Baking Soda is a natural source Sodium Bicarbonate, known for its many cooking, cleaning, personal care and medicinal purposes. Baking soda can be found in all living things and usually appears as a fine powder.
- History: Ancients Egyptians used natural deposits of Natron, a mixture of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, as a cleansing agent like soap for a variety of purposes. In 1791 a French Chemist produced sodium bicarbonate, which is the form of Baking Soda as we know it today.
- Baking: Baking soda is also used as a leavening agent in baking. It reacts with acidic components in batters, releasing carbon dioxide, which causes expansion in the batter and forms the characteristic texture and grain in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, etc. In 1846, two New York bakers developed the process of making sodium bicarbonate and carbon dioxide into baking soda to help dough to rise quicker and more efficiently. Each of them started a company on their own, but later merged and became the makers of Arm & Hammer baking soda.
- Medicinally: Baking soda isn’t only for baking; drinking baking soda water periodically throughout the day can boost your health. Baking soda water works as an antacid and antiseptic, which helps ease stomach and digestive troubles. Additionally, it can boost your body’s alkalinity and potentially combat some diseases.
- Replacement for toothpaste: Because it acts as an antiseptic and neutralizes the production of acids in the mouth, Baking Soda can be mixed with water to create a paste and used as a replacement for toothpaste. It can be used as a mouth wash, killing bacteria and eliminating bad breath. Baking soda is also known to be an effective tooth whitener.
- Substitute to soap or shampoo: Since sodium bicarbonate is gentle, it doesn’t strip your skin of it’s protective oils like most soaps do and can be used as a substitute to soap or shampoo. If you combine three parts baking soda to one part water, you can make a gentle cleanser, yet powerful enough to eradicate even the strongest smells such as onion and garlic.
- Used in products: Baking Soda complements body care recipes by adding a smooth texture to creams and lotions. It also acts as a wonderful pH stabilizer by subduing viscosity, making your products easier to handle.
- Mild abrasive cleanser: Baking soda is commonly used dry as a mild abrasive cleanser to remove dirt and stains from countertops, porcelain, enamel, chrome, and steel. It can be used to remove coffee and tea stains from cups and will not leave a residue. Baking soda is also used as a laundry adjunct because it helps boost the strength of detergents and works to deodorize clothing.
- Colds: Baking Soda offers a wide range of health benefits. It has antimicrobial properties and may help to fight both colds and flu symptoms.
- Digestion: When taken orally, Baking Soda can act as an antacid to treat the symptoms of heartburn, upset stomach and diarrhea. Baking Soda can also neutralize stomach acid, thereby alleviating pain due to ulcers.
- pH balance: It is also used to restore and maintain a healthy pH balance in the bloodstream if the body’s systems have become too acidic, as in metabolic acidosis, which can happen in response to kidney disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disorder and other conditions.
- Bites or rashes: Baking Soda has anti-ich or antipruritic properties which can soothe skin and relieve itching. It can help to treat various skin conditions including sunburns, insect bites, poison ivy and various rashes. Mixed with water, a solution or paste made from the Baking Soda which can then be applied on the skin to alleviate symptoms.
- Kidney Stone: Kidneys are vulnerable to acidic urine. When ionic balance is disrupted, serious kidney conditions can ultimately result. Acidic urine can lead to the formation of kidney stones. When this occurs, treatment with baking soda can restore a healthy ionic balance and discourage kidney stone formation
- Urinary Tract Infections:Sodium bicarbonate may also help individuals with urinary tract infections. Drinking baking soda blended in water can help the body overcome the infection by reducing the acid in urine. To experience even greater relief, drink lots of water and cranberry juice as well.
- It is also a good source of sodium, which can prevents hyperkalemia (an ailment caused due to high levels of potassium in the blood), bladder infection and kidney stones.
- Antiseptic: Baking soda’s mild antiseptic properties kill some kinds of parasites, fungi, and mold. Because of this, applying baking soda to your toothbrush disinfects the brush and cleans your teeth. Gargling with baking soda water can also help minimize the symptoms of a sore throat or persistent cough.
- Enhancing Sports Performance: Strenuous exercise leads to the buildup of lactic acid with associated muscle pain and fatigue. The longer an athlete can delay lactic acid buildup, the better his performance, especially in sports that require endurance and speed. Consuming baking soda water accomplishes this for elite athletes.
- Nausea, bloating, or gas may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
- If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
- Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: swelling hands/ankles/feet, unusual weight gain.
- When taken with sodium bicarbonate, large doses of calcium from your diet, medications, or supplements can rarely cause a serious problem called milk-alkali syndrome. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using calcium products safely while you are using this medication. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: dizziness, muscle aches/spasms, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, irritability, memory problems), vomiting, weakness, change in the amount of urine.
- Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, seizures.
- A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
- Before taking sodium bicarbonate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
- This product should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this product, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: a certain breathing problem (pulmonary edema), congestive heart failure, severe kidney disease (e.g., inability to make urine), severe liver disease (e.g., ascites, cirrhosis), high sodium levels, swollen ankles/legs/feet due to retaining water (peripheral edema).
- If you have any of the following health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product: low calcium levels, high blood pressure, heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat), kidney disease.
- Because this medication contains salt (sodium), do not use if you are on a salt-restricted diet.
- During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. This medication may worsen high blood pressure during pregnancy (toxemia of pregnancy). Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
- This medication may pass into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
- Source: WebMD, “Sodium Bicarbonate” web article, user reviewed; www.webmd.com
- Source: “Drinking Baking Soda for Your Health”, web article, www.md-health.com/Drinking-Baking-Soda.html