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.
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.
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.