Parasites are a common problem, affecting humans and animals alike. However, while animals are routinely treated for worm infections, treatment for humans can be less straightforward, since human wormers are not readily available, and the condition may be difficult to diagnose. People may suffer from worm infections without knowing it, but some disputed reports suggest that Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) may be useful in cleansing the body of some parasites.
The controversial naturopath Dr. Hulda Clark has written extensively on human parasites, of which there are many different types: common nematode (worm) infections include roundworm, pinworm and tapeworm, as well as the liver-dwelling flukes, but there are many different varieties of parasitic worms that are easily caught from meat, pets, the soil, unclean water supplies or unwashed fruit and vegetables. Dr. Clark believed that parasite infections affected everybody, and were the indirect cause of all disease, including cancer and HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Clark advocated a number of internal body-cleansing techniques to rid the body of parasites and/or stones, such as kidney stones and gallstones. Her liver and gallbladder flush particularly recommends taking Epsom salt as part of the cleansing process. Epsom salt is 100 per cent magnesium sulphate, and, according to Dr. Clark's theories, magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant, thus enabling any stones to pass easily from the relevant organs without pain. Dr. Clark suggested that stones passed from the liver and gallbladder had a core of clumped bacteria, suggesting that the stones had been formed from dead parasites (for example, liver flukes). Unfortunately, many of Dr. Clark's ideas have now been discredited, and the stones passed during the liver flush may in fact be bile stones generated during the flush itself.
Epsom salts earned the name from the English town of Epsom, where the mineral was originally sourced from spa water. Epsom salts are a potent source of magnesium, and can be taken internally, although since deaths from accidental Epsom salt overdose have been recorded, great care should be taken. Excess magnesium is removed from the body by the kidneys alone, so those suffering from renal problems are warned to be especially cautious of taking Epsom salts internally.
Since parasite infection can deplete mineral reserves, sufferers may exhibit symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Bathing in Epsom salts is a proven way to increase blood magnesium levels safely, and remains a popular way of using the mineral, especially since overdosing through oral use is a real and dangerous possibility. However, magnesium is just one of a number of depleted nutrients caused by parasite infection, and so Epsom salts are not found to be particularly beneficial.
Epsom salts are also shown to be laxative in effect (again because of the muscle relaxant properties), and maintaining good bowel health and regularity is vital in the elimination of parasitic worms. However, a good diet rich in fruit and vegetables and sufficient water intake should solve constipation problems, and is better for overall health. In short, while Epsom salts may show some benefits, there are no compelling reasons to use Epsom salts in the eradication of parasites.