50 Benefits of Epsom Salt from a Prepper’s Perspective

When a SHTF event occurs, trying to decide what things to take with you and what things to leave behind when you bug out, will probably be some of the most difficult decisions you’ve ever made. But I’m here to let you know that there is at least one item you don’t want to leave behind, and it may not even be on your stockpile list yet!

Your grandmother and maybe your mother or father, depending on how old you are, knew about the healing properties of Epsom salt, a naturally occurring mineral. Even those who have used it before may not have known about all the benefits of  listed here. I have compiled a list of fifty different ways that preppers can use magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt to make life easier and stay healthy not only now but following a SHTF event.

The History of Epsom Salt

The name Epsom salt is misleading because it’s not salt but a mineral called Magnesium Sulfate. Epsom salt is named after the town of Epsom England, where it was first uncovered in a saline spring. A farmer in 1618 was the first to discover that the “bitter” water healed scratches. In fact, Epsom, England was one of the first towns to become a “spa town.”

Dr. Nehemiah Grew successfully did the chemical evaluation of the mineral extracted from the spring in the early 17th century to identify it as magnesium sulfate. The magnesium in Epsom salt helps your body regulate nutrients including calcium, potassium, copper, zinc, and Vitamin D. The sulfate helps to flush toxins and increase nutrient absorption.

The Role of Magnesium

Believe it or not, 68% or 2 out of every 3 people suffer from magnesium deficiency as reported by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. There are over three hundred biological functions that need magnesium to work properly so a magnesium deficiency can certainly wreak havoc on your body and your mind if not treated.

Eating foods high in magnesium can increase your body’s magnesium levels, but following a SHTF event, not all foods will be available to you, portions may be meager, and meals might be infrequent. Foods high in magnesium that are important to include in your survival stockpile are beans and nuts and whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat bread. Your survival garden should also include green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, spinach dock (also known as sorrel), purslane, or even swamp cabbage as harvested in this video if you are in the Southern United States:

In fact, many people currently experience the problems associated with a lack of magnesium but blame it on some other cause. Thyroid issues, metabolism, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal problems, nerve and muscle problems can all be related to a magnesium deficiency but if often blamed on some other cause. During a SHTF event, it will be critical that your body can effectively absorb and use the nutrients in the sparse amount of food that is available to you.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

  • Muscle spasms or muscle weakness
  • Behavior problems
  • Problems with nail growth
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Vertigo
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Hair Loss
  • Asthma
  • seizures
  • Restless legs
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty swallowing

The Role of Sulfate

The element sulfur as it occurs in foods is called sulfate. Sulfate is also found in sea water. And in magnesium sulfate or Epsom salt. Sulfur is a known healing mineral. It’s the third most abundant mineral in your body and it crucial as an antioxidant.

The main role of sulfate for humans is stabilization of protein structures. Sulfate also plays a role in thiamin and biotin (B Vitamins) and with insulin which controls blood sugar levels. Sulfur is also required to create the rigidity found in your nails, hair, and skin. It plays a crucial role to glutathione, the body’s detoxifier. Without sufficient sulfur, glutathione is virtually useless and halts your body’s natural detoxification process.

Sulfate/Sulfur Deficiency

A Sulfur deficiency can lead to the inflammation and pain associated with skeletal and muscular disorders like arthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and others. Low Sulphur levels have can be linked to medical conditions such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Poor memory or concentration
  • Heart disease

Sulfur has also been used to treat skin conditions such as acne, scabies, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and to treat parasites. Garlic, high in sulfur, is a popular treatment for many different health issues including things such as earaches, diarrhea, constipation, infections, and stomach aches. Some of the garlic’s healing properties are related to the fact that it addresses a potential sulfur deficiency in the body. So, eating raw crushed or chopped garlic cloves, is one way to ensure a sufficient level of sulfur in the body naturally.

