Last Modified on Jul 13, 2014
Used for nearly 200 years, milk of magnesia has been identified as an effective solution to a variety of problems. While its most traditional application involves gastrointestinal relief associated with constipation, milk of magnesia has other application as well. Comprised of a naturally occurring mineral, milk of magnesia is a safe, effective treatment for a variety of conditions.
What is Milk of Magnesia?
Milk of magnesia is a considered a suspension of magnesium hydroxide in water. The suspension generally appears as a milky white color, which is where the treatment generally gets its name.
Generally speaking, milk of magnesia has an osmotic effect on the body. In other words, it draws water into the affected area to alleviate symptoms and associated issues. For example, when taken as a laxative to treat constipation, milk of magnesia draws water into the intestines. The water entering the intestinal tract causes movement in the intestines and safely relieves constipation.
Milk of magnesia has other effects as well. It is also known as an effective antacid as it neutralizes or reduces excess acid in the stomach. It has also become a popular treatment option for reducing oiliness of the skin.
Health Benefits of Milk of Magnesia
Several characteristics of milk of magnesia make it an effective health treatment. The compound is a good source of magnesium, which is an effective nutrient that helps regulate calcium and other nutrient levels in the body. Magnesium also helps promote metabolic processes in the body including the activation of enzymes and promotion of teeth and bone development.
As such, milk of magnesia can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. Of course, the most common treatment application for which milk of magnesia is used is relief of constipation. However, the compound is also often used to treat heartburn, upset stomach, acne, canker sores and even bodily odor. The compound can also be used to treat diaper rash and other skin sensitivities.
With its wide range of applications and natural ingredients, milk of magnesia is an effective health treatment for a wide range of conditions. A naturally soothing, compound, milk of magnesia relieves a variety of health problems.
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[YEA] 06/08/2013: Old Dud from Corona, California: "I have used milk of magnesia for canker sores. It take 3 applications and it will start to go away. Try it till it gone."
[YEA] 11/01/2013: Kathi from New Brunswick, Nj: "I agree that MOM (milk of magnesia) as a deodorant is great! I have been using it now for about two months. Keeps me odor-free even after sweat-drenching exercise classes, as long as I remember to change out of my exercise clothes. Sometimes the MOM seems a little too drying so I rub in coconut oil as well."
[YEA] 09/06/2009: Kathy from Dubois, Pa: "I believe I have found a way to make an improvement on the recipe for Magnesium Water from M.O.M. I got to wondering about the undissolved layer of M.O.M. at the bottom of the bottle, and reasoned that the carbonic acid from the seltezer water must not be strong enough to dissolve all of the Magnesium hydroxide into solution, so I added some citric acid powder to the bottle, shook it up and sure enough, it foamed up and the white layer disappeared as the undissolved M.O.M. went into solution. That means that there is even more bio-available magnesium in the water than there was before. I did not measure how much citric acid I added this time, but the next time I make it, I will measure amounts of M.O.M., water and citric acid and should be able to come up with a pretty good guess at how many milligrams of Magnesium there are per ounce of water, if someone else doesn't beat me to it, of course : ) I love this site...home-made science in the public interest!"
[YEA] 01/31/2014: Karen S from Canada: "Another way that I use MoM is as a primer for makeup! I put on a thin layer and let it dry prior to putting on foundation and it keeps my oil in control all day! It's so nice to put foundation on in the morning and not have it slide off my face by noon! Awesome stuff, that MoM."
07/30/2009: Connie from Manitowoc, Wisconsin: "Generic Milk of Magnesia (MOM) contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, and purified water. Phillips' brand contains magnesium, purified water, and sodium hypochlorite. According to Wikipedia sodium hypochlorite is bleach. Which MOM would you recommend for which applications?"
EC: Yikes! Thank you very much for pointing this out... We just sent Bayer HealthCare an email asking why they add sodium hypochlorite to their Phillips' formula. Will post a reply if we get a response.
Not much information on the web about this, other than this one question: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090201110922AA61U9Z
08/03/2009: Deirdre from Earth Clinic replies: "Here is the response we just got from Bayer re: Sodium Hypochlorite in the Phillips' Milk of Magnesia brand:
"Thank you for taking the time to contact Bayer HealthCare. We appreciate your interest in PHILLIPS'® Milk of Magnesia.
In response to your inquiry, Sodium Hypochlorite is derived from Chlorine and Sodium Hydroxide and is used as a antimicrobial agent.
