Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is a popular remedy for a wide range of ailments. It is even included in the World Health Organization’s list of essential medications needed in a basic health system.
Epsom salt is particularly prevalent as a dissolvable bath salt, though there is little evidence to show that the human body can absorb the minerals in Epsom salt through the skin.
Many of the positive effects of an Epsom salt bath are likely to be consequential. For example, feeling relaxed after a warm Epsom salt bath may be the result of a warm bath rather than the salt.
There may also be something of a placebo effect due to the popularity of Epsom salt. It is in oral consumption, however, that the most benefit—and risk—is to be found. But can you eat Epsom salt?
Can You Eat Epsom Salt?
The shorter answer is yes; you can eat Epsom salt. The longer answer is that you shouldn’t without first seeking medical advice. Epsom salt can be useful in certain situations, but it can also have severe and life-threatening side effects.
Only ever take Epsom salts in the manner directed on the label, or as your doctor prescribes. Taking more than the recommended dose will almost always be unpleasant at best.
To take Epson salt, dissolve it in water and drink immediately. It may help to add lemon juice for the taste. You shouldn’t take it if you are pregnant and are due to deliver your baby soon.
There a few reasons why you might want to take Epsom salt orally, so let’s take a look at them.
Magnesium is an essential element in the human body. It is the fourth most abundant mineral and is key to hundreds of biochemical reactions, so it’s not surprising that a lack of it can cause problems.
Epsom salt can help to address such a deficiency when taken as a magnesium supplement. You should only ever take Epsom salt in this manner if directed to by your doctor, and then only in the dosage that they prescribe.
Magnesium taken orally can help with constipation as it acts as a kind of laxative. Epsom salt, as it contains magnesium, can be ingested to relieve constipation; however, it should be noted that it can also have some unappealing side effects, such as bloating as well as the obvious.
Be aware that diarrhea of any kind will cause dehydration.
If you do ingest Epsom salts, be sure to drink plenty of water as dehydration is a serious risk.
As mentioned above, you should always seek medical advice before taking Epsom salts, but this is especially the case if you have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, a bowel obstruction, or a perforated bowel.
If you experience rectal bleeding after taking Epsom salts, or you do not have a bowel movement within six hours of taking it, immediately stop taking them and call your doctor.
There may be more severe issues that need attention, and taking Epsom salt will almost certainly exacerbate those issues.