Most people get approximately 10% of the sulfur in their body from drinking water. But today, thanks to filtered water, bottled water, and soft drinks, the amount of people who drink adequate amounts of water is decreasing. The frequency of heart disease has been linked to those who drink soft water which is known to have less sulfur content than hard water or tap water.

Soaking in Epsom salt which is as I’ve said magnesium sulfate, is just another way to ensure the sulfur content in your body is sufficient and provide all the healing properties associated with a proper level of sulfur in the body.

Healing Benefits of Epsom Salt

The most common way to use Epsom Salt is to add it to bath water or a foot bath and soak in it. Add 1 cup to hot water for a foot bath or up to 2 cups to hot bathwater. Soak for 30 minutes or until the water cools. Because of the highly porous properties of your skin, adding Epsom salt triggers a process called reverse osmosis which draws salt and toxins from your body.

  1. Detoxifying pain reliever
  2. Can assist in improving nerve and muscle function
  3. Soothe aches and pains
  4. Ease Gout
  5. Draw out infection with compress or soaking
  6. Eliminate foot odor
  7. Soften skin or calluses
  8. Alleviate itching, burning and swelling
  9. Flush toxins from the body
  10. Relieve leg cramps
  11. Energize and alleviate stress
  12. Treat tetanus
  13. Remove a splinter
  14. Eases headaches
  15. Ease backaches
  16. Reduce risk of colorectal cancer
  17. Premenstrual syndrome
  18. Hearing loss due to noise
  19. Ease pain of arthritis or joint inflammation
  20. Insomnia
  21. Ingrown toenails soak affected area up to 3x daily

Other Epsom Salt Methods and Recipes

  1. Acne (1 teaspoon combined with 3 drops of iodine and a half cup boiling water, let cool and apply with cotton ball and leave on overnight)
  2. Soothe bee stings. First, remove bee stinger with tweezers if possible. Soak a cotton cloth in an Epsom salt solution (2 tablespoons to 1 cup cold water).
  3. Treat poison ivy with Epsom salt paste for small patches or with an Epsom salt bath for all over itching. Be sure to wash any affected areas with cold water before treating.
  4. Relieve Sunburn pain. Mix 1 tablespoon to ½ cup water in a spray bottle. Spray on affected area to soothe.
  5. Reduce Itching from mosquito bites. Use 1 tablespoon Epsom salt to ½ cup water and apply as wet compress
  6. Rinsing your face and eyes with a warm Epsom salt solution can help heal sties, conjunctivitis, and even cataracts.
  7. Use food-grade Epsom salt as a laxative (consult physician first)
  8. Athlete’s foot or toenail fungus treatment when used with several drops of tea tree oil

Garden & Outdoor Benefits of Epsom Salt

  1. Produce bigger, more colorful, more flavorful produce. Add 1 tablespoon Epsom salt per gallon of water and sprinkle over plants just before you do your regular watering. Epsom salt enhances plants’ ability to absorb nutrients from the soil.
  2. Use in garden as fertilizer to allow more Sulfur into the soil
  3. Use to make soil more acidic
  4. Sprinkle around the doors of your home or in the garden to repel slugs
  5. Repel raccoons and other animals that don’t like the smell of it. Simply sprinkle Epsom salt on top of the garbage can lid and around the area where you are disposing of garbage. Reapply if it rains.
  6. Regenerate batteries. Dilute 1 ½ oz. Epsom salt in a half cup distilled water warmed. Add the solution to each battery cell and then recharge it. An Epsom salt solution improves conductivity because it is an electrolyte.

Cleaning with Epsom Salt

There are a variety of ways that you can use an Epsom salt solution to clean not only in areas of your home but also for personal hygiene.

