Epsom Salt Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Reviews and Facts
Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate) is a crystallized form of magnesium sulfate, a naturally occurring compound that has many health benefits. It hailed as one of the most beneficial and multi-functional products out on the market, and there is good reasons why it lives up to the hype.
The benefits of Epsom salt begin with magnesium which is a very profuse element in your cells, right after oxygen and carbon. Magnesium helps the body to eliminate many destructive toxins and other free radicals, as well as soothing the nervous system, reducing swelling, easing migraines, and greatly preventing arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries (a very bad thing). Magnesium sulfate, which is Epsom salt, is easily absorbed through the skin and is easily one of the most beneficial salts to use due to its numerous health benefits.
Epsom Salt is mainly made up of magnesium and sulfates. Many modern diets are deficient in magnesium and sulfates, but they are important minerals. Increasing levels of magnesium may help to improve heart and circulatory health, flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, improve nerve function by regulating electrolytes, improve the body's ability to use insulin, raise the body's levels of serotonin which reduces stress and elevates the mood, improve sleep and concentration, regulate the body's enzymes, improve oxygen use, lower blood pressure, reduce muscle pain and inflammation, and help muscles and nerves to function properly. Sulfates are also necessary for good health. Sulfates are used by the body to flush out toxins, improve the absorption of nutrients, form joint proteins, brain tissue, and mucin protein, and to help prevent and ease migraine headaches. The best news is that magnesium and sulfates are readily absorbed by the body externally. This means that soaking in a bath with Epsom Salt is not only enjoyable, but is also good for you!
Epsom Salt softens the skin, soothes aches, reduces swelling, inflammations, exfoliates the skin, removes odors, prevents pimples and blackheads from forming, makes skin feel clean and fresh, draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, relaxes the muscles, provides relief from joint soreness and arthritic pain, and is a natural emollient. Unlike other salts, it does not leave the skin feeling dry. On the contrary, Epsom Salt leaves the skin with a soft and silky texture.
Epsom Salt Benefits
Researchers and physicians report that raising your magnesium levels may: Improve heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
Epsom Salt improves the body's ability to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
Epsom Salt flushes toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
Epsom Salt improves nerve function by regulating electrolytes. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
Other benefits of Epsom salt includes:
Formation of brain tissue.
Formation of digestive proteins.
Detoxify body of environmental pollutants.
Helps to bind serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical that stimulates relaxation and well-being, within the brain.
Sulfate in Epsom salt helps to improve oxygen use and absorption of nutrients.
The sulfate in Epsom salt prevents and eases migraines.
Reduces inflammations and reduces pain.
Epsom salt eases menstrual pain.
Helps to get rid of dead skin cells.
Helps to get rid of acne and blackheads.
Moisturizes and softens rough skin.
Regulates many enzymes in the body.
Encourages formation of ATP (energy).
Magnesium helps to lower the effect of adrenaline.
Epsom salt helps improve concentration.
Epsom Salt Uses
Some Epsom salt uses include:
Compresses: Epsom Salt can be used in compresses to sooth bruises, sprains, insect bites, draw out splinters, and to alleviate muscle soreness. To make a compress, dissolve 2 cups of Epsom Salt in hot water, and use this mixture for your compress.
Relaxing and sedative bath: Epsom salt easily dissolves in water and so you can reap the benefits simply by taking a bath with Epsom salt dissolved in the water. Add 2 cups of Epsom Salt to warm bathwater and soak for a good 15 minutes for a relaxing, and soothing experience for the mind and body. This is recommended 2-3 times per week to fully feel the benefits of Epsom salt. While soaking, try massaging some of the salts over your skin, this will help to exfoliate and cleanse the skin. Essential oils, such as Lavender or Rosemary, may be added to enhance relaxation and medicinal effects.
As a laxative: Pour 8 oz. of drinking water into a glass. The directions on the Epsom salt box will tell you to dissolve the doses into half a glass of water, but 8 oz. is an amount that works. For people 12 or older, measure 1 to 2 tsp. of Epsom salt into the glass. For those ages 6 to 12, use less (about1/2 to 1 tsp.). Squirt some lemon juice into the water to flavor the mixture (as much as it takes to make it drinkable for you). Stir the mixture until the ingredients have completely dissolved. Drink all of the mixture, then wait near your restroom for it to begin working. You should have a bowel movement anywhere from 30 minutes to six hours after you drink the mixture. Take another dose if the mixture does not help you the first time. Wait at least four hours before re-doing the process, however, and limit yourself to two doses a day.
