Epsom salt, chemically known as magnesium sulfate, is a mineral that is named after the spring in Surrey, England, where it was first discovered. Epsom salt has ample benefits and is used topically most of the time, however, consuming Epson salt is just as beneficial for health. Epsom salt can be used for a variety of purposes such as beauty and skincare, household cleaning, and outdoor gardening.
Epsom salts are also used for agricultural purposes, however, the ones produced for human consumption are marked with “USP” (United States Pharmacopeia). They also contain drug facts which indicate they meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards.
Can You Drink Epsom Salt?
The most common question about this mineral is can you drink Epsom salt? Yes, you can. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Epsom salt as a laxative. According to Bruce Fife, author of The Detox Book: How to Detoxify Your Body to Improve Your Health, Stop Disease and Reverse Aging, drinking Epson salt also helps to detoxify the liver.
A high intake of Epsom salt is dangerous and it is highly recommended to refer to the directions on the package before consumption. The recommended intake of Epsom salt is the amount mentioned on the package, which counts as one dose. It must be mixed with eight ounces of water, and few drops of lemon juice for taste.
Drinking Epsom salt may interact with medications such as antibiotics, and so it is advised to stop taking any medication or supplements two days prior to consumption. Epsom salt benefits include flushing out toxins, cleansing the liver, improving blood sugar levels, preventing blood clots, and many others.
How to Use Epsom Salt for Constipation
Consuming Epsom salt is said to be extremely beneficial for constipation. It acts as a laxative while relaxing the digestive muscles. Prior to consumption, ensure that it’s the right product and read the instructions on the package carefully.
Directions on how to prepare Epsom salt for constipation:
- Make the Epson salt solution using warm water as salt dissolves easily in warm water.
- Mix one teaspoon of the salt with 4 ounces of water.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice to improve its bitter taste.
- Drink the solution immediately and in one sitting.
- If the results are not effective, repeat the process after four to six hours.
The recommended intake for adults is two teaspoons of salt dissolved in a cup of water or fruit juice. Children above one year must take half teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of water or fruit juice. It is always recommended to consult a doctor before drinking Epsom salt to relieve constipation.
How Epson Salt Works for Constipation
Epsom salt consumption for constipation works within 30 minutes to six hours. Epsom salts draw water into the colon and creates water pressure to flush out the waste from the body. However, more research is needed on this, as there is no evidence as such to prove this benefit.
How to Drink Epsom Salt for Detox
Drinking Epsom salt also helps in detoxification. Before you opt for an Epsom salt detox, the following points need to considered.
- When using Epsom salt for detoxification, you need two days—one for detoxification and the second for resting.
- A a kidney cleanse must be done prior to the Epsom salt detox to avoid nausea
- Take milk thistle supplements post-detox to boost liver health
- On the day of the detox, have a no-fat breakfast and no-fat lunch (e.g. toast and honey, or cereals and vegetables)
Penelope Oaks Colville, author of the book, The Multiversa Strategy, suggests to stop eating and drinking by 2:00 p.m.
Directions on how to prepare Epsom salt for detox:
- Add four tablespoons of Epsom salt to three cups of water and stir well to dissolve.
- Place the solution in the refrigerator to chill.
- Drink ¾ cup of the chilled Epsom salt mix at 6:00 p.m. (add some vitamin C powder if desired).
- Pour ½ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of grapefruit juice into a jar and shake well. Drink this mixture at 10:00 p.m. and take four omithine capsules along with it.
- Retire for the evening and go to sleep.
- The next morning, drink ¾ cup of the Epsom salt mix and return to bed.
- Drink the last of the Epsom salt solution two hours later.
- Do not eat immediately after consuming the solution. Wait two hours and start with a fruit juice.
- After an hour, eat light foods and completely avoid fried food and meat.
- Eat a regular dinner.
Be sure to consult a doctor prior to opting for this detox.
Side Effects of Epsom Salt
A high intake of Epsom salt can cause life-threatening side effects. Common side effects of Epsom salt include diarrhea and upset stomach. Be sure to consult a doctor if these side effects persist with time. Also, if you experience any of the below side effects, consult your doctor immediately.
- Allergic reactions including rashes, hives, itching, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties; as well as swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
- Dizziness, flushing, or faintness
- Muscle weakness or muscle paralysis
- Severe drowsiness
When to Avoid Epsom Salt
Epsom salt should not be used as a laxative if you have any of these symptoms:
- Severe stomach pain
- Perforated bowel
- Severe constipation
- Bowel obstruction
- Irregular heartbeat
- Toxic megacolon
- Sudden change in bowel habits lasting two weeks or longer
People with sulfur allergies should not consume or apply Epsom salt, as they may experience skin irritation or itchiness. Frequent Epsom salt baths for more than 30 minutes can rob the body of moisture, causing dehydration, and at times, diarrhea. So, don’t overdo it.
For those taking cardiac medications or ciprofloxacin, it is highly recommended to avoid Epsom salt, as it may interact with these medications. After drinking Epsom salt, if you do not have bowel movements or if you experience rectal bleeding, consult your doctor immediately. These symptoms might lead to more serious conditions.
People suffering from heart or kidney problems should not drink Epsom salt, as there is a possibility of electrolyte imbalances and toxicity from magnesium or phosphorus. Older people have higher chances of gastrointestinal side effects and magnesium toxicity. If you are suffering from diabetes, kidney disease, or eating disorders, it is recommended to consult your doctor before drinking an Epsom salt solution.
Epsom salt must not be consumed during pregnancy, and especially if you are expecting to deliver the baby within two hours. It is considered a pregnancy category D drug that can harm the unborn baby. Prior to drinking Epsom salt, tell the doctor if you are pregnant, or planning to be pregnant. If consumed for more than five to seven days during pregnancy, Epsom salt can cause low levels of calcium and bone problems in an unborn baby.
Communicate with your doctor if you have taken magnesium sulfate prior to any surgery, even in the case of dental procedures.
Other Benefits of Epsom Salt
In addition to drinking Epsom salt as a laxative, other benefits of Epsom salt include using it as bath soak, foot soak, to draw out splinters, relieve sore muscles, and to ease the pain of sprains and bruises. However, these require more research and lack sufficient evidence. On the whole, Epsom salt seems to be beneficial not only for health, but also in beauty and skincare as well as cleaning stains on floors and walls.
By and large, Epsom salt can be used either topically or to drink. However, be sure to keep a time frame to do that, and do it in consultation with your doctor. Do not use it in excess quantities, and do not take Epsom salt baths for more than 30 minutes.
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“Epsom Salt for Constipation,” Home Remedies For Life web site, January 20, 2016; http://homeremediesforlife.com/epsom-salt-for-constipation/.
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