What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate is a chemical compound. It is a salt which consists of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions. Baking soda is made up of sodium, hydrogen and carbon. Baking soda is a common food additive and a fine white powder although naturally it is more crystalline.
Baking soda is highly alkaline with a pH of 9 and has a salty and alkaline taste. Baking soda is commonly confused with baking powder but these two are completely different. Baking powder is made from baking soda and is a good leavening agent for those allergic to yeast. It has been used since ancient times. Egyptians used natron, a naturally occurring mixture which has some sodium bicarbonate, as a cleaning agent and for mummification.
Health Benefits of Baking Soda
Baking soda has many health benefits and a good inexpensive remedy for many ailments. It is excellent as a cleaning agent and can replace many toxic ingredients found in conventional cleaning products which have been shown to lead to many health disorders. It can also be used in many toiletries and even as a natural teeth whitener. Most diseases mean a body is in a highly acidic state. Baking soda has the ability to neutralize pH levels and balance high acidic or high alkaline levels. It can help fight colds, flus and cancer and most other health problems.
Baking soda can also be used to test if you have low stomach acid levels.
How to Use Baking Soda (Baking Soda Uses and Remedies)
Cold and Flu
A booklet published in 1924 “Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Medical Uses” recommended the use of baking soda. Dr. Volney S. Cheney revealed his success in several clinical studies with the use of sodium bicarbonate to treat cold and flu.
Dr. Volney S. Cheney stated “treated all cases of ‘cold,’ influenza and LaGripe by first giving generous doses of bicarbonate of soda, and in many, many instances within 36 hours the symptoms would have entirely abated.”
In a letter to the Church & Dwight Company he stated “In 1918 and 1919 while fighting the ‘Flu’ with the U. S. Public Health Service it was brought to my attention that rarely anyone who had been thoroughly alkalinized with bicarbonate of soda contracted the disease, and those who did contract it, if alkalinized early, would invariably have mild attacks.” https://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/sliker/msuspcsbs_armh_armandhamm35/msuspcsbs_armh_armandhamm35.pdf
It is suggested to treat or prevent cold or flu simply dissolve the recommended amount of baking soda in a glass of cold water and drink it. Recommended dosages from the Arm & Hammer Company found in published booklet for colds and influenza were:
Day 1 -- Take six doses of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water, at about two-hour intervals
Day 2 -- Take four doses of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water, at the same intervals
Day 3 -- Take two doses of ½ teaspoon of baking soda in glass of cool water morning and evening, and thereafter ½ teaspoon in glass of cool water each morning until cold symptoms are gone
Alkalize refers to the pH balance in your body. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is with a number that ranges from zero to 14. A pH of seven is considered neutral and your body should ideally remain at this level for optimal health and well-being. The body tends to be more acidic with high consumption of sugar, starch, coffee and if you are unwell. This may be why baking soda can help with colds and flu since these ailments are associated with the body being highly acidic. A medical test can determine your pH level as well as using at home pH strips. If the body is in an acidic state baking soda can help alkalinize your body will by buffering all the built up acid.
Baking soda is extremely alkaline and able to neutralize stomach acids quickly as well as alkalinize the entire system.
To alkalize your body mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in an 8-ounce glass of purified or filtered water and drink immediately. Baking soda is high in salt and can raise your blood pressure. Before taking baking soda it is recommended to speak to your health care professional.
People who have poorly functioning kidneys or chronic kidney disease often caused by diabetes or hypertension have a hard time removing acid from the body which can lead to a condition known as metabolic acidosis.
Researchers at the Royal London Hospital studied 134 patients with chronic kidney disease. The patients were given a small daily dose of sodium bicarbonate in a tablet alongside other medication and care.
It was revealed that over a period of one year these patients kidney function declined significantly more slowly than the patients not give the baking soda. The patients taking sodium bicarbonate were also less likely to develop end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis. These findings were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. [http://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/suppl/2009/07/16/ASN.2008111205.DC1/Yaqoob_CKD-Press_Release.pdf]
With a regulated dose of sodium bicarbonate and professional medical supervision this remedy can be useful for people with kidney failure.