Summer ailments: For mosquito bites, bee stings, mild sunburn and poison ivy, make compresses by soaking a cotton washcloth in cold water that has been mixed with Epsom salt (2 tablespoons per cup), then apply to the skin.
Acne treatment: Take about a tablespoon of Epsom salt and scrub your face or dissolve some in water, and dab over your face, or maybe add some milk and honey and make it into a mask. This will help get rid of acne and blackheads.
Ease muscle pain and bruising: Epsom salt is a popular remedy for easing muscle pain and fading bruises. Add 2 cups of bath salt to warm water in a standard-sized bathtub (double the Epsom Salt for an oversized garden tub). Bathe 3 times weekly, soaking for at least 12 minutes.
Foot soak: Soothe aches, remove odors and soften rough skin with a foot soak. Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to a large pan of warm water. Soak feet for as long as it feels right. Rinse and dry. Or try an Epsom Salt Peppermint Foot Scrub.
Splinter remover: Dissolve ¼ cup of Epsom salt for every gallon of water and place the affected area into the Epsom salt water. It will gradually pull the splinter out as the surrounding area swells with water. You can do this with just plain water, but the Epsom salt helps to soothe and prevent a bruise and an infection.
Face cleaner: To clean your face at night, mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom salt with your regular cleansing cream. Just massage into skin and rinse with cold water.
Get rid of blackheads: Dissolve 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt in 1/2 cup of boiled water, and add 3 drops iodine. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and apply to your blackheads three times.
Remove excess oil from hair: Epsom salt soaks up excess oil from hair. Add 9 tablespoons of epsom salt to 1/2 cup of oily hair shampoo. Apply one tablespoon of the liquid to your hair when it is dry; rinse with cold water. Pour lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar through the hair, leave on for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse. For dryness, here’s how to Repair Your Hair with Olive Oil.
Tile Cleaner: Yes, Epsom salt can be used to clean your floor tiles! Just mix it in with some water and dish soap then use a mop to wipe the floors with the liquid.
Organic Gardening: Epsom salt has become a popular and well-reputed supplement in organic gardening. With the recent push towards "green" living, Epsom salt is an ideal answer to a variety of organic gardening needs. Both cost effective and gentle on your greenery, Epsom salt is an affordable and green treatment for your well-tended plants—both indoors and out.
Epsom Salt Side Effects
In most cases if used as directed, Epsom salts pose no medical risk or harmful results. However, possible common side effects of using Epsom salts may occur when the substance is taken internally, be it orally or when taken as an enema. For example, Epsom salts used as a laxative can produce several side effects: diarrhea and cramping; excess gas with bloating, and nausea. Epsom salts can also produce the side effect of increasing the sensation of being thirsty. When it comes to laxatives, some people may begin to use too much of the agent until bowel movements become dependent on drinking the Epsom salts mixture. Don't use too strong of a mixture or overuse the salts. Remember to consult the package for directions.
Epsom salts taken to the point of magnesium overdose is considered a medical emergency. Possible overdose symptoms of magnesium sulfate may consist of flushed skin, a drop in blood pressure and/or a slowed heartbeat. Other potential overdose signs can include nausea with vomiting, and reduced awareness or drowsiness. Ultimately, the most serious cases may result in coma or even death. Get emergency treatment if any of the above symptoms appear.
People taking antibiotic medications--for example, demeclocycline, ciprofloxacin or nitrofurantoin--shouldn't take Epsom salts until cleared by a physician. The same is true for patients taking digoxin or digitalis, a cardiac medication.
Epsom Salt Safe During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?
Magnesium sulfate has been assigned to pregnancy category A by the FDA. Studies in pregnant women have not shown evidence of fetal risk if magnesium sulfate is administered during any trimesters of pregnancy. However, because studies cannot completely rule out the possibility of harm, magnesium sulfate injection is only recommended for use during pregnancy when benefit outweighs risk.
