Old- fashioned remedies have survived many years for a reason: they work! Epsom salts are one of these. Epsom salts are comprised of magnesium and sulfate. They get their name from a small borough in Surrey, England called Epsom. The salts were first discovered in the bubbling springs there. Epsom salts have many uses in the home and garden besides soaking a sprained ankle.
Most of us are familiar with using Epsom salts to soothe sprains. Add one cup salts to a bucket of water as hot as you can stand. Soak the sprained area until the water cools. Use a compress to heal and soothe bruises. Soak a cloth in a solution of ½ cup salts to one-quart very warm water. Place on the bruise for half an hour, rewetting every 5 minutes. Magnesium is readily absorbed through the skin. Many people suffer from magnesium deficiency, which can cause anything from high blood pressure to heart disease. Sulfates flush toxins from the body and help form proteins in joints and brain tissues. Along with replenishing magnesium levels, Epsom salt baths will reduce adrenalin and produce serotonin, a great combination for a pre-bed soak. Add several drops of an essential oil like lavender, which encourages sleep. Use a solution of two tablespoons of salts in a cup of cold water. Soak a washcloth and apply to bee stings, mosquito bites, and sunburns. Epsom salts have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
The lawn and garden can benefit from the magnesium and sulfate in Epsom salts as well. To prepare the soil for planting, sow in 1 cup salts to every 100 square feet. To green up the lawn, mix 2 tablespoons salts in one gallon of water. Spray all over the lawn with a garden sprayer, making sure it soaks in. This will make the lawn healthy and green. Peppers and tomatoes love Epsom salts! Dissolve 1 teaspoon in a gallon of water and spray over the plants every two weeks. You’ll be surprised at how big they grow. This same solution will also produce more blooms on flowering plants.
In the house, Epsom salts are a handy natural cleaner and abrasive. Add to dish detergent to clean tile and grout. Use them with a little warm water to scrub burnt-on food in pots and pans. Clean stainless steel and porcelain sinks, as the salts are gentle and effective. Clean your washer of detergent build-up and contaminants. Fill the washer with hot water. Add one-quart white vinegar and 1 cup Epsom salts. Agitate for a few minutes then run through the rinse cycle.
KATHY WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO