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The Magic of Epsom Salts


Some things never go out of style. So it is with Epsom salts, an old-fashioned remedy dating back to Greek and Roman times that continues to have many healthful uses today. Epsom salts reduce swelling, improve drainage and help get a sluggish system up and running again.

Environmental activist Annie Berthold-Bond, the executive producer of the number-one on-line environmental network Care2.com, finds the salts particularly soothing and relaxing in the bath. Epsom salts, made from the mineral magnesium sulfate, are a natural sedative.


Berthold-Bond has a number of helpful tips for using Epsom salts...

  • To reduce the swelling of sprains and bruises or just to enjoy an especially relaxing bath, add two cups of Epsom salts to a tub of warm water. Even better, also add several drops of lavender or neroli oil.

  • To soothe achy feet, absorb their odors and soften rough skin, soak them in a pan of warm water with one-half cup of Epsom salts.

  • To wash your face, combine one-half teaspoon of Epsom salts with your regular cleansing cream. Massage into skin and rinse thoroughly with cold water. This will help dry out oily skin and renew all skin types.

  • To exfoliate skin, massage handfuls of Epsom salts into your wet skin when in the bath or shower. Start with the feet, and slowly work your way upward. Afterward, rinse thoroughly.

  • To make your own facial mask, for normal to oily skin, combine one tablespoon of cognac, one egg, one-quarter cup of nonfat dry milk, the juice of one lemon and one-half teaspoon of Epsom salts. For normal to dry skin, mix one-quarter cup of grated carrot, one and one-half teaspoons of mayonnaise and one-half teaspoon of Epsom salts. Apply the mask to damp skin for approximately 10 minutes.

  • To reduce the swelling of minor insect bites, apply a warm Epsom salt compress. Use Epsom salts with just enough water to make into a thin paste. Apply the paste to the bite, then cover with a washcloth saturated with water that is just short of scalding hot. Put more very hot water on the washcloth, covering the bite every few minutes to keep it very hot. Continue this for 10 minutes and repeat every hour. Be sure to remove the stinger, if present, before starting.

To learn more about the myriad uses of Epsom salts -- from getting rid of blackheads to cleaning bathroom tiles to cultivating a healthier lawn -- visit the Epsom Salt Industry Council's Web site at www.epsomsaltcouncil.org.

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