Borax is a boron compound, known popularly as sodium tetraborate. Though it has other forms which vary from each other according to the water contents. Other variants of borates such as disodium tetraborate, sodium borate are also called borax. Borax mainly comes in a powdery form which looks like white as a whole but comprises colorless crystal particles. The primary uses of borax were limited to only cleaning agents, but it is becoming popular as remedies for different health issues.
But it has some risk factors which demand proper attention. Borax has high alkalinity that causes skin irritation. Different case studies suggest that it also has negative impacts on the fetus. Fatigue, vomiting, renal dysfunction are a few striking side effects of using borax. Don’t get disheartened at these negative sides. It has some brighter sides to justify its health benefits. It can help you in getting relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Congestion and Tonsillitis, Swollen Throat, Mouth and Tongue Sores, Erectile Dysfunction, Painful Swollen Red Eye, Skin Aging, Menstrual Problems, Urinary Infections, Testosterone Levels, Womb Inflammation, Cancer to some extent. One has to be careful about not taking a high amount of injected borax. And avoid any sort of direct contact with borax-based products. These precautions are must before using it.
Borax is a boron salt deriving directly from the mines. Then, naturally found borax goes through a sophisticated refine process and finally looks like white powder. Actually, it consists of colorless crystals. These crystal particles dissolve instantly in water in average temperature. That’s why it performs significantly as an important component of cleaning recipes. With the advent of modern medical science, borax has earned a spot in the elite club of natural remedies that can cure many diseases simultaneously. So, borax is actually natural chemical found in lakes, soil, rocks, plants and most interestingly animals. Read on to know about the components of borax.
What is borax composed of?
Borax is basically composed of sodium, oxygen, and boron. These three chemical elements form a salt which is sodium tetraborate. Borax can easily be transformed into boric acid and other borates with the help of hydrochloric acid and other catalysts. Sodium tetraborate is often associated with a different number of water molecules. As per the presence of water content, it is named differently as follows.
- Anhydrous sodium tetraborate (Na2B4O7)
- Sodium tetraborate pentahydrate (Na2B4O75H2O)
- Sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Na2B4O710H2O)
The decahydrate version of borax is the most stable and suitable to use. Its actual formation is Na2B4O7·10H2O, chemically, the better formulation is Na2[B4O5(OH)4]·8H2O. Because it contains the [B4O5(OH)4]2− ion. These atoms make borax extremely soluble in ethylene glycol. It dissolves moderately in diethylene glycol and methanol, slightly in acetone. Borax dissolves slowly in cold water, but the solubility rate goes higher significantly with the increase of temperature.
Borax is a natural compound extracted from the bottom of seasonal lakes. One can get raw borates from the lakes by evaporating them repeatedly. Turkey, California, Southwestern United States, Chile, Bolivia, Tibet, and Romania are the known sources of natural borax. Other natural sources might be out there yet to be discovered. Natural borax becomes usable after being processed by recrystallization. Synthetic borax can be created in laboratories using other boron compounds.
Busting the myth: Borax and boric acid are the same
Some mistakes become so popular that it is quite hard to make people understand the real fact. The confusion regarding borax and boric acid is one of that sorts of misunderstanding. A large number of people think these two are the same. And they have the reasons to believe so. Both compounds have boron in common, and the uses are also the same to some extent. Boric acid and borax both can kill insects, thus, often used interchangeably. The laymen often get confused to distinguish the two, whereas they are entirely different.
Borax is a sodium salt of boric acid. The name is also different. Borax is known as sodium borate (Na2B4O7), boric acid is known as hydrogen borate (H3BO3). The basic uses of these two compounds are also different. Borax is widely known as a cleaning agent and works as welding flux, buffer solution, natural remedies to several health problems, etc. Boric acid works as a food additive, medical antiseptic, pesticides and also used in industrial lubrication, tanning, etc. Borax can produce boric acid with the help of hydrochloric acid. The chemical reaction is as follows.
Na2B4O7·10H2O + 2 HCl → 4 H3BO3 + 2 NaCl + 5 H2O
Borax uses for health
Borax is undoubtedly useful for health. But the ingestion process should be regulated by a professional physician. A small and proper amount of borax will not harm anyone. Some people wonder if drinking borax has side effects. Of course, it’s a bad idea to drink borax without knowing the appropriate dose. Mix one quarter teaspoon borax with one quart of pure drinking water and drink it once a day. But this drinking process is associated with some other supplements. And sometimes, different herbs and ayurvedic element are also blended together to get the best effect of borax. The notable health benefits of borax are given below.