Magnesium is excreted into human milk. Adverse effects in the nursing infant are unlikely. Magnesium sulfate is considered compatible with breast-feeding by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Magnesium sulfate is often administered to pregnant women intravenously as a treatment for pre-eclampsia--pregnancy-related high blood pressure--and preterm labor. Magnesium prevents complications from pre-eclampsia and is typically the preferred treatment option if a pregnant woman progresses into eclampsia and begins to suffer seizures. When preeclampsia causes seizures, the condition is known as eclampsia--the second leading cause of maternal death in the U.S. Preeclampsia is also a leading cause of fetal complications, which include low birth weight, premature birth, and stillbirth. Although it's considered effective at inhibiting preterm uterine contractions, the use of magnesium sulfate for preterm labor is somewhat controversial due to possible side effects in the mother, which may include chest pain, breathing problems, and pulmonary edema.
Although many people use Epsom salts as an inexpensive, readily available oral laxative, talk to your doctor before using it for this purpose if you're pregnant or may become pregnant. As a saline laxative, Epsom salts operate by displacing fluids, shifting them to the intestines from nearby parts of your body. While this serves the purpose of softening your stool, it also has the ability to produce powerful intestinal cramping and contractions, which may increase your chances of experiencing certain pregnancy complications, especially if you have a history of miscarriages. The loss of body fluids and higher magnesium content that occurs when using Epsom salt as a laxative may also negatively affect pregnant women with a history of a poorly functioning heart or kidney.
Epsom Salt Reviews
The following reviews have been selected:
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product, August 21, 2011
Great product. If you haven't tried Epson Salts to soothe dry itchy skin you are missing out. I was using topical steriods to calm my itchy skin and after awhile it stopped working. I just switched over to Epson salts and so far the results are great.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Epsom salts, February 27, 2011
Bernadette & Kevin From Switzerland
Epsom salts, a very old remedy actually that's still very valid. I use it as a soak for arthritic wrists and find it relieves better than sea salts. recommend it and its still quite cheap by comparison.
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Emptying of the Bowel, July 11, 2007
When feel full and can not go to the bathroom for a couple of days I simply mix 6 teaspoons with 8oz water and some lemon juice to make it taste better. Have to get use to the taste. just drink it down without breathing and you will get past the taste. It kicks in in about 30minutes. So works well when you need to get it out quickly. But give yourself about an hour to make sure you get it out.
Anonymous from New York
-relatively little dryness (not a problem with jojoba)
- I have to use it really frequently (5x a day) for full effectiveness (so worth it)
I took an old Clinique moisturizer squirt bottle, filled it with a tablespoon of epsom salt and distilled water. I shook it up and started dabbing it with my bare, clean fingers about five times a day, letting it sit for a half hour then washing it off (sometimes I let it just stay on if its not feeling too dry).
Brought my pimples to a head in one day and got rid of splotchiness in a week.
I have tried everything -- differin, doxicycline, proactive, retina micro, duac -- this was the most effective. I swear by it. It's worth a try... so cheap.
Best secret that pharmaceuticals don't want you to know!
me1241lol from England
Wow. Got rid of spots within a day, light scars within a few... :O Just amazing.
I guess it could be messy but what's a little mess among acne?
Just dissolve some in water, and dab over face, or maybe add some milk and honey and make it into a mask... :D I have really bad pimples - the acne isn't severe but I have some blackheads and bad pimples.. got rid of them...
Reduces overall redness of skin
Prevents pimples and blackheads from forming
Makes skin feel clean and fresh
Easy to use
Stings if you get in eyes
Tastes pretty bad if you get in mouth
Started using about three weeks ago. Most of my pimples cleared up within a week and my acne scars lightened.
First I wash my face with purpose bar soap and rinse
Then take about a tablespoon of epsom salt and scrub my face using my fingertips concentrating more on my problem areas
I pat/air dry and follow with cetaphil moisturizer just around eyes, upper lip, nose and chin where I get dry.
I then apply Burts Bees spot treatment oil with a cotton swab to my problem areas
I do this regimen morning and night.
I stopped using the epsom salt about a week ago because I thought that maybe it wasn't the part of my regimen that was helping but after a few days I noticed little bumps/blackheads forming on my forehead and the overall red appearence of my forehead returned.
I'm back to scrubbing with the epsom salt every day and my skin is starting to clear up again.
I definately recommend this as well as the purpose bar soap and burts bees spot treatment. Anything with willowbark extract(such as the BB spot treatment) has always been really good on my acne.