Baking soda, soda bicarb or sodium bicarbonate, is an odorless crystalline white solid that has many industrial, food, and health-related uses. It is the chemical and physical properties of baking soda that account for its many safe and effective uses. Baking soda is one of the least expensive home remedies that one should keep handy.
Paste for Healthy Teeth and Gums When dissolved in water, baking soda which is weakly alkaline releases free radicals (molecules that are very unstable and attach to other molecules to increase stability). Inside the mouth, these free radicals interact with the stain molecules on the teeth enamel and oxidize off the yellow and brown stains on the teeth. Studies have found that toothpaste with baking soda enhance plaque removal effectiveness compared to toothpaste without baking soda. It also has anti-bacterial activity and has been found to kill Streptococcus mutans (bacteria that significantly contributes to tooth decay).
A natural way to whiten your teeth. Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of water. Spread the mixture on your teeth and leave it on for 5 minutes. Then brush your teeth and rinse. You can also mix baking soda with citrus fruits like lemons or strawberries, and brush your teeth with this paste. Do not brush your teeth for more than 2 minutes, as baking soda is a mild abrasive. This method should be used no more than once a week, as excessive use could potentially damage your tooth enamel.
A simple and natural way to gently get rid of dead skin is to mix 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part water. You can scrub your body with this paste for exfoliation. Rub gently in a circular motion and then rinse thoroughly.
Relieving Skin Irritation
Mix one cup of baking soda to bathwater. This softens the skin and helps achieve relief from several skin irritants such as dry skin associated with eczema.
Heartburn and Indigestion
Most over-the-counter antacids contain some form of bicarbonate. Baking soda works by immediately neutralizing the stomach acid, thus helping to relieve heartburn, bloating, gas, and indigestion. Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of water and drink the mixture every 2 hours, or as directed by your physician. However, baking soda as an antacid should be used occasionally and as a treatment for acute problems only. Be careful not to consume excessive amounts, or too often which can cause serious electrolyte and acid/base imbalances.
If you want to avoid aluminum and parabens that are common place in most deodorants and anti-perspiration sprays, use a pinch of soda bicarb instead mixed with water. You can use this simple paste to make an effective yet natural deodorant. Alternatively, you can simply dust on some baking soda directly in your armpits.
Treating Dark Spots
Baking soda can be used as a first-line treatment for several health and beauty ailments including sunburns and dark spots. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected areas. Leave it on for approximately 5 minutes, and then rinse it with lukewarm water followed by cold water. Repeat this process for 2-3 times a week to get rid of sun tan and dark spots.
Gout is a type of arthritis that affects joints most commonly the ones in the hands and feet. It is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals within the joints. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a common remedy for gout. It acts by raising the pH of body fluids, alkalizing the blood, and diluting the uric acid in the urine to prevent gout attacks. Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it immediately to get relief. Repeat the same for 2-3 times a day to treat gout.
Kidney Stones and Kidney Function
Baking soda is said to prevent kidney stone development; however, a doctor should be consulted before taking treatment. One recent study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that baking soda improved kidney function in patients with advanced kidney disease. This was a single study with no placebo group, and this topic needs further investigation to prove that baking soda is beneficial in kidney function.
Precautions When Using Baking Soda
If you have a medical history of allergies, appendicitis, intestinal bleeding, heart diseases, liver diseases, edema or any other chronic problems, consult your physician. Baking soda should never be given to children under the age of 6 years without consulting a pediatrician.
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