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. I have one with added cinnamon flavour and it has definitely 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 definitely help with bowel movements and extra elimination. In this case, only use half a teaspoon in a glass of 250ml water (half a pint). Always 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.
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 various 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.
- Take half a pint (250ml) of fresh tepid water, add some lemon juice, and 2-3 teaspoons (better start with 2 and see if you need more!) of Epsom salts. Drink by sipping it in a short space of time. It tastes bitter and hopefully, the lemon makes it more palatable.
- Stay at home and stay warm. Put socks and a jumper on. It is normal to feel a bit colder during a detox program.
- Make a big pot of hearty vegetable soup and stick just eating this! Additionally have lots of herb teas. Fennel, peppermint, and nettle are detox favourites. Add some lemon juice or drink a lot of water. Stay off tea, coffee, any fizzy drinks, and of course alcohol.
- Enjoy the rest by 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. Enjoy it by listening to music or an uplifting podcast episode.
- Just pad your cast gently, to make sure some salt stays on your skin, and finish with some body oil/good moisturiser.
- Castor oil pack. This is optional but is said to be good for the liver. For this, you soak a piece of cotton wool with castor oil and apply it to your intestine. Then place a plastic bag over it, followed by a towel and finally a hot water bottle (prepare all this before you lie down). Leave it on for a good hour. You can repeat this on the following night. 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 direction as you need to massage in the way the bowel goes).
For constipation: Please note, that this is only suitable on an occasional basis. If you suffer from chronic constipation, please consult your doctor.
Add 2-4 level teaspoons of Epsom salts to a glass of warm water (250ml/half a pint) and drink in large sips. This dosage is for teenagers and adults. For children 6 to 12 years old use 1-2 level teaspoons with 250ml (half a pint) of lukewarm water.
Always start with the lowest dose and see if you need to increase it. Follow on with the castor oil method from above.
Home and Garden: Dissolve 1-2 level teaspoons of Epsom salt in a medium-sized watering can and water your plants. 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!