A Boulder transplant by way of Chicago, Shirley can often be found writing in coffee shops that offer her a view of the Flatirons.