Epsom Salt for Gout: Does it Really Work?

Epsom Salt and Its Benefits

Epsom salt got its name from the town of Epsom in England where it comes from. It is produced from the spring which mixes porous chalk with non-porous clay. The salt is touted for its numerous benefits although there is not exactly enough science to back it up.

You’ve probably heard about it from your grandmother or from a friend suffering from a muscle ache. Heck, it can be anyone at this point considering that epsom salt is so easily accessible and practically everyone uses it. If you have a bath salt in your home, there’s a great chance epsom salt is one of the main ingredients.

This is because epsom salt is known to soften skin, relieve pain, reduce swelling, relieve itchy skin, heal bruises, and relax the muscles. The benefits are supposedly because of the compounds found in epsom salt which are magnesium and sulfur.

Magnesium sulfate or epsom salt is said to be easily absorbed through the largest organ of the body, the skin. As a result, you enjoy a host of benefits that go beyond sore muscles and bad skin. You also get relief from inflammation, constipation, headaches, fibromyalgia, insomnia, and heart problems.

Wait What?

I can already hear the objections.

“So all I have to do is soak myself in an epsom salt bath and all these problems will go away? Anything applied topically surely can’t have that much of an impact on our health!”

Of course not! You’re probably wondering, is epsom salt really that powerful that it can penetrate the skin to help with these conditions? The honest truth is that we don’t know. And so do millions of other epsom salt users. However, these are the same people who claim the salt’s benefits.

Sadly, there is no evidence that epsom can help the conditions we outlined. Well, there is one by a doctor in the University of Birmingham in England, Dr. R.H. Waring who conducted a study on epsom salt.

The volunteers were asked to do epsom salt baths for 12 minutes at a time for 7 days. Each participant received different amounts of magnesium sulfate. After the study, they found that all the participants had experienced a significant rise in plasma magnesium and sulfate level of 1% epsom salts.

Despite their findings, the study received harsh criticism from the community because they did not include a control group. Because of that, it does not count as solid evidence that prove epsom salt’s efficacy.


NutriGout Dietary Supplement for Gout

Epsom Salt for Gout

Gout is the buildup of uric acid in the joints that cause pain and inflammation. As mentioned earlier, epsom salt is said to be one of the best topical cures for inflammation. Again, no conclusive evidence shows why but if you look through many health forums, most gout sufferers will swear by epsom salt as one of the best home remedies.

There has been a lot of debate over the salt’s efficacy for inflammation but when you’re experiencing something as painful as a gout attack, you will try anything just to make it go away.

So let’s make one thing clear here: there is no scientific evidence proving that epsom salt relieves gout symptoms. The recommendation we provide here is based solely on the thousands of accounts shared by fellow gout sufferers who have found relief from the treatment.

Ways to Use Epsom Salt for Gout

Unlike regular table salt, epsom salt cannot be consumed by mouth so please do not mix it in any of your drink remedies for gout. Instead, you can apply it to your bath routine. Whether you are suffering from a gout attack or not, you can enjoy an epsom salt bath. Certain people have exercised their creativity with this remedy. Some add vinegar or baking soda while others add essential oils to make the experience a truly relaxing one.

If you’re new to epsom salt baths, just start by pouring 2 cups of epsom salt under warm running water to help dissolve it. Take note, it shouldn’t be too hot. Just warm enough that it’s comfortable. The heat is supposed to help open up the skin’s pores assisting with the absorption.

Whenever you have a gout flare, you want the absorption to be concentrated on the area where the pain is. The condition often strikes the big toe so in this case, you will need to do a foot soak on a basin filled with water mixed with a cup of epsom salt. But if it’s in an awkward position like the elbows or wrists, you can wrap the affected joint in a towel soaked in water mixed with epsom salt. Let this stay in the affected area for at least 20 minutes.

To really maximize the benefits of epsom salt for gout, you might want to consider taking magnesium supplements as well. This compound is needed by the body in large amounts but sometimes, such requirements cannot be met through diet alone.

Some Things to Consider

Before using epsom salt for gout, there are a couple of things you need to consider. Epsom salt is not for everyone and therefore should be used moderately.

If you are pregnant or diabetic, you cannot undergo an epsom salt bath. If you have a high blood pressure or heart disease, make sure that you talk to your doctor first. Epsom salt can affect the magnesium balance in the body that’s needed to keep your heart functioning.