If we may be of further assistance, please feel free to contact our Consumer Relations Department."
07/13/2014: Kay from Fl, US replies: "Thanks for the Warning!
FYI: My generic bottle of MOM made by GeriCare, lists its Active Ingredient as Magnesium Hydroxide, then in tiny letters at the very bottom it lists "Inactive Ingredients" as water and sodium hydroxide."
07/13/2014: Timh from KY replies: "In some circles, Magnesium Hydroxide is coveted as the best form of Mag for colon cleansing due to the active oxygen factor. Why would a small amount of Chlorine hurt as there are always pathogens in the gut that need killing??"
[YEA] 07/23/2009: Raquel from West Palm Beach, FL: "I also use MOM as a deodorant, can't be without it! I had the idea of adding a few drops of essential oils (lavender and tea tree) for added protection plus I like the "clean" scent."
EC: MOM = Milk of Magnesia
[YEA] 03/08/2009: Bessie from Calgary, Alberta, Canada: "For underarm odour, I've had good luck with Milk of Magnesia as posted by someone else at Earth Clinic. I just pour a wee bit into my hand and rub it into my armpits. Wait until it dries before putting on your clothes. It worked remarkably well and I've been under a great deal of stress lately. I used the name brand Milk of Magnesia (from the pharmacy) but you could probably use a generic or store brand one. Good luck!"
[YEA] 01/21/2009: Jodi from Bowmansville, NY, USA: "My friend told me about Milk of Magnesia for burns. When her daughter was little she has rashes so bad on her bottom that she had to leave off the diaper quite often because of her acidity level in her urine. One day her mother was watching her and she told her mother to be very careful because of the rash. She left for a few hours and when she came home the rash was gone. She had applied Milk of Magnesia directly on her granddaughter and not long after the skin rash was gone.
My friend also told me about using it on burns, so I have tried it. My daughter and I have both burned our hands so I tried it and it worked. You need to soak it near an hour but it leaves no red marks and it feels better."
[YEA] 12/18/2008: Pamela from Houston, Texas: "I didn't believe it but a friend of mind share with me an article he had read in the newspaper about a man who used milk of magnesium to clear up a long standing bad case of acne. We both have been putting the milk of magnesium on acne break outs at night before we go to bed. We are both happy at the results as both of the problem spots on our faces are clearing up. Who would of thought it would work. I have tried everything on my face and there were always some spots that nothing seem to work. It works slowly but everyday you notice the acne getting smaller and smaller. Plus I am noticing that I am not getting the usual breakout of new blemishes."
[YEA] 11/12/2007: Shannon from Titusville, FL: "Thrush in newborns: Take a q-tip or cotton swab dip it in Milk of Magnesia and rub it around the babies mouth twice a day sure enough it will cure it just as fast as it came on. I have a one month old who got thrush and sure enough instantly it started working. Helped ease the discomfort and cleared it up with not problems!!!"Replies
11/23/2010: Hippie from Spokane, Wa replies: "Rub the milk of magnesia in the babys mouth?? around the gums?... Thank-you"
[YEA] 07/03/2007: Rick from New Bloomfield, PA: "No particular ailment, but I have been interested in Magnesium supplementation ever since I had a couple of "racing heart" episodes several years back, and discovered that I could calm things down by taking Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) in water... awful taste and also a powerful laxative. I began to wonder how I could get the same effect in a more palatable way, without the laxative effect. Eventually I found the"Magnesium" webpage and learned the following:
How to make your own Magnesium water [like the 'Noah' water being sold by a certain company, which bottles water from a spring that is naturally rich in bicarbonates of Magnesium].
The assumption is that we could all use more magnesium in our diet, which may help reduce blood pressure, reduce the likelihood of kidney stones, etc.
Here's how to make your own Mg-rich drinking water:
Buy a bottle of Carbonated Seltzer water - NO SODIUM, just carbonated "fizz" water, unflavored. Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Get another, larger bottle, and pour 2/3 of a capful of PLAIN (no-flavor) Philips Milk of Magnesia (which is Magnesium Oxide, an alkaline laxative) into the large bottle. (The bottle comes with a plastic measuring cup which is what I mean when I say 2/3 capful.)
Now quickly open the bottle of carbonated water (water + carbonic acid) and empty it into the large bottle containing the 2/3 capful of Magnesia.
You will have a bottle of milky/cloudy liquid which is in the process of neutralization between the carbonic acid and the magnesium oxide-- leaving a neutral salt, Magnesium Bicarbonate.
