“So here is a simple test to tell if a thing is alive. Put it in salty water. Some things, like babies and crayfish, will do well. They get bigger, stronger and more organized. Others, even “smart” things like iPods and cell phones, laptops, cars and TVs, stop working immediately.” – Dr. Scott Haig
Seventy one percent of the earth is covered with it. By weight our bodies are largely made of it. We spend the first nine months of our lives developing in it. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that salt water is one of the best natural healers we have.
As colder weather descends, consider harnessing the power of this simple solution to boost your health and well-being. Here are four things it can do for you:
1. Knock out colds
There might not be a cure for the common cold, but gargling with warm salt water is a great way to prevent it. In one randomized study, people who gargled with salt water three times a day had nearly 40 percent fewer upper respiratory tract infections than those who didn’t. And when those gargling got sick, the salt water attenuated their symptoms. I gargle with salt water at the first sign of any respiratory illness, and I’m consistently amazed by the results.
2. Treat Wounds and Skin Conditions
“Putting salt on a wound” may sting, but it can also heal. Salt water is a great antiseptic. For minor cuts and scrapes, dissolve two teaspoons of salt in a quart of boiled water for a soak.
3. Keep Gums and Teeth Healthy
“A number of my clients decided to start salt water rinsing daily and the results have been phenomenal,” dental hygeniest Kathleen Bernardi writes on her blog. I’ve similarly found daily salt water rinses to be an excellent tonic for my gums and teeth. And in times of distress, salt water is a handy first line of defense. It can heal canker sores, reverse gingivitis, and even ease the pain of a toothache.
4. Help you Sleep Tight
According to Dr. Oz, a salt water bath may be the perfect recipe for restful sleep. Just swap the sea salt for Epsom salt. It contains easily-absorbed magnesium, a mineral that Americans are often deficient in. Magnesium can ease pain, quell anxiety, quash migraines, lower blood pressure, and more. Here’s Dr. Oz’s recipe for an Epsom salt bath:
- 1 bath full of warm water
- 1 cup of Epsom salt
- 1 cup of baking soda
“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous,” the novelist Amelia Barr said. That’s definitely the case with salt water, a simple and humble, but powerful, natural healer.
More about the healing power of salt water:
- This Aquatic Life by Scott Haig, Time Magazine
- The Claim: Gargling With Salt Water Can Ease Cold Symptoms by Anahad O’Connor, New York Times
- Warm Salt Water Rinses: Why They Work by Kathleen Bernardi, Woodland Dental Hygeine blog
- Epsom Salt Bath Treatments by Christina Pander, Discovery Health
- Simplify Your Medicine Cabinet
- Simplify Your Personal Care
- Do-It-Yourself Health Care
- Stay Well: 5 Winter Immunity Boosters
- Winter Wellness Recipies
- Herbs Made Easy
- Simple Herbal Tonics
Do you use salt water to improve your health and well-being? Tell me about it. I love hearing from you.