Borax: Health Benefits
After knowing all the risk factors, some people still opt to take borax as a remedy for several diseases. Besides, safety measures are enough to get rid of the side effects. Borax has a great set of health benefits, though a few of them lacks concrete evidence. A large amount of borax is toxic to the human body. If the dosage is right on the money, borax uses can be associated with all of the following health conditions.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Congestion and Tonsillitis
- Heals swollen Throat, Mouth, And Tongue Sores
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Painful Swollen Red Eye
- Skin Aging
- Menstrual Problems
- Urinary Infections
- Testosterone Levels
- Female Libido
- Womb Inflammation
- Cancer Therapy
Then, discuss them one by one with subheadings and paragraphs and bullet lists.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a very common chronic disease. Borax can help the patient greatly in RA treatment. The anti-inflammatory power of borax has the ability to cure conditions like RA caused by the inflammation of some tissues. Studies suggest that people with a low boron concentration in their bones are prone to arthritis. Boron prevents arthritis by ensuring the maximization of calcium level. Boron can also diminish the effect of the following problems.
- Teeth and gum arthritis
- Arthritis of the spine
- Juvenile arthritis
- Still’s disease
Congestion and Tonsillitis
Lung congestion is very painful to endure. And a cough with stuck phlegm is something worse than a curse. Guess what? The appropriate dosage of borax can save you from all this nuisance. But this cure has a significant problem. It includes ingestion of borax with other herbs. And borax isn’t suggested for internal use. That’s why internal use of borax should be regulated by an expert. Otherwise, the cure may turn into a toxic element.
Heals swollen Throat, Mouth, And Tongue Sores
Swollen throat, mouth get cured with the golden touch of borax. It can also cure tongue sores. The mechanism is very easy. Borax causes the toxins to disappear rapidly from the affected area. It brings down swelling and eases the pain related to the swelling and sores. Only borax can’t do much in this regard, an especial paste is required. One should apply the paste right at the affected spot to get the best remedy. This paste comprises:
- Natrii Sulfas Exsiccatus
- Borneolum and
This remedy involves drinking in the process. You have to ingest borax moderately which is reported as a quarter teaspoon. Mix it with one quart of pure drinking water and drink it once a day. But this process is associated with magnesium supplements. If the process goes on perfectly, it can prevent male impotency. Moreover, it helps the body do more by performing the following things.
- Stabilizes magnesium and calcium in the blood.
- Increases hormone production
- Normalizes internal fungal growth.
Painful Swollen Red Eye
Borax can cure a swollen red eye. But, eyes are one of the most sensitive human organs. So, the cure linked to eyes must undergo with the professional help of a physician. Different ingredients combinedly make an eyedrop which is very handy in case of curing swollen eyes. The components of this eyedrop are as follows.
- Borax and
- Natrii Sulfas Exsiccatus
This attribute of borax can top the list of benefits to the women if they know the facts. Borax can actually work as a skin aging deterrent. It can prevent the loss of moisture from the skin and deter the elasticity which is considered as a sign of aging. Borax is the hidden components of many cosmetic products such as cold cream, skin moisturizer. It dissolves well in water, beeswax, olive oil. Anti-aging creams consist these elements associated with borax. The mechanism is very simple. Borax protects the bonding of water and oil in cream and softens the water making a positive impact.
According to ayurvedic researches, borax helps the women ease menstrual problems. It comes into effect by normalizing the uterine and menstrual function. This is beneficial for the women facing a problem with an irregular or absent period, commonly known as dysmenorrhea or amenorrhea. Borax can also cure Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS. Like other applications, in this case, too, it cannot be applied directly without the association of different herbs or Ayurveda products. It clears the obstruction in the uterine organs and brings balance to the system.
According to homeopathy, borax can be of great use in curing the urinary infection. These types of infections are very painful. The magic of borax can lessen your sufferings within a few hours or so. Borax has effects on the uterus, stomach and the urinary bladders. Thus, it can treat urinary dysfunctions. People with cystitis can also use borax to get relief from the ache in the urine bladder.
