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Monday, April 28, 2014

Epsong Salts: 25 Uses 25 Songs


Epsong Salts: 25 Uses 25 Songs

  Here are 25 creative uses for Epsom Salts and a mixed tape of 25 songs to match. Happy epsinging!

1. Epsom Salt Zen Garden: spread Epsom salts in a shallow tray and make a portable Zen Garden. If you can find a box picture frame from the thrift store, remove the backing and use the frame as your fence, placing the frame upside down. I used a piece of floor foam and cut a hole in the middle. One 4kg pail of Epsom salts should make a nice 16 x 20 garden. Place a few rocks and rake your portable garden once in a while. Music to rake your Epsom salts garden with: Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield.


2.  The Secret Garden — The magnesium and sulfur that are in Epsom salt are both beneficial to plants and will help grow greener and thicker foliage, produce higher yields and have more blooms. It increases chlorophyll and makes plants healthier. As well, if you are growing vegetables, what better way to increase you magnesium stores by feeding your plants the magnesium? Harvest your magnesium! It will give you a green thumb even if you have purple hands. Music to garden by:  Yoyo Ma playing Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 with outdoor speakers at full blast on a sunny Sunday morning in the Comox valley? Priceless.

 3.  Foot Care — Combine 1/2 cup Epsom salt and warm water, add rosewater and glycerin,  then soak your feet for 15 minutes to soften skin. Then cut and file your nails. Scrub with a loofah for super soft feet. Music to soak feet by:  Tibetan Chants for Turbulent Times by Deva Premal.

3. Big Hair Volumizer — you know that goop that you apply or spray into your hair may contain some of the most toxic products on the planet?  They usually contain plastics, petroleum products and hormone disruptors. The answer? Epsom salts! Combine equal parts water, aloe vera gel and Epsom salt.  Using your fingers, pinch through your wet hair and leave for 20 minutes. The result? Hair full of volume! Big hair often leads to big results. On the drive in to work, turn up Duran Duran, Hungry Like the Wolf and bring back the 80’s. Go to your boss and ask for a big fat raise. Big hair: big results.  


4. Smooth Face —Mix 1/2 tsp of Epsom salt into yogurt, add two drops of oil of grapefruit,  massage into skin using small circles to give your pores a deep-cleaning.  Rinse your face with cool water, pat dry. Moisturize afterwards if needed. Music to scrub by:  Diamonds on The Soles of Her Shoes by Paul Simon


5. Relaxing Bath Afterhours — Run your bath water very hot and add four tea bags of Tulsi (Holy Basil) tea,  add two cups of Epsom salt and leave water to steep for 15 minutes. When it has cooled to the proper temperature, add essential oils of lavender, lemon balm and sandalwood. This mix will melt your worries away and help your mind turn off. Imagine what you would do if you had the day off. The next day, take the day off. Music to take the day off with:   Rubber Soul, the entire album by the Beatles. 

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh. I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath”… from Norwegian Wood 


6. Just-Got-Back-From-The-Beach-Hair — You know when you get back from a day at the Beach and your hair has the crackly sea salt spray feel-look. You can get that by combining 1 cup of hot water, 2 tablespoons Epsom salt, 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel and 1/2 tsp conditioner in a spray bottle. Spray this salt mixture into hair and scrunch hair with your hand for crinkly waves. Put on Brick House by the Commodores and slip into on your dancing shoes and then just go... go dancing. You dance, right? People who dance read my blogs. 


7. Earth Friendly Fabric Softener — Mix 4 cups of Epsom salt and 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to make eco-friendly fabric softener. Use 1/4 cup per load and add at beginning of wash. This is a perfectly healthy alternative to toxic fabric softeners. Your wash will come out fluffy as a baby koala bear. Music to launder your clothes by: Walking in Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. The first bar is pure genius. 


8. Easy Peacy Splinter Removal —Getting splinters is a pain. Getting splinters in the butt is a pain in the butt. My brother once got a splinter on his butt from an old teeter totter and it was one of the funniest things getting the splinter out. He now owns a ballroom dancing school in Portland, so he has survived.  Soak your finger (or your bottom, if that is where the splinter is) in a warm Epsom salt bath for ten minutes before attempted splinter extraction. It relaxes the muscles and allows the easy removal of the splinter. This does not work in outer space.  Splinter removal music: Whip It by Devo


9. Back and Body scrub — Do you get backne? This is for you. Fill a 250ml mason jar with dry Epsom salts and add the juice of half a lemon. Add four drops of essential oil of sweet orange.  Add a teaspoon of grapeseed oil. Mix well with a spoon. After showering, massage handfuls of this body scrub over wet skin to exfoliate the skin. Shower off the dead skin with water or jump into a pool of guppies. Music: Levon by Elton John... man, he can write songs.  


