Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health


What is borax?

Borax healing and preventative properties

Food preservative

Borax as a remedy

Where to get borax

Internal uses

External uses

Visitors' experience

Borax toxicity


What is borax?

Borax (sodium tetraborate hexahydrate or sodium borate) is a naturally-occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water. It has been used as a remedy for over 4000 years. Most commercially-produced borax is mined from deposits produced by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. It is found in large quantities in the Western United States, in Mediterranean countries, Kazakhstan, and the Tibet region of China. Turkey is one of the largest commercial producers of borates.

Soil. In a healthy soil, it is the organic matter that holds boron. If there is insufficient organic content in a soil, any boron will quickly leach away. Adding soluble nitrogen fertilisers to soils causes them to lose their carbon (organic) content. This means that conventional chemical farming does enormous damage to soil structure by removing the organic carbon content. Most of the minerals in the soil are gradually depleted, but the most severe effect is on the boron content of the soil which rapidly depletes. Unfortunately it is not possible to spray boron compounds back onto the soil, because they are deadly to ants and some other insects. The best way to restore boron in soil is to add it to compost, and then add the fermented compost back to the soil. This means that most non-organic farms around the world today are severely deficient in boron.

Most people only get between 1.7 and 7 mg of boron per day, mainly from fruits, nuts, legumes and vegetables. This level represents a severe deficiency, with the deficiency being worse for people living in those areas where there is little or no boron in the soil. All conventionally-grown fruit and vegetables are low in boron. An apple grown in a chemically fertilised orchard may contain less than 1 mg of boron. In contrast, an organic apple grown in boron-rich soils may have 20 mg of boron. The traditional French diet provides about 36 mg of boron per day, and most other traditional diets using organic (no chemical fertiliser) fruits and vegetables would deliver a similar amount of boron.

Boron tends to concentrate in the bone, tooth enamel, nails, spleen and parathyroid gland. It is quickly and easily excreted, primarily through the urine. This means a regular dietary source of boron is required, as few reserves are held in the body to cover periods of deficient boron intake.

Borax contains about 11% boron by weight.

Borax healing and preventative properties

Borax is a potent and effective remedy that deserves to be widely used, and should be in every home. It is so cheap and effective that pharmaceutical companies have done their utmost to discredit it. They have managed to get it completely banned in Europe. In America and Australia it is banned for therapeutic use, but is still available in the laundry section of supermarkets. However in countries such as China, Japan, Turkey and Russia, where the big Western pharmaceutical companies do not have the same power to lobby (bribe, threaten and lie to) lawmakers and regulatory agencies, it is widely acknowledged and used. See What the law allows pharmaceutical companies to do.

A limited amount of boron is absolutely essential for good health. Here are some of its properties (at different concentrations):

Food preservative

Borax is an excellent food preservative. (24) It has strong antifungal properties, killing yeasts in the food and preventing the proliferation of moulds and bacteria. It also increases the elasticity and crispiness of foods, and prevents foods such as shrimps and other seafood from darkening.

Borax and boric acid are safe and effective food preservatives. Boron is probably the most effective food fungicide available. In addition, it is able to combat aflatoxins in the body after they are ingested. (19)

Borax was safely used as a food preservative for many decades, and even longer in countries such as China and Turkey. In the mid-1920's many countries began legislating against the use of borax as a food preservative, though these restrictions were eased during World War II. In 1961 a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) found that boric acid and borax were not suitable for use as food additive, with certain exceptions such as in caviar in the European Union. These findings were based on false and flawed research, part of the pharmaceutical campaign against the use of borax as a natural remedy.

Borax as a remedy

Borax has successfully been used as a remedy for a variety of ailments. (7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16) You can use it for both prevention and treatment.

Where to get borax

Borax purchased in Australia

In some countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the USA, you can buy borax in the laundry and cleaning section of your supermarket. Brand Names include 20 Mule Team (USA, Mexico), Hovex, Bare Essentials (Australia). Avoid any borax that has added ingredients or scent. You can also buy boron tablets online.

You may be concerned about the warnings on borax containers and some of what you read on the internet. However, borax's toxicity is about the same as sodium chloride (table salt).

Borax is mined and is commonly sold as 99% or 99.5% pure technical or agricultural grade. Possible impurities consist of common elements and salts such as calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride, carbonate, bicarbonate, sulphate and phosphate. So there is no "food grade" borax available or necessary, as long as the supplier has not added any perfumes, colours or additives.

How to take Borax internally

Because of the hostility of the pharmaceutical industry, there is a scarcity of research on the effects of boron and how it affects metabolism. One paper concluded that humans need a minimum of 0.5 - 1.0 mg of boron per day to function properly. (12) An ongoing maintenance dose of 3 to 6 mg per day may be used for general good health and the prevention of ailments, especially if you live in an area where the soil is boron-deficient.

To make the borax concentrate, dissolve one level teaspoon of borax crystals / powder in one quart/litre of water.

To get a dose of 7 mg of boron per day, mix one teaspoonful of concentrate with water and take it twice daily with meals.

