Magnesium sulfate is used to treat pre-eclampsia, headaches and constipation. It can also reduce boils, abscesses and inflammation. More commonly known as Epsom salts, magnesium sulfate can be dissolved in water for soaks or combined with other ingredients and taken orally or intravenously.
Discovered in the mineral waters of Epsom, England, magnesium sulfate is a naturally occurring substance that forms from precipitation of vapors in limestone caves and hot springs. It is a colorless or translucent white mineral with shades of pink and green.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is involved in bone metabolism, muscular function and the production of glucose. Certain medications, absorption problems and lifestyle habits can lower the amount of magnesium in the body, leading to magnesium deficiency. These stores can be replenished with magnesium sulfate. Though magnesium sulfate is indicated for reduction of inflammation, it is not appropriate for treatment of traumatic injuries such as bone breaks. It should be used in conjunction with appropriate medical care to relieve pain.
In plants, magnesium is required for the process of photosynthesis, while sulfur affects growth and color of the plant. Magnesium sulfate is commonly added to the soil to achieve an ideal balance of these nutrients.