Drinking borax carries risk of toxicity

31 July 2023
What was claimed

Borax isn’t toxic.

Our verdict

It is recognised as being toxic to reproductive health.

What was claimed

Borax can treat arthritis, balance hormones and is anti-inflammatory.

Our verdict

There is no good evidence for this claim. Research on the clinical effects of borax is minimal and inconclusive.

A video that has been widely shared on Facebook discusses drinking the cleaning chemical borax to help with various illnesses. There is no good evidence it will help with these conditions, and drinking the substance can be dangerous. 

There have been a number of reports that drinking borax has become a social media trend, with it being promoted for supposed health benefits. We have written many times regarding false claims about alternative treatments for diseases. Bad information can cause harm if people make decisions about their health based on it.

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Toxic or not?

The video originates from the TikTok account RootsOfHealing, and the person featured in it describes how they use the product and says “there's a lot of people out there that think [...] it's toxic for you, but it's not". They also list a number of conditions borax supposedly helps with.

However, borax is recognised as being “toxic to reproduction” by the European Chemical Agency, noting that “this substance may damage fertility and may damage the unborn child”. Other health bodies worldwide also caution against consuming it.

Taking borax by mouth can cause stomach upsets, headaches and dizziness, and large amounts can cause kidney failure and even death.


The video lists a number of conditions and diseases helped by borax, focussing specifically on joint pain and arthritis.

The US National Capital Poison Center, an independent not-for-profit based in Washington DC, says that there is minimal evidence for borax having an anti-inflammatory effect in humans, with the very small evidence base being test tube and animal studies in specific conditions.

One study from 1987 showed some effects on calcium, oestrogen and testosterone levels in postmenopausal women taking boron supplements, all of which could in theory affect bone health. Boron is one of the substances found in borax. The study involved 12 women, and didn’t seem to measure actual bone loss. This study alone can’t tell us whether borax is effective for improving bone health.

We have contacted the account that posted the original video via their Facebook and Instagram profiles, but have not received a response at the time of writing.

Featured image courtesy of Steve Hodgson

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