Boric acid, or sassolite, is found mainly in its free state in some volcanic districts, for example, in the Italian region of Tuscany, the Lipari Islands and the US state of Nevada. In these volcanic settings it issues, mixed with steam, from fissures in the ground. It is also found as a constituent of many naturally occurring minerals – borax, boracite, ulexite (boronatrocalcite) and colemanite. Boric acid and its salts are found in seawater. It is also found in plants, including almost all fruits.
Borax salt is a soft white crystal that dissolves easily in water. It originates naturally in evaporite deposits produced by continuous evaporation from stationary lakes.
Source Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boric_acid
Boric acid was first prepared by Wilhelm Homberg (1652–1715) from borax, by the action of mineral acids, and was given the name sal sedativum Hombergi (“sedative salt of Homberg”). However, borates, including boric acid, have been used since the time of the ancient Greeks for cleaning, preserving food, and other activities.
Boric acid was first recorded in the U.S. as an insecticide in 1948 for pest control of cockroaches, termites, fire ants, fleas, silverfish, and many other insects. The product is generally considered to be safe to use in household kitchens to control cockroaches and ants. Boric acid is added to salt in the curing of cattle hides, calfskins, and sheepskins. This helps control bacterial development and helps control insects.
In combination with its use as an insecticide, boric acid also has preservative qualities. And it is that the borax prevents and destroys the dry and wet rot existing in the woods. Borate-based treatment concentrates can be used to prevent the growth of silt, mycelium, and algae, even in marine environments. Also in medicine, the preservative of urine sample bottles in the UK is boric acid. And in natural cosmetics, this is also one of the uses that we are going to give it given its great effectiveness and its few side effects.
Boric acid can be used as an antiseptic for burns or minor cuts and is sometimes used in ointments and bandages. Boric acid is applied in a very dilute solution as an eye wash. Dilute boric acid can be used as a douche to treat bacterial vaginosis due to excessive alkalinity, as well as candidiasis due to non-albicans candida. As an antibacterial compound, boric acid can also be used as a treatment for acne. It is also used as a prevention of athlete’s foot, by inserting talc into socks or stockings. Several preparations can be used to treat some types of otitis externa (ear infection) in both humans and animals.
Apparently, with borax salts, that ancient Hippocratic medical claim that a substance is poison or medicine depending on the dose used gets clear.
On the next page, major wonders of borax salts and the main element that composes them, boron, are still spoken. The page is in Dutch, but contains comprehensive information on the medicinal properties of borax as well as plenty of bibliographic links to support this information. It is worth going to the page and translating it with Google Translate, for example. https://natuurlijkegenezing.eu/index.php/borax-boron/
A brief summary of the information that this page offers us:
“Boron (borax) is an increasingly popular natural remedy for a wide range of health problems. Borax is often used as a natural cleaning agent and is also easy to find and very inexpensive. Borax is used to treat widespread chronic diseases, including autoimmune disorders, hormonal problems, and chronic pain. As an anti-inflammatory agent, borax effectively treats arthritis, gout, swollen gums and other inflammatory diseases. In addition, the substance eliminates infections such as cystitis, urinary tract infection and others. Borax has also been used to treat Candida, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and osteoporosi.”
Some of the research mentioned in the bibliography of this page is found in the American National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9638606/ We include the “Abstract”:
“Boron is ubiquitously present in soils and water. Associated with pectin it is essential for vascular plants as a component of cell walls, and it stabilizes cell membranes. It is required for the growth of pollen tubes and is involved in membrane transport, stimulating H (+)-pumping ATPase activity and K+ uptake. However, a high boron concentration in the soils is toxic to plants and some boronated derivatives are used as herbicides. An absolute requirement for boron has not been definitively demonstrated in animals and humans. However, experiments with boron supplementation or deprivation show that boron is involved in calcium and bone metabolism, and its effects are more marked when other nutrients (cholecalciferol, magnesium) are deficient. Boron supplementation increases the serum concentration of 17 beta-estradiol and testosterone, but boron excess has toxic effects on reproductive function. Boron may be involved in cerebral function via its effects on the transport across membranes. It affects the synthesis of the extracellular matrix and is beneficial in wound healing. Usual dietary boron consumption in humans is 1-2 mg/day for adults. As boron has been shown to have biological activity, research into the chemistry of boronated compounds has increased. Boronated compounds have been shown to be potent anti-osteoporotic, anti-inflammatory, hypolipemic, anti-coagulant and anti-neoplastic agents both in vitro and in vivo in animals”.
The World Health Organization is also clear about this. We include below the translated conclusions of the WHO document (WHO: World Health Organization) on the toxicity of boron and its salts.
“Boron is a naturally occurring element that is found in nature in the form of borates in the oceans, sedimentary rocks, coal, shale, and some soils.
Boron is an essential micronutrient for higher plants, with interspecies differences in the levels required for optimum growth.
The symptoms of boron deficiency in plants include cessation of root and leaf growth, necrosis, retardation of enzyme reactions, and reduced pollen germination. Boron deficiencies in terrestrial plants have been reported in many countries.
Comparison of the environmental no-effect concentration (1 mg/litre) with the general ambient environmental boron levels indicates that the risk of adverse effects of boron on the aquatic ecosystem is low”.
Also, the American Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registration
makes it clear that naturally occurring boron and boron salts do not present toxicity problems in general in the doses that we all absorb naturally through food and water.
After reading all this research that supports the therapeutic effects of borax and its bioavailability in the appropriate doses, we cannot understand how there are so many pages that deal with the subject of borax in a pseudoscientific way and that have spread a bad reputation of borax that lies in its toxicity at high doses or in case of inhalation.
