Baking soda: an effective home remedy

Tired of using chemicals and drugs? The good news is that the ordinary baking soda is an effective and multipurpose aid for your health and beauty.

The United State Pharmacopoeia had been aware of its health benefits for more than a hundred years.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, an alkaline substance that has the ability to neutralize the effect of acids. It’s also safe for the environment.

There are 101 ways to use baking soda, but we will focus only on its health applications here:

  1. As a toothpaste for dental hygiene.Because baking soda has a naturally gritty texture, it has been used to clean the teeth. Sprinkle some baking soda on top of your toothpaste to remove teeth stains and whiten teeth. For those with budget constraints or is allergic to toothpaste, baking soda can be used as a natural toothpaste. Take note: it’s salty because of the sodium. Here’s a way to create your own toothpaste. Mix three parts baking soda and one part salt. Then, add three teaspoons of glycerin. Next, add 10 to 20 drops of flavoring (peppermint or cinnamon) and enough water to make a paste. Place it in a squeeze tube and presto, it’s toothpaste.
  2. As a refreshing mouthwash. For fresher breath, dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in half a glass of water. Gargle then rinse thoroughly. Another popular use for baking soda is to clean dentures and dental appliances. Soak your dentures, retainers or mouth guards in two teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in warm water. It’s very effective.
  3. To soothe skin irritations like prickly heat and insect bites. The Mayo Clinic recommends baking soda as a natural treatment for skin irritations. To relieve itching from prickly heat and insect bites, apply a baking soda mixture. Create a paste with three teaspoons (15 ml) baking soda and a teaspoon (5 ml) of clean water. Apply this paste to the affected skin and allow it to dry. The drying process removes poison and neutralizes the itchiness from insect bites. For those with dry and itchy skin, you can soak in a baking soda bath. Add one cup of baking soda and 1¼ cup of baby oil to your bath.
  4. For sunburn. Baking soda can also provide relief for painful sunburns. Soak a washcloth in a mixture of four tablespoons baking soda and four glasses of water. Apply the washcloth to the burn area. Alternatively, you can prepare a warm bath with baking soda to wash away acid debris on your skin. Just add one cup of baking soda to a bath of warm water. Soak in the bath to soothe the pain.
  5. For clean and shiny hair. Sometimes, too much chemicals from shampoo and hair products can leave your hair dull-looking. To restore your hair’s shine, add a teaspoon of baking soda to a squeeze of shampoo on your hand. Wash your hair the usual way, then rinse thoroughly. Hairdressers have another tip for those with oily hair. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to shampoo, sprinkle some baking soda on your hair and comb it. You can use a hair dryer to fluff up your hair.
  6. As face cleanser. To exfoliate your skin and restore its shine, you can prepare a face mask using baking soda. Mix two teaspoons of fine oatmeal, one teaspoon of baking powder, one teaspoon of honey and a little water to form a paste. Apply this to the face, and rinse off slowly after 20 minutes. You’ll have smooth soft skin afterwards. If you just want a face scrub, mix three parts of baking soda to one part of water. Wash your face gently with this mixture to remove dead skin cells.
  7. For pimples. Make a paste by adding one teaspoon of water to two tablespoons of baking soda. Gently apply to the pimple areas, then rinse off after one minute.
  8. For skin calluses in the feet and elbow area. Soak your feet in four glasses of warm water with four tablespoons baking soda. Soak feet for 10 minutes. This will smoothen out rough and hardened skin. You can also treat hard calluses by massaging them with a paste of three teaspoons of baking soda and one teaspoon of water.
  9. For athlete’s foot and smelly shoes. Sprinkle some baking soda into your rubber shoes or regular shoes. Baking soda will help absorb the moisture in the shoes and prevent fungus from growing. This will also reduce the awful smell. To treat athlete’s foot naturally, soak your feet in equal parts white vinegar and water for 15 minutes twice a day. Dry your feet thoroughly after each soak. You can sprinkle some baking soda between the toes to keep them dry.
  10. As a deodorant. Combine 50 percent corn starch and 50 percent baking soda. Mix together and apply to your underarms like a regular deodorant. This will help neutralize the “acidic” sweat and reduce body odor. If you want to create a wet deodorant, you can mix 70 percent rubbing alcohol with some baking soda. Put this in a spray bottle and it’s your natural deodorant. Some people use a sprinkle of baking soda alone, although this may be less effective than the corn starch combination.
  11. For heartburn. The alkaline properties of baking soda make it an effective treatment for heartburn and acid indigestion. Food in our diet, such as meat, diary products, coffee and alcohol, can produce too much acid in the body. As a home remedy, you can make an antacid solution by mixing ½ teaspoon of baking soda with ½ glass of water. Warning: Do not consume more than three teaspoons of baking soda a day or you might make your blood too alkaline. Consult your doctor first.
  12. For chronic kidney disease. (This requires doctor supervision.) According to a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (July 16, 2009), a dose of baking soda a day can help patients with chronic kidney disease. The study found that patients taking sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) showed clinical improvement. The patients were less likely to develop kidney failure and require dialysis. “This cheap and simple strategy has the potential of translating into significant economic, quality of life and clinical outcome benefits,” researcher Dr. Magdi Yaqoob of Royal London Hospital in England said. Consult your kidney specialist first. There are many other uses of baking soda. In fact, baking soda is now being tested to fight certain cancers and arthritis. Stay tuned.

As added information, baking soda is a popular ingredient for cakes and baked food. Japanese cooks use it to lighten tempura batter, which make their tempura light, crispy and thin.

Finally, baking soda is very affordable. You can purchase it in supermarkets. A sizeable 8 ounce box costs only P45. It’s something all homes can have. — First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 5 (August 4-17, 2015): 11.