Most of you probably have 1 box of baking soda in your home right now. If you’re like many Americans, you might have 1 box in your pantry for baking purposes, 1 in your refrigerator to absorb food odors and another one under your kitchen sink to use it for cleaning.
However, what you might not have considered is that baking soda can be used for health purposes as well, so you could stash another box in your medicine cabinet after reading this article.
Do you know what baking soda exactly is?
Baking soda is 100% sodium bicarbonate, which can be used as a leavening agent in baked foods. When mixed with an acid, baking soda swiftly reacts, making bubbles and giving off carbon dioxide gas, which causes dough to rise. Reports throughout history suggest that many civilizations used forms of baking soda when making bread and other foods that required rising.
Baking soda is known as nahcolite in its natural form, which is part of the natural mineral natron. Natron, which contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, has been used since ancient times. And you don’t need to get aluminum-free baking soda (you are confusing that with baking powder), as baking soda is already aluminum free!
For instance, the Egyptians used natron as soap for cleansing purposes. However, it wasn’t until 1846 that Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight began to manufacture and sell the compound we know as baking soda today. By the 1860s, baking soda was featured in published cookbooks, but was still primarily known as a cooking additive. By the 1920s, however, its versatility was expanded on and by the 1930s it was widely advertised as a “proven medical agent.”
Here are 11 ways to use baking soda for your health
You can purchase a box of baking soda for under $1, making it one of the least expensive home remedies to keep on hand. In addition to using it for minor accidents and injuries, baking soda can become a part of your regular hygiene routine.
- Insect bites and poison ivy
Apply a paste made of baking soda and water to insect bite spot to help relieve itching. You can also try rubbing the dry powder onto your skin. This is also effective for itchy rashes and poison ivy. Baking soda helps to relieve minor skin irritation and itching by neutralizing toxins and irritants on your skin’s surface.
- Natural deodorant
If you want to avoid the parabens and aluminum found in many deodorants and antiperspirants, try a pinch of baking soda mixed with water instead. This simple paste makes an effective and simple natural deodorant. You can also simply brush some dry baking soda under your arms.
- Heartburn, indigestion, and ulcer pain
Most over-the-counter antacids contain some form of bicarbonate. Baking soda works by immediately neutralizing stomach acid, helping to relieve heartburn, indigestion and even ulcer pain. I have personally recommended this to many, including my family members, and have been surprised how remarkably effective it is.
Directions: Dosing is typically ½ teaspoon fully dissolved in a half a glass of water, taken every 2 hours (do not take more than seven ½ teaspoons in 24 hours, or three ½ teaspoons if you are over 60).
This should only be used as an occasional (not chronic) treatment, however, and be careful not to consume excessive amounts, which can cause serious electrolyte and acid/base imbalances.
- Foot soak and exfoliator
Directions: Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of warm water for an invigorating foot soak. You can scrub your feet with a baking soda paste for additional exfoliation. A paste made from three parts of baking soda combined with one part water can be used as an exfoliator for your face and body, too. It is natural, cheap and gentle enough to use every day.
- Relaxing soak
Baking soda and apple cider vinegar make a wonderful spa-like bath for soaking. It also cleans the tub and the drain, as a bonus!
- Hand cleanser
Directions: Mix 3 parts of baking soda with 1 part of water to make a natural hand cleanser that will scrub away dirt and neutralize odors.