Epsom salt is the common name of a chemical compound known as ‘magnesium sulfate.’ It’s made up from magnesium, sulfur and oxygen. It serves as a healing agent for our bodies since it can ease swelling from sprains and bruises without any negative side effects. It also reduces the inflammation from sunburn.
Read on and we’ll tell you if Epsom salt does expire, the benefits and uses of Epsom salt, and where it can be bought.
How Does Epsom Salt Work?
Epsom Salt, aka magnesium sulfate, has many purpose and works in different ways. Epsom salt is named after the town in England where the compound was first discovered in springwater. The most common use for Epsom Salt is as a laxative and reliever of muscle soreness. It’s even approved by the FDA as a natural laxative. The mechanism behind Epsom Sal is that when dissolved in warm water, your body will absorb the magnesium through the skin, helping muscles relax and also helping to reduces inflammation.
Magnesium plays a very important role in our bodies, from assisting muscle contraction to immune system response, so it’s definitely possible that Epsom salt truly does work for muscle soreness.
There’s not a ton of evidence that Epsom Salts truly does help relax and heal sore muscles, but the fact remains that a warm soak certainly does in our experience! A warm soak helps promote blood flow and muscle relaxation, so the addition of Epsom salt to allow your body to absorb minerals is definitely a plus in our book.
Does Epsom Salt Expire?
Does Epsom Salt Expire? Nope! Epsom salt (also called bath salts or magnesium sulfate) is a naturally occurring mineral and it does not expire. Epsom salt is usually labeled with a “best before” date. That date isn’t necessarily an expiration date.
Even if the Epsom salt / magnesium sulfate is past its labelled expiration date, it will not lose its efficacy. Epsom salt expires when it ends up making contact with moisture for prolonged periods of time. It is strongly recommended that when storing Epsom salt, make sure it’s in a dry room, away from humidity, in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.
How you store Epsom salt will make a big difference in how long it lasts. If stored correctly in a sealed container, Epsom salt will last a long time. Since table salt does not expire either, we’ve found that storing Epsom salt with other salts is a good plan- just label them clearly!
If kept for many years, even though it will most likely harden or clump up, you can just break or dissolve the solid part. This can be prevented by keeping it tightly sealed in its original packaging or any airtight containers in which water will not be able to get inside it.
Storing Epsom salt in a dark place is also recommended. exposure to sunlight can promote microbial growth, which nobody wants!
Like in any medical product, the law requires Epsom salt as well to put an expiration date in its packaging. Even so, the expiration date really only indicates that the Epsom salt will not get hard or clump before the actual date.
That’s assuming that the Epsom salt is kept in a dry, cool place, similar to how you’d store your canned food with an expiration date. Exposure to water can ruin the shelf life of Epsom salts, just like table salt. Moisture exposure is something you need to worry about more than time.
But long story short, the expiration date does not mean much and Epsom salt doesn’t go bad. It’s a bit more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast rule.
How is Epsom Salt Used?
Epsom salt is also known as ‘bath salts’ (a real bath salt), so folks dissolve it in a bath to soak their bodies. A cup of Epsom Salts in hot water is the standard Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt is also a natural laxative that can treat constipation as well. It can be used as an emergency dish detergent (be sure to rinse well!) along with warm water too.
Epsom salt earned its way into the Prepper’s Bug Out Bag /Bugging In home supplies. Epsom Salt can help cramped muscles by getting magnesium into the skin during an Epsom salt bath. The same can be said about bruising- a bad bruise will heal much more quickly after a hot bath in Epsom Salts.
Aside from helping with muscle soreness, the biggest benefit of Epsom Salt taking care of your skin. And that starts with blisters and taking care of your ever-important feet. You’re going to be on your feet all day in a SHTF situation. Epsom Salts can help deal with that.
Here are some of the many benefits of a nice soak in Epsom salt.
