Epsom salts

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Epsom salts Magnesium sulphate, originally found in a mineral spring in Epsom, Surrey, England; acts as a purgative because the osmotic pressure of the solution causes it to retain water in the intestine and so increase the bulk and moisture content of the faeces.

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Epsom salts, common name for magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, MgSO4·7H2O, a water-soluble bitter-tasting compound that occurs as white or colorless needle-shaped crystals. It was first prepared from the waters of mineral springs at Epsom, England; it also occurs as the mineral epsomite. Epsom salts is used medicinally as a purgative; it is also used in leather tanning, mordant dyeing, and as a filler in cotton goods and paper.

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Ep·som salts • pl. n. crystals of hydrated magnesium sulfate, MgSO4.7H2O, used as a purgative or for other medicinal use.

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Epsom salts See EPSOMITE.