11. Exfoliation — For exfoliation, mix 2 cups of Epsom salt with 1/4 cup of coconut oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Gently massage into dry patches for smoother skin. For rough parts of the feet, you can pre-soak in warm water with Epsom salts added to it. Music: New York State of Mind by Billy Joel


12. Mosquito bites — Epsom salt can ease the symptoms of mosquito bites. Make a compress by soaking a washcloth in hot chamomile tea mixed with Epsom salt (2 tablespoons per cup of tea), and then gently apply the warm compress to the bite area for 30 seconds. This is great for children and perfectly safe, even around the eyes.  Music: Samba Pa Ti by Santana


13. Sore muscles and arthritis — If your muscles or joints ache, an Epsom salt bath is a great way to find relief. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to your very-warm bath water, agitate the water with your hands to dissolve it then soak for 15 minutes. Music to relax by: Barry Manilow’s All By Myself: classic Manilow before the Botox. Now, when he sings it, it goes like this: “Aww baww maww saww”  


14. Tile cleaner — Mix equal parts of dish soap and Epsom salt for a super easy and effective tile cleaner. Rinse with clear water. This is one of the most frugal Epsom salt uses, a great way to save on cleaning supplies and to use a natural alternative to harsh chemical cleaners. Great for cleaning the entire bathroom. Music to clean the bathroom with: Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Something.


15. Bedtime bath for kids — Add one cup of Epsom salt to your kids’ evening bath to help them sleep more peacefully. This also helps the poops, as it is a mild laxative.  Music: Always Be a Unicorn by Helen Austin. 


16. Headache relief — Make a strong solution of Epsom Salts in hot water and add a few drops of Japanese Peppermint. Soak a face cloth and wring dry. Fold the face cloth into three and lie down with this on your forehead to relieve a headache. While doing this, ask your partner to make a nice cup of chamomile tea.   When the tea is made, have him/her redo it because it is too cold.  If he/she does not complain, then appreciate him/her. But do this silently. Music: None.


17. Acne — Epsom salt has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties making it a fantastic natural treatment for acne. Dissolve two tablespoonfuls in one litre of hot water, add half a cup of alcohol free witch hazel, and add the juice of half a lemon. Transfer to a spray bottle and spritz this on your skin after washing. Play Barry White’s I’ve Got So Much to Give and lie down, allow it to dry off without wiping it off. 


 Blackhead removal — Mix a teaspoon of Epsom salt, 3 drops Lugol’s iodine and half a cup of boiling water. Dab this solution to your blackheads with a cotton swab to help naturally extract them. Music to remove blackheads by: Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple


18. Stinky Feet — Add 3 Tablespoons of Epsom salt to 1 quart of warm water and spray your stinky feet. This will makes your skin dry out and also help remove the stink. To remove odor from your shoes, put a tablespoon of Epsom salts in your coffee grinder and sprinkle half a teaspoon of the fine powder in the shoes before you were them. Music to destinkefy with:  Feets Don’t Fail Me Now by Herbie Hancock


19. Constipation — Pour 8 oz. of drinking water into a glass, mix with 1 tsp. of Epsom salt and drink the mixture for immediate relief of constipation. Use this only occasionally and reduce dose if it causes diarrhea.  Food grade Epsom salts available at the Pharmacy. Music to empty your bowels by: Love Train by the O’Jays. This does not work underwater.


20. Sunburn — Dissolve two tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 cup of water, store in fridge to cool off and spray on minor sunburns. Music to cool off with: Watermelon Man by Grover Washington. 


21. Lemonade Recipe great addition to tartaric acid and citric acid to make classic Old Style Lemonade. Make sure you use the food grade Epsom salts. Music to make lemonade by:  You’ve Made Me So Very Happy by Blood Sweat and Tears

Here is the recipe:


  • 4 cups water

  • 5 cups sugar

  • 4 lemons (rind and juice of)

  • 5 teaspoons citric acid

  • 3 teaspoons tartaric acid

  • 3 teaspoons food grade Epsom salts


  1. Peel yellow skin from lemons with a potato peeler & chop them with a cup of sugar using metal chopping blade. (otherwise grate them).

  2. Bring water, sugar, lemon rind to the boil, then remove from heat & add the juice and the carefully measured acids & Epsom salts. (use level measuring spoons). Stir until dissolved then strain into clean bottles.

