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General Health Articles

The Many Benefits of Epsom Salts

Also called magnesium sulfate, Epsom salts contain magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen and occur naturally all over the world. Since ancient times they have been used as a bath salt and as a drying agent. They have also been used as a fertilizer because magnesium is important for plants like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and roses. It occurs naturally in soil, but can become depleted.

Magnesium sulfate has been used both medicinally and for cosmetic purposes, chiefly to improve the skin. It also raises the specific gravity of water it is added to, which means it is very useful in flotation therapy. Epsom salts are used in foot baths because magnesium goes into the body through the skin and can reduce inflammation and swelling, thereby soothing tired, swollen and achy feet.

Other uses of magnesium sulfate include:

Relaxing the nervous system

• Controlling cardiac arrhythmias

• Many believe that Epsom salts raise seratonin levels, which reduces stress

• It helps the body to use insulin more efficiently

Sleep, mood, concentration, oxygen use and blood pressure are all positively affected

• It can be used as a laxative, but never by people with pain or irritation in the stomach, or if you have kidney disease. You should consult a doctor before taking any kind of natural cure

• Some believe that it increases water in the intestines, which can help clear constipation

• Used dry, it can treat abscesses, boils and carbuncles by drying them out

• Mixed with water it can be used to treat acne, especially blackheads, and other skin blemishes

• Epsom salts are very helpful in treating insect bites. Apply a warm compress of Epsom salts, made by putting salts mixed with a little warm water in a cloth and folding it over, on top of the bite. Change every 10 minutes, making sure that it is as warm as possible. This will reduce swelling and may pull out the insect venom in some cases

• It can be used to help clear bronchial passages in people with asthma

• The most common use is for soaking sore and aching feet. Use a half-cup of salts for a small pan, or more if you have a larger tub. You can also make a paste of salts and water to rub your feet with: the exfoliating action will remove dead skin and renew skin

• The other most common use is to take a bath with Epsom salts mixed into the water. This will relax you primarily because of the effect of the magnesium sulfate, and can help reduce the swelling of joints, tendons and also bruises

• It will soften skin, especially calluses before removal - however if your callus is large or painful, always consult a podiatrist before doing anything yourself

• To make a facial mask, mix salts with other compounds depending on the recipe you follow. (See Using Epsom Salts below)

• Delaying preterm labor to stop premature birth

• Possibly preventing cerebral palsy in premature babies

• Soaking in a bath can help relieve symptoms of herpes and shingles

• Most health practitioners recommend that women should not take magnesium sulfate internally during pregnancy because tests on its effect on the fetus are not conclusive

Avoid taking Epsom salts internally if you are taking tetracycline antibiotics, other antibiotics like ciprofloxacin, enoxacin, norfloxacinsparfloxacin and related ones, penicillamine, penicillin, digoxin, and nitrofurantoin . Always consult a doctor if you are unsure

• The sulfate component helps the body by improving its ability to flush out toxins, absorb nutrients, and help with proteins generally. Sulfates are also quickly absorbed through the skin

• Sulfates are also linked to the formation of joint proteins because joints contain chondroitin sulfate, which is available as a supplement and often used with glucosamine to treat damaged joints and osteoarthritic symptoms

Using Epsom Salts

• For a bath the usual amount is 2 cups of salts per full bath. A half-cup of salts is enough for a small foot bath, which will relax sore and aching feet as well as neutralize odor. It is one of the oldest remedies for a sprained ankle

• For a mild exfoliant used to remove dead skin gently rub handfuls onto your skin. This can be done on feet, legs, arms and face, but be very careful near your eyes

• For a facial mask, mix salts with an egg and /or milk as a fixative, and lemon juice - you can also add brandy or cognac. Wet your face and apply the mask, leaving it on for 10 minutes

• For oily hair and scalp, mix Epsom salts with shampoo. Rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar followed by cold water for a complete hair cleansing

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