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Last updated on November 11th, 2023

What Is Kaolin? 

Light kaolin and light kaolin (natural) are adsorbent antidiarrhoeal agents used as adjuncts to rehydration therapy in managing diarrhea. Up to about 24 g daily may be taken orally in divided doses. Kaolin is often combined with other antidiarrhoeals, especially pectin. Kaolin can form insoluble complexes with some drugs in the gastrointestinal tract, reducing their absorption. Oral doses should not be taken at the same time.

Externally, light kaolin is used as a dusting powder. Kaolin is liable to be heavily contaminated with bacteria, and when used in dusting powders, it should be sterilized.

Heavy kaolin is used to prepare kaolin poultice, which is applied topically to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain (see Rubefacients and Topical Analgesia).

Light kaolin is also used as a food additive.

How to Use Kaolin

Kaolin, also known as china clay, is a versatile clay mineral that finds applications in various industries. Here’s a breakdown of how it’s commonly used:

  • Skincare: Kaolin is a key ingredient in many skincare products, particularly face masks and cleansers. Its natural absorbent properties effectively draw out impurities and excess oil from the skin.
  • Pharmaceuticals: In medicine, kaolin is used to treat diarrhea. It absorbs excess water in the intestines, forming a protective coating to reduce inflammation.
  • Cosmetics: Kaolin is a popular component in cosmetics, contributing to the texture and consistency of products like foundations and powders.
  • Industrial Uses: In industries such as paper, ceramics, and rubber, kaolin serves as a functional additive, enhancing properties like strength and smoothness.



While kaolin is generally safe for external and internal use, certain precautions should be considered:

  1. Allergic Reactions: Individuals with a known allergy to clay minerals should avoid kaolin products to prevent allergic reactions.
  2. Ingestion: When using kaolin orally (e.g., for diarrhea treatment), ensure proper dosage, as excessive intake may lead to complications.
  3. Eye Contact: Avoid contact with eyes. If accidental exposure occurs, rinse your eyes thoroughly with water.


Kaolin may interact with certain medications or substances. It’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all your medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.

Side Effects

Kaolin is generally well-tolerated, but some individuals may experience mild side effects:

  • Skin Irritation: In rare cases, topical application may cause skin irritation. Discontinue use if redness or itching occurs.
  • Constipation: When ingested, kaolin may cause constipation. Adequate fluid intake is recommended to mitigate this effect.


While overdose is uncommon, excessive ingestion of kaolin can lead to complications. Symptoms of overdose may include severe constipation, abdominal pain, and dehydration. If suspected, seek medical attention promptly.


Proper storage ensures the quality and safety of kaolin:

  • Store kaolin in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture absorption.
  • Keep kaolin in a tightly sealed container to maintain its properties and prevent contamination.
  • Avoid exposing kaolin to high temperatures, which may alter its composition.

Remember, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or follow product-specific instructions for accurate and safe usage of kaolin.

Drug Nomenclature

Synonyms: Bolus Alba; Caolín; E559; Kaoliini; Kaolin; Kaolinas; Kaolinum; Weisser Ton

CAS: 1332-58-7

ATC code: A07BC02

Pharmacopoeias. In China, Europe, International, Japan, US. Some pharmacopeias do not differentiate between the heavy and light varieties.

European Pharmacopoeia, 6th ed. (Kaolin, Heavy). A purified, natural, hydrated aluminum silicate of variable composition. It is a fine, white or greyish-white, unctuous powder. It is practically insoluble in water and organic solvents.

BP 2008 (Light Kaolin). A native hydrated aluminum silicate was freed from most impurities by elutriation and dried. It contains a suitable dispersing agent. It is a light, white, odorless, or almost odorless, unctuous powder free from gritty particles. It is practically insoluble in water and mineral acids. The BP 2008 directs that when Kaolin or Light Kaolin is prescribed or demanded, Light Kaolin shall be dispensed or supplied unless it is ascertained that Light Kaolin (Natural) is required.

BP 2008 (Light Kaolin (Natural)). It is Light Kaolin, which does not contain a dispersing agent. It is a light, white, odorless, or almost odorless, unctuous powder free from gritty particles. It is practically insoluble in water and mineral acids. The BP 2008 directs that when Kaolin or Light Kaolin is prescribed or demanded, Light Kaolin shall be dispensed or supplied unless it is ascertained that Light Kaolin (Natural) is required.

The United States Pharmacopeia 31, 2008 (Kaolin). A native hydrated aluminum silicate, powdered and freed from gritty particles by elutriation. It is a soft, white, or yellowish-white powder or lumps with an earthy or clay-like taste and, when moistened with water, assumes a darker color and develops a marked clay-like odor. Insoluble in water, cold dilute acids, and in solutions of alkali hydroxides.


British Pharmacopoeia 2008: Kaolin and Morphine Mixture; Kaolin Mixture; Kaolin Poultice.

