What do you call a mineral compound that has crystallized and looks like something that you would season food with? You’d call it “salt,” of course, even if it isn’t even remotely close to table salt in its makeup. That seems to be what happened with Epsom salts, which, in case you were wondering (like I was) takes it name from Epsom, England.
Many people are familiar with Epsom salts, but, in case you don’t know about this fascinating substance, you’ll want to read up on it so that you understand exactly why you would want it in your bug out bag.
One of the primary reasons that Epsom salts are so beneficial has to do with the concentration of magnesium in them. What is magnesium good for? Tracey Roizman writes,
The magnesium in Epsom salt provides a wide array of benefits, including relaxing muscles, lowering blood pressure, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, producing energy. and manufacturing proteins. You also need magnesium to strengthen bones, to conduct nerve impulses, and for maintaining healthy heart rhythm. And don’t forget about its sulfur component, which helps with important detoxification pathways.
Think about how many different aspects of your health which magnesium impacts. With this in mind, you may want to do add Epsom salts to your bath water for a soothing salt bath. Interestingly, magnesium from Epsom salts is easily absorbed through the skin, and this can be a helpful method to fight colds (yes, really!) if you feel one coming on.
Or, maybe you feel the unpleasant effects which sometimes come from being outdoors. Roizman again gives us a remedy:
As a foot soak, Epsom salt helps treat and prevent athlete’s foot. You also can rub Epsom salt directly on your skin to take the itch out of mosquito bites and poison ivy, to soothe mild sunburns and to soften the skin to help remove splinters.
Roizman also advises that Epsom salts can have excellent uses as a cleaning agent as they are less abrasive than commercial cleaners.
An unexpected use of Epsom salts is its usefulness in removing splinters (particularly useful if you are homesteading). Janice Taylor notes,
To dislodge a stubborn splinter, simply soak the affected body part in warm water and Epsom salts for a few minutes. Magnesium sulfate will reduce the inflammation around the wound and soften up the splinter, making it much easier to remove.
Taylor also recommends mixing Epsom salts with baby oil to create your own hand wash to “use regularly to keep hands soft and clean.”
With this wide variety of practical uses, you may want to consider having a stash of Epsom salts in your bug out bag. You may be glad that you did.