If you are suffering from a cold, you are likely wondering what you can do to relieve your symptoms and feel more likely yourself again. There is an array of cold remedy medications available at your local drugstore, but there are lesser known treatments that may work just as well, or perhaps even better. Epsom salt is one treatment for a cold that has been used for hundreds of years and may help you find relief.
Symptoms of a Cold
The common cold is caused by a virus that affects your respiratory tract. While it is usually harmless, symptoms such as runny nose, an itchy and sore throat, coughing, sneezing, congestion, mild body aches, watery eyes, mild fever and fatigue can be uncomfortable. If you have a high fever, sinus pain or swollen glands, call your doctor to determine if you have something more serious than the common cold.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is a drug that is used primarily to treat constipation. Drugs.com indicates that Epsom salt may also be used to treat other conditions, but should only be used under the direction of a doctor. In treating constipation, Epsom salt is taken orally by dissolving it in a liquid. Epsom salt can also be used topically to treat some of the symptoms of your cold.
Epsom Salts and Your Cold
Larry Trivieri and John W. Anderson, authors of "Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide," report that using Epsom salt as a rub will increase your circulation and may help break up congestion. Used in this way, Epsom salts are slightly dampened and rubbed in a circular motion across the wet skin on your chest. Rubbing continues vigorously until your skin begins to turn pink. Following your salt rub with a warm shower may also help you get some much needed sleep, note the authors.
Who Should Not Use Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is not for everyone and should only be used under the guidance of a doctor, whether you take it orally or use it as a salt rub for your cold. Drugs.com notes that you should not use Epsom salt if you have severe stomach pain or if you are nauseated or vomiting. You should also avoid Epsom salt if you have a perforated bowl, have a bowel obstruction, if you have colitis or if you have had a change in bowel habits that have lasted longer than two weeks. Individuals with anorexia, bulimia, kidney disease or diabetes should not use Epsom salt without the recommendation of a doctor.
- Drugs.com: Epsom Salt
- "Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide"; Larry Trivieri and John W. Anderson; 2009
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.