A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Baking Soda

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda, is basically a chemical salt having various convenient utilities. Baking soda, whose chemical formula is NaHCO3, is a white colored powder having crystalline grains. While it is possible to produce baking soda synthetically, when it is in its natural form, sodium bicarbonate is known as nahcolite - the name derived from the substance's chemical formula.

Health benefits and uses of baking soda

A solution prepared by dissolving baking soda in water should be drunk at the very initial stage of any cold or flu symptoms, for instance sneezing or having a runny nose, as it will help to eliminate the viruses responsible for the condition. Maintain the alkalinity of your body by enhancing the amount of vegetables and fruits in your diet. It may be noted here that baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is also effectual in polishing teeth, devoid of scratching the surface of the tooth as well as combating foul breath by sprinkling a small amount of the chemical on the bristles of your toothbrush. In addition, baking soda may also be used to treat scrubbing skin accompanied by acne. In this case include some amount of the chemical in the facial cleanse instead of using the commercially available average facial scrub. It may be noted that toothpastes that enclose sodium bicarbonate possess superior whitening as well as plaque elimination attributes compared to toothpastes that do not contain this chemical salt. Sodium bicarbonate also forms an active ingredient in a number of mouthwashes. This chemical salt plays the role of a mechanical disinfectant on our teeth and gums, counteracts production of acid in the mouth, in addition to working in the form of an antiseptic to put off infections.

People enduring sunburn often get immense relief from pain when they add baking soda to their bath water. Take a cup (8 ounces) of sodium bicarbonate and place it under a running bath tap with a view to totally dissolve this chemical salt and immerse yourself in a tub containing tepid water for about 30 minutes. Taking this type of baths will ease the pain and the sufferer will also not have to bear the tingling feeling of a shower. In addition, including sodium bicarbonate to a hot water bath at any given time facilitates in cleansing acid wastes from the body.

Moreover, sodium bicarbonate may also be utilized in cool (remember, not cold) bath water to alleviate any additional skin irritations as well as provide relief from itchiness caused by prickly heat, insect bites, bee stings as well as different skin diseases. A paste prepared using just adequate water and baking soda to obtain the preferred sticky uniformity may be plastered on the place of an insect sting or bite and permitted to dehydrate with a view to drag out as well as counteract the venoms. This is a time-tested method to treat these conditions.

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Individuals suffering from skin allergies and have a propensity to be susceptible to marketable laundry detergents are likely to find that using baking soda to wash their clothes is less aggravating.

Ordinary baking soda is also likely to decline the longing for a cigarette, in addition to lessening the yearning for sweets and sugar. Sodium bicarbonate is also employed in kidney dialysis to lessen the intensity of acids in our bloodstream and also works to put off development of bacterial colonies in foods. Using one-fourth to half a teaspoon of baking soda in water twice every day is generally sufficient for common alkalinizing the body.

Liquid sodium bicarbonate is often administered intravenously to people enduring acidosis or when they have inadequate sodium bicarbonate ions in their bloodstream. In instances of respiratory acidosis, imbued bicarbonate ions forces carbonic acid or the bicarbonate buffer of plasma towards the left and thereby elevates the pH. This is the reason why sodium bicarbonate is therapeutically administered for the revival of the cardiopulmonary system. It may be noted the infusing bicarbonate is only indicated while the blood pH is remarkably low (less than 7.1 to 7.0).

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In addition, sodium bicarbonate is also useful in treating hyperkalemia (a condition wherein there is a tremendously elevated concentration of potassium in the bloodstream) as sodium bicarbonate has the aptitude to trigger alkalosis (a condition where the intensity of bicarbonate is extremely high in body fluids). Plus, the fundamental environment lessens the absorption of aspirin when it is taken in excess dosage. Sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is also used to treat tricyclic anti-depressant overindulgence. This chemical salt may also be used externally in the form of a paste made of three portions of sodium bicarbonate and one portion of water. This paste helps to alleviate pain and accompanying symptoms caused by insect bites.

