Table Salt for Preventive Health: Natural Remedies with Salt | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Salt for Preventive Health and Natural Remedies


Salt can be a wonderful preventive natural remedy, especially because it is so cheap and has so many uses.

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Try these preventive health measures using salt, a historically important food that can act as a great natural remedy. Salt is inexpensive and it has many uses in a frugal household.

Salt of the earth, not worth its salt, take it with a grain of salt, salted away, salty language.

Salt’s frequent appearance in figures of speech only hints at the importance of salt in human history.

The human requirement for dietary salt and the relative difficulty of producing it built and destroyed empires, determined trade routes and the location of cities, occasioned wars, and inspired revolutions

Before the advent of pressure canning and freezing, salting/brining and drying were the only means of preserving food and eliminating total dependence on seasonal food production.

While we’re always told to avoid too much salt (and fat, carbs, etc.), the fact is that sodium is also essential for life. It helps regulate our blood volume. It shuttles nutrients into our bodies and brains. It allows our muscles to contract and our nerves to pulse with electricity. 

sea-salt-preventive-health.jpgPhoto Credit: MAHATHIR MOHD YASIN/Shutterstock

Salt’s Many Uses in the Household

Beyond its use as a food seasoning, salt has dozens of uses in the home and garden.

For example, salt kills weeds. It extinguishes flames, preserves colors in your wash, removes stains from coffee cups; helps clean your oven, and extends the life of many items from toothbrushes to flowers. 

But this common household staple really shines in the domains of preventive health and hygiene. I use non-iodized sea salt for these and other health practices.

Natural Health Remedies Using Salt

1. Flushing Sinuses

Although this use of salt is ancient, modern medical research has shown that flushing the sinus passages with a saline solution can help prevent/relieve sinus infections, relieve postnasal drip. 

One caveat: Boil your tap water for a 3 to 5 minutes and then cool until lukewarm before using. I’d sterilize my water for any solution I planned to use in my sinuses, throat, or eyes.

For more ways to clear your sinuses, check these natural remedies for colds.

use-salt-flush-sinuses.jpgPhoto Credit: oriori/Shutterstock

2. As an Eyewash

Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and used it as a wash for tired, irritated eyes.Be sure to boil your tap water for 3 to 5 minutes and then cool before using.

3. Reducing Under-Eye Puffiness

Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of hot water; soak a washcloth or cotton balls in the solution, and apply to the puffy areas.

4. Cleaning Teeth

Try a mixture of salt and baking soda for your “toothpaste.“ Pulverize sea salt in a blender or crush it with a rolling pin, mix with an equal amount of baking soda, shake, and store in a small glass jar. Mix with a bit of water, and brush as usual. Both salt and baking soda have antimicrobial properties that kill many of the pathogenic bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

See more household uses for baking soda.

brush-teeth-salt-baking-soda.jpgPhoto Credit: Thinkstock

5. As a Gargle, Mouthwash, or Breath Sweetener

Mix a teaspoon of the tooth-cleaning mixture in a cup of warm water. (Boil your tap water for 3 to 5 minutes and then cool before using.) Find more natural remedies for curing bad breath.

6. Reducing Fatigue

Soak your tired feet or entire body in a warm, salt-infused bath for a restorative effect.

7. As an Exfoliant

Mix equal parts of sea salt and olive oil and rub gently over the body for an exfoliating, moisturizing scrub. Rinse with warm water. For the face, mix equal parts of salt and honey.

Find more great recipes for homemade facials.

salt-honey-exfoliant.jpgPhoto Credit: India Picture/Shutterstock

8. Relieving the Pain of Insect Stings

Mix salt with a bit of water and apply to the sting immediately. Learn how to prevent and treat insect stings.

9. For Poison Ivy

Soak the affected areas in hot salt water to help relieve the itch and dry up blisters. Find out how to treat poison ivy.

Find more helpful household uses for salt.

What is your favorite use of salt? Let us know below!

About The Author

Margaret Boyles

Margaret Boyles is a longtime contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She wrote for UNH Cooperative Extension, managed NH Outside, and contributes to various media covering environmental and human health issues. Read More from Margaret Boyles

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