Salts have many properties that make them beneficial and healthy in our everyday lives. Health uses for salt can range from vital bodily functions to relief of pain from achy muscles. First, though, let’s define salt.
What is salt?
In chemistry, salt is a substance produced by the reaction of an acid and a base. The positive ion of a base and the negative ion of an acid form a neutral compound.
Table salt, the salt we are most familiar with, is a combination of sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-). We use table salt to add flavor to food, to preserve food, and to prevent bacterial growth. Saline is a solution containing sodium chloride and water. Ocean water, for example, has a saline content of about 3.5%, most of which is sodium chloride.
Internally, our bodies rely on various salts for fluid and electrolyte balance, muscle contraction, and conducting nerve impulses. Most people consume the necessary salts and minerals naturally through food and drinking water.
Examples of salts include:
- Sodium chloride (table salt)
- Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts)
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
But, did you know there are many other health uses for salts?
Check out our top health uses for salts!
- Stuffy or runny nose: Saline solutions remove irritants and mucous from the nasal passages. Many varieties of saline rinses and sprays can be found over the counter.
- Sore throat: Saltwater rinses can relieve a scratchy or sore throat. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of table salt with a cup of warm water. Gargle and spit the rinse.
- Muscle aches, tired legs, and feet: Magnesium in Epsom salts relaxes muscles and relieves achy foot pain.
- Bug bites or stings: A paste made from baking soda and a few drops of water can relieve the sting and swelling associated with bug bites and stings.
- Canker sores: Saltwater rinsing can temporarily relieve pain from canker sores. Mix 1 teaspoon of table salt with 1/2 cup of water. Swish and spit, repeating several times a day as long as sore remains.
- Maintaining skin health: Baths containing minerals such as magnesium, sulfate, bicarbonate, and sodium naturally exfoliate the skin, pull water into the skin, and reduce inflammation. Tepid baths with 1/4 baking soda and 2 cups Epsom salts can provide relief to some skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
- Tooth whitening: Baking soda scrubs away stains without scratching the enamel. Toothpaste with baking soda has been shown to whiten teeth better than toothpaste without baking soda.
How will you use salt in your health routine?
As always, if you have health conditions that are worsening or persisting despite over-the-counter and home remedies, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. At Tennessee Telehealth, we treat dermatology and urgent care conditions in adult patients across Tennessee.