How to do an Epsom Salt Cleanse: Benefits and Risks

Epsom salts are a natural way to have a safe and effective colon cleanse and can help in eliminating toxic waste that may lead to chronic medical conditions. 

A colon cleanse can help enhance gut health and immunity in the body.

Sounds interesting? Read more to understand what the Epsom salt cleanse is all about, how it is done, its pros, and cons.

Epsom Salt Cleanse

About the Epsom Salt Cleanse

Epsom salt is so named after the town Epsom, in Surrey, England where it was found in natural springs in 1618. Since then, it is being used for medicinal purposes and healing. (1)

Though Epsom salt has a strong semblance to table salt, it is entirely different in composition and taste. While table salt is sodium chloride, Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. It is actually a combination of magnesium, sulfate, and oxygen.

So the big question is ‘Can you cleanse your body with Epsom salt’? 

Epsom salt colon cleansing is thought to be effective owing to its main content magnesium, a mineral that is vital for many body functions. (2)

The Epsom salt flush is used as a quick one-day cleanse that is used to purge the body of toxic buildup. This enables better digestion, immunity, and energy.

The Epsom salt cleanse does not require any pre-preparation and can easily be done over the weekend with normal food intake or before making healthy changes to your diet.

Summary: Discovered in the town of Epsom, England, Epsom salt is a combination of magnesium, sulfate, and oxygen. A one-day cleanse can help better magnesium absorption, muscle relaxation, digestion, and immunity.

Benefits of the Epsom Salt Cleanse

Colon cleansing is a process where fluids are used to flush out accumulated waste matter and gases from the colon.

Colon cleansing can involve using supplements, usually liquids or powders, that help flush out toxins from the colon. Laxatives, herbal teas, enemas, and Epsom salt are some of the common products used in a colon cleanse.

Epsom salt has been used for decades as a soothing salt bath to relieve muscle soreness and stress, for topical application on acne, minor wounds, and oral intake for laxative effects.

Listed here are some of the benefits of an Epsom salt cleanse.

Absorption of Magnesium

Since Epsom salts contain the mineral magnesium, that is essential for many important processes in the body. Hence, Epsom salt cleanses may help fill some deficits of magnesium.

Research suggests that Epsom salts can enhance magnesium levels in the body, though the dose should be restricted.

High amounts of oral Epsom salts can cause extreme excretion of magnesium despite the absorption. (3)

Summary: Epsom salts can increase magnesium levels in the body but should be taken in safe doses to prevent diarrhea and excessive magnesium excretion.

Effective Relief From Constipation

Epsom salts are known to be beneficial in treating constipation. It has been approved by the FDA for use as a laxative but in recommended doses.

The magnesium ions in Epsom salt exert an osmotic effect that causes water retention in the intestinal lumen. This effect of magnesium increases the fluidity of the contents inside the intestine that results in a laxative action. (4)

The laxative effect caused through the release of digestive polypeptides and nitric oxide helps the colon to get rid of tough fecal wastes and toxins accumulated over time. This leaves a cleaner and healthier digestive system.

Summary: Epsom salt is FDA-approved as a laxative and it works by drawing more water into the colon to facilitate purging of waste matter and toxins from the body.

May Help Regulate Glucose Levels

Research has shown that magnesium deficits can cause fluctuations in blood sugar leading to diabetes.

However, this is reversible with magnesium supplementation, which can help manage this condition better. (5

The magnesium ions present in Epsom salt can help regulate blood glucose levels. Hence an Epsom salt cleanse not only ensures a cleaner colon but also magnesium nourishment for the body.

Summary: Magnesium deficits can cause diabetes and intake of Epsom salts may help provide the magnesium that can improve blood glucose levels.

Helps Treat Anxiety and Depression

Magnesium deficiency has been known to affect serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain.

Enhanced magnesium absorption through the ingestion of Epsom salts may enhance serotonin production.

Studies show that increased magnesium can help relieve anxiety, lift mood, and aid in the treatment of depression. (6)

Summary: Magnesium additions through Epsom salts may help enhance the production of serotonin that helps in mood regulation and relief from depression.

How to Use the Epsom Salt Cleanse

Epsom salt is a great way to clean the colon but again the emphasis is on not going overboard.

Consumption of Epsom salts for a rinse usually depends on age and the product also will carry appropriate instructions regarding dosage. The per-day dose can be taken at one shot or spread across the day.

The usual method of using Epsom salts is as below:

  • Mix Epsom salt in at 8 oz of plain or warm water. Adults and children above 12 years can use about 2-6 level teaspoons. 1-2 teaspoons are recommended for children between 6 and 12 years of age.
  • Lemon juice can be added for taste or the mixture can be consumed plain and then followed up with a glass of lemon or herbal tea.
  • It is advisable to start with lower doses to assess effectiveness and reactions if any.
  • Bowel movements can occur between 30 minutes and 6 hours or continue for an entire day depending on the dosage.
  • As the process involves drawing water into the intestine for cleansing, plenty of water intake is mandatory and beneficial to avoid dehydration.
  • The cleanse is complete once the bowels are releasing just water.
  • One can repeat the cleanse every 3 months for effectiveness but must maintain a minimum gap of 30 days between each cleanse.

A word of caution! If bowel movements do not occur despite the maximum dose of Epsom salt use, one should discontinue the process and check with a doctor for alternatives.

Summary: The cleanse is done for a single day and not exceed 2 days. Dosage should be as per age and instructions on the pack followed with adequate water. The effect can last between 30 mins and 6 hrs till only water is released.

The Side Effects of Using an Epsom Salt Cleanse

Epsom salt in recommended doses is generally considered safe for use by both adults and children above 6 years. But, it is not recommended for pregnant women. 

Though it contains minerals, it has a profound laxative effect and hence more liquid intake is advised on the days of oral intake of Epsom salt.

Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, bloating, cramps, and mild-to-moderate diarrhea are some of the symptoms that are experienced during oral ingestion of Epsom salts. (7)

Hypermagnesemia (a condition with high magnesium levels) can cause complications such as blood pressure or cardiac arrests. However, Epsom salts may induce severe hypermagnesemia in rare cases in people with normal renal functions. (8)

Frequent use of Epsom salt as cleanse or gargles can result in an overdose of magnesium than can result in a coma. (9)

Sensitivity and toxicity of ingesting too much Epsom salt should be understood before using it. Epsom salt can be fatal to people with a history of renal impairments, cardiovascular problems, and even otherwise normal people. (10)

Epsom salts are used in baths and as a plant fertilizer. So, utmost care should be taken to buy a food-grade quality of this salt for internal use.

Also, following instructions on the pack by the manufacturer for safety would be a good idea.

Summary: Epsom salts can have undesirable side effects when taken orally. Gastrointestinal problems are common but individuals with medical conditions should exercise precautions or consult a practitioner before using Epsom salts.

The Bottom Line

Epsom salt colon cleansing is a process that involves the oral ingestion of Epsom salts to eliminate toxins and waste matter from the body.

Epsom salt, discovered in the town of Epsom, England, is a combination of magnesium and sulfate and has been used for decades to relieve medical conditions.

Its primary ingredient magnesium is proven to be beneficial for the support of various physiological conditions in the body. Hence, using an Epsom salt cleanse may help fill magnesium deficits in the body.

Acting as a natural laxative, approved by the FDA, Epsom salt provides effective relief from constipation. Other proven benefits include regulation of blood sugar levels and treating depression.

The Epsom salt cleanse can be done in just a day by adults and children over 6 years. Adhering to recommended doses is safe and drinking plenty of water during the cleanse can lower the chances of unpleasant intestinal issues.