Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Magnesia carbonica

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magnesium carbonicum


Named in 1807 from the Greek magnesia lithos, magnesian stone, a kind of ore from Magnesia, the coastal district of ancient Thessaly, Greece.


Traditional name

Italian: Carbonato di Magnesio
English: Carbonate of magnesium
German: Magnesium karbonat.

Used parts

Trituration 1x


MgCO3 [(MgCO3)4 Mg(OH)2 5H2O]
Minerals, inorganic; column 2 of the periodic table


Original proving

Allen's Encyclop. Mat. Med. Vol. VI, 85.
Hahnemann, published in Chronic Diseases

Description of the substance

A light, white, friable mass, odourless with a slight earthy taste. It is stable in air. It is almost insoluble in water and alcohol; soluble with effervescence in dilute acids. It is prepared by boiling dilute aqueous solutions of magnesium sulphate and sodium carbonate. It differs from heavy magnesium carbonate in degree of aggregation of their molecules. It is a basic hydrated magnesium carbonate and contains the equivalent of not less than 40 percent and not more than 43.5 percent of MgO.
Soluble matter: Boil 1.0 g with 50 ml of water for five minutes, filter, evaporate the filtrate, and dry at 105o, the residue weighs not more than 10 mg.
mineral, magnesium carbonate, MgCO3, white, yellow, or gray in color. It originates through the alteration of olivine or of serpentine by waters carrying carbon dioxide; through the replacement of calcium by magnesium in calcareous rocks, sometimes limestone but more often dolomite; and through precipitation from waters rich in magnesium that have undergone reaction with sodium carbonate. Caustic magnesite is not thoroughly calcined, 3% to 4% of carbon dioxide being left; mixed with magnesium chloride it makes oxychloride cement, which is extensively used for floorings and as a stucco. Dead-burned magnesite is calcined in kilns until it contains less than 1% of carbon dioxide; it is made into an excellent firebrick. Magnesite is also used in the manufacture of Epsom salts, face powder, boiler wrappings, and disinfectants.

Magnesium is one of the alkaline-earth metals of main Group IIa of the periodic table, the lightest structural metal. Known originally through compounds such as Epsom salts (the sulfate), magnesia (the oxide), and magnesia alba (the carbonate), the silvery white element itself does not occur free. It was first isolated in 1808 by Sir Humphry Davy, who evaporated the mercury from a magnesium amalgam made by electrolyzing a mixture of moist magnesia and mercuric oxide.

Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust (about 2.5 percent), distributed in minerals such as magnesite, dolomite, brucite, serpentine, chrysolite, meerschaum, talc, and most kinds of asbestos. Magnesium occurs in the minerals magnesite, brucite, and dolomite, as well as in amphibole asbestos, olivine, serpentine, talc, and in certain of the other silicate minerals.
Dolomite is a mineral that serves as the chief source of magnesium obtained from the earth's crust.  It is fairly hard and brittle and consists of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate.  Pure dolomite may appear white or yellow.  Impurities, such as manganese or iron, may make dolomite pink, brown, or some other color.  Dolomite and a mineral called calcite, which consists only of calcium carbonate, often look alike.  
Seawater contains about 0.13 percent magnesium, mostly as the dissolved chloride, which imparts the characteristic bitter taste. Magnesium is about one-sixth as plentiful as potassium in human body cells, where it is required as a catalyst for enzyme reactions in carbohydrate metabolism.

Magnesium is commercially produced by electrolysis of molten magnesium chloride (MgCl2), processed mainly from seawater and by the direct reduction of its compounds with suitable reducing agents (as from calcined dolomite with ferrosilicon).

Magnesium occurs in nature as a mixture of three isotopes: magnesium-24 (78.70 percent), magnesium-26 (11.17 percent), and magnesium-25 (10.13 percent). It is a very strong reducing agent, reacting with most acids or with boiling water to liberate hydrogen, but is resistant to most alkalies. In compounds it always exhibits a +2 oxidation state because of the loss or sharing of its two 3s electrons.

Magnesium carbonate, MgCO3, occurs in nature as the mineral magnesite and is an important source of elemental magnesium. It can be produced artificially by the action of carbon dioxide on a variety of magnesium compounds. The odourless white powder has many industrial uses--e.g., as a heat insulator for boilers and pipes and as an additive in food, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, rubbers, inks, and glass.

The Mineral  Magnesite (MgCO3) has the following appearance:
Magnesite does not ordinarily form good crystals, but can make up a substantial portion of some rock types. It forms commonly from the alteration of magnesium-rich rocks during low grade metamorphism while they are in contact with carbonate-rich solutions. Magnesite has the same crystal structure of calcite, hence its inclusion into the calcite mineral group. Many of the properties of magnesite are either identical or similar to those of calcite. However, the magnesium ion does not allow the carbonate ion (CO3) to interact as easily with cold acids, as the calcium ion does in calcite. This provides the best means of distinguishing magnesite from calcite. However, dolomite(MgCa(CO3)2) can be almost indistinguishable from magnesite.

Occurance: Magnesite is less common than calcite and is rarely created as sedimentary rock.
It often occurs as metasomatic altered rocks, in magnesium rich rock altered by carbonate rich solutions, or carbonatic rock altered by magnesium rich solutions.  
Notable Occurrences include Austria; Bahia, Brazil; Korea; China; California, USA and many European localities.
Physical characteristics:Color is white or gray, also tinted yellow or brown.
Transparency crystals are translucent to transparent only in individual crystals.
Crystal System is trigonal; Crystals are extremely rare, but when found are in the form of rhombohedrons or hexagonal prisms with a pinacoid termination.
Specific Gravity is approximately 3.0 (average)
Hardness 4-4,5
Other Characteristics: effervesces easily only in hot dilute hydrochloric acid.

