Wintertime Epsom Salt Hacks
Natural Home Remedies for Wintertime Blues, Achy Muscles, and More
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Trying to stay healthy in the winter is a challenge so I have some Epsom salt hacks that will help when you’re feeling under the weather. Our bodies naturally want to hibernate from the cold, the rain, and the wind, but who wants to put their whole life on hold for a whole season? There’s usually firewood to chop and stack, and gorgeous days of skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating to enjoy. Winter is also cough, cold, and flu season so taking care of our health and our immune systems are also important.
From helping us with mineral deficiency to getting a good night’s sleep, Epsom salt has a long list of benefits that we can take advantage of when the days get short and the temperatures drop.
Got an achy back? Try this Epsom salt hack. Whether you’re sore from shoveling snow or spending a day out on the skis, sore muscles are never any fun. Most people know that Epsom salt is ideal for soothing sore muscles, but what you don’t know is that in order for Epsom salt to be effective in a bath, you need to use a lot. Physical therapist, Lee Albert of the Kripalu School of Yoga and Ayurveda, recommends using at least three cups of Epsom salt in a regular bath in order to get the full benefits of using the magnesium sulfate crystals. Add essential oils or dried herbs to your bath as well to help with things like sleep, a stuffy nose, or a bad head cold.
Feeling a little … backed up? Everything in the winter seems to slow down – including our digestion and elimination. Taking a teaspoon or two of Epsom salt at night before bedtime can help relieve occasional constipation. Be sure that you use food-grade Epsom salt, which are readily available at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
Turning and tossing at night? Wintertime is when our sleep is most likely to be disturbed. But soaking in a warm (not hot) Epsom salt bath with some lavender oil can help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. The magnesium in Epsom salt can be absorbed more readily in a bath warm enough to open the pores in your skin, and can help lull you to sleep as part of a nightly bedtime routine.
Chapped lips? Cracked fingers and hands? Rough elbows? Spending time outdoors in the winter is necessary for a lot of us, and a lot of fun when we’re playing in the snow! But hours spent outside in a cold, dry, windy environment can play havoc with our skin and hair, leaving us with painful chapped lips, cheeks, and even cracked fingers and rough elbows. Mix one cup of Epsom salt with ½ cup of melted coconut oil, olive oil, or other skin-softening oil like jojoba or sweet almond and store in an air-tight jar. You can add a few drops of lavender oil or your other favorite scent. Spread gently on any dry or cracked skin and give it a few minutes to soak in, or apply it right after you get out of a warm shower or bath. There’s nothing more luxurious in the middle of winter than giving yourself a lovely-scented Epsom salt foot scrub at the end of a long day!
Wintertime blues got you down? Many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the long nights of winter, and because we’re not usually spending a lot of time outside getting our daily dose of Vitamin D, we can sometimes get hit with the winter blues. Our diets usually contain less fresh greens, a vital source of magnesium that can also affect our moods. Taking just ½ teaspoon of food-grade Epsom salt in a glass of warm water with a twist of lemon at bedtime can help keep our magnesium levels up. If your digestion is off during the winter months, opt for a warm (not hot) Epsom salt bath using at least three cups of Epsom salt.
Once you experience the soothing, softening relief of Epsom salt, you’ll always want to make sure you have a bag (or two) handy for wintertime home remedies.
Do you have other Epsom salt hacks to add to this list? Please share them in the comments below.
Originally published in Countryside January/February 2020 and regularly vetted for accuracy.