I can recall vividly—and count on one hand—the migraine headaches I’ve had in my life, all of them before age ten. Once I turned double digits, I outgrew them. Until a couple of months ago.

With no warning at all, there I was back to my 8-year-old self, flat on my back with a raging migraine. Why now, after all these years?

In reading up on the latest findings on what causes migraine headaches, I discovered how important magnesium is to overall health. Turns out that an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. population suffer from magnesium deficiency causing all kinds of health issues—one of them being migraine headaches. But  here’s the problem with that: magnesium supplements are not necessarily the answer because magnesium is not easily absorbed through our digestive tracts.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that common, ordinary Epsom salt is one of the richest sources of magnesium, which just happens to be easily absorbed through the skin—by soaking in it. In a nice warm bath!

You can be sure that Epsom salt soaks are now part of my routine to boost my magnesium and hopefully avoid migraines in the future.

Epsom salt, also known as hydrated magnesium sulfate (not to be confused with table salt, which is not at all the same thing) is plentiful, inexpensive and available at drugstores and supermarkets everywhere. And it has dozens of other practical uses and health benefits, too.

HEALTH

Sedative bath. Soak in a warm bath to soothe muscle pain and aches and to keep you feeling rejuvenated and your skin hydrated and healthy. Add two cups of Epsom salt to a bathtub of very warm water (double that to four cups if you have an extra deep soaking tub) and soak for at least 12 minutes. Treat yourself to a soak three times weekly for optimal results.

Sleep aid. Because of its ability to soothe skin and relax muscles, Epsom salt can contribute to a good night’s rest. Take a nice, warm Epsom salt bath right before bed and say goodbye to insomnia.

Sprains and bruises. Soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath will reduce the swelling of sprains and bruises.

Foot soak. To combat the swelling and soothe sore feet, add 1/2 cup Epsom salt to a gallon of lukewarm water and soak your feet for 15 minutes at the end of the day.

Splinter remover. Soak in Epsom salt to draw out the splinter. It really works.

Sunburn relief. Epsom salt’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great tool for treating mild sunburn irritation. Take an empty spray bottle, mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt with one cup of water and spray on the affected area.

Bug bites. To help relieve common insect bites, just mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt with one cup of water, dip a cotton washcloth in the solution, and apply to the affected area. Relief!

Bee stings. Battle minor swelling from bee stings by using an anti-inflammatory Epsom salt compress. Mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt with a cup of cold water and soak a cotton washcloth in the solution. Apply to affected area. (If you have severe swelling or trouble breathing following a bee sting, seek emergency medical attention.)

BEAUTY

Face cleanser. To clean your face at night, mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom salt with your regular cleanser. Massage into skin and rinse with cool water.

Exfoliate. Massage handfuls of Epsom salt over your wet skin, starting with your feet and continuing up towards the face. Rinse well in a bath or shower.

Dry lips. Try giving your lips a deeper treatment using Epsom salt. Combine a few tablespoons of salt with a teaspoon of petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline). Apply and gently rub it in. The solution helps remove dry skin and will leave your lips looking fuller and healthier.

Volumizer. Adding Epsom salt to conditioner helps you to rid your hair of excess oil, which can weigh hair down and leave it looking flat. Create your own homemade volumizer by combining equal parts Epsom salt and conditioner. Apply and leave in for 20 minutes before rinsing. Repeat the treatment weekly.

Pedicure. Epsom salt’s natural exfoliation properties will help soften rough and callused skin, leaving your feet feeling spa-fresh. Add 1/2 to 1 cup Epsom to the foot bath.

GARDENING

Fertilizer. Tests show that Epsom salt (not table salt, sodium chloride which would prove deadly to lawns and gardens) helps produce more flowers, larger plants and make fruit taste sweeter.

House plants. Feed houseplants monthly by adding 2 tablespoons Epsom salt per gallon of water.

Tomatoes. Apply 1 tablespoon Epsom salt diluted in water per foot of tomato plant height per plant.

Lawns. Feed three pounds of Epsom salt to every 1,250 square feet of lawn. Apply with a spreader or dilute the Epsom salt in water and use a sprayer.

Trees. Use 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet by diluting in water. Apply 3 times each year over the root zone.

Shrubs. To feed evergreens, azaleas and rhododendron, dilute 1 tablespoon in water for every nine square feet and apply over the root zone every 2 to 4 weeks.

I hope that some of this information is helpful, especially for my readers who suffer from debilitating headaches. Even if you’ve never had a migraine, do yourself a favor and research how magnesium can improve your health. I’m convinced there is something to this “miracle.”  I’d love to hear about what you discover.

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