Low stomach acid test
One of the major causes of poor digestion is low stomach acid. The stomach requires a certain level of HCL (hydrochloric acid) to properly digest food. You can do a simple, quick and inexpensive test with baking soda. The aim of the test is to observe the chemical reaction between the sodium bicarbonate and HCL content in your stomach. The reaction is a production of carbon dioxide gas which should cause burping.
It is important to do this test in the morning before putting anything in your mouth. To do this test you will need to mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in 4-6 ounces of cold water. Drink the solution and use a timer for 5 minutes. Stop the timer if you have belched within 5 minutes. If you burp within the first 3 minutes it is likely you have adequate levels of stomach acid. If it takes you longer than 3 minutes then it is likely that there are low levels of HCL. If there is continuous belching then you may have too much HCL.
Natural Antacid (Heartburns, Indigestion and Ulcers)
Sodium bicarbonate can be used as a natural and inexpensive antacid to treat indigestion and heartburn. It is used as the medicinal ingredient in gripe water for infants. Sodium bicarbonate is used in gripe water for infants to help relieve colic and gastrointestinal ailments however before using any homemade formula for infants and children it is important to speak with your doctor.
Baking soda can neutralize pain from the stomach caused by conditions such as ulcers and other conditions that cause acid reflux due to is alkalizing properties. However it should not be used chronically in the case of ulcers as baking soda may increase acid production causing further problems.
To use baking soda for these conditions you will need to mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda and 4 ounces of water making sure the baking soda has fully dissolved. Drink every two hours making sure not to have more than seven one-half teaspoon serving within 24 hour period. Do not take this mixture if you are taking other antacids and medication that may interact. Also avoid taking this if you have high blood pressure.
Some doctors may recommend bicarbonate of soda to help address the uric acid build-up which often leads to gout. This remedy can be used in the same way as it is used for heartburn.
Urinary Tract Infections
Drinking a full glass of water with one teaspoonful of baking soda completely dissolved, may help relieve some of the urinary tract infection symptoms by making the urine less acidic due to baking soda's alkalizing effect which can help prevent further symptoms from developing and overcome the infection.
Studies have shown that increased bicarbonate levels can increase the pH of acidic tumors without upsetting the pH of the blood and healthy tissues. This has only been studied in animals which has revealed that oral sodium bicarbonate can make tumors more alkaline and inhibit metastasis. The effect of sodium bicarbonate on cancer has not been studied in human clinical trials however studies in animals reveal that baking soda is safe and well tolerated. Renowned doctors such as Dr. Julian Whitaker have adopted successful cancer treatment protocols as part of an overall nutritional and immune support program for patients who are dealing with cancer.
The Whitaker Wellness therapy uses baking soda as part of their therapy to help patients with the disease. The protocol for patients with cancer uses 12 g (2 rounded teaspoons) of baking soda mixed in 2 cups water, along with a low-calorie sweetener of your choice as the mixture can taste quite salty. Sip this mixture over the course of an hour or two and repeat for a total of three times a day.
Although it is not known whether acidic foods cause cancer, having tumors can increase the body’s acidity which is why it is beneficial in the treatment of cancer to increase body pH. The case of Vernon Johnston who was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer claims he has cured his cancer by increasing his pH with the use of baking soda.
Common deodorants contain many toxic chemicals with aerosols contaminated with aluminium. For a healthier deodorant you can make your own using baking soda in combination with other ingredients to create your own wet or dry deodorant. For a quick easy deodorant and if you’re strapped for time simply sprinkle a little baking soda under your armpits. You can also use a little water with a tiny amount of baking soda and simply rub under your arm pits.
Teeth Whitener and Toothpaste
Several studies on toothpaste containing sodium bicarbonate have shown to have teeth whitening effect. Studies have also shown that it can also help remove plaque. Many teeth whitening toothpaste and even some mouthwashes contain sodium bicarbonate. It can help neutralize over production of acid in the mouth.
