The role of IM in pharmaceuticals falls into one of two main categories: excipient or active substance. The excipients have no intrinsic health benefit on their own; they are used solely as carriers, allowing the intake of minute amounts of active substances, in a practical way.
pH regulation or adsorbents, are the kind of applications for which some minerals are used as active ingredients. Those used in such areas of course have to fulfil the strictest requirements in terms of their physical and chemical characteristics, in compliance with the enforced pharmacopoeia.
Many cosmetics include significant amounts of IM. One familiar example is talc, but others like mica, silica or borates are also used, for their visual, abrasive or stabilising properties. A cultural heritage again? Earliest civilisations already made use of earth pigments for body painting .