Thinking about ingesting epsom salt? Only do it for laxative purposes. If not, you are better off soaking in it. There is no benefit to eating epsom salt other than that.

So is Epsom Salt Worth a Try?

There is nothing to lose in giving it a try. Epsom salt is cheap and available in most supermarkets. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work, but hey, you get silky soft skin anyway!

Have you tried epsom salts yourself? What are your observations? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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    6 replies to "Gout and Epsom Salt"

    • Mike

      I’m soaking my hand right now in a mixture of warm water, epsom salt and baking soda. I’ve had a gout flareup in my index finger joints/knuckle, left hand for almost two painful weeks. Thank God it’s subsiding. I can say that this mixture absolutely does ease pain and swelling. After a 20 to 30 minute soak I have much less pain with a greater range of motion. It’s absolutely wonderful right before bed. I highly recommend it!

    • michael murray

      I’ve just had a positive experience of using epsom salts which I would like to share with readers. I know. (R, in this case = 1.) On Monday, I couldn’t walk a yard except by moving on tip toe, a small, hard lump near to the skin on my heel, without any sign of an abrasion or cut, became painful to stand on. Having to wait several weeks to get to see a doctor in my local practice, I went instead to “Dr Google,” to learn that this sore spot had all the hallmarks of what is called a (gout) typhus – a sign of advancement in my pre-existing gout condition. I then searched for possible remedies to tide me over until I could get to see a doctor and came across epsom salts as a traditional home remedy. Result of only 3 soaking of the affected area this day (Friday) : I can tolerably stand on the offending foot. In the interest of medical science I should declare I took a Colchicine mini-tablet each day also (being Irish) to be sure to be sure. Which did the trick? Either or both? I don’t care. And I do know only the symptoms are being dealt with. But I will be able to walk to my appointment with the doctor, when the austerity-stricken NHS can see me.

      • michael murray

        Aaaaah! Not gout typhus! Gout tophus! (singular of tophi). I should stick this laptop in the epsom salts – or, more appropriately given its provenance: Apple Cider Vinegar?

    • Sharon

      Hi Spiro! I am a Greek girl from Chicago (60 years young) and just experienced my 1st gout issue. it was on the top of my left foot…very rare place to have this….it was diagnosed from a blood draw, and even tho my level was very low, the pain was horrible! stabbing, shooting pains on the top of my foot made me unable to sleep or get comfortable. i did get a prescription from my doctor but now the pain is gone. thank u 4 offering your experience to me and to teach me what is good and what is not……respectfully , Sharon

    • Ray

      Hi, I have used alternatively cold water and then hot water to help with my feet when experiencing an attack. Adding the Epsom salts to the hot soak definitely has helped. Also if you can, massage the area affected depending on your pain threshold. I find the greater the intensity of the massage, the faster the breakdown of the uric acid crystals in the affected area.

    • Rajesh Munglani

      Hi I have found that taking four of your tart cherry extract capsules and two of ashwandha in the morning and then the evening has abolished the tingling and joint pain I used to experience after eating, especially red meat. Joints feel so much better .

      In fact there is a biochemical basis for this as both inhibit xanthine oxidase. I hope others find this combination of help .

      Chem Biol Interact. 2006 Dec 15;164(3):174-80. Epub 2006 Nov 7.
      Suppressive effect of Withania somnifera root powder on experimental gouty arthritis: An in vivo and in vitro study.

      Rasool M1, Varalakshmi P.
      Author information
      The effect of Withania somnifera L. Dunal root powder on paw volume and serum lysosomal enzyme activities was investigated in monosodium urate crystal-induced rats. The levels of beta-glucuronidase and lactate dehydrogenase were also measured in monosodium urate crystal incubated polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMNL). A significant increase in the level of paw volume and serum lysosomal enzymes was observed in monosodium urate crystal-induced rats. The increased beta-glucuronidase and lactate dehydrogenase level were observed in untreated monosodium urate crystal incubated polymorphonuclear leucocytes. On treatment with the W. somnifera root powder (500/1000 mg/kg body weight), the above changes were reverted back to near normal levels. W. somnifera also showed potent analgesic and antipyretic effect with the absence of gastric damage at different dose levels in experimental rats. For comparison purpose, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) indomethacin was used as a standard. These results provide evidence for the suppressive effect of W. somnifera root powder by retarding amplification and propagation of the inflammatory response without causing any gastric damage.

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