Sodium bicarbonate can help prevent infections in the mouth acting as antiseptic.
Baking soda functions as a teeth whitener in two ways. Because of its abrasive nature, baking soda removes built-up plaque on teeth and the alkaline powder in baking soda can help remove discolorations. While this method can be effective, it will only remove stains on the surface of the teeth.
Although baking soda can help whiten teeth and prevent oral infections if used excessively it can damage the enamel of the teeth. Overuse of baking soda for brushing and whitening teeth will increase sensitivity by breaking down your enamel over time and increase the risk for cavities. Baking soda not be used more than once a week.
Baking soda should not be used in your regular toothpaste. You can use a quarter teaspoon of baking soda with any toothpaste to brush teeth but this for no longer than once a week.
Another way to use as a teeth whitener is by combining it with hydrogen peroxide. Simply combine two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with one tablespoon of baking soda and mix until it forms into a paste and start brushing gently for two minutes. Let the paste stand for at least a minute and then rinse your mouth thoroughly so that no residue or traces of these ingredients remain on your teeth.
Facial and body exfoliator
To make an exfoliator which can be used for your face and body use three parts of baking soda combined with 1 part water to make a paste. This is gentle enough to use every day and can help you to avoid using exfoliating products containing toxic ingredients.
You can have your own inexpensive spa treatment at home. To create a foot soak which can clear up cracked dry heels, athlete’s foot or calluses use about 3 tablespoons of baking soda in warm water. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes. In addition to this you can use apple cider vinegar. Use a pumice stone to remove dead skin cells on the soles of your feet. Once finished use a good oil or lotion for moisturizing.
Used as a bath soak baking soda can help ease aches, pains and assist with detoxing. It may also help sooth symptoms of psoriasis which includes itchiness. In addition to these a baking soda bath soak can help clear the drain once finished. To use as a bath soak you can use half a cup of baking soda to your bath water in addition to apple cider vinegar or other ingredients for a soothing and relaxing spa-like bath.
Vegetable and fruit wash
Buying organic produce is important for avoiding pesticides which will cause health problems, however organic food may not be affordable for all people. One solution is to wash your fruits and vegetables with baking soda to remove as much dirt and pesticide. Use a bowl and fill it with water and add a few tablespoons of baking soda. Soak the fruits or vegetables in this water between 5 to 15 minutes and occasionally scrubbing the produce using a brush.
For fruits and vegetables that have very firm surfaces simply sprinkle the baking soda and let it sit for about 2 minutes and scrub thoroughly. Rinse the produce under cold running water until all residue is washed away.
The same method can also be applied for leafy greens except scrubbing should be done lightly. Rinse leafy greens thoroughly.
Sodium bicarbonate is highly effective for household cleaning. You can remove heavy tea and coffee stains from cups. Simply add warm water into cup or bowl and dissolve baking soda allowing the solution to sit for at least 20 minutes depending on how tough the stain is.
Baking soda can also be mixed with apple cider vinegar for most general cleaning. Most drain cleaners are toxic and can release harmful fumes. For an all-natural nontoxic drain cleaner sprinkle baking soda down the drain followed by apple cider vinegar. The mixture will have a bubbling effect. Let this bubble for at least 15 minutes and then pour hot water.
You can also use baking soda to put out flames that may arise in kitchen to left over grease.
Baking soda mixed with lemon juice to make a paste can be used to get rid of hard water scale on your kitchen sink, bathroom sink and tiles.
Natural laundry Cleaner
Baking soda added to washing machines is an affordable and effective softener and can help remove odors from clothes.
You can also use ½ cup of plain baking soda to the rinse cycle to remove odors from reusable diapers. This will also help neutralize pH level on your baby’s reusable diapers after a bout with yeast or teething rash.
