In recent years, Epsom salts have become increasingly popular , either because many athletes use them to soothe their aching muscles or influencers make home remedies with this substance.

These salts have been related to multiple therapeutic benefits, besides serving to obtain better crops and being used in the food industry.

Let’s see what exactly these salts are, what benefits they are said to have and whether, although of natural origin, they pose any kind of health risk.

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Epsom salts: what are they?

Epsom salts, also known by its chemical name of magnesium sulfate, are a natural remedy and exfoliant used to treat multiple pains and organic problems . Because they contain magnesium they are believed to help in the treatment of diseases caused by a lack of this mineral.

Magnesium is an element that plays a very important role in the synthesis of proteins that the human body needs, especially those located in the joints and in the nervous system.

Epsom salts have become more popular over the years, being a very important ingredient in many beauty products and also for making bath salts.

Chemical composition

Originally, these salts were extracted from a spring near Epsom, in England, for this reason they receive their name. The water of this spring is salty and bitter, and it was there that these salts were first distilled.

The magnesium sulphate contains as in its composition sulfur, oxygen and magnesium . The salts are presented in the form of colourless crystals, similar in appearance to common salt or sodium chloride.

Uses and benefits

Many benefits have been attributed to Epsom salts.

Therapeutic uses

It has been suggested that Epsom salts are ideal for treating many health problems. However, it can be said that scientific research on this subject is limited and that, just as they may have certain benefits, they may also involve risks, however natural they may be.

1. Magnesium levels increase

Having adequate levels of magnesium promotes good general health . In fact, one of the most common medical problems is a lack of magnesium or hypomagnesemia.

Hypomagnesemia can result from alcohol abuse, malnutrition, severe diarrhea, or elevated calcium levels, leading to heart disease, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, osteoporosis, and psychological problems.

The magnesium that is part of these salts can be absorbed by the skin, either by putting the feet in water with Epsom salts or by taking a relaxing bath. This avoids having to take oral magnesium supplements.

Good levels of magnesium in the body allow more than 300 essential enzymes that are behind organ functions and good muscle control to be synthesized correctly.

2. Ease stress

Magnesium seems to have a relaxing effect on the body . One of the most widespread uses of these salts is as bath salts.

Epsom salts have even been said to contribute to the production of serotonin, which could be related to the benefit of reducing stress and anxiety, although scientific support for this is rather scarce.

3. Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory

These salts have been used to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with burns and allergy inflammations , however this has not been scientifically proven.

Because they appear to have antiseptic capabilities, they have been used to eliminate foot odor by killing the bacteria that cause it.

4. Constipation Relief

They are considered a natural relief for constipation . If consumed orally, Epsom salts act as laxatives, making more water available in the intestines and promoting egestion.

5. Regulate glucose levels

It has been suggested that its consumption could prevent the development of diabetes . Magnesium contributes to a better utilization of insulin in the body.


These salts are used to increase the levels of magnesium and sulphates in the arable land.

Several plants require a lot of magnesium to produce nutritious and well-ripened fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, lemons, peppers and, in floristry, roses.

Magnesium sulphate is a substance with a near-neutral pH. This means that, unlike several fertilizers, there are no changes in the pH of the soil in which the crops are grown, which could damage the plantations.


In the food industry, Epsom salts are used to make some types of beer.

It is also used in Asia in the production of tofu and soya derivatives.

Health risks

Although it is a natural product, not synthesized in a laboratory, these salts are not free of health risks .

Consuming Epsom salts should be done under medical supervision, since abusive use of the substance can cause blood magnesium levels to rise, resulting in hypermagnesemia. Symptoms associated with this medical condition include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and cramping.

The consumption of these salts on their own is not recommended, either for the purpose of treating illness or preventing it. It is also not recommended to use them to treat skin wounds, burns and allergies, as it could make the injuries worse.

Bibliographic references:

  • Heinz-Büchel, Karl, Moretto, H. H., Werner, D., Wiley, J. (2000) Industrial Inorganic Chemistry,.
  • Blitz M, Blitz S, Hughes R, Diner B, Beasley R, Knopp J, Rowe B. H. (2005) Aerosolized magnesium sulfate for acute asthma: a systematic review.Chest, 128:337-44.
  • Duley, L; Gülmezoglu, A. M.; Henderson-Smart, D. J.; Chou, D. (2010). “Magnesium sulphate and other anticonvulsants for women with pre-eclampsia. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (11)
  • Duley, L; Henderson-Smart, DJ; Walker, GJ; Chou, D (8 December 2010). “Magnesium sulphate versus diazepam for eclampsia.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (12)