Overview of Magnesium Sulphate:
Magnesium sulfate (or sulphate) is a chemical compound containing magnesium and sulfate, with the formula MgSO4. It is often encountered as the heptahydrate, MgSO4·7H2O, commonly called Epsom salts. Anhydrous magnesium sulfate is used as a drying agent. Since the anhydrous form is deliquescent and therefore harder to weigh accurately, the hydrate is often preferred when preparing solutions, for example in medical preparations. Epsom salts have traditionally been used as a component of bath salts. HISTORY In 1618 a farmer at Epsom in England attempted to give his cows water, but they refused to drink it due to its sour/bitter taste. However the farmer noticed that the water seemed to heal scratches and rashes. The fame of Epsom salts then began to spread. Epsom salt was originally prepared by boiling down mineral waters at Epsom, England, and later prepared from sea water. In modern times, these salts are obtained from certain minerals such as epsomite. GENERAL USES Magnesium sulfate is used as in bath salts, particularly in flotation therapy where high concentrations raise the bath water’s specific gravity, effectively making the body more buoyant. This property is also used to restore some Lava lamps damaged by being shaken by exchanging the water and adding drops of a concentrated solution until sustainable buoyancy is reached. Traditionally, it is also used to prepare foot baths, intended to soothe sore feet.
1)Anhydrous magnesium sulfate is commonly used as a desiccant in organic synthesis due to its affinity for water. During workup, an organic phase is saturated with magnesium sulfate until it no longer forms clumps. The hydrated solid is then removed with filtration or decantation. A number of other inorganic sulfate salts, sodium sulfate and calcium sulfate for example, may also be used in the same way.
2)Agricultural use: In agriculture and gardening, magnesium sulfate is used to correct magnesium deficiency in soil (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule). It is most commonly applied to potted plants, or to magnesium-hungry crops, such as potatoes, roses, tomatoes, and peppers. The advantage of magnesium sulfate over other magnesium soil amendments (such as dolomitic lime) is its high solubility.
3)Medical use: Oral magnesium sulfate, or magnesium hydroxide, is commonly used as a saline laxative. Epsom salts are also available in a gel form for topical application in treating aches and pains.
4)Indications for its use are: Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium concentrations in the blood) As a bronchodilator after beta-agonist and anticholinergic agents have been tried, e.g. in severe exacerbations of asthma.In fact, recent studies have revealed that magnesium sulfate can be nebulized to reduce the symptoms of acute asthma (Blitz et al 2005). In the UK, it is commonly administered via the intravenous route for the management of severe asthma attacks A 2004 research study by Rosemary Waring at the School of Biosciences, Birmingham University, UK has shown that both magnesium and sulphate are absorbed through the skin when bathing in 1% solution. Magnesium sulfate is used to treat pre-eclampsia in laboring women Magnesium sulfate can also delay labor in the case of premature labor, to delay Preterm birth Solutions of sulfate salts such as Epsom salts may be given as first aid for barium poisoning Magnesium sulfate paste has been used as an agent for drawing (dehydrating) boils and carbuncles.