The next time you have a yeast or eye infection, consider using boric acid to treat your symptoms. This weak acid derived from minerals, has antimicrobial properties and, as such, can treat a number of minor health conditions. Boric acid is poisonous, however, so what can kill one-celled creatures can also kill humans if used improperly. Consult a physician before attempting any sort of treatment with boric acid.
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Boric acid can treat vaginal yeast infections, particularly those that are resistant to the standard over-the-counter cream treatments, according to the University of Washington School of Medicine. Your pharmacist can fill gelatin capsules with boric acid powder. To treat a yeast infection, you insert these capsules into your vagina nightly over a two-week period, or longer if your doctor recommends it. Never take the capsules orally, as boric acid powder can be highly toxic if ingested. Not all pharmacies will prepare the boric acid tablets, so call around your neighborhood pharmacies to find out which ones will.
Boric acid, when heavily diluted, can serve an eyewash, soothing eye irritations and infections. It often appears as an ingredient in over-the-counter eye products, such as Bausch & Lomb's Advanced Eye Relief Eye Wash Eye Irrigating Solution. A homemade boric acid eyewash can relieve symptoms of the contagious eye infection conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. To do this, mix 1 teaspoon of boric acid in 1 cup of water and boil it. After it cools, apply it to your eye on a washcloth or in an eye cup.
Boric acid powder can treat fungal infections such as athlete's foot. A few sprinkles of the powder in your socks can help clear mild infections and ease the itching associated with athlete's foot. It also can neutralize the foot odor from athlete's foot. The acid changes the pH of your skin and helps remove dead skin that feeds the fungus. Similarly, the powder can ease itching and odor associated with jock itch, an infection of the male genital area.
Boric acid appears as an ingredient in some lotions that treat acne and other skin problems. Acne is linked to bacteria, and boric acid acts as an antibacterial substance. You can also try a homemade solution of boric acid and witch hazel. However, boric acid is falling out of favor in skin treatments, as it can irritate the skin.
Boric acid can treat infections in your home as well as in your body. It's been a registered pesticide in the United States since 1948, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It appears in a variety of forms as a pesticide: liquid, dust and pellets, for example. The substance can poison insects such as ants and cockroaches when they ingest it and it also can damage their exoskeletons. Because boric acid occurs naturally, it also is less toxic to humans and pets than other harsh chemical pesticides.