Have you ever been curious about this longstanding detox aid, but not quite sure how to use it? This article is for you. Today we are talking about Epsom Salts.
I have used Epsom salt on and off for many years. But this autumn I have decided to declutter my home, mind, and body on a deeper level and Epsom salts are definitely part of my armoury. For this, I have started to drink each morning a large glass of lemon water where I add half a teaspoon of Epsom salts to make them more palatable. The way to prepare it: Put half a teaspoon of Epsom salt into the glass and add a tiny bit of water, then leave the mixture overnight to dissolve. In the morning add the rest of the water (the dash of lemon juice is optional). I have one with added cinnamon flavour and it has improved my digestion. Additionally, I take some Epsom Salt baths in the evenings, 2-3 times per week. And overall it has benefitted my digestion, my skin, and my mood.
What exactly are Epsom salts and how often and how much should you use?
Chemically speaking, Epsom salt is very different from the general sea salt. It is a magnesium sulfate and is named after a bitter saline spring near Epsom, a small town in Surrey, England. Epsom salt dissolves well in water and is therefore ideal for drinking, bathing and even watering your plants.
Bathing: One common method is to add Epsom salts to a bath. Magnesium can be absorbed through the skin and helps to reduce inflammation, is beneficial for muscle and nerve function, and helps to prevent the hardening of arteries (a cause of stroke and heart disease). It will leave your skin very soft but dry and it is therefore important to finish your bath off with a good body lotion or body oil to lock in these salts. You should not use it every day, but best once a week or 2-3 times per week during a fast/detox. And as mentioned before a good body oil or moisturiser after the bath is a must! If you have access to a sauna/steam room use these in-between baths.
‘Drawing cream’: Make an Epsom salt cream by mixing 1 teaspoon with oil or cold cream. It acts like a drawing paste to get rid of infections, spots, and splinters. In the UK you can get a cream in the pharmacy that is already mixed with phenol called Magnesium Sulfate paste.
Relaxation: Epsom salt baths are also popular for relaxation and stress relief. The warm water and magnesium can potentially help soothe sore muscles and promote a sense of well-being. It has been shown to help with depression and migraines caused by stress and work overload. I suspect a lack of magnesium may play a part here, too. And Epsom salt will replenish depleted magnesium levels.
Digestive Health: Taken internally, Epsom salt is used as a laxative to help with constipation. It works by drawing water into the intestines, which can help soften stools and promote bowel movements. However, using Epsom salt as a laxative should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as it can have side effects and is not recommended for everyone. You should also avoid it when you have heart and kidney problems. If in doubt please stay safe and consult a doctor first.
But if you are healthy, you can go ahead and drink a glass a day for a fortnight (say during the Waning Moon) it will help with bowel movements and extra elimination. In this case, only use half a teaspoon in a glass of 250ml water (half a pint – dissolve the salt in a small amount of water and leave it to stand overnight. The next morning add the rest of the water and drink it!) Always drink it first thing in the morning. I always notice when I have a lack of magnesium as I easily have cramps in my leg muscles after a run or during the night. Epsom Salt taken over a few days will replenish the magnesium level in your body. For more symptoms add a magnesium 7 product (it contains 7 forms of magnesium and is easily absorbed by the body).
Low magnesium levels can lead to migraines, muscle cramps, irritability, and low levels of concentration. It also plays a part in carbohydrate metabolism and a lack of magnesium over time can worsen insulin resistance. But once you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, please ask a health professional first when thinking of taking it, especially internally.
Foot Soaks: Some suggest soaking feet in Epsom salt as a way to relax and potentially draw out toxins. I find it helpful to soften rough skin. You could make an Epsom salt footbath before a pedicure. In a more concentrated form, it helps with athlete’s foot and fungal infections. I read that regular Epsom salt baths also help with varicose veins, but have not found any science on this.
New Moon detox weekends
When you have a few stress-free days coming up, ideally a weekend or 3 days in a row around the New Moon, use this regime.
