It seems like every day there is some new exotic superfood being touted as a panacea that can cure all of your ills.
Unfortunately, these claims are often exaggerated at best, or out right fabricated at worst.
Luckily, there is a powerful healing substance that you likely already have in your cabinet at home!
It is safe, effective, and readily available, so you don’t have to import it from the jungles of Peru or the mountains of China!
This compound is so safe and common that you have likely been eating it your whole life in various baked goods.
This compound is baking soda!
Baking soda is the common name for the chemical compound sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda is commonly used in baking because it reacts with acidic substances giving off bubbles thus causing dough to rise.
In addition to baking, many people also use baking soda to absorb odors in the fridge. This however, is actually an urban myth. In fact, scientists generally agree that the box the baking soda comes in is probably better at absorbing odors than the baking soda itself!
With that said, there are other benefits of sodium bicarbonate beyond baking.
Here are 10 surprising health benefits of this common household compound:
“Heartburn” is a common problem that is not actually related to the heart. It could more accurately be called “esophagus burn.” This is because heartburn is a result of stomach acid refluxing up into the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach. The stomach acid burns the esophagus creating a sensation of pain.
Sodium bicarbonate has the chemical ability to neutralize stomach acid thus relieving heartburn. In fact, many over-the-counter heartburn medications contain bicarbonate. Baking soda allows you to reap these benefits without consuming the other questionable ingredients in these products and for a fraction of the price!
Baking soda has long been used to help alleviate the itching and burning sensation associated with sunburn, bug bites, allergic breakouts, poison ivy, poison oak, and other skin irritation. There are a couple of different methods people use to achieve this.
One method is best for acute skin irritation. For these incidents you can make a paste with baking soda by mixing about a teaspoon with enough water to create a thick consistency. This can be applied to the affected area and left on for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
The other option is for whole body sunburns or whole body skin rashes. For these incidents you can take a baking soda bath. This can be done by filling a tub with warm water and adding 1-2 cups of baking soda and mixing well. Soak for at least 30 minutes to an hour. An extra bonus is that this will clean the tub and the drain!
Canker sores are small painful infections inside the mouth, on the gums, or on the tongue. They are often a result of an injury to the mouth accompanied by an infection of the wound site. Although not contagious like cold sores, canker sores can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. These sores are very sensitive and can make eating very painful. This is because many foods will aggravate the sores.
Sodium bicarbonate can help alleviate the pain associated with the sores and create an alkaline environment that helps to kill off the infection and heal the wound. A paste can be made as directed above and applied directly to the sores. Alternatively as whole mouthwash can be used daily to treat the sores.
As implied above, baking soda is a great option for a non-toxic, all-natural mouthwash alternative.
Mouthwash is important because it helps to clean out the crevices and cavities that may be missed in your daily tooth brushing routine. Unfortunately, many commercially available mouthwashes contain toxic additives that are absorbed into the delicate pores of the mouth and gums and circulated in the bloodstream throughout the body.
Baking soda is great for mouthwash because it is antimicrobial and creates an alkaline environment in the mouth.
A teaspoon of baking soda can be mixed with about tablespoon of coconut oil with any essential oils desired such as peppermint, spearmint, neem, clove, cinnamon, or oregano. Swish in the mouth for at least 20 minutes.
Not only great for mouthwash, baking soda is also a wonderful main ingredient for homemade whitening toothpaste! In fact, you may have noticed many commercially available toothpastes use baking soda in their formulas.
This is theorized to be because baking soda has the ability to the break up the molecular bonds of the compounds that stain your teeth.
For maximum effect mix a teaspoon baking soda with a teaspoon of activated charcoal, a teaspoon of calcium bentonite clay, about a tablespoon of coconut oil and any desired essential oils. Brush your teeth as usual. This can also be applied to the teeth as a paste and left on for up to half an hour to enhance whitening.
Long distance runners and other endurance athletes have long been known to use baking soda before races and events. In fact this is often referred to as “soda doping.” The theorized mechanism of action is that the pH balancing effect of the baking soda counteracts the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles thus increasing muscle endurance and athletic performance.
This effect can be utilized by consuming a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water before a workout.
Baking soda is a common ingredient in commercial deodorants. This is because the cause of stinky armpits is not human sweat in and of itself. Believe it or not, human sweat is actually odorless.
What causes the smell in sweaty armpits is the bacteria living in the armpit. They metabolize the sweat and produce acidic byproducts which are the source of the stench. Baking soda works by neutralizing these acidic byproducts and reducing the associated smell.
Baking soda can be a helpful treatment for stubborn aggravating splinters. As we all know, some splinters get wedged so deeply in the skin that they are impossible to reach with tweezers. If this happens, you can make a soak with baking soda and water. Use about ½ tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate mixed in a bowl of water. Soak the affected area for about 20-30 minutes twice daily for 2-3 days and the splinter should come out on its own.
Calluses are a result of frequent friction against the skin. They are most common on the hands and feet.
The skin adapts to repeated friction by building up extra layers for protection. This can be helpful in some situations but in others in can lead to discomfort and embarrassment.
To help soften and heal calluses, create a baking soda bath in a small tub or bucket. Soak the feet or hand for at least 30 minutes per day. This can be accompanied with gentle massage of the callused area. Results can be seen in as little as two weeks of daily treatment.
Chronic kidney disease is an affliction that causes a gradual decrease in kidney function. The kidneys are important for balancing electrolyte minerals in the body and filtering out the blood and excreting toxins out through the urine.
One study has shown that baking soda may help slow the progression of this disease. (4) The study showed that out of 134 adults affected with chronic kidney disease, those who took baking soda were 36% less likely to develop rapid onset kidney failure.
With such a wide range of uses and benefits, it is safe to say that baking soda is as close as it gets to a miracle compound!
It is probably smart to keep an extra box around the house because with such a wide range of uses, you never know when it might come in handy!
Whether it is for your skin, teeth, digestion, or exercise performance, sodium bicarbonate has you covered.