Domestic Encyclopædia (1802)/Borax
BORAX, in chemistry, a salt produced in the mountains of Thibet, in Asia, both naturally and artificially by evaporation.
The borax imported from China is purer than that of Thibet, and is found in a natural state in small masses of irregular crystals, of a faint white colour. Beside the vitrescible earth, which is an essential principle of borax, it contains copper and the marine acid, but no traces of the vitriolic. It has also been clearly proved by experiments, that borax consists of fossil alkali, in some degree neutralized by a peculiar salt. When dissolved and crystalized, it forms small transparent masses; and the refiners have a method of shooting it into large crystals, which, however, in many respects differ from, and are inferior to, the genuine salt.
Borax is useful in metallurgy, for soldering; in the fusion of vitrifiable earths, with which it forms glass; as well as in several other chemical processes; and dyers frequently employ it for giving a gloss to silks.
Its medical properties have not been sufficiently investigated. Mr. Bisset recommends a weak solution of this salt in water, for healing aphthous crusts, or the thrush in the mouth and fauces of children. A small quantity of it, powdered and mixed with sugar, is often applied for the same purpose. We are not acquainted with a more balsamic application to sore nipples, or chapped lips and hands in frosty weather, than a few grains of borax dissolved in warm water, with the addition of a little pure honey.