"I know the cure for everything: Salt water...in one form or another: Sweat, tears or the sea." –The Deluge at Norderney, from Seven Gothic Tales, 1934

I would trust Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke - or, if we're to go by one her better-known pen names, Isak Dinesen (author of Out of Africa and Babette's Feast, the latter of which I am personally crazzzzy about) - on this one. No doubt about it: salt water, in one or several of its forms, will cure what ails you. Sea salt will also do all sorts of other things, all of them practically alchemical or just plain regular magic. 

Here's a list of Salt and Salt Water Cures for what ails you, or for whatever could just use a little boost (i.e. hair). Accompanied by a panoply of portraits of Baroness Karen von Blizen-Finecke: a true Olympian / Aphrodite.


Tropical Sea Salt Scrub

  • combine melted coconut oil and sea salt and have yourself a private tropical beauty party with mini cocktail umbrellas in your hair.

Epsom Salt Baths

  • make yourself a tiny, curative ocean in your bathtub. Epsom salts are blissfully cheap which make them perfect for depressed days when you are ache-y and broke.

Beach Hair

  • Best when you've actually been to the beach and have stopped bathing in anything but the sea, but THIS product  is also good for landlubbers.
  • Another way to maximize the ocean's spray - and the best tip I've ever gleaned from a ladies magazine - is to slather dry hair in conditioner before leaving for the beach; let it get hot and slick in the sun, and eventually rinse in the ocean...when you emerge from the waves like the Aphrodite you truly are, you can then reapply conditioner and repeat the process (this technique is especially good if your hair is prone to tangles). In either case, may you enjoy the wildly soft but salty mane that results. 


Allergy Alleviation

  • ideally just get in the ocean and let the salt water do its work. Failing that, we have just two words for you: Neti. Pot. The Sinus Rinse Bottle kit from "Dr. NeilMed" that is sold at Walgreens and elsewhere is our preferred one over the heavy ceramic thing from your local health food store, for ease of use and portability.
  • Failing the presence of an ocean, or even a Walgreens or Whole Foods (goodness, where are you?!)  - say, if you are in a stuffy hotel room and have no recourse but an electric kettle and packets of salt from room service - then you can just empty those tiny packets in some boiled water, and when it's a tepid temperature, inhale the stuff from a spoon or the edge of the cup. It's not dignified, and it's messy, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Important PSA: always boil water or use purified water when doing sinus irrigations.  

Sore Throat Alleviation

  • combine sea salt with warm water and gargle. To get your throat at least feeling antiseptic after that, follow up with Tantum Verde or, if you don't have any, gargle with Listerine.
  • Though they taste a little gross, these sea salt lozenges are great for helping a sore throat.

Rehydration After Exertion of Some Kind

  • make like a homesteader and drink homemade gatorade! Replenish your sweat reserves by combining the following:
    • 1 tablespoon sugar or sweetener of choice
    • up to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/4 cup  lemon, lime, or pineapple juice
    • 4 cups plain water, sparkling water, or coconut water



Karen Blixen, Carson McCullers, Arthur Miller, and Marilyn Monroe having lunch. NO BIGGIE.

Karen Blixen, Carson McCullers, Arthur Miller, and Marilyn Monroe having lunch. NO BIGGIE.

  • There used to be an age when it wasn't totally obvious that everyone should go through the rigmarole of brining their Thanksgiving turkey a couple days out of the third Thursday of the month of November, though I personally don't remember that time. Though I have yet to actually brine anything myself - leaving me in the absolute lowest echelons of culinary fanciness - it's only because my refrigerator is the size of a breadbox and it seems somehow dangerous to leave a turkey mellowing out in a cooler on my balcony in a bath.

Salt Bake

  • Get medieval and cover a fish or piece of meat in several inches of salt, then bake it in its crusty robe. Full recipe from Epicurious here.

More ideas from Captain Obvious:

  • Things like perfect tomatoes need nothing but a suggestion of sea salt on their cut surface to be eaten raw and with complete happiness, but you already knew that.
  • Use salt to draw out water from zucchini before frying or from cucumbers when making raita; you can also salt tomatoes in a pan when you need to quickly break them down for a pasta sauce.
  • Salted Butter in and of itself is a cure for almost anything


  • Crying your real tears while sitting in the surf of a beach is a cure for your body and soul.
  • Tears, generally speaking, are a natural remedy for sadness: like zucchini, the salt just draws something out of you.
Photo by Richard Avedon

Photo by Richard Avedon