  3. Store in refrigerator. For long storage, bottle immediately, over tightly, and then dip tops in wax when cool.


22. Common Cold — Did you know that Epsom salt baths can speed healing by detoxifying your body? Try a warm Epsom salt bath the next time you feel those first symptoms of a cold. Add essential oils of eucalyptus, bergamot and peppermint to the bath to help relieve congestion. Music to decongest the head and the soul: Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry 


23. Swelling — Also works for bruises,  apply Epsom salts mixed with an infusion of comfrey leaf in warm water. Apply the warm leaf mass on the affected area and wrap with a piece of cheesecloth, remove after 15 minutes. Do not wrap in plastic, as it sometimes causes an irritation of the skin if trapped. Music to unswell by:  Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin


24. Deter slugs — Sprinkle a trail of Epsom salt around the area you want to be free of slugs. Does not work on members of the Senate. Music: Too Bad by Doug and the Slugs. Too Obvious, I know.


25. Natural Insecticide — Mix Epsom salt with water, add ten drops of oil of anise, transfer to a spray bottle and spray on plants to naturally deter insects. Music to kill pests: Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol



Friday, April 11, 2014

Psycho: Killer in The Bathroom

Ten Things in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You

There is danger lurking, but of the not-so-obvious kind.
The famous shower scene in Psycho (1960) was so effective that people were scared to take showers for a while.  However, even without Norman Bates lurking in your bathroom, here are ten things that are harmful and may be contributing to your demise, ever so slowly.

(dark and brooding cello in the background… furtive shadows in the periphery… pharmaceutical sales reps offering swag)

No. 1 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You

Vinyl Shower Curtains

Vinyl shower curtains will off-gas when exposed to heat

Believe it or not it or not, Janet Leigh was already in trouble as soon as she stepped into that shower. Apparently, the famous scene took one week to shoot and 77 shower curtains.

Vinyl shower curtains should be banned, but they are not. The combination of heat, open pores and cheap plastic within an enclosed room is a recipe for inhalation and absorption of tiny particles of vinyl chloride and its volatile gases. Production of PVC requires a large amount of chlorine and this is released as dioxins when PVC is exposed to heat. As well, in order to make your $4.99 shower curtain more elegant and aesthetically pleasing, a plasticizer called diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP) is mixed in with the PVC to give it softness. This is the famous “new car smell” which is actually a toxic brew of VOC's that is now suspected as carcinogenic DEHP. You inhale this for about a year.

The only thing worse than a vinyl shower is a vinyl shower installed in a new car.

 What to do? You have four choices.

1.   You can take cold showers

2.   You can trade in your vinyl shower curtains for a natural fiber one.

3.   You can have your shower glassed in.

4.   You can buy Stotan falls, donate it us as a park on the days you are not using your shower-falls thingy. (Valley Trivia: Stotan Falls is a used-to-be-but-now-off-limits local swimming spot that is currently being developed for residential lots by its owner. However, it is for sale at the right price… so we would really appreciate a buyer and WE as a the appreciative common folk, will agree to stay away during your shower time)

Why don't you buy Stotan Falls.. it is a wonderful giant bath.

No.2 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You

The Water

showering  with hot water is opening the door to chlorine

OK. Now you have traded in your beautiful IKEA vinyl shower curtain and traded in you new 2014 Audi A8 for a Prius.  (Gwyneth Paltrow drives one, so there)... I am proud of your commitment. We still have to deal with the water.

 What? What’s the problem with water?

This is where I insert Jonathan’s yomama joke. Jonathan works in our lab and he is the current Marigold Champion of bad yomama jokes.  They are ridiculously lowbrow, but we’re not too cool for lowbrow.

Yo Mama’s so stupid she took a shower and got brainwashed.

Back to the intelligent and sophisticated blog. Municipal water has chlorine. (If you have well water or are the new owner of Stotan Fall, skip this part) Chlorine is bad. How bad? It disrupts thyroid function by blocking iodine, for one thing. It kills cells upon contact, when released as gas. So you are in a hot shower, with your pores all open and you are literally swathing you body in chlorinated water.

What to do? Again you have four options.

1.   The Stotan Falls solution (… pushing for this)

2.    The Rob Pattinson solution: never shower again.

3.   Let bathwater stand overnight, boil water, mix into bath.

4.   Install a chlorine shower filter. The good ones have Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

No. 3 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You

Deodorant and Antiperspirant

Uncap the deodorant, apply toxic chemical right next door to your lymph nodes..hmmm

Deodorant is one of the top three (with toothpaste and hair gels) most toxic products you put on your body because of the proximity of the armpits to major lymphatic nodes. Toxins in underarm products pour straight into the lymph nodes and stay there.

That is why it is very common to stink when you stop using these products because these toxins are leaving your body. So you stink, then you think you need it, so you get sucked back into using it. When you are switching to a natural toxin-free alternative, allow it ten days for the new product to work.

This brings us to one simple rule about personal products. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and what you put on your skin goes inside your body. Some of it, sometimes all of it.

Most products have one or several of these:

Aluminum: linked to disruption of metal homeostasis in the brain between magnesium, copper and zinc leading to cognitive disruption.

Parabens to retard yeast: known hormone disruptors, terrible when applied in close proximity to the breast (applies to men as well…contributes to the dreaded “moobs” effect)

Propylene Glycol: accelerated absorption of toxic chemicals into the tissue

This is the plot: first we advise to not shower, now we advise against deodorant and antiperspirant? This sounds like an evil plan for Planet Stink, so what to do? Look at the ingredients of your product and switch to a natural, chemical free brand. We have several effective and safe products at Marigold. One effective type uses honeysuckle sap. Very amazing.

No. 4 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You


in some countries, toothpaste is not used at all

Toothpaste makes it into the top three most dangerous products because you are applying it repeatedly to a highly absorptive surface: your mouth. It can also harm one of the most sensitive ecosystems of your body: your mouth. It can also build up over time in one of the most used areas of your body: your mouth.  Plus it has the whole dental profession behind it.

Soundtrack comes in for one of my go-to-songs (You know, you are playing your guitar at BC Ferries and some guy comes up to you and says.. play us a song...c'mon) It is Moonshadow by Cat Stevens...

        ...If I ever loose my mouth
        ...All my teeth , north and south
        ...If I ever loose my mouth, oh iiiif, yey iiiif
        ...I won't have to talk no more

Thought I'd thrown that in there as I notice you are losing interest and want to back to your falafel.

Studies show that fluoride increases uptake of heavy metals into the brain, including aluminum. Therefore, combining fluoride and aluminum trisilicate in a toothpaste formula is bad. Look at your toothpaste label, specially is it is a red tube, made by a giant company that might also happen to also sell Alzheimer’s drugs.

Glycerin is a very common ingredient in commercial toothpaste and seems innocent enough. It is added to give the paste a smooth texture. It forms a film on the teeth that may prevent the remineralization of the teeth from saliva. It has been shown to require 20 times brushing (with a non glycerin toothpaste) to remove this film. Over time, this filming effect builds up.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common foaming agent in toothpaste formulations and it is best to leave it out. Toothpaste does not have to foam to work. If your toothpaste foams, it probably has some form of SLS.

What to do?

1.   Switch to natural toothpaste made with essential oils, clay, salt and coconut oil as ingredients

2.   Oil pulling with goldenseal powder and coconut oil

3.   Neem powder

Dental adhesives are full of chemicals that you swallow in small, deadly installments. Huge lawsuit happening against Poligrip.

No. 5 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You


That no-more- tears shampoo is sure foaming up a bit too good. Suspicious.

Here is a list of ingredients of a national brand top selling shampoo that is head and shoulders above the rest in sales.


Sodium citrate (Trisodium citrate) 
Citric acid 
BAD Benzyl alcohol 
BAD Monoethanolamine (MEA) 
Sodium benzoate 
BAD Glycol distearate 
BAD FD&C (or D&C) Yellow #5 
BAD Ammonium lauryl sulfate 
BAD Methylisothiazolinone 
BAD FD&C Blue #1
Sodium chloride 
BAD Dimethicone
Zinc pyrithione 
BAD Methylchloroisothiazolinone 
BAD Ammonium xylene sulfonate 
BAD Ammonium laureth sulfate 
Cetyl alcohol 
BAD Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride 
BAD 1-Decene, homopolymer, hydrogenated
BAD Trimethylolpropane tricaprylate/tricaprate

I am going to simply address SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and of course, its variants, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES). These are highly absorptive and get trapped in the skin. They are irritating and often cause eczema, starting with the more sensitive areas of the body, starting with the eyelids, maybe the forehead and the ears. The harshness of the SLS is reduced by treating it with ethylene dioxide (ethoxylation), but this results in SLES/SLS being contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic by-product that is  toxic to the brain and central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. It is also a leading groundwater contaminant.

SLS/SLES and ALS end up in streams and rivers and is a pile of trouble for the delicate ecosystem.. see Earth Day post on frogs and laundry detergent.

What to do? First get used to reading shampoo labels and check your ingredients with the database in these two websites:



Second, get used to washing you hair with just water most of the time and an SLS free shampoo once a week. This will keep the natural oils on you scalp which are essential for controlling scalp fungus. Just be forewarned: these shampoos do not foam up very well. You have done OK without gluten...now you have to be foam-free. The gluten-free movement will spread to hair salons..."This Salon is Foam-free" signs will pop up, just because of this post.

No. 6 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You

Hair Gels

Bieber called...he wants his hair gel back.
If you think shampoos were bad, there is something worse: hair gels and hair mousse and the rest of that goopy stuff you leave on your hair. With shampoos, it is contact with your scalp for a few minutes; with hair dressing products, it stays on your scalp for the whole day or until you rinse it off. Here are some common ingredients in your hair goop.


Mineral oil is a derivative of crude oil (petroleum) that is used industrially as lubricating oil. This commonly used petroleum ingredient coats the skin and hair just like plastic wrap. The skin’s ability to release toxins and wastes is impossible through this “plastic wrap”.If it enters the body, we do not have any enzymes that break down petroleum based products.  Even in the soil, it takes thousands of year for the bacteria to break it down. Last time I checked, "thousands of years" is a little bit longer than our lifetime.

PEG: This is an abbreviation for polyethylene glycol that is used in making cleansers to dissolve oil and thicken products. Because of their effectiveness as a solvents, PEGs are often used in caustic spray on oven cleaners and yet are found in many personal care products.

 PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG): As a “surfactant” or wetting agent and solvent, this ingredient is actually the active component in antifreeze. There is no difference between the PG used in industry and the PG used in personal care products. It is used in industry to break down protein and cellular structure (what the skin is made of) yet is found in most forms of hair products because it forms beautiful gels.

IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DMDM HYDANTOIN: These are just two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde.

What to do: we have an effective leave-in hair gel that is made from bee pollen and tree sap!

No. 7 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You


Is there lead in your lipstick? If it's red, it may have lead.

Lipstick may contain heavy metals and through the day, little bits of this are swallowed.

Many lipsticks when tested have unacceptable levels of mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium, barium and cadmium.

The Environmental Watch Group has a list of lipsticks brands on their website. Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/043963_heavy_metals_lipstick_womens_health.html#ixzz2yXBBlz50

No. 8 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You

Those Deceptively Seductive Scented Candles

Scented candles produce a cloud of unidentified toxins.

This is so much fun. Run a bath and add some essential oils and light scented candles surrounding your romantic oasis. Sorry to burst your bubble bath, but scented candles emit more toxic gas than a cow in a telephone booth.

The combination of toxic gasses, artificial fragrances and enclosed bathroom space is dangerous to your health.

 No. 9 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You

The Bathroom Air Vent


Have you paid attention to this?

When was the last time you took the cover off your bathroom vent and inspected it?  This is the perfect breeding place for mold: dark, warm and humid. After all, its job is to suck up all the moisture so the bathroom is not so humid. Most people seldom look under the grill except when it stops working. Most houses are equipped with the cheapest vent that will suffice, so it may not be as adequate in removing the humid air.  Humid air gets trapped + mold spores = perfect mold hive. The vent should be inspected,  vacuumed and cleaned out with vinegar and water on a regular basis. Do not electrocute yourself: that is also damaging to your health.

Otherwise, every time you turn the vent on, it sprays the entire bathroom with mold spores. Spores are microscopic and invisible. By the time you see mold, it is too late.

No 10 Thing in Your Bathroom That May Be Killing You


No, not this bleach, the one that comes in a gallon jug.
Bleach is a chemical called Sodium Hypochlorite and the reason it is used is that it is cheap and very effective. This harmful substance is not only toxic to bacteria and mold; it is also toxic to you.

One particular danger is when the bleach comes in contact with ammonia (which is a common ingredient of glass cleaners and bathroom cleaners) that can cause the release of chlorine liberated from the bleach, and is quite capable of causing you harm when inhaled!

Chlorine gas is highly reactive and when inhaled, the gas tears into your nasal passages, trachea, and lungs causing massive cellular damage.

What to do? Replace bleach with vinegar and water, mixed in equal parts is an effective alternative. You can add essential oils of lavender and eucalyptus to give it a fresh smell.

Hydrogen Peroxide is also a good substitute, but is a little trickier to handle as it will burn the skin until it is diluted.