No one would argue that baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has benefits in the kitchen for use in recipes. But this natural compound has been utilized in homes as a natural cure for a variety of health issues for over a century! It is a popular remedy for indigestion, burns, insect stings and gout. Baking soda is also a safe, inexpensive and powerful “green” cleaning agent. This handy substance belongs in every home and car.
Baking soda contains sodium, hydrogen and carbon, essential elements for life.
Health Benefits of Baking Soda
Though simple and inexpensive, humble baking soda it is sometimes the most appropriate remedy, even in a hospital setting. Baking soda is used in hospitals to treat some types of drug overdoses. It has been used in a nebulizer in hospitals to treat asthma1 and chlorine gas poisoning.2
Perhaps baking soda’s most famous claim to fame in health is for its use as a natural antacid.3 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda is added to several ounces of water and consumed. Many over the counter medications for heartburn and acid reflux contain carbonates. However, they also contain artificial sugars, fillers, and dyes. Plain baking soda is much cheaper and void of additives and toxins.
A study found that taking baking soda slowed the progression of Chronic Kidney disease.4 However, if you have a serious condition, do not attempt to rely on a single solution for your situation without counsel from a medical professional.
Sodium bicarbonate can help to dissolve uric acid crystals which cause gout and some types of kidney stones. It can be taken orally. A gouty foot can be soaked in baking soda foot bath as well.
Alkalizing the Body
Many health problems are caused or made worse by having an overly acidic body. Modern diets, processed foods, excessive coffee, inadequate fruits and vegetables can all contribute to an acidic system. Improving the pH of your body can reduce or solve multiple health issues.
¼ teaspoon in 6 ounces of water on an empty stomach is a typical dose to alkalize the body.
Baking Soda Bath
One cup of baking soda can be added to a warm tub of water. Baking soda baths bring relief to all sorts of itchy issues including chicken pox, shingles, insect bites, poison ivy, and dermatitis. Baking soda baths are soothing to those with a cold or the flu. Baking soda absorbs through the skin and helps the alkalize the body.
Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda has wonderful uses as a natural remedy when it is mixed with water to make a paste. Simply add equal amounts of each and add more of one or the other to get the consistency that is suitable for the application.
Baking soda paste can be applied to a burn after you have cooled the burn with cool running water for 10-15 minutes. Do not apply baking soda to severe burns.
For a splinter, apply the paste to the splinter and cover it with a band aid. The baking soda will help to draw out the splinter. Change the band aid every 8 hours.
Apply the baking soda paste to a bee sting or other insect bite to bring quick pain relief. The paste will also reduce swelling.
Babies and toddlers will sometimes have a flaky crust on their scalp called cradle cap. At the beginning of a baby’s bath time, massage the baking soda paste onto his head. Rinse after 10 minutes and shampoo his head and hair. This can be done 2-3 times a week until the cradle cap is resolved. Do not leave the baking soda on the head for longer than 10 minutes and only use this remedy a few times a week. Excessive topical use of baking soda can cause alkalosis in babies.5
Baking Soda for Beauty
The above mentioned baking soda paste can be used to naturally exfoliate the skin. Gently massage baking soda onto face to remove dead skin cells. This should not be done more than once or twice a month as it can dry out the skin and make it overly alkaline. Skin is meant to be slightly acidic.
Baking soda is sometimes used as a shampoo alternative. Because baking soda is alkaline and hair and scalp are ideally more acidic, it can have adverse effects on the hair and scalp. Baking soda can be used as a “dry shampoo” for occasional use. It will help to absorb any odor and remove excess oil.
Baking soda is an old fashioned tooth paste solution. Whereas hair and skin need to be slightly acidic, the mouth should not be acidic. An acidic mouth is more likely to experience tooth decay, oral infections and bad breath. Brushing the teeth with baking soda before bed will help to keep the mouth alkaline overnight and will also help to whiten teeth.
Baking Soda for Cleaning
There are many different chemicals available to use for cleaning. However, these chemicals can be expensive, space consuming, and harmful to health and the environment. Baking soda replaces a variety of cleaners cheaply, compactly, safely and without harm to the environment. Keep a jar of baking soda in the kitchen and bathroom to cover a variety of basic needs.
Scented Baking Soda Scrub
- 1 cup baking soda
- 4 drops essential oil (orange, lemon, pine or lavender are all nice options!)
- Blend the baking soda and oil in a blender, or just mix by hand with a fork or a whisk.
- Put the baking soda mixture in an empty shaker bottle with large holes and you have a pleasant scouring powder.
Use it to clean:
- tile floors
Use it to deodorize:
Baking Soda as a Fire Extinguisher
For some fires, water is the worst thing to throw on to it. Grease fires and electrical fires are two fires that can be made more dangerous if water is added. Baking soda, however, is a good compound to use to put out small electrical fires or grease fires. (The exception being a fire from a deep fryer, then neither water not baking soda should be used.)
Baking soda, while a very safe compound can be dangerous when used excessively or irresponsibly.
Using large amounts of baking soda can cause alkalosis, a situation where the body is too alkaline. Too much baking soda can cause electrolyte imbalance in the body.6
There have been rare reports of baking soda causing stomach rupture when used to treat the miserable symptoms of significant overeating.7
Because sodium intake can increase blood pressure, there is sometimes a concern that sodium bicarbonate may raise blood pressure as well. Studies have not found this to necessarily be the case.8 However, anyone with high blood pressure and/or on medications needs to consider that any changes in diet or supplementation could affect their condition adversely.
For those who have significant health issues or a poor diet, regular use of baking soda may temporarily mask symptoms which need attention. Natural remedies are never a suitable long term solution if underlying issues are not addressed.
How do you use baking soda? Please send us some feedback!
And continue reading to see how our readers have benefited from this wonderful remedy.