Baking soda or sodium carbonate is basically feebly alkaline in nature. By itself, sodium bicarbonate works to counteract acids and also break down proteins. This attribute of baking soda gives an explanation for its worth in the form of a substance to marinate as well as a leavening agent. In addition, the counteracting action of baking soda on acidic scent molecules makes the chemical salt an effectual deodorizer. When added to water while washing clothes, sodium bicarbonate steadies the pH level, improving the efficiency of the detergent. Furthermore, baking soda may also be put in the water of a swimming pool to maintain the pH balance, in addition to maintaining the purity of the water.

The most widespread realistic utility of sodium bicarbonate is in the form of a leavening agent while baking. When combined with an acid and a liquid, baking soda or sodium bicarbonate goes through a chemical reaction, which frees carbon dioxide bubbles. Confined in dough or butter, such bubbles of carbon dioxide make it possible for the baked items to rise. Hence, the baked foods that are leavened using baking soda have a delicate crumb and are also ventilated with several holes that are made when the carbon dioxide bubbles escape the products.

However, it is important to note that one should not mistake baking soda to be baking powder, and both substances are entirely different. In fact, baking powder has additional acidifying as well as dehydrating agents - characteristically starch and cream of tartar respectively. Conversely, baking soda is unadulterated sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda. Apart from baking, baking soda also has additional utilities in various types of cooking. Adding a pinch of baking soda to tomato sauce when cooking or to coffee when brewing will help to lessen the acidity. When a little amount of baking soda is included in the water in which beans are soaked prior to cooking, it will make the beans softer more quickly and, at the same them decrease its penchant to cause flatulence for people consuming it. In addition, baking soda is also useful in making meats additionally tender. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate may also be included in stews or chafed straight on the incision made on a meat and subsequently washed off prior to cooking with a view to make the meat further soft.

The delicate grainy consistency of baking soda makes it a wonderful cleaner. Moreover, baking soda is not costly, it is free from any odour, environment friendly as well as harmless for almost all types of surfaces. In the form of a gentle abrasive agent, sodium bicarbonate may also be utilized as a substitute for toothpaste. When you sprinkle baking soda on the outside of the entrances of your home or to its foundations, it is likely to prevent ants as well as different insects from creeping inside, since this chemical salt is irksome to the insects' chitinous exoskeletons and, hence, they keep off from it.

In the form of a chemical that counteracts acids, over the ages sodium bicarbonate has been preferred for the salt's usefulness as a first-aid in various instances. When baking soda is liquefied in tepid water, it helps in calming the uneasiness caused by sunburn as well as the itchiness owing to exposure to sumac or poison ivy. When a paste prepared with baking soda and water is applied straightway to the skin, it helps to alleviate pains caused by bee stings. Mixing half a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate with four ounce (120 ml) of water may also be taken in the form of an antacid. It may be noted here that it is essential for people who are taking prescription drugs or taking a low-sodium diet to consult with their doctor prior to taking sodium bicarbonate internally. Baking soda along with different ingredients may also be employed to prepare a wet or dry deodorant. In addition, sodium bicarbonate may also be used in the form of a shampoo.

It has also been found that taking little quantities of sodium bicarbonate is an effectual dietary supplement for athletes who are engaged in speed-based sporting events, such as middle distance running, that may continue for anything between one minute and seven minutes. However, taking this chemical salt in excess may pose a grave health hazard since sodium bicarbonate is somewhat toxic in nature as far as specific gastrointestinal exasperation is involved. In addition, this habit results in a considerable augmentation in dietary sodium.

A paste prepared with sodium bicarbonate and water may also be extremely helpful when it is employed in scrubbing and cleaning. When you are cleaning aluminum objects, using sodium bicarbonate is not recommendable since it attacks the slight non-reactive stimulating oxide coating of this or else extremely reactive metal. