Got Epsom Salts?
Over the years, I have learned that superstars of preparedness are those items that serve multiple purposes. In many cases, these are common, everyday items that we already have on hand. Not only that, many of these multi-taskers are budget-friendly and available everywhere. Some good examples include vinegar, salt, honey, duct tape, coffee filters, and even microfiber cloths.
There is one preparedness multi-tasker whose list of uses is so diverse that you will wonder why you had not thought of stockpiling it previously. I am referring to old-fashioned Epsom salts.
Let’s start with a bit of history. According to this article on PubMed, the purgative effect of the waters of the town of Epsom UK were first discovered in the early seventeenth century. Epsom, the town, was subsequently developed as a great English spa where high society flocked to take the medicinal waters. Eventually, Dr. Nehemiah Grew, a distinguished physician, botanist and early Fellow of the Royal Society, extracted Epsom salts from the spa, and the rest is history.
Since then, Epsom salts have been used for a multitude of beneficial purposes—from fertilizing gardens worldwide to easing muscle aches and other ailments. But what about specific uses to the prepper and survivalist?
With the able assistance of Carmella Tyrell, here are 10 ways to use Epsom Salts both now and during a major disruptive event.
What are Epsom Salts?
Did you know that Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) have many medicinal, household, and garden uses? If not, then you probably dismissed them as an important part of your prepper stockpile. Nevertheless, in a pinch, Epsom salts can be used in place of more expensive items and perhaps even work better than expected. If you are looking to save money, create a smaller cache of diverse bug out gear supplies, or just want to make it easier to manage your home, it is well worth looking into Epsom salts.
Epsom Salt or Magnesium Sulfate is a common mineral found throughout the world. You can obtain your own Epsom Salt by boiling down ocean water (you can also get table salt from the same source), or pick up the crystals from around mines, hot springs, or other areas where magnesium sulfate can leach from the rocks and bind with water. Since Epsom Salt is so common in the environment, you can be assured of a steady supply of it when other items in your stockpile run out.
Controversies and Precautions When Using Epsom Salts
Many people believe that when Epsom salts are mixed with warm water, it becomes possible for the salts to pass through the skin as magnesium and sulfate. Even though magnesium is very important for maintaining good health and is necessary for many bodily functions, too much can be dangerous. For example, if you use too many laxatives with magnesium in them, they can cause kidney damage. While there is considerable debate over whether or not magnesium from Epsom salts can get past the skin and into other parts of the body, it is still best to exercise caution. By the same token, if you take Epsom salts internally, or even use them for other applications, handle them with care so that you do not cause permanent damage to your body.
10 Ways to Use Epsom Salts
1. Relax Muscles
When it comes to relaxing muscles, Epsom salts work best when dissolved in warm water. They do not dissolve or work as well when mixed with oil or lotion, so it is best not to combine them with these carriers. There are many ways to use Epsom salts as a muscle relaxer. My two favorites are:
Take 1 ½ cups of Epsom salt and mix them in 4 – 6 cups of hot water (you can speed this up by getting hot water from the coffee maker) and then adding the Epsom salts into a bowl of hot water. Next, run enough water into the bathtub for soaking. The water should be warm and comfortable long enough so that you can stay in the water for about 15 minutes. Add the Epsom salt solution to the tub, get in, and soak for no more than 15 minutes. If you have arthritis or other long-term pain, you may have to soak once a day for a few days. Follow manufacturer instructions so that you do not use Epsom salts longer than what might be safe.
Take 1 cup of Epsom salts and add them to a foot bath full of warm water. Soak for about 15 minutes to ½ hour.
2. Reduce Inflammation
To reduce inflammation in swollen or sore muscles, you can soak in an Epsom salt bath, or simply use a moist compress over the affected muscles. To make an Epsom salt compress, mix 2 cups of Epsom salts to one gallon of warm water, and then let it get cold. Soak a towel in the cold water, and then loosely wrap the region with the moist towel for 15 minutes.
3. Relieve Constipation
As noted above, you need to be very careful when taking Epsom salts internally. That being said, the magnesium in these salts is well known for relieving constipation. You can use Epsom salts in two ways to resolve this problem:
If you do not want to ingest Epsom salts, try soaking in a mixture of warm water and Epsom salts. Just use 5 cups of salt in the water instead of just 1 ½ cups as you would to relieve sore muscles.
When ingesting Epsom salts to treat constipation, try dissolving 2 – 4 level teaspoons of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of water. If you are treating someone between the ages of 6 and 12, drop the Epsom salt amount down to 1 – 2 level teaspoons in 8 ounces of water. If you do not have a bowel movement after 4 hours, you can try a second dose. Do not take more than two doses in a 24 hour period, and do not use Epsom salts for more than 5 days.
4. Soothe Insect Bites
Epsom salts can be used to relieve redness, itching, and irritation associated with mosquito and other insect bites. You can bathe in Epsom salts as you would for relieving sore muscles, use a cold compress, or apply an Epsom salt paste. To make the paste, just dissolve one teaspoon of Epsom salts into 1 cup of hot water, and then put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to speed up the process. Apply the paste to insect bite once you clean it and pat the area dry. You can also use these three solutions for poison ivy, poison oak, rashes, and sunburn.
5. Emergency Battery Electrolyte
As with other uses for Epsom salts, there is a considerable amount of controversy surrounding their usage in enhancing or restoring automobile batteries. You can try adding a mixture and Epsom salt and hot water to old or weak batteries to see if it will help. Just be aware that if the plates inside the battery are excessively worn, or the contacts that join the cells together are in bad condition, it is not likely the Epsom salts will be of much help. Do not forget to wear goggles, acid-proof clothing and shoes, and work in a well-ventilated area for the sake of safety. Never underestimate what battery acid can do, especially if you don’t have much experience with batteries and how to make repairs to them.
The article, "Got Epsom Salts?", was syndicated from and first appeared at: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/10/gaye-levy/got-epsom-salts/.
You may find more great articles by Gaye Levy on https://www.lewrockwell.com/.