How to use Epsom salts as a laxative

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How to use Epsom salts as a laxative
Epsom salts look just like table salt but it is, in fact, magnesium sulphate. (Apostolos Diamantis/iStock/Getty Images)

Many bathroom cabinets or kitchen cupboards have a packet of Epsom salts stashed at the back. One use for Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) is as a colon cleanser or saline laxative for relief of sporadic constipation. Although Epsom salt is effective as a laxative, you should only use this remedy occasionally, or when absolutely necessary, says the NHS.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Epsom salt
  • Spoon
  • Glass
  • Lemon juice

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  1. 1

    Pour 240 ml of drinking water into a glass. The directions on the Epsom salts box will tell you to dissolve the doses into half a glass of water, but 227 grams in a glass of this size is a quantity that works.

  2. 2

    For people 12 or older, measure 1 to 2 tsp of Epsom salts into the glass. For those ages 6 to 12 use about half a teaspoon.

  3. 3

    Squirt some lemon juice into the water to flavour the mixture, as much as it takes to make it drinkable for you. Stir the mixture until the ingredients have completely dissolved.

  4. 4

    Drink all of the mixture, then wait near the loo for it to begin working. You should have a bowel movement anywhere from 30 minutes to six hours after you drink the mixture.

  5. 5

    Take another dose if the mixture does not help you the first time. Wait at least four hours before repeating the process and limit yourself to two doses a day.

Tips and warnings

  • The mixture typically works quickly. It is best to take it when you are free to go to the loo.
  • The use of Epsom salts as a laxative is not recommended for children under the age of 6.
  • Negative side effects can occur if you overuse the product's recommended doses.
  • Only use this product for a period of one week or less. Do not use it if you are experiencing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain. Do not use this treatment during pregnancy, if you are nursing, if you have a kidney disease or if you are taking medication (unless directed by a doctor).
  • Do not take Epsom salts as a laxative until you have discussed it with your GP.

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