Proprietary Preparations

Brazil: Kaogel

UK: Childrens Diarrhoea Mixture Entrocalm.

Multi-ingredient Preparations

The symbol ¤ denotes a preparation which is discontinued or no longer actively marketed.

Argentina: Anusol-A; Argeal; Endomicina¤; Gastranil; Opocarbon; Opocler¤;
Australia: ADM¤; Bis-Pectin¤; Chemists Own Diarrhoea Mixture¤; De Witt’s Antacid¤; Diaguard Forte¤; Diaguard¤; Diarcalm; Donnagel; Glucomagma¤; Kaodyne¤; Kaofort¤; Kaomagma with Pectin; Kaomagma; Kaopectate¤; Streptomagma¤;
Austria: Munari¤;
Belgium: Alopate; Kaopectate¤; Neutroses¤;
Brazil: Atalin; Digastril; Eviprostat; Gastrobene; Kal Sept¤; Kaomagma; Kaopectate¤; Kaopectin; Kaostase Suspension¤; Kaostase¤; Neutracido¤; Pectalin¤; Pectimax¤; Plexo Enterin¤;
Canada: Bebia¤; Diarex¤; Donnagel-MB¤; Donnagel-PG¤; Donnagel¤; Kaomycin¤;
Chile: Furazolidona;
France: Anti-H¤; Antiphlogistine; Anusol a l’Hydrocortisone¤; Argeal; Bebia¤; Carbonaphtine Pectinee¤; Gastropax; Gelogastrine¤; Kaobrol¤; Kaologeais; Kaomuth sans Bismuth¤; Kaomuth; Karayal; Keracnyl; Neutroses; Norquinol¤; Pectipar¤;
Germany: Aruto-Magenpulver-forte¤; Aruto-Magenpulver¤; Dystomin E¤; Kaopectate N¤; Kaoprompt-H; Katulcin¤; Kontabletten¤; Noventerol¤; Pektan N¤; rohasal¤;
Greece: Fissan-Pate¤; Kaopectate¤; Hong Kong: Calamine-D; Uni-Kaotin; Hungary: Bolus Adstringens; Bolus Laxans; Ireland: Kaopectate¤; Pekolin¤; Israel: Digestif-Ara¤; Kaopectin; Kapectin Forte; Zincod;
Italy: Anacidase¤; Carbotiol¤; Gastrosanol¤; Katoxyn; Magnesia Bisurata¤; Neo Zeta-Foot¤; Neutrose S Pellegrino; Streptomagma; Zeta-Foot¤;
Malaysia: Beakopectin¤; Kaopectate¤; Mexico: Ameban; Caopecfar; Colfur; Contefur¤; Coralzul; Dibapec Compuesto; Estibal; Facetin-D; Farpectol; Furoxona CP; Fuzotyl¤; Hidromagma¤; Isocar; K-Omistron; Kaomycin; Kaopectate; Kediar; Lactopectin; Neo-Kap; Neoxil; Olam; Optazol; Quimefuran; Suyodil; Tapzol con Neomicina¤; Tapzol¤; Treda; Trilor¤; Yodozona;
South Africa: Betapect; Bipectinol; Biskapect; Bolus Eucalypti Comp; Chloropect; Collodene; Collodyne¤; Diastat¤; Enterolyte; Gastropect; Kao¤; Kaomagma¤; Kaomycin¤; Kaoneo¤; Kaopectin¤; Kaostatex; Medipect¤; Neopec¤; Pectin-K; Pectolin¤; Pectrolyte; Peterpect¤; Plastolin Poultice¤; SB Diarrhoea Mixture;
Singapore: Kaomix; Kaopectate¤;
Spain: Balsamo BOI¤; Curumbil¤; Estreptokectil¤; Kaopectate¤;
Switzerland: Argent¤; Cicafissan; Decongestine¤; Fissan; Gyrosan; Kaomycine¤; Kaopectate¤; Neo-Decongestine; Neutroses; Padma-Lax; Phlogantin;
Thailand: Alkamine; Alupep; Antacil; Cenopec; Coccila; Coccila; Di-Su-Frone¤; Difuran; Diolin¤; Disento PF; Disento; Droximag¤; Furasian; Furopectin¤; Kaopectal-N¤; Kaopectal; Kaopectate¤; Med-Kafuzone¤;
United Arab Emirates: Kaptin;
United Kingdom: Codella¤; Collis Browne’s; De Witt’s Antacid; Enterosan¤; Junior Kao-C; Kaodene¤; Kaopectate¤; KLN; Moorland; Noratex¤; Opazimes; Thovaline¤;
United States: Donnagel-PG¤; K-C; Kao-Paverin; Kao-Spen; Kaodene Non-Narcotic; Mexsana;
Venezuela: Kaopecon; Kaopectate; Klincosal; Parepectolin; Pec-Kao; Sendafur

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