Also called magnesium hydroxide, Milk of Magnesia is an inorganic compound that can be transformed into a solid called brucite. It got its name from its milk-like appearance, which is a common component of laxatives and antacids. Its primary function is to prevent the absorption of iron as well as folic acid. It is considered a strong base due to its low water solubility. Aside from these basic facts, there are many other important things to learn about the milk of magnesia including its history, uses and different important properties.
A Historical Background on Milk of Magnesia
Milk of Magnesia was discovered sometime in 1829, when a man named James Murray prepared and designed his own fluid magnesia to treat the Marquis of Anglesey, who was the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland during that time. Because of its initial success, the Royal College of Surgeons approved it in 1838. In that very same year, it was featured in various advertisements in Australia. In 1873, this product was patented, which happened two years after the death of its inventor. However, it was only around 1880 when the words ’Milk of Magnesia’ was used to describe the milk-like formula. At some point, GlaxoSmithKline owned the use of this term. Recent records state that Bayer is the current registered owner of the term. Meanwhile, Sterling Drug is the registered owner of the term ‘Philips’ Milk of Magnesia.’ In the United Kingdom, it is called by the generic name ’Cream of Magnesia.’
The Different Uses of Milk of Magnesia
Milk of Magnesia is commonly used to make an antacid, the purpose of which is to neutralize acid that is found in the stomach. In addition, it can also be used as a laxative, the primary function of which is to treat constipation. It can also cause diarrhea by carrying the supply of potassium of the body. For this reason, it is important to consume extra potassium because the failure to do so can actually cause muscle cramps. This inorganic compound is also used to make deodorants and antiperspirants for the armpits. It can also be used as a topical solution for treating aphthous ulcer or canker sores. Milk of Magnesia is currently packaged in three main forms, namely as a liquid, as a capsule and as a chewable tablet. For children, these medicines are usually enhanced with flavors in order to make them easier to take. Aside from relieving people with constipation, it can also be used to treat other conditions like heartburn and indigestion. When taken orally, it makes use of osmotic force to serve as a highly efficient laxative. Furthermore, it is also serves as an effective antacid.
More Points on Milk of Magnesia
Besides the medically proven uses of Milk of Magnesia, some people also believe in its efficiency as a folk remedy. For instance, it has been used to treat the different symptoms of dandruff and seborrhea. Likewise, it is reportedly used to treat seborrheic dermatitis as well as acne. No matter where it is to be used, the usefulness and efficacy of this inorganic compound is undeniable.