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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8034084, 11 pages
Review Article

Sulphurous Mineral Waters: New Applications for Health

1Professional School of Medical Hydrology, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical Hydrology, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Francisco Maraver

Received 31 January 2017; Revised 17 March 2017; Accepted 28 March 2017; Published 6 April 2017

Academic Editor: Marisa Colone

Copyright © 2017 Jose Manuel Carbajo and Francisco Maraver. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sulphurous mineral waters have been traditionally used in medical hydrology as treatment for skin, respiratory, and musculoskeletal disorders. However, driven by recent intense research efforts, topical treatments are starting to show benefits for pulmonary hypertension, arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis, ischemia-reperfusion injury, heart failure, peptic ulcer, and acute and chronic inflammatory diseases. The beneficial effects of sulphurous mineral waters, sulphurous mud, or peloids made from sulphurous mineral water have been attributed to the presence of sulphur mainly in the form of hydrogen sulphide. This form is largely available in conditions of low pH when oxygen concentrations are also low. In the organism, small amounts of hydrogen sulphide are produced by some cells where they have numerous biological signalling functions. While high levels of hydrogen sulphide are extremely toxic, enzymes in the body are capable of detoxifying it by oxidation to harmless sulphate. Hence, low levels of hydrogen sulphide may be tolerated indefinitely. In this paper, we review the chemistry and actions of hydrogen sulphide in sulphurous mineral waters and its natural role in body physiology. This is followed by an update of available data on the impacts of exogenous hydrogen sulphide on the skin and internal cells and organs including new therapeutic possibilities of sulphurous mineral waters and their peloids.