Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crystalline Magnesium Sulfate: Why is it called Epsom Salt? Should We Keep it at Home?

Today morning one of my chemical engineering batch mates of the nineteen seventies, forwarded me a web knowledge piece link which helped me in refreshing some long forgotten facts about the usefulness of a commonly available household ingredient of my childhood days. 

This is magnesium sulfate, which is generally known as Epsom salt. Now-a-days, people do not hear much about this, but it is a common ingredient in many of the value added remedies and skin conditioners marketed by the several pharma and cosmetic companies in various countries. During my childhood days, this name was very familiar for various reasons.

I thought of sharing this information with those of my readers who might be interested to know more.

Epsom salt is called so, because it used to be obtained commercially from the mineral spring waters of a place called Epsom in the United Kingdom.

Magnesium sulfate is a crystalline compound of magnesium, sulfur and oxygen with its chemical formula MgSO4. During crystallization Magnesium sulfate entraps seven molecules of water and hence, the common crystalline Epsom salt has the formula MgSO4.7H2O.

Detailed information about this chemical can be obtained from the Wikipedia article on Magnesium sulfate.

Uses and the benefits of Epsom salt can be obtained from the website of salt works.

The Sea Water is the Source for 
Many Salts Including Magnesium Sulfate

Those who are desirous of using this salt for various house hold health uses, especially as a skin conditioner, can have a look at this web page for the many fold health uses of Epsom salt. More such information can be seen in this wikihow page on the uses of Epsom salt.

Epsom salt can be used for use in float tanks at home for those who are interested in having a dead sea experience at home with the added advantage of stimulating their nerves, body and skin. Float tanks are bath tubs using an concentrated Epsom salt solution in place of water. You can have more information about this in this Wikipedia article on isolation tank (float tank). Float tanks using Epsom salt solution helps people to float in the water tub and it is medically proved to have beneficial effects in reducing body pains, stress and improving skin condition.

There are many advantages if we keep some Epsom salt in ready stock in our homes. Some of the advantages are given in this web page. 

There are several industrial chemical suppliers in India who either produce this chemical or market it. This web page gives a list of such industrial suppliers of Epsom salt in India.

It may be of some use to learn more about this substance and its uses. Now it is possible for us to get this salt and its related items and information books online from online suppliers like Amazon India. [Get Epsom salt and info books from Amazon !]

It may be interesting to know that people in many Western nations use products commonly known as bath salts for mixing with the water they use for bathing. These are nothing but Epsom salt prepared specially with certain colors and perfumes. Unfortunately, the same word is also used to denote certain dangerous recreational drugs. It is there fore important that we know and understand the difference between the two. The former is harmless and desirable substance made out of Epsom salt, while the latter are illegal, harmful and undesirable substances coming in the category of drugs!

Incidentally, it is possible now for those in India also to get the harmless and beneficial bath salts of various scents and colors to enhance their bathing experience. [Click this to get bath salts from Amazon!] 

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