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Epsom salts are commonly found in bathrooms and garden sheds. Despite being called ‘salts’, they aren’t really salt. They are named Epsom as that is the place in the UK where they are said to have been first discovered, and they are called ‘salt’ because of the structural makeup.
Epsom salts have long been used in hot baths to help while away aches and pains and have been spread around gardens to help provide a little extra magnesium for plants.
Read on as we investigate if and how Epsom salts can benefit you and your plants.
Where to Find Epsom Salt
Since these salts are used for personal therapeutic use and gardens, you can find them in both pharmacies and garden centers. So long as they are pure Epsom Salts and have not been infused with essential oils or other additives for the garden, they are both the same and you can use them interchangeably.
They are usually inexpensive and come in a large box or bag.
Epsom Salts for You
In general, Epsom salts are thought to be harmless when used topically, though allergic reactions can come out of nowhere for people, so proceed with caution if using Epsom salts for the first time.
With that, many people claim to reap therapeutic benefits from bathing and soaking in water rich in Epsom salts.
Epsom Salt is magnesium sulfate, and it is the magnesium that people believe to be beneficial. When Epsom salt is poured into water it dissolves and releases magnesium and sulfate ions.
Epson Salts in the Bath
The belief is that when one bathes in this water, the body can absorb these particles and gain health benefits from them.
Though this has been a practice for centuries, and people still swear by it, there is little scientific evidence to back the idea that our skin can absorb the magnesium released by these salts.
That said, it is still believed that soaking a bath with Epsom salts can help relieve tired muscles and cramps, and reduce swelling and soreness.
For an Epson salt soak, pour up to two cups into your warm bathwater and allow it to dissolve before getting in.
Epson Salts as an Exfoliant
Epson salts can be added to your regular facial cleanser as an exfoliant. As with any exfoliant, go gently and do not over-rub or cause redness or irritation.
People also massage it into their hair to add volume and stimulate the scalp.
This is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Check with a medical professional before using Epsom salts medicinally, especially if pregnant. Do not ingest Epsom salt without doing thorough research and checking with a medical doctor first.
Epsom Salts for Your Plants
Source: Mike Kincaid/YouTube
Plants need magnesium and sulfur, and adding Epsom salts to the soil is a good way to ensure that your plants are getting enough.
Magnesium is a secondary nutrient for plants. However, it helps roots to absorb the macronutrients potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous.
However, as we have already figured out, Epsom salts are extremely water soluble, so there is a good chance that the minerals will have leached away long before your plant roots have had a chance to get a sip.
On the positive side, it helps plants to produce chlorophyll which keeps leaves green and lush.
However, it is worth noting that an overabundance of magnesium in the soil can hinder the plant’s ability to absorb calcium, another essential mineral. But, since it is so water soluble, there is little danger of a damaging buildup occurring.
Plants such as tomatoes seem especially grateful for a little extra dose of magnesium in their soil.
The salts can be added to the soil at planting time, or around the base of the plant one or two times a month. For small plants, one or two tablespoons should suffice. You may also mist your plants with a foliar spray made up of two tablespoons of Epsom salt per gallon of water.
You should also check the Epsom salt packaging for detailed dosage recommendations.
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