The Many Uses For Baking Soda – Sodium Bicarbonate

Like most people, you probably also grew up observing that baking soda is a kitchen staple in your house. You probably also heard how useful it is in baking, teeth whitening and the curing of diseases. Can all these be true about a simple white powder? This piece will unravel the truth and myths about baking soda.

What Exactly is Baking Soda?

Sodium Bicarbonate is the chemical name for baking soda, an alkaline white powder. Its primary use is in baking, where it serves as a chemical leavener . Baking soda works as a raising agent by producing carbon dioxide when it reacts with vinegar (an acid) in the cake and other pastries. This reaction produces bubbles that make the cake or pastry rise, become moist and tender.

Benefits of Baking Soda

It goes without saying that baking soda is one of the most versatile products that you can find in any kitchen. This is for a good reason too. It offers so many benefits and is useful in so many surprising ways. Some of its uses include:

  • Non-abrasive Cleaner

When mixed with water, baking soda works perfectly as a non-abrasive cleaner, which you can use to clean the refrigerator and remove old food residues. Mixed with hot water, you can use it to clean tubs, sinks and shower curtains.

  • Deodorizer

It is an effective deodorizer, by simply sprinkling the powder on a carpet (allow to sit for a while) before vacuuming, all offensive stink disappears.

  • Produce Wash

Baking soda is able to degrade some pesticides. It can easily replace your expensive produce washes. Soak your produce in a mixture of baking soda and water for up to 15 minutes and you are sure that about 96 percent of pesticides on your produce is gone.

  • Pots and Pan Cleaner

It helps to lift crusty food particles from pots and pans. All you need to do is add the powder to the pan or pot and fill with hot water. Allow to soak for up to 30 minutes and wash.

  • Cloth Rinse

When added during rinsing, baking soda can remove chemical residues from clothes and make it fresh.

  • Treatment for Nail Infections

Sodium bicarbonate – baking soda, has anti-fungal properties, which makes it suitable for tackling mild nail infections. Regular water and baking soda soak provide quick relief.

  • Care for Bug Bites

During adventures, it is almost impossible to stay clear of bug bites. Applying a mixture of baking soda with little water (to form a paste) on the bites offers soothing relief.

  • Gargle for Relief During Cancer Treatment

The American Cancer Society recommends the use of a mixture of baking soda, salt, and water as gargle during cancer treatment. This eases throat discomfort and prevents infection of mouth sores.

Side Effects and Drawbacks of Baking Soda

Other uses of baking soda include teeth whitener, treatment of heartburn etc. Though effective, it is important to keep in mind that over consumption of baking soda may cause more harm than good.

In the case of teeth whitening, over time, the tooth enamel can get eroded. For patients with high blood pressure, because of its sodium content, high intake of baking soda can increase blood pressure. Generally, when the body is overloaded with sodium, it can result in diarrhea, vomiting, even seizures, and kidney failure.

Meanwhile, when used as an antacid for heartburn, baking soda can make the situation worse if it produces too much gas. In some very rare cases, the ingestion of baking soda after a large meal can cause stomach rupture.

Is Baking Soda for Acne Effective?

When acne appears, any solution sounds good. Though its use may be popular, is baking soda the right solution for acne?

A breakout of acne appears when the skin pores are clogged by natural oils that the skin produces. This is sometimes painful and quite discomforting. Since baking soda has antiseptic properties, when used on acne, it can prevent bacterial infection and growth. Its anti-inflammatory properties also offer relief from the pains. But are these enough reasons to use it?

Naturally, the skin’s pH is between 4.5 and 5.5, which makes it acidic, while baking soda has a pH of 9, which makes it alkaline. Applying baking soda to acne means that a neutralizing reaction will occur between the skin and the powder, thus, stripping the skin of its acidity, a condition necessary for the production of natural and healthy oils. These oils are important because of its moisturizing effect and ability to prevent pollution and bacterial growth.

Therefore, the use of baking soda for the treatment of acne can cause more harm than good. You may experience side effects such as very dry skin, skin irritation, high sensitivity to the sun, increased acne breakout and even premature wrinkles.

Does Baking Soda Work as a Treatment for Acid Reflux?

It is very common for people to want to know if baking soda offers relieve for acid reflux – heartburn. About 15 million Americans suffer acid reflux daily, so it is a common problem.

The burning sensation felt in the chest when one suffers acid reflux is as a result of stomach acid backing up into the food pipe. Since baking soda is alkaline, it naturally neutralizes this acid, providing relief. However, the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research recommends that this should be used with care and as a temporary remedy. In the case of acid reflux, instead of using baking soda, buy tablets or effervescent powder of sodium bicarbonate.

Baking Soda and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Apart from providing relief during cancer treatments, recent research has associated baking soda with the treatment of autoimmune diseases. According to this new study conducted at the Augusta University by researchers from the Medical College of Georgia, simply drinking a solution of baking soda can aid in the treatment of autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis also referred to as rheumatoid disease.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the sufferer so much pain. Apart from being chronic, it disables the immune system and causes swelling of the joint, tissues around the joint, including organs. It is progressive and causes pain in the joints and other body parts.

Basically, with rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the body because it thinks the body is under attack. With ingestion of baking soda, the salt sends a signal to the mesothelial cells. This signal tells the cells that the body is not under attack and thus prevents the harmful autoimmune responses that cause the disease.

Yes, baking soda is really versatile, but care must be taken when using it on the body (internal or external) to avoid side effects and complications.