Check-Up: What are Epsom salts good for?

August 19, 2019

Marjorie asks Check Up what is in Epsom salts and what are the benefits of using it, aside from soaking painful feet and swollen ankles.


Well, as Marjorie states, Epsom salts is a popular remedy for several ailments and has long been used to ease muscle soreness. Epsom salts contains magnesium sulphate.

Most of the benefits of using the compound come from the magnesium. Epsom salts is mostly dissolved in water and applied topically to the skin.


n It is also sometimes taken by mouth in a very dilute solution to access certain benefits, like treatment of constipation.

Magnesium is present in some medicines used for the treatment of constipation. It draws water into the colon and promotes bowel movements. It is taken by mouth for this purpose. Epsom salts is a Food and Drug Administration-approved laxative but the instructions on the labelled box must be adhered to.


n Magnesium is also essential for proper sleep and management of stress as it helps the brain produce melatonin which produces sleep.

n Epsom salts warm baths are said to reduce stress.

n Epsom salts is also used to reduce pain and swelling and improve symptoms of fibromyalgia and arthritis.


It is important not to overuse Epsom salt, especially by drinking it. If taken orally, it must be taken with plenty of water.

The magnesium in Epsom salts can cause diarrhoea, paralysis and even a coma if used in overdose. Magnesium should be taken orally only with the advice of your doctor or by following the instructions for use on the box.


There are other topical uses of Epsom salts which are very safe:

n Used as a bath for sore muscles and to relax

n Applied to the skin as an exfoliant and facial wash. Just dampen a half-teaspoonful and massage into the skin.

n Added to hair conditioners, it adds volume to the hair. Use 50/50 hair conditioner and Epsom salts and apply to hair for 15 minutes, then wash out. Again, this does not work for all hair types.

n Epsom salts bath is used to relieve pain and inflamed muscles as well as muscle cramps.

n Used as a paste, it can reduce the soreness after childbirth.

n It can help neutralise foot odour and help reduce the symptoms of athlete’s foot.

n It reduces the symptoms of gouty arthritis when used as a foot soak.

Epsom salts can also be used in the house to clean tiles, prevent slugs from reaching plants and clearing detergent build-up in washing machines.

Two tablespoons of Epsom salts added to a gallon of water and used on the soil in the garden can keep grass very green.


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