Salt for health

Salt brine for health

I have just read a very interesting article on how salt and in particular brine - the very strong salt solution can contribute to stay healthy, boosts immune system and has a strong healing power. 

In my childhood my parents would make it for gurgling sore throat, inhalations or cleaning my nostrils, or they would add salt to hot feet bath against cold. Another method was to heat salt, fill a thick sock with it and put on a bee or wasp sting, on ears for earaches.

This article is about one of the methods used by Sebastian Kneipp - a well known priest/herbalist in Germany, Austria, Switzerland for his treatments with water. In this case it is treatment with a brine shirt a shirt immersed in brine.

The brine used to be made and kept in oak barrels. The used salt was not treated, with no additional iodine. The shirt was only of natural fabric. The procedure would last from 20 minutes at the beginning, slowly increasing the time even to 90 minutes. 

The procedure was used for all kinds of illnesses like cold, cough, especially when one had to get rid of the stubborn mucus, persistent cough; for joint pains, muscle pains, digestion problems, detoxification or simply strengthening the body, boosting the immune system. 

The article describes also the possible Homemade version:

  • Take a wooden bucket or a barrel, soak it in water, so that it does not leak and fill it with10 Liters water and 3 kg Salt (not treated, without iodine). Alternatively: 1 Liter water to 250g salt in a glass jar.
  • Stir it well, so that the salt more or less melts, leave for 24 hours, stir well again. If all salt is gone, add a little bit more. 
  • Soak an old linen or old cotton T-shirt or a nightshirt. 
  • Prepare the bed: two folded towels, a linen sheet under, a linen sheet over and a thick blanket of natural wool and another blanket.
  • Put the damp shirt onto the patient. It is not too warm - round 20C, cover with the cloth of linen, the woollen blanket and the cotton blanket.
  • The patient should stay in until he/she begins to sweat and the feeling is like in a sauna. The more procedures, the quicker the patient begins to sweat. 
  • After sweating one washes off the rest of the salt
  • The linen shirt, sheets and towels should be washed in high temperatures after the procedure.

No salt shirt if there are open wounds on the body or if one suffers from autoimmune diseases.

From me, I would like to add that I could imagine a much simpler version. Just immerse a natural linen cloth (kitchen towel) into the brine and place it on lung area

(for cough), cover warm with linen and woollen blankets and let the patient sweat. 

I might try it on me when I have some persistent cold next time. 

Well, like with everything else, one has to be careful, especially if one has some serious medical issues. 

Have you heard or tried out anything like this?

The article is in German. The source: Natur und Heilen November 11/2023. The author is Sandra Schiller.


  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've never heard of it, but it seems worth looking into a bit more. The Germans have some good ideas about natural health.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have seen recently that adding salt (sea salt, Himalayan and unprocessed salts) are good to add a little in water.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very interesting. While most doctors now days are telling everyone that they should avoid salt and only use very sparingly. Perhaps we actually need more exposure to it. Not necessarily eating. I grew up with semi frequent trip to the ocean. The salt water would sting on any cuts or scrapes but they would heal much faster than those that did not get a chance to be in the salt water. Gargling with it or putting a pinch of salt on a sore or cut in your mouth was also common. Especially for me, as I got tonsillitis on a regular basis. Still use it for these uses though I have not been near an ocean in decades.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @jowitt.europe My grandparents used it for healing everything!

    My son was 15 and had chicken pox (second time) and he was supposed to compete at a swim meet in Hawaii. He was not contagious, but had lots of scabs! After arriving in Hawaii, he couldn't wait to swim in the ocean and spent most of the day in the water. The next morning, there wasn't even the slightest blemish--it was amazing! Needless to say, he felt much better competing without the scabs. No way to hide them in a swim suit!

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's very interesting. Like @Lisa K I've heard about adding Celtic Sea salt to a glass of filtered water for health. My husband and I have been drinking one glass a day when we think about it. Call us strange but we think it tastes good. Probably TMI but my husband says it gets him moving. 😁

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    my parents took us to the sea once a year and they believed that even breathing the sea air is healthy for respiratory system. I do not drink salt solutions, but I am a real fan of using salt externally. After swimming in the sea and especially in the ocean (as the salt content is much higher there) I never take immediate shower. I let the salt work its way into the skin.

    @water2world what an interesting story. I should have allowed my grandson to swim in the sea when he had chicken pox.

    @kbmbillups1 if it tastes good it means your bodies need this. This is my belief. The body shows us what it needs.

    by the way, here in the Canary Islands locals still boil potatoes in the ocean water. The potatoes are with peel and they are boiled when the water evaporates and the white film stays on the potatoes.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,156 ✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym I had forgotten the little sores/ulcers in my mouth when I was young---you are right--a little pinch of salt on it took care of it!

    Wish I lived near the ocean! Now, Epson salt has a special place in our house!! I remember Grandmother heating water and epsom salt as hot as we could stand it and putting it on infections, black widow bites, rusty nail wounds, yes all of these were on me---we never went to a doctor. By the way, I'm not an advocate of some of those things!

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The way I look at it is like most things, when it is natural or unprocessed our bodies will know what to do with it. When we eat processed foods, our bodies think it is an invasion.