Chemically, Epsom salts are crystals of hydrated magnesium sulfate. Historically, Epsom salts were named after the city of Epsom, England which has long been known to contain high concentrations of magnesium sulfate in its water. Since 1933, the Epsom Salt Industry Council has educated people and served as a resource for information about the health and beauty benefits of Epsom salts. Today, Epsom salts are also made from dolomite rock, which has high amounts of calcium as well as magnesium, sulfates, and phenols.
Used internally, Epsom salts have laxative properties and should only be used under the direction of one’s physician. Because of the high magnesium concentration found in Epsom salts, enemas and internal ingestion of Epsom salts can result in fatalities if used improperly or excessively.
Used externally, in which case small amounts are absorbed through the skin,
- detoxify the body,
- relieve joint and muscle pain,
- soften the skin,
- have antiseptic properties, and
- ease digestive function.
In a therapy recommended to reduce the toxicity of radiation, one cup of Epsom salts and one cup of baking soda are added to the bath.
The Epsom Salt Industry Council reports that magnesium is the second most abundant element found in human cells and the fourth most important positively charged ion in the body. Magnesium is a vital component of the body and is involved in many bodily functions, including the transmission of electrical impulses, muscle control, and the elimination of natural toxins. Most Americans are reported to be deficient in magnesium. This deficiency is a common cause of stroke, arthritis, joint pain, digestive illnesses, and stress-related disorders. The high sulfate content of Epsom salts helps heal carbuncles, boils and other skin ailments when poultices are used.
Added to water, Epsom salts also reduce the skin wrinkling or pruning that occurs during extended bathing.
Epsom salt soaks are relaxing and for this reason are reported to benefit children with autism. According to Dr. Elizabeth Waring, an expert in the field of autism, the low sulfate levels of children with autism may account for the benefits seen when Epsom salt baths are used. Dr. Rosemary Waring found that people with low or no ability to convert compounds to sulfate have problems handling environmental chemicals, some medications, and even some chemicals produced within the body. Included are people with autism spectrum disorder and other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and chemical sensitivities
Epsom salts are known to soften skin, reduce excess fluid, and detoxify the body.
In addition, Epsom salsts make an effective face scrub and a hair volumizer. Mixed with cold cream, Epsom salts can be used to scrub facial skin. Mixed with essential oils such as lavender, Epsom salts make a perfect bath salt. Epsom salts can also be applied directly to the skin and used as a body scrub during the bath.
To clean hair and remove excess oil add nine tablespoons to Epsom salts to one-half cup of shampoo. Apply to hair and rinse with cool water followed with an apple cider vinegar rinse. For a volumizer, combine equal parts of Epsom salts and hair conditioner in a small saucepan and heat over a burner set on low. When the crystals dissolve, apply to hair for 20 minutes and rinse.