Let the cloudy mixture sit for a while at room temperature, until the liquid clears; there will be some white precipitate at the bottom. Shake again and let sit again. When clear, refrigerate. THIS IS YOUR MAGNESIUM BICARBONATE CONCENTRATE. Unlike the chalky taste of straight Milk of Magnesia, or the biting-fizzy taste of seltzer water, your concentrate will have a strong, sweet, slightly "soapy" taste. You will be DILUTING it in water for drinking purposes.
When it has chilled, pour a small amount into an empty 1 liter bottle (approx. 1/2" of concentrate at the bottom) and fill the rest of the bottle with pure drinking water.
You have now created a sweet-tasting, Magnesium-enriched drinking water, and you're also getting your Bi-carbs without all the Sodium you'd be getting from Baking Soda.
I have been making and drinking this Mg water since Nov. 2006 (I write this in July of 2007) and have not had any bad effects from it. I take a bottle to work and sip it during the day. My resting heart rate seems to have gone down and I feel more relaxed in general. I can't say it has greatly improved my high blood pressure, but it has helped some, and I know I am getting enough Magnesium. Probably would be beneficial to supplement with Calcium for balance.
Try it and see what it does for you."Replies
08/11/2007: Usman from Islamabad, Pakistan replies: "I read the magnesium-enriched water formula on magnesium supplements page. I'm sorry if I'm wrong, but isn't Philips Milk of Magnesia Magnesium Hydroxide rather than "Magnesium Oxide" mentioned in the formula.
It might be a typo error or the author maybe using some other type of milk of magnesia which is not readily available. Does the formula works with Magnesium Hydroxide Milk of Magnesia as well?"
09/09/2007: Rick from New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania replies: "Regarding my remarks about making your own "Mg Water" by mixing carbonated water and Milk of Magnesia (laxative):' Usman from Islamabad is correct; I mistakenly said that Milk of Magnesia contains "Magnesium Oxide." Instead, please substitute "Magnesium Hydroxide" when you read my instructions. Sorry for the blunder! Yes, Usman, you should use regular, unflavored Philip's Milk of Magnesia and a liter bottle of carbonated water, non-sodium type."
[YEA] 10/28/2012: Kimber from Pittsburgh, Pa: "After going through 6 months of a rash I thought was yeast, doing a yeast cleanse diet with beaucoup supplements, I htought maybe me and my baby had a staph infection and looked here for answers. I stumbled upon the pages where Ted had noted milk of Magnesia's effectiveness against staph. I can't find the original page now but I put the Milk of Magnesia on my skin rash that I suspected was staph. I did this 2-3 times a day and by the 3rd day, it was scabbing and healing, barely itchy. Before, I would wake up at night with my stomach bleeding from itching so much. By the end of the week with the milk of Magnesia, you could barely see where the infection even was. My son who is just 1 year old would get the bumps on his cheeks. I tried many other things before- ACV (in the bath too), absorbine jr (because we tried treating for ringworm), and nothing worked- except for the milk of magnesia. Within 2 day his cheeks started clearing up. I will say that the absobine Jr. Helped to relieve some of the itchy for me, but I'm not sure if it is advisable to use for that- I was just desperate. Thank you for your valuable information here, it is changing lives."Replies
10/30/2012: Gavin from Manganui, Northland, New Zealand replies: "Thats intesting because I put magnesium sulphate cream on a couple of detox boils and it cleared them up, when they seemed to be going on to long."
11/27/2008: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand: "I have a friend of mine who once had tartar years ago. Unfortunately her gums continue to recede even with their removal. Since I regularly brush my teeth with my own toothpaste preparations, which is the strongest in eliminating oral bacteria requiring low concentrations of zinc chloride (about 1%) -which is actually high for most commercial oral preparations, she reported minor burning pains in gums during brushing the new preparations, but she persisted, and the gums are now no longer receding.
It seems that there is certain unknown bacteria that prevents gums from going back. Take for instance certain kinds of bacteria, such as staphylococcus, which in certain cases are flesh eating. It is therefore of no surprise that gums should be receding if there were some bacteria hidden on the surface of the gum and not tartar. These may not form tartar, but creates biofilm that allow colonies to exist and prevents gums from normalizing.