Some people believe that boron has the ability to enhance the testosterone levels in males. Though there has been no concrete evidence nor any proven mechanism to support their claim. Still, some bodybuilders and athlete were taking boron and its supplement as a testosterone enhancer. Surprisingly, recent studies have proved the effectiveness of boron. It increases the testosterone level in male to a high degree.
Since boron supplements are working successfully as a testosterone enhancer and prevent erectile dysfunction, it has been associated with female sex-drive too. People believe that a proper dose of boron increases the libido of a woman. Boron deals with a hormone that may benefit the women increasing female libido. But boron has a terrible impact on the fetus. So, pregnant women should stay far away from any sort of boron compounds.
Some women suffer from womb inflammation. They can take the service of boron. The process is easy. Mix borax with your lukewarm bathwater and soak in it twice a day. If any women face leucorrhea problem such as the profuse discharge of egg-white-like substance, they are recommended to soak in it 3-4 times a day. Borax can also cure some other similar problems. Such as:
- Coagulated menstruation
- Problematic sexual intercourse
- Bloody discharge from the vagina
Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) is a popular treatment while curing head and neck cancer and primary brain tumor. Boron-10 is used in this therapy. So, directly borax can’t do much in this regard. People consider borax as an active element of cancer therapy because it is a boron compound.
For household and other uses
Though people use borax mostly as cleaning agents, it has proven uses in other sectors too. The presence of borax is inevitable in almost every household cleaning product. ’20 Mule Team Borax’ is a favorite laundry booster worldwide. Borax is also useful as a pesticide; its toxic feature can kill small pests and insects. It can control the pH level of a swimming pool by working as a buffering agent. It is also used to make slime, a gooey product that contributes significantly to the enjoyment of the kids. Kids like to use slime to make different things. This wide variety of uses surely helps borax stand out from other similar chemicals. But one must keep in mind the facts regarding safety and health issues
Borax has been used for many reasons. The variety of its uses has made it a great chemical compound. Medical science gets the service of borax as a polymer bed used to detect hyperglycemia. Borax also helps the students of chemistry and biochemistry by being used to make buffers in the laboratories. In chemical reactions, borax is effective as borate ions.
Iron and steel welding workshops use borax ammonium chloride to promote the melting process as it works as a flux. Borax contributes to the agriculture sector too. It helps the soil get rid of boron deficiency. It is an ingredient of enamel gazes. Pottery, ceramics, glass, etc. include borax on the making process. Car owners find it very useful to stop car radiator and engine block leaks. Previously it was used as a food additive in different countries, but most of the countries banned borax to be used in food items.
Side effects of Borax
The debate “To use or not to use borax, that is the question” will never get a happy ending because it’s evident that borax has some side effects with some fantastic benefits. One has to make the call whether he will make an issue with the negative sides or grab the positive aspects of borax. The risks are a few while using it as a cleaning agent or in an industrial setting. Using it for health issues is the primary concern. Some precautions and first aid measures are worthy of consideration to get the wide range of benefits by using borax.
Borax is slightly harmful if there is any chance of skin contact, eye contact, inhalation, and ingestion. Skin and eye contact with borax cause irritation. Breathing may be affected if inhaled. And, ingestion has the potentiality of causing known and unknown problems. It works as an insecticide, that refers to the toxic attribute of borax. Different animal studies suggest that it has a negative impact on both male and female reproductive system and is harmful to the fetus. Though these researches are based on animal studies, humans aren’t free from risks. Studies have proved that the toxicity of borax can cause a genetic defect in human. One can take precautions before using borax for health. And, this Safety Data will help him greatly to get the precise idea. We have enumerated the major side effect of borax in the following paragraphs.
Borax has a skin irritant element. It causes a skin rash if exposed directly to the skin because the skin can easily absorb this chemical. Eyes are also susceptible to borax exposure. It causes burning sensation, pain and redness to the eyes. It also causes mouth infection, nausea, vomiting, and respiratory problems to some extent. Even organizations like Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends excluding borax from personal care products.
Both borax and boric acid can affect the natural level of hormones, especially, in male human and animals. the male productive system reacts negatively to the exposure of borax. It decreases the sperm count and sex-drive of a man. If the ingestion or inhalation happens to a great extent, it reduces the level of testosterone hormone. People working in the borax mines are prone to this hormone disruption. Borax has less impact on the female reproductive system, but it affects the natural development of the fetus. The studies regarding hormone issues depend on animal screening. Human screening is a must to get the actual insight of this side effect.