Take one teaspoon of concentrate with water per day for optimal health, if you have no specific problems.

For arthritis, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, joint pain or stiffness, or low hormone production take three teaspoons of concentrate with water per day for several months or longer until your ailment has sufficiently improved.

For fungal infections including candida, mycoplasmas, removing fluoride from the body. Take 15 to 25 teaspoons of the concentrated solution per day. Mix it with other drinks or food, and space it out over the whole day. This will provide a dose of about 50-85 mg of boron per day. Always start with a low dose and gradually increase it. Take regular breaks from the full dose, either taking the full dose 4 or 5 days per week as long as required, or going back down to the maintenance dose for one week each month.

When you consume borax it seems to work synergistically with magnesium, so keep your magnesium intake up whilst taking borax. See Magnesium.

In my ebook Grow Youthful there is more detail on how to use borax for a variety of specific ailments, and the wonderful outcomes you can expect.

How to use Borax externally

Saturate water with borax crystals (ie keep adding them to water until no more dissolve). Apply the borax solution to the problem areas on the skin, and surrounding hair.

Some people have found this borax remedy is more effective by adding 1% hydrogen peroxide to the above solution.

Apply the solution to the skin, and leave it on without rinsing. It tends to cause drying, so later you may want to apply a gentle skin oil.

Interestingly, dog mange is caused by demodex mites and the effective treatment is the above 1% hydrogen peroxide and borax saturated solution applied topically.

Borax is absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes. It is not a good idea to bathe in it unless a measured quantity is added to the bath, because large quantities can readily be taken up through your skin in a strong solution.

Visitors' experience

See how visitors to Grow Youthful have used borax to treat arthritis, for example. Contribute your own experience at Ailments & Remedies.

Borax toxicity

We only need very small quantities of boron for good health and to prevent diseases such as arthritis. In large quantities it has adverse effects, the same as any other compound.

Borax and boric acid have very low toxicity. Borax's LD50 (median lethal dose) score is 2.66 g/kg in rats, and boric acid is similar. (11) To put it in perspective, table salt is only slightly less toxic with an LD50 of 3.75 g/kg in rats according to the Merck Index.

A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for borax and for table salt is in the References below (21), both obtained from the same company. Compare the Toxicological Information and Health Hazard Data on the two sheets. You will see that table salt (sodium chloride) is 50-100% more toxic than borax! You will also see that the references they use to imply that borax has effects on fertility require absurdly high doses, and at those doses the studies are still not conclusive.

It is likely that toxicity symptoms will develop only after taking several grams (thousand mg) per day for several months. Signs of boron toxicity are diarrhoea, lethargy, nausea and vomiting. Eventually, also dermatitis and liver damage. Excess boron can worsen or trigger conditions like ADHD, allergies, asthma, autism, cystic fibrosis, dyslexia, liver and oesophageal cancer. Excessively high doses of boron tend to increase the blood levels of calcium and oestrogen, lower blood glucose, vitamin B6 and zinc.

A personal experience and warning, February 2023

I had a fungal infection in a toe nail in my left foot, and the infection spread to the bottom of my left foot and between the toes. It was not athlete's foot because there was no smell, but the skin in the infected areas bubbled and peeled. I treated this fungal infection by spraying the whole of my left foot with a borax solution twice a day. The solution was made by dissolving two teaspoons of borax in a litre of water.

After two months the nail was much improved and the fungal infection on the skin of my left foot had nearly disappeared.

One morning when doing my daily exercises, the muscle in my left ankle collapsed. There was no pain whatsoever, but the muscles in my left ankle had no strength and just turned to jelly.

The only likely cause was the borax that I was spraying on my left foot, so I immediately stopped spraying the borax on the skin of my left foot. However, I continued taking my daily dose of borax orally in a drink, as I have done for decades.

The next day my left foot was significantly improved, and 48 hours later it was back to normal.

This leads to several conclusions:

  1. Borax is readily absorbed through the skin.
  2. After borax is absorbed through the skin, it can affect the muscles or nerves or tissues beneath where it was absorbed.
  3. It is possible to overdose on borax. In my case, the effect was loss of muscle control. It is not clear if this was the inability of nerves to control the muscle, or the muscle itself stopped working properly. My guess is the former.
  4. Recovery was surprisingly rapid after I stopped the borax skin application.
  5. We should be very careful when adding borax to a bath, especially a daily bath or a frequent and regular soak. The amount of borax added to a regular bath should probably not be significantly more than one is taking as an oral dose.


1. Elsair J, Merad R, Denine R, Reggabi M, Alamir B, Benali S, Azzouz M, Khelfat K. Boron as a preventive antidote in acute and subacute fluoride intoxication in rabbits: its action on fluoride and calcium-phosphorus metabolism. Fluoride 13:129-138 (1980).

2. Elsair J, Merad R, Denine R, Reggabi M, Benali S, Azzouz M, Khelfat K, Tabet Aoul M. Boron as an antidote in acute fluoride intoxication in rabbits: its action on the fluoride and calcium-phosphorus metabolism. Fluoride 13:30-38 (1980).