It should also be noted that the receding gums turned to normal of that woman, not just the zinc chloride preparations added to the toothpaste, but I find a weak solution of milk of magnesia is used as a mouthwash, such as 1 tablespoon per half glass of water. Staphylococcus is generally killed at pH of 9 or above, so the Milk of magnesia at pH of 10 (8% solution) would kill them too. A supplement of magnesium citrate 500 mg per day (do not use magnesium oxide - they are useless, and magnesium carbonate - they are not water soluble and hence low bioavailability).
While vitamin C 500 mg does help, certain gum disease such as receding gums, I have found niacinamide vitamin B3 (100-250 mg every other day for a month plus weekly b complex for a month roughly speaking) to be particular useful in healing the gums, as well as magnesium (magnesium citrate or magnesium chloride) , and some zinc supplements such as a weekly zinc gluconate 50 mg, for a couple of weeks, before phasing off to once a month, for 2-3 months before, taking whenever it is needed.
It should be noted that the healthier you are the less the supplements you need. Still, if you are sick, you can't take certain supplements everyday as some do accumulate, with possible exception of B complex, vitamin C which are water soluble.
To prevent bacteria from forming inside the mouth, it is common that saliva pH is acid, which prevents gums from healing and is a fertile ground for bacteria. Ideally a saliva pH should be near 7.3 pH. Unfortunately our diets are low in potassium (bananas don't help for some reason - perhaps the sugar content), and hence potassium citrate (technical name is tripotassium citrate) is taken along with baking soda, such as 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda plus 1/4 teaspoon of potassium citrate in 1/2 glass of water. The older you get the less the body's ability of potassium is retained, and bicarbonates too. Therefore oral pH tends to be more acid, which worsen the problem and has to be supplemented, discouraging bacteria growth and biofilms on the teeth preventing gums from healing.
It should be noted that commercial toothpaste preparation is really behind the times. They should have zinc, magnesium and a pH relatively high to really have a dent. The use of sodium lauryl sulfate often encourages fungal growth. Therefore to get around some of the problems of nonexistent zinc in the market (possible exception if Lavoris mouthwash, which has 0.1% zinc chloride last I remembered them) is to use zinc lozenges instead BETWEEN brushings, or mixed with toothpaste preparations. The milk of magnesia 1 tablespoon per 1/2 glass for example, can be used as a mouthwash preparation, which can be rinsed with water after doing it a couple of times. The use of Hydrogen peroxide is an interesting one as a mouthwash, however, its effect is short term, reducing only the number of bacteria colonies. Zinc mouthwash and zinc preparations in tooth leaves s thin zinc film to the surfaces of the teeth and last much longer on its antiseptic effect.
My experience is proper supplement and oral care mentioned the gums should normalized in about 3 months' time.
[WARNING!] 04/15/2011: Ladyhawk from Sarasota, Florida, Usa replies: "I so resonated to your suggestion of milk of magnesia as a mouthwash to re-mineralize teeth that I started using it religiously -- straight out of the bottle -- every night before I went to sleep. My morning saliva pH catapulted to an appealing 7.0 - 8.0 and I was in heaven... Except that, within a week, my teeth turned an abhorent shade of gray. Yikes! Come to find out, some brands of milk of magnesia include sodium hypochloride as an ingredient, and sodium hypochloride is guaranteed to stain teeth.
Buyer beware, and be sure to read the labels. Avoid sodium hypochloride at all costs."
10/20/2008: Ted from Bangkok, Thailand: "... Hi! Recently MRSA of the rectum was cured which is pretty serious, about 5 cm at least where MRSA nearly killed the woman. I believe milk of magnesia should relieve an MRSA condition if it does exist in the scalp. However, in this condition it is applied for maybe 15-30 minutes and then rinse off, to prevent the drying effect inherent in the milk of magnesia. Perhaps for 1-3 days. The milk of magnesia will dry up the MRSA quickly enough. However, some fish oil supplements, b complex and especially magnesium supplements (magnesium citrate) and baking soda is most important. The baking soda can be 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon in a glass of water, taken internally twice a day.To kill MRSA, alkalization and magnesium are the key components. B complex helps the skin and fish oil reduces the irritation and inflammation and are taken internally. The dose is 250 mg of magnesium citrate, or preferably powdered form, or can be chewed to increase absorption. I prefer magnesium chloride, although that's generally harder to obtain. B complex is also synergistic with the magnesium, especially the B6. Additional variations of milk of magnesia is possible with xylitol and ammonium chloride added. Xylitol added prevents attachment of bacteria to healthy skin, and prevents their colonies from forming. This is also true of mannitol, d-mannose, and generally polyol sugars. Iodine has some effects of this also, but I haven't experimented directly on MRSA, but some other people did with milk of magnesia with lugols solution. Although I didn't get results for that specific one, but it did work too when the general milk of magnesia was used, regardless of the other additions.
