The Medicinal uses of Epsom salts

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Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is most commonly used in a soothing bath. Epsom salt is a tool that integrative medical specialists often recommend for its physical and mental health benefits and is often used as a natural remedy for joint pain or skin conditions like athlete’s foot. While no clinical trials have confirmed the benefits of Epsom salt, many healthcare providers promote it for its ease of use and reasonable price. 

What is Epsom salt? 

Magnesium sulfate is a chemical compound made up of oxygen, magnesium, and sulfur. It comes in rock-like formations and resembles table salt. But despite its name, Epsom salt is a different compound from table salt. It is believed that Epsom salt was called “salt” because of its chemical structure and is often dissolved in baths, which is why it is also called “bath salt.” Despite their similarities, Epsom salt is very bitter and unpalatable, not salty. 

Epsom salt baths are a great way to help relieve stress!

 It is named after the town of Epsom in Surrey, England, where it was first discovered in the 17th century. It was once the most popular medicinal treatment in England. Locals noticed that cows and other animals visited a certain spring and miraculously, their wounds healed more quickly. News eventually spread and people traveled from all corners of the country seeking relief from their ailments. 

Epsom salt has been traditionally used to treat different health issues like constipation, fibromyalgia and insomnia. Many reported benefits of Epsom salt are attributed to magnesium, a mineral that a lot of people do not regularly get enough of. The magnesium from Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin, and this is how Epsom salts are most commonly used. Epsom salts have a limited number of uses when taken internally. They can cause significant discomfort when taken internally so talk to your doctor before consuming.  

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The biggest benefits of Epsom salts are released in a relaxing bath. Run a bath with a comfortable temperature of warm/hot water and while the bath is filling up poor 1-2 cups of bath salts into the bath. Make sure that you are pouring the Epsom salts right under the tub spout, where the water is coming from, as this will make sure the Epsom fully dissolves.  

Benefits 

Use Epsom salt if you’re looking for a natural remedy that can help you get some sleep at night. The magnesium in Epsom salts boosts the production of serotonin, which facilitates relaxation and sleeping. Magnesium may also help your body produce melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.  

Other extensive health benefits of Epsom salts include stress relief and mood stabilization. Salts are supposed to reduce anxiety and depression while releasing serotonin, the happy chemical! As well as emotional benefits, soaking in an Epsom salt bath can aid muscle pain and inflammation. It is fantastic for recovering athletes and those who suffer from achy joints. It also aids with cold and flu recovery as bath salts, helps boost your immune system and recover from sickness faster. Soaking in the bath is also wonderful for your skin, helping with bug bites, poison ivy, and sunburns. It assists with exfoliation and acne but make sure you use the right amount of salt as your skin can dry out if used too often or burn if you bathe with open cuts.  

While Epsom salt is considered generally safe to use, you may experience some adverse effects if you use it incorrectly. Note that Epsom salt has a laxative effect due to the magnesium sulfate in it and consuming it may result in bloating, diarrhea, or an upset stomach. When using Epsom salt as a laxative, always drink plenty of water to reduce digestive discomfort. Do not take more than the recommended dosage without talking to your doctor. There are some reported cases of magnesium overdose wherein people have consumed too much Epsom salt. Symptoms include flushed skin, headache, lightheadedness and nausea. So, please use the salts with caution.  

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Epsom salts are a fantastic way to relax and have many physical and mental health benefits like relieving anxiety, cold and flu symptoms, and helping you sleep. When taking a hot bath, dissolve some Epsom salts in your water to de-stress and unwind. Be sure to use the right amount of salts to ensure maximum comfortability whether that be in the bath or for consumption.  

 References  

Epsom Salt: Potential Benefits and How to Use It – Cleveland Clinic 

20 Surprising Uses For Epsom Salt – Farmers’ Almanac – Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life. (farmersalmanac.com) 

How Much Epsom Salt in a Bath? – Vitabath® (myvitabath.com) 

Author
Olivia Salzwedel

InnoVision Health Media reports on health content that is supported by our editorial advisory board and content published in our group of peer reviewed medical journals.

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