Magnesit ist Ausgangsstoff für die Herstellung von Magnesia-Steinen und -massen. Durch Erhitzen auf 400-600°C zerfällt es in Magnesiumoxid (Magnesia, Periklas) und Kohlendioxid, ohne zu schmelzen.

MAGNESIUM as an element:
Magnesium (Mg) is the eighth most abundant element, and the sixth most common metal in the earth's crust and the third most plentiful element dissolved in sea water. It comprises about 2.5 percent of the composition of the earth's surface but does not occur naturally in its metallic form.
Magnesium is a reactive metal and is usually found in nature in the form of and oxide, carbonate or silicate, often in combination with calcium. This reactivity is one of the reasons why the production of magnesium metal requires large amounts of energy.
Magnesium is a necessary element for all living organisms both animal and plant. Chlorophyll, the photo-synthetic green material in plants is structured around a magnesium atom, while in animals, magnesium is a key component of bones and tissues. Magnesium is the lightest of all structural metals and has a melting point of 650 degrees centigrade, its major attributes are:

a quarter the weight of steel
one third lighter than aluminium
has the best strength to weight ratio of common structural metals
has exceptional die-casting characteristics
excellent ability to absorb energy vibration, act as a dampner and highly dent resistant
Magnesium is the metal of the future and today with die casting demand for use in the automotive sector expected to double in the next decade.

Magnesium is a ductile, silver-white, chemically active metal with a hexagonal close-packed crystalline structure. It is malleable when heated. Magnesium is one of the alkaline-earth metals in group IIa of the periodic table. It reacts very slowly with cold water. It is not affected by dry air but tarnishes in moist air, forming a thin protective coating of basic magnesium carbonate, MgCO3·Mg(OH)2. When heated, magnesium powder or ribbon ignites and burns with an intense white light and releases large amounts of heat, forming the oxide, magnesia, MgO. A magnesium fire cannot be extinguished by water, since water reacts with hot magnesium and releases hydrogen. Magnesium reacts with the halogens and with almost all acids. It is a powerful reducing agent and is used to free other metals from their anhydrous halides.    

Magnesio [sec. XIX; da magnesia].
Elemento chimico di simbolo Mg, peso atomico 24,312 e numero atomico 12. Nella crosta terrestre il m. è relativamente abbondante: è all'ottavo posto con una concentrazione del 2,35% in peso. Per la sua elevata reattività il m. non si trova mai allo stato nativo; il suo minerale più comune è la dolomite; molto diffusi sono anche i silicati di m. di origine eruttiva o metamorfica, come il serpentino, gli anfiboli e i pirosseni, il talco e l'amianto.
Di notevole importanza tecnica sono il carbonato, la magnesite e un cloruro idrato di potassio e m., la carnallite.
L'acqua degli oceani contiene in media 1,27 g/l di m. e ne costituisce quindi un'enorme riserva naturale; tutte le acque potabili contengono piccole quantità di sali di m., e quantità maggiori ne contengono varie acque minerali.
Il m. è indispensabile alla vita: in particolare è presente nella molecola della clorofilla.

Chimica – caratteristiche:
Dal punto di vista chimico il m. presenta un comportamento tipicamente metallico, che si inquadra in quello del gruppo dei metalli alcalino-terrosi cui esso appartiene. Puro, è lucente e di colore argenteo sulle superfici fresche, però all'aria diviene rapidamente opaco a causa della formazione di uno straterello di ossido. Fonde a 651 ºC e bolle a 1107 ºC; ha un peso specifico di 1,72, molto basso per un metallo, ed è abbastanza duttile e malleabile.
Il m. in fili sottili, in polvere o in trucioli, può venir facilmente acceso e brucia molto rapidamente emettendo una luce vivissima (luce al magnesio).
Gli acidi attaccano rapidamente il m., più lentamente l'acqua, che lo trasforma nell'idrossido Mg(OH)2.

I composti del Mg
In tutti i suoi composti, il m. risulta esclusivamente bivalente. L'ossido, MgO, generalmente indicato con il nome di magnesia usta, è rappresentato in natura dal minerale periclasio, relativamente raro. Si forma bruciando all'aria il m. metallico ovvero calcinando l'idrossido o il carbonato. Presenta un punto di fusione elevatissimo, prossimo ai 2800 ºC, carattere che lo rende un ottimo materiale refrattario, largamente usato per preparare crogioli, rivestimenti per forni metallurgici, ecc.
Con ossidi di metalli trivalenti, forma degli ossidi doppi che fanno parte del gruppo degli spinelli. L'idrossido, Mg(OH)2, costituisce in natura il minerale brucite. Precipita dalle soluzioni dei sali solubili di m. per aggiunta di una base forte: viene appunto ottenuto su scala industriale aggiungendo della calce all'acqua di mare. È praticamente insolubile in acqua ma facilmente solubile negli acidi diluiti, che lo trasformano nei corrispondenti sali di magnesio.

Il carbonato di m. naturale, magnesite o giobertite, è generalmente impuro per la presenza di notevoli quantità di calcio, silice e silicati. Un prodotto più puro si ottiene attaccando la dolomite macinata e sospesa in acqua con biossido di carbonio sotto pressione; mentre il carbonato di calcio della dolomite non viene attaccato e si separa per filtrazione, il m. passa in soluzione sotto forma di idrogenicarbonato, Mg(HCO3)2. Riscaldando la soluzione, quest'ultimo si decompone in carbonato neutro, che precipita, e biossido di carbonio, che si recupera e torna in ciclo. Per precipitazione da una soluzione bollente di un sale di m. con carbonato di sodio si ottiene un carbonato basico di composizione variabile secondo le condizioni di precipitazione.