  1. Use a half cup of Epsom salt with warm sudsy water as a mild abrasive on grout and other surfaces
  2. Clean burned food from pots and pans
  3. Use as a facial scrub or skin exfoliate (2-parts olive oil to 1-part Epsom salt)
  4. Brushing teeth. Use 1-part water with 1-part fully dissolved Epsom salt to whiten teeth and guard against periodontal disease.
  5. Combine with conditioner to use as a hair volumizer or to remove oil from your hair
  6. Clean washing machine
  7. Use with coconut oil as a hand soap

Use of Epsom Salt with Chronic Medical Conditions

Many preppers are seeking alternative methods to treat chronic medical problems once SHTF and pharmaceuticals are no longer available. Epsom salt has been used effectively by some people to treat the medical conditions below, but because I am not a physician with any medical training, please discuss your wish to use Epsom salt treatment with your physician before a SHTF event.

Keep in mind that ONLY your physician can evaluate all your health conditions and advise you as to the risk involved in using Epsom salt for the treatment of serious medical conditions. Under no circumstances should you stop taking prescribed medication or attempt to use it to treat the conditions below on your own without first discussing the risks and side effects thoroughly with your doctor.

  1. Regulate blood pressure
  2. Regulate insulin levels
  3. Fibromyalgia
  4. Asthma
  5. Eclampsia and preeclampsia
  6. Restless leg syndrome
  7. Prevention of cardiovascular artery hardening
  8. Depression

Where to get Epsom Salt

  • on Amazon, of course
  • from your local pharmacy or grocery store (look near pain relievers or laxatives)
  • from a natural food or health store
  • from your local garden supply or feed store

You can even make your own by dissolving 1 TBSP of Epsom salt into one-quarter cup of warm water. Pour mixture over a sponge in a shallow pan and set out in the sun. As water evaporates, crystal spikes will form. Check these against the original crystals before harvesting

Cautions When Using Epsom Salt

  • Epsom salt should only be used externally as a soak or spray. If you do need to ingest it (to treat constipation for example) use only the food grade kind and consult your physician before beginning treatment.
  • Discontinue use if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction such as breathing problems, hives, or inflammation of your lips, tongue, throat, or face.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding must consult their physician or OB/GYN before using Epsom salt by any method.
  • Those with diabetes or kidney problems must discuss the use of Epsom salt with their physician before use as it can affect how some medications work.
  • Too much magnesium can cause nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure and slowed heartbeat, respiratory paralysis, mineral deficiencies, coma, arrhythmias, diarrhea or stomach irritation.
  • Do not use when growing sage

Storage and Shelf-life of Epsom Salt

One of the best things about Epsom salt is its stability. It can be stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight in a sealed container for up to five or even ten years or longer with proper storage. If stored in an open container shelf-life is reduced to one year.

Cost of Epsom Salt

Prices vary widely depending on where you purchase it but Epsom salt is typically cheaper when bought in bulk amounts. For example, on Amazon, you can purchase one pound bags for around $2.00 each. If your budget will allow you can buy almost twenty pounds for just under $30, but thirty-nine and a half pound bags for forty pound bags for $58. It depends on where you look. If you are truly budget strapped, buy the one pound bag and use that to grow more as described above.


Consider Epsom salt as a potential treatment for the chronic medical conditions listed here, but discuss with your doctor beforehand and remain under close supervision for any problems. If it does work for your chronic ailments, you stand a better chance of survival when SHTF and pharmacies empty out than if you have no alternative at all.

The potential healing properties of Epsom salt are worth giving it a try before you resort to over the counter medications for minor issues. There is certainly nothing to lose by trying Epsom salt baths or a compress before resorting to OTC solutions for those non-life threatening medical issues. Make sure to check with your doctor before using Epsom salt if you have a serious medical condition. You may just find that by including Epsom salt in your stockpile, you will be even more prepared if your supply of over the counter medicines dwindles.


The information in this article is provided “as is” and should not be mistaken for or be a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your physician before trying any of the advice presented on this page. Always seek the help of a professional when delivering a baby. Neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.com or the company behind the website shall be held liable for any negative effects of you putting into practice the information in this article.

About Megan Stewart

Megan Stewart
Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of nine grandsons and one granddaughter, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

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    I really enjoyed this, great article!!

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