Most of us have an allergy without knowing that we actually have them. The symptoms are so common that people often don’t care about these difficulties. Borax causes some allergic symptoms to anyone exposed to it either by ingestion, inhalation or skin contact. The allergic interactions caused by borax are as follows.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Itching and swelling of the skin
- Red and watery eyes etc.
Numerous studies prove that borax is toxic but only a few states that it’s toxic only when ingested in large amount. Salt and baking soda also contain the same amount of toxicity. The external use of borax isn’t that much harmful to humans except for the allergic reactions. But internal application must be monitored because of the toxicity. Our body can instantly absorb borax, which makes it more vulnerable to health. So, we shouldn’t intake borax excessively.
Children are the most unsafe before any adverse situations. They have a less robust immune system and fall sick easily. The toxic attribute of borax is very dangerous for them. 5 to 10 grams of borax ingestion can affect the health of a toddler. Diarrhea, severe vomiting, renal dysfunction, etc. are the probable symptoms of the baby who ingested a large amount of borax. All these things together can cause death to the young child. Even an adult may also die due to excessive intake of borax. For an adult, the estimated amount is 10-25 grams.
A fact disclosed
People have caused enough damage to the nature of mother earth; no further damage shouldn’t be done. Protecting both our environment and health should be the sole motto of our daily life from now on. On this serious note, borax was marketed as a green product by some of the companies to get the attention of the customers. This marketing was a huge hit as people started using borax as a household cleaner thinking it as a green product. Know the facts and decide whether borax is a green product or not.
Borax is not a GREEN product
Here, the word green refers to the eco-friendly feature of any product. But this is a lie. Borax is a toxic and skin irritant product which can cause even death if consumed in a large amount. The international organization, Environmental Working Group, states that “Borax is not a green cleaning ingredient, as many have been led to believe.”
Natural but not eco-friendly
Natural products are meant to be eco-friendly. Borax is completely natural, but it cannot be labelled as eco-friendly because it derives from an open-pit mine. The excavation, drilling and the heavy transport involved with the mining is bad for nature, and it is destructive to some extent. Though the borax mine situated in California is considered as one of the safest and cleanest mines in the world, the measuring parameters are fit for mines here. Our household environment is a lot more different.
How to use borax safely without fear of so many health issues?
Now you know both the benefits and the side effects of using borax. I am sure these excellent benefits are intriguing you to go for the uses of borax. And you are thinking of the best practices to use borax safely. Here is an effective list of precautions given for you to avoid the health hazards.
Do not consider it good for kids and pets
Ingesting borax is bad for everyone regardless of their ages. But adult people don’t eat anything without knowing what it is. Kids and pets don’t have the sense to distinguish between what is safe and what is not to eat. So keep the borax-based products away from the babies and pets. It isn’t good for kids and pets.
Never apply this to open wounds
Borax gets easily absorbed into the skin. It is harmful to healthy skin and, for wounds, this is literally more than dangerous. So, cover the wounded spot of your body before dealing with borax. Wear gloves while using borax. Borax can delay the healing process of the wound.
Keep your eyes, mouth, and nose safe
Make sure that no amount of borax penetrates your body. Inhalation and ingestion are the two notable ways of borax’s entering into the body. So, use mask, glasses, and gloves to keep borax away from your body to minimize the risks of borax exposure.
Other cautions and points to remember
There are some other precautions which can help you in achieving safety from the side effects of borax. One can get access to the uses of borax after taking these precautionary measures. Otherwise, it will do a little good to the persons using borax for many reasons. One should remember the following points before using borax.
- Avoid the personal care products that have borax.
- Rinse the area with water after washing it with borax.
- Wash both hands after using borax so that it doesn’t get on your skin.
- Rinse the clothes washed with borax before drying them.
Borax has significant uses for sure. With proper precaution and safety measures, it will earn a place on the list of most useful naturally found chemical compounds. Protect the skin from direct contact with borax and regulate the amount of borax ingestion. Then, you are free from all side effects of borax uses. No matter how you drink it or use it, the benefits will get to the max level.