Baking soda is excellent for removing odors by simply sprinkling in the source of the odor. The following are common ways to use baking soda as a deodorizer.
Sprinkle on carpet to remove odors which will also be helpful for removing odors that can build up inside a vacuum. You can also use essential oil for a natural fragrance onto the baking soda before sprinkling onto carpet.
Baking soda can be sprinkled in shoes for a natural deodorizer.
Leaving an open box of baking soda in your fridge will neutralize odors.
Instead of using soaps to remove odor from your hands which can be harsh for your skin use a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, or 3 parts baking soda to gentle liquid hand soap and gently scrub away. Rinse clean. This will remove dirt and neutralize odors on hands without drying out your skin.
Blisters, Burns, Sunburns, and Skin Allergies
Sodium bicarbonate has been used in first aid in treating scalding. Instructions are to cover the scalded area with a liberal layer of sodium bicarbonate and water paste and seek medical assistance. This may prevent blistering and scarring. There is endothermic reaction that occurs between sodium bicarbonate and water and sodium bicarbonate's mild antiseptic properties in this method.
To use as a Sunburn remedy add 1/2 cup of baking soda to lukewarm bathwater. Soak in the tub for at least 20 minutes. Once you are done let your skin air dry instead of using a towel to dry off the excess baking soda which will provide extra relief. Another method is to add a mixture of baking soda and water to a cold compress and apply it to the sunburn directly.
Baking soda can help remove splinters from the skin. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a small glass of water and soak the affected area twice a day. The splinters should come out on their own after a couple of days using this treatment.
For insect bites use a paste of baking soda and water and apply onto affected skin to ease the itch or use the same method for sunburns.
Baking soda can be administered to pools, spas, and garden ponds to raise pH levels. It can also be used in the garden to kill weeds in combination with other natural non-toxic ingredients such as vinegar and salt.
Precautions and Warnings
There may be some confusion between baking soda and baking powder. Conventional baking powder used as a leavening agent may contain aluminium. Baking soda is generally not contaminated with aluminium whereas baking powder is very likely to be contaminated.
Do not take this sodium bicarbonate internally if you are taking other antacids and medication that may interact. Also avoid taking this if you have high blood pressure. If you take medicines for hypertension it is recommended to speak to your health care professional before using baking soda.
Baking soda is high in sodium and is not safe in high doses as well as using over a long period of time. It is also not safe for people who have certain medical conditions and therefore should be discussed with your doctor. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should discuss use of baking soda before using it as a remedy.
It is important to make sure the baking soda is dissolved properly as improperly dissolved baking soda can lead to an upset stomach. It can also cause an upset stomach if taken on a full stomach.
Side Effects / Toxicity
It is important to talk to your doctor about appropriate doses for specific ailments as there may be side effects of regularly drinking baking soda in water.
There has been little documented toxicity associated with sodium bicarbonate. Side effects and toxicity are associated with acute and chronic oral ingestion of baking soda. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8285975]
Possible side effects of drinking baking soda in water include:
- Stomach cramps
- Increased thirst
- Swollen feet
- Mental changes
- Slow breathing
If you notice any serious side effects it is important to contact your doctor and seek medical attention immediately.
Risks associated with toxicity of acute and chronic oral ingestion of baking soda include:
- Metabolic alkalosis
- Gastric rupture
- Intravascular volume depletion
- Urinary alkalinization
Abrupt cessation of chronic excessive bicarbonate ingestion may result in:
- Volume contraction
- Disruption of calcium and phosphorus metabolism
It should be avoided by people with high blood pressure as sodium bicarbonate is made up of mostly sodium which will cause problems with blood pressure conditions. According to the American Heart Association 1 teaspoon of baking soda contains 1000 mg of sodium.
Buying Baking Soda
Baking soda is available in most online stores and can be purchased in bulk. It is also likely to be labelled as Sodium Bicarbonate. Baking Soda should not be confused with Baking Powder. Baking powder is used as a leavening agent for baking and not for the remedies mentioned in this article.