The common name for magnesium sulfate, Epsom salts take their name from the city in England where they were originally extracted from the local bitter spring. A primary component in bath salts, Epsom salts are also used in cosmetics, athletics, medicine, and agriculture. In medical applications, Epsom salts are used to create intravenous solutions of magnesium for patients demonstrating a mineral deficiency. Additionally, it can also be consumed mixed with water as an orally ingested saline laxative or osmotic purgative. The cosmetics industry uses Epsom salts in lotions to improve their water solubility, and athletes often add epsom salts to hot baths as a means of soothing sore muscles. Agricultural uses of Epsom salts include managing the magnesium and sulfur content in soil, primarily when growing magnesium-hungry plants such as lemon trees, roses, potatoes, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes. Due to the high water solubility of magnesium sulfate, Epsom salts provide an excellent method for rapidly increasing the magnesium content in soil.
Personal Care and Cosmetics