The remedy that I used was only an 8% solution of magnesium hydroxide, which is actually a Milk of Magnesia, which contains 8% solution of magnesium hydroxide and the rest is water, with maybe a tiny amount of peppermint added in the product.
When applied frequently the MRSA just dried up and gone within about 2 days. This is so far the best MRSA I can come up with, which seems to exist in area of the buttocks, groin and other areas where moisture is high, and pressure is high from the bed. Milk of Magnesia has several unusual property, which is why I used it. First it's pH is 10, where MRSA don't survive if pH is over 9. The second is the magnesium hydroxide is poorly absorbed because of its limited solubility. The third amazing property is that when it is applied is very soothing.
As a warning, one of the enthusiast found this out and didn't follow my direction, and used almost entirely magnesium hydroxide powder, with small amount of water. Hence they overdone it and that caused skin to dry up and crack. And it's going to take many days to undo this problem. Obviously it did kill MRSA, within hours, but this is not the way I wanted because you end up treating the side effects of drying problem because of not following directions concerning the mix of the application.
In event Magnesium hydroxide was acquired, if milk of magnesia is not found at a drug store only 8 grams plus 100 cc of water is used, making it less than 8% concentration and this solution is applied frequently enough until the MRSA dies. Before use, all milk of magnesia product, and even those where we prepared with ourself has to be well shaken or at least well stirred before use. Then it is applied.
To make the solution more effective, a 10% xylitol maybe added. In case there is fungus opportunistic factor a 1% - 5% ammonium chloride is added to the solution. I believe milk of magnesia may well be the best cure for MRSA there is, because of its speed in reversing MRSA condition. Some have actually used a small amount of borax to the solution to further help kill the MRSA. I have no way of knowing how well borax works, but I did used sodium chloride and xylitol added to the milk of magnesia.
In fact I liked it so much, I might spray on the bed with a light mist in the room to kill any other potential bacteria and fungus, since my room is pretty polluted as I live practically speaking on a ceiling with a cheap leaky roof where fungus, bacteria just creeps into my room constantly.
As a reminder, I don't use any remedy exclusively if I happen to be having MRSA, I might also be taking plenty of magnesium supplements (calcium however encourage their growth), baking soda to alkalize, as well as curcumin to discourage their growth. In the final stage of the healing some aloe vera cream is applied to help with regeneration.
In any event. I see a lot of potential future for milk of magnesia in skin applications, especially MRSA, as well as eczema where the condition is mostly from excess oil of the skin or stickiness, as well as certain applications of itchy armpits, neck and groin area, where these area are known for their moisture and stickiness.
EC: Read the rest of Ted's post here: http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/MRSA_questions.html#Question_2368
Ted from Bangkok, Thailand: "Milk of magnesia is very poorly absorbed and cannot be used as a magnesium supplements because magnesium is poorly soluble in water. The form of magnesium that gets into the blood stream are those magnesium that are water soluble such as magnesium chloride, magnesium diacetate, magnesium gluconate, magnesium citrate, etc. Magnesium oxide and magnesium carbonate are also are also very limited solubility and also poorly absorb too. Ringing of the ears is often a magnesium deficiency, but I also found people with fibromyaglia (which causes b complex deficiency) can have ringing of the ears just from a b complex vitamin Deficiency. High heavy metals can be sensitive to soung, but also causes ringing. Taking too much aspirin too frequently can cause ringing of the ears, but then I also found myself ringining of the ears until I became temporarly deaf from taking aspartame softdrinks long time ago too. A heavy metal can be reduced with chlorella/spirulina, at the same time avoiding certain food triggers and toxins. Fluoridated water increases aluminum absorption by 600% so long term can also lead to possibly ringing of ears. Hence chlorine, fluorine, aspartame, and other heavy metals I think should also be avoided too. The ringing of the ears can be decreased with vitamin B 50 once every two days, and usually 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 glass of water taken twice a day, along with magnesium supplements."Replies
10/06/2010: Phil C from Houston, Tx, Usa replies: "Ted, are you saying that the magnesium water using mom and soda, is a waste of time? If milk of magnesia is a poor absorber with water then why is ww water recommended? Or is this a workable combination? Thanks"