Boric acid, or hydrogen borate, is a multipurpose acid found in many of the products we use on a daily basis. You may already know that boric acid is used in indoor pesticides (goodbye bugs!) and household cleaners, via the National Pesticide Information Center. Note that it is not the same as Borax, or sodium borate. As a very common ingredient in manufacturing, boric acid is also used in certain paints, photography chemicals, and the creation of glass fiber, per University of Florida Health.

Given these uses, boric acid sounds like a pretty potent chemical. However, it is relatively weak and thus can safely be used to treat skin conditions or certain infections in the body. This is because the acid has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, per PubChem. Curious to know just what exactly this useful acid is capable of? Let’s take a look.

Medicinal uses for boric acid

According to a study published in the journal Diabetes Care, one of its more important uses is as a treatment for vaginal yeast infections.. Boric acid therapy is a standard treatment for yeast infections because it can eliminate two common yeast strains: Candida albicans and Candida glabrata (via Healthline). In fact, the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) reported that vaginal boric acid is often used for infections that can’t be cured by other antifungal medications. Boric acid is a key ingredient in eye wash as well. It can help cleanse and soothe mildly irritated eyes and even ward off infection, per Verywell Health. It may also help treat athlete’s foot, a 2017 study in Biological Trace Element Research found. Plus, it can even treat cold sores (via PubChem).

Be sure to consult with your physician before starting a boric acid treatment, especially if you want to use it for a yeast infection. According to the UMHS, boric acid therapy for vaginal infections ought to include probiotics and vitamins C and E. These ingredients will help replenish natural vaginal flora and return vaginal pH to a normal acidity.

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