“Borax in the usual form of sodium tetraborate decaborate is not extremely toxic, which means that a large amount would need to be inhaled or ingested to produce health effects. As for pesticides, it is one of the safest chemicals available. A 2006 U.S. evaluation of the chemical found no signs of exposure toxicity or evidence of cytotoxicity in humans. Unlike many salts, exposure of the skin to borax does not result in skin irritation. However, this does not make borax categorically safe. The most common problem with exposure is that inhaling the dust can cause respiratory irritation, particularly in children. Ingesting large amounts of borax can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”
As everybody knows, there are many plants and natural substances that, in the right doses, have a beneficial effect on the body. However, in high doses they can be toxic like poisons. This is the case, for example, of the plant digitalis purpurea whose active ingredient (digitoxin) is an effective medicine against heart problems. https://cienciasycosas.com/2011/08/30/digitalis-purpurea-una-planta-saludable-que-paso-a-ser-venenosa/
“Today it is known that an amount greater than 2 mg of digitoxin causes the heartbeat to go at a lower rate, but soon arrhythmias occur until reaching a cardiac arrest that in the vast majority of cases ends up leading to death, by inhibiting the activity of the sodium-potassium enzyme ATPase, which causes an immediate increase in intracellular calcium levels. However, several drugs used by patients with heart problems are still based on digitoxin, being highly valued by many cardiologists.”
It is a pity that due to the “possible risks” of intoxication with borax used in high doses we cannot benefit from its multiple properties in natural cosmetics where a very small amount of this substance is needed to obtain spectacular results, both in the elaboration of handmade soaps and in its combination as an adjuvant of emulsions in creams and homemade body lotions.
And, despite its unjustified bad reputation, the industrial applications of borax do not stop growing:
As far as we are concerned, we are going to deal with its applications at the level of natural cosmetics.
USES OF BORAX SALT IN NATURAL COSMETICS
In natural cosmetics we will use, in principle, borax salt and not boric acid which is somewhat stronger and there is no need.
Borax is a soft white crystal that dissolves easily in water. It originates naturally in evaporite deposits produced by continuous evaporation from stationary lakes.
In natural cosmetics it is possible to acquire it in powder or in the form of granules that are white or almost colorless. Among its physical characteristics, borax salt is soluble in hot water and glycerin and insoluble in alcohol. And its melting point is 75ºC. Its ph. is 9.24 (1% solution at 20ºC temperature).
Cosmetic properties: Bonding agent between vegetable waxes. It acts as a co-emulsifier together with beeswax (they must be found in a good proportion to obtain a stable emulsion).
It can act as a preservative and when losing evaporative water in dry weather or elevated temperatures, it acts as an antiseptic.
It behaves as an anionic and therefore has cleaning and detergent capacity, or as a cationic, and acts as a conditioner. This function depends on the concentration used. In addition, it softens the water, facilitating the suspension of soap particles in the bath water and leaving a softer skin.
It is for these properties that it is widely used to emulsify soaps or balance the pH of cosmetic products since it reduces their alkalinity while acting as a preservative and increasing the viscosity of the final product.
COSMETIC USES IN GENERAL:
Thus, borax is widely used in shampoos and hair lotions, cleansing creams for the hands, moisturizing ointments, oral elixirs, astringents, lotions to combat wrinkles, beauty masks, detergents, softeners, soaps …
AS A CO-EMULSIFIER OF BEESWAX IN WATER-CONTAINING EMULSIONS
Proportions of use: The ratio of beeswax and borax is between 16:1 to 20:1. The typical ratio is 18:1. (This ratio keeps a type A/O emulsion stable, or aqueous emulsion, since the aqueous phase predominates). It is advisable never to exceed 5% of borax on the total product.
In the case of lotions, it can be used as a co-emulsifier of guar gum to form viscous gels and lotions. It is always incorporated into the aqueous phase of an emulsion, when it has already gained some temperature. In addition, creams emulsified with beeswax and borax do not need any additional preservative agent.
And in this line the recipe of facial cream emulsified with beeswax and borax that we propose:
27 g of almond oil.
17 g of a hydrolat of our choice or mineral water.
7 g beeswax.
0.3 g borax* (which acts as an emulsifier as well as a preservative).
Optionally, a few drops of vitamin E
*Borax is necessary to properly emulsify beeswax, otherwise a good emulsion would not be possible and the phases would be separated. As you know, beeswax cannot be used to emulsify creams with aqueous phase.
Melt the beeswax and the oil in a water bath. At the same time, we heat the hydrosol to the same temperature and add the borax to it. Both phases must be at a maximum of 70 degrees.
When the mixture of wax and oil is completely melted, we add the mixture of water and borax little by little and without stopping beating vigorously. Now we can put the mixture in a container with cold water and continue beating until our emulsion is completely condensed.
This cream is kept for weeks at room temperature and without the need to add any other type of preservative aparte of the borax, which has a high index of skin tolerance so it is susceptible to be used on the most sensitive skin.
In any case, preparing small amounts of the product and packaging them in glass containers will extend its shelf life and keep our cream in better condition.
So simple is to prepare this facial cream with aqueous phase and beeswax. Beeswax is a natural emulsifier that combined with borax provides numerous properties, including promoting the synthesis of skin collagen and preventing solar aging of the skin.
It’s amazing to see how this cream is so simple and easy to make. If you prepare it, it will surely become one of your favorites because of the softness it brings to your skin.
(6) http://www.arthritistrust.org/Articles/Boron and Arthritis.pdf