Put 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts into a 250ml glass, add a tiny bit of water to dissolve the salt, and leave to stand overnight. Add the rest of the water in the morning before drinking it first thing in the morning. It tastes bitter, so drink it as quickly as you can or you can.
Stay at home and stay warm. Put socks and a jumper on. It is normal to feel a bit colder during a detox program and more importantly – stay near a toilet as you will need it soon! In the morning don’t eat, but instead prepare a big thermos flask full of your favorite herbal tea. This is how you prepare it: put 1 teaspoon of dried herbs into a sieve on top of a thermos flask, add boiling water, and remove the sieve immediately. You only want a very weak tea for this morning. Sip this tea throughout the morning and it will get the Epsom salts working and provoke a bowel movement.
Make a big pot of hearty vegetable soup and stick to just eating this! Additionally have as much weak herb teas and water as you like. Fennel, peppermint, and nettle are detox favorites. Add some lemon juice or drink a lot of water. Stay off tea, coffee, any fizzy drinks, and of course alcohol. The only time you should not drink is half an hour before eating your soup and an hour afterward. This will help to digest your soup.
Enjoy the rest of the day watching some good TV shows, reading a good book, meditating, relaxing, and sleeping a lot.
In the evening have a hot bath with 2 handfuls of Epsom Salts. Before you jump into the tub, brush your body with a body brush or peeling hand glove. Then glide into the water and enjoy it by listening to music or an uplifting podcast episode.
Coming out of the bath, gently dab off the moisture with a bath towel, but make sure to keep some of the salt on your body. When dry, finish with an organic body oil/good moisturizer.
Liverpack: This is optional but is said to be good for the liver. Soak a flannel in warm water and apply it to your liver (right side just under the rib cage). Then place a medium-hot (but not boiling) water bottle and a big towel over the wet towel (Please prepare all this before you lie down) and finally wrap a large dry towel over both. Tuck the towel under your body to keep the hot water bottle and wet cloth in place. Leave the hot water bottle on your liver for a good 20 minutes until it gets cold. It is important to use this method up to 2 pm at the latest, ideally just before lunch as you don’t want to activate the liver too late in the day.
You can repeat this on the following day. For the next few days take some olive oil or body oil and massage your intestines in a clockwise movement (important – always go clockwise, up on your right-hand side, across on the top and down on the left, and across at the bottom – never switch the direction! You need to massage in the same way the bowel moves naturally.
For constipation: Please note, that this is only suitable on an occasional basis. If you suffer from chronic constipation, please consult your doctor.
Add 1.5 level teaspoons of Epsom salts to a glass of warm water (250ml/half a pint – again dissolve as mentioned above) and drink in large sips. This dosage is for teenagers and adults. For children 6 to 12 years old use half a level teaspoon with 250ml (half a pint) of lukewarm water.
Always start with the lowest dose and see if you need to increase it. Follow up with a liver wrap (see above).
Home and Garden: Dissolve 1 level teaspoon of Epsom salt in a medium-sized watering can and water your plants. Dissolve again the night before. Please use unperfumed Epsom salts here and not your bathing salts. Potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, lemons, and roses are particularly susceptible to extra magnesium. It helps with the production of flowers and stronger growth. Use this especially in spring and during the flowering season. However, using too much can be harmful to the soil. As with everything in life – it always is a happy balance. You can also sprinkle some salts directly onto the soil, ideally in spring at the time of the Waning and New Moon. The rain will dissolve it.
It also works for houseplants, especially when they have yellowing leaves and poor soil. You can always add a bit of compost to your pots and a few watering with Epsom Salt will benefit them, too.
Disclaimer: These are tips for healthy adults. If you suffer from health problems, particularly diabetes, heart or kidney disease or you are pregnant, then please consult a doctor first. With all these measures, start with a small dosage and see how you feel, and increase only if needed. I hope this is beneficial to you!