Epsom salt breaks down into the simple ingredients of magnesium and sulfate. The compound mixture of magnesium sulfate forms a pure saline solution, also called salt. Epsom salt, like many salts, serves versatile purposes; the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, recognizes its value as a food item, laxative and solution for healing cuts and wounds.
Epsom salt enjoys widespread use for many purposes in the United States and internationally. One of its primary and most important uses is as a dietary supplement. Epsom salt contains the naturally occurring minerals of magnesium and sulfate. Humans do not naturally produce either substance and must ingest both from secondary sources.
Researchers at the Epsom Salt Council say that many Americans, up to nearly 70 percent, do not receive sufficient amounts of magnesium. Although a small mineral, magnesium supports crucial life functions like enzyme regulation and protein formation.
As a dietary supplement, experts at the National Institutes of Health suggest 2 to 4 teaspoons daily for children aged 13 and up and adults, and 1 to 2 teaspoons daily for children aged 6 to 12. In diluted form, Epsom salt sees use as a laxative. It even enjoys popularity as a gardening tool by promoting plant growth and health.