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The history of Epsom salts

The history of Epsom salts
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Epsom salts were discovered in Epsom, England, in the late 1600s and have been used ever since for all sorts of purposes. Don’t confuse it for table salt – it’s mostly magnesium and has a bitter flavour. One of the most popular uses for Epsom salts is to soothe the sore muscles of athletes and help remove splinters, explains podiatrist Bruce Pinker. They are also used in beauty products. Here are some reasons you should consider keeping Epsom salts in your pantry or medicine cabinet.

Garden helper

Garden helper
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An unusual use for Epsom salts is in the garden. The magnesium in the salt can enrich soil to help seeds grow stronger and give plants more nutrients, explains Dr Pinker. Put a tablespoon or two in soil with each seed, or dissolve it into water and water plants with it.

Ready to start growing? Here’s what you need to know before you start a garden.

Natural laxative

Natural laxative
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Epsom salts are often sold as a laxative to help relieve constipation. Use only the amount suggested on the label or by your doctor, suggest experts at the University of Michigan Medicine. Never take Epsom salts if you also have severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or a sudden change in bowel habits that has lasted two weeks or more. Simply dissolve one dose of Epsom salts into 250 mL of warm water. A little lemon can make the drink more palatable.

Skin exfoliant

Skin exfoliant
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Have rough patches on your skin? The minerals in Epsom salts can help. “Epsom salt can reduce the thickness of one’s skin if soaking is performed,” says Dr Pinker. “The magnesium sulphate also has an exfoliating effect on the skin which is beneficial.” Mix Epsom salts with coconut oil to make an all-natural salt scrub.

Now you skin is sorted, here are 14 tips to get healthy gorgeous nails.

Treatment for athlete's foot

Treatment for athlete's foot
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Podiatrists often recommend soaking your feet in an Epsom salt bath to help reduce the pain and itchiness. “For athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), Epsom-salt soaks can be helpful and soothing due to the effects of the minerals,” says Dr Pinker. “However, antifungal creams are often more effective at addressing athlete’s foot conditions than Epsom salt soaking.”

Tile and grout cleaner

Tile and grout cleaner
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Let Epsom salts cleanse some of the grimiest parts of your house. Mix 1 cup Epsom salts, 1/2 cup bi-carb soda, and 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent. Apply to dirty, durable surfaces like shower doors and grout, and let it soak in for a few minutes before you scrub it away.

Now you’ve got your floors sorted, discover 14 laundry myths that are ruining your clothes.

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Slug and snail deterrent

Slug and snail deterrent
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Sprinkling Epsom salts where you have a slug issue can be beneficial, according to dermatologist Dr Tejas Patel. “Once the slug makes contact with the Epsom salt, it starts to lose water which causes dehydration and ultimately death,” he says. “Simply sprinkle Epsom salts around your plants to keep the slugs at bay.”

Itchy spot soother

Itchy spot soother
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Itchy spots become irritated due to inflammation, your body’s natural defence mechanism, explains Dr Patel. “Your body fights foreign irritants via inflammation, which can be shown in a number of ways, including redness, heat, tenderness, swelling and itchiness,” he says. As a remedy, he recommends applying a cold compress-soaked mixture of 2 tablespoons Epsom salts to one cup of cold water to soothe the itch from insect bites, eczema and other skin conditions.

DIY bath bombs

DIY bath bombs
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Colourful, fragrant bath bombs have become a popular gift. You can create your own by mixing Epsom salts with other simple ingredients – bi-carb soda, olive oil, citric acid, food colouring and a nicely scented essential oil.

Bloat reducer

Bloat reducer
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Several celebrities swear by an Epsom salts bath before a big event to help them look red-carpet ready. This is because it can help relieve inflammation in the form of bloating. “When you take an Epsom-salt bath, you reduce your swelling due to the properties of the Epsom salt,” says Dr Patel. “The salt gets easily absorbed through your pores to get to the source of the inflammation.” Simply add about two cups of Epsom salts to your bath.

Need a little more of a nudge? Here are 6 ways to beat belly bloat.

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Source: RD.com

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