3. Elsair J, Merad R, Denine R, Azzouz M, Khelfat K, Hamrour M, Alamir B, Benali S, Reggabi M. Boron as antidote to fluoride: effect on bones and claws in subacute intoxication of rabbits. Fluoride 14:21-29 (1981).

4. Elsair J, Merad R, Denine R, Reggabi M, Benali S, Hamrour HM, Azzouz M, Khalfat K, Tabet Aoul M, Nauer J. Action of boron upon fluorosis: An experimental study. Fluoride 15:75-78 (1982).

5. Franke J, Runge H, Bech R, Wiedner W, Kramer W, Kochmann W, Hennig A, Ludke H, Seffner W, Teubner W, Franke M, Moritz W, Barthold L, Geinitz D. Boron as an antidote to fluorosis? Part I. Studies on the skeletal system. Fluoride 18: 187-197 (1985).

6. Hall, Iris et al. Ongoing research on boranes and other borax compounds, Division of medical chemistry, University of North Carolina.

7. Newnham, Rex. Away with Arthritis. 2nd edition printed 1993.

8. Turkez H., Geyikoglu F., Tatar A., Keles M.S., Kaplan I. The effects of some boron compounds against heavy metal toxicity in human blood. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2012 Jan;64(1-2):93-101. Epub 20 Jul 2010.

9. Mary Duncan. Boron phenols and health : clues to the mysteries of ADD - Alzheimers - Asthma. Carabooda, W.A. : Alkimos Australia, 1995.

10. Newnham R. E. Essentiality of boron for healthy bones and joints. Environ Health Perspect. 1994;102 Suppl 7:83-85.

11. Borax - toxicity, ecological toxicity and regulatory information. Retrieved 17 February 2012 from

12. Forrest H. Nielsen. Evidence for the Nutritional Essentiality of Boron. The Journal of Trace Elements in Experimental Medicine. 9:215-229 (1996).

13. Forrest H. Nielsen, Loanne M. Mullen, Sandra K. Gallagher. Effect of Boron Depletion and Repletion on Blood Indicators of Calcium Status in Humans Fed a Magnesium-low Diet. The Journal of Trace Elements in Experimental Medicine. 3:45-54 (1990).

14. Benderdour M, Bui-Van T, Dicko A, Belleville F. In vivo and in vitro effects of boron and boronated compounds. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 1998 Mar;12(1):2-7.

15. Z Bentwich, Robert Bingham, Mark Hegsted, Herbert Hunt, Prof Jeffries, Jack Loneragan, Loughman, O.O. Myers, Ploquin, Hans Neiper, Rex E. Newnham, et al. Boron and Arthritis. Arthritis Trust of America. 1994.

16. Naghii MR, Mofid M, Asgari AR, Hedayati M, Daneshpour MS. Comparative effects of daily and weekly boron supplementation on plasma steroid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2011 Jan;25(1):54-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2010.10.001. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

17. Francesco De Seta1, Martin Schmidt, Bao Vu, Michael Essmann, Bryan Larsen. Antifungal mechanisms supporting boric acid therapy of Candida vaginitis. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. (2009) 63 (2):325-336. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkn486.

18. Iavazzo C, Gkegkes ID, Zarkada IM, Falagas ME. Boric acid for recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: the clinical evidence. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Aug;20(8):1245-55. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2010.2708. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

19. Hasan Turkez, Fatime Geyikoglu. Boric acid: a potential chemoprotective agent against aflatoxin b1 toxicity in human blood. Cytotechnology. Apr 2010; 62(2): 157-165. Published online Apr 30, 2010. doi: 10.1007/s10616-010-9272-2.

20. LY Zhou, ZD Wei, SZ Ldu. Effect of Borax in Treatment of Skeletal Fluorosis. International Society for Fluoride Research, 20(3):104-108. 1987.

21. Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS for borax. retrieved January 2014, date of issue May 2008. retrieved January 2014, revised 18 February 2005.

22. S. Meacham, S. Karakas, A. Wallace, F. Altun. Boron in Human Health: Evidence for Dietary Recommendations and Public Policies. The Open Mineral Processing Journal, 2010, 3, 36-53.

23. R D Houlsby, M Ghajar, G O Chavez. Antimicrobial activity of borate-buffered solutions. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. May 1986; 29(5): 803-806.

24. Turkoglu S. Genotoxicity of five food preservatives tested on root tips of Allium cepa L. Mutat Res. 2007 Jan 10;626(1-2):4-14. Epub 2006 Sep 26.

25. Lagutkin, N.A., Mitin, N.I., Zubairov, M.M. et al. Antiviral activity of boron chelates obtained from 2-aminopyridine. Pharm Chem J 16, 464-467 (1982).

26. Markushin SG, Kantarov NA, Artiushenko SV, Akopova II, Koptiaeva IB, Bubnov IuN. Investigation of antiviral activity of adamantan boron derivaties on pandemic influenza virus models. NCBI, PubMed, Antibiot Khimioter. 2011;56(5-6):3-6.