- Alleviate Athlete’s Foot
- Help get rid of nasty foot smells
- Soften Calluses
- Relieve Swelling
- Assist in eliminating heel cracks
- Soothes Poison Ivy
- Relieve Sunburn
- Pain Reliever
Below we will dive into a few more uses for Epsom salt.
Skin Relief With Epsom Salts
Another reason preppers should stockpile Epsom Salt is that it can help treat a host of of different skin problems.
Epsom Salt is used to treat dry skin, itchy skin, and it’s even an old folk remedy for relieving pain from Shingles.
Regardless, The magnesium- rich minerals of Epsom salt soak will give some degree of relief to dry and itchy skin, especially from mild allergic reactions.
Constipation Relief With Epsom Salt
Magnesium, the main component of Epsom salts, does have laxative effects. This appears to be the case because Magnesium draws water into your colon, which promotes bowel movements. Most folks simply take Magnesium citrate, but in a pinch, Epsom salt will work as well. The FDA even approves it for use as a laxative. Again, the expiration date really doesn’t matter.
Now remember, if you have access to a conventional laxative, you should probably use it. Even though epsom salts don’t go bad, it’s still a last resort. We are only talking about using Epsom salts as a laxative in a survival or emergency situation.
Here’s how to take Epsom Salt for constipation:
Most adults only need 2-4 teaspoons of Epsom salt with 8oz of water, effect may take between 30 minutes and several hours, so be prepared! Some people report side effects of bloating, but that’s pretty much it.
Epsom Salt as a Sleep Aid
Magneiusm is also an incredible important mineral when it comes to sleeping. When your body is running low on Magnesium, it has trouble producting enough serotonin, a very important neurotransmitter.
A big effect from that is difficulty sleeping. The magnesium in Epsom salt will help your body product serotonin, therefore promoting healthy sleep.
Epsom Salt for Poison Ivy, Bug Bites, and More
As we mentioned earlier, an Epsom salts soak helps a ton with bug bites, poison ivy, and mild allergic reactions. Basically any time things get itchy, Epsom Salts can help! The warm water and magnesium help to bring moisture back into the skin.
You can get rid of a splinter easier if you soak in Epsom Salt! It’ll soften up the skin.
Epsom Salt in Your Garden
Since Epsom Salt contains magnesium, it can be a useful supplement to the nutrients that you feed your garden.
Like your Vegetable Garden for instance. Feeding your garden with Epsom salt has shown to improve your garden’s health. allowing your plants to grow greener and yield more food.
Just add Epsom Salt before you plant your vegetables and enjoy your impressive crops down the road! Even house plants that aren’t looking too healthy can probably benefit from a pinch of Epsom salt.
Epsom Salt Sunburn Relief Formula
We mentioned earlier that Epsom Salt can help relieve sun burns. Here’s the secret formula! Epsom Salt is said to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe sunburn. Whatever the science might say, the fact is that this solution does a great job for soothing sunburn. We know from experience!
Mix in 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 1 cup of water, then put into a clean spray bottle and spray affected area.
Where Can Epsom Salt Be Bought?
Epsom salt is available at most drug and grocery stores- if you are shopping for Epsom salt in person, look for the manufacturing date and try to get a recently made package.
You can also buy Epsom salt online. Below you can check out our favorite brand of Epsom salt, Epsoak.
Epsom salt comes in different grades, which designate some types for daily personal use while others are for agricultural use. As for personal use, Epsom salt must meet FDA requirements. As an additional measure of protection, make sure to shop for Epsom salt that has a visible USP label.
USP is an independent company that tests many health products and supplements for purity. They are an independent non-governmental organization that will test Epsom salt for purity, so it’s good to make sure you only buy Epsom salt that is approved on both private and public entities, the FDA and USP
Epsom salt is a great product that should be kept at home (especially for bugging in), providing its many helpful uses for our well-being. And so long as you store it correctly, it’ll last nearly forever. It’s affordable and is super easy to use. It’s safe to use and good to use for minor injuries instead of anti-inflammatory drugs. There is nothing better than an Epsom Salt Bath to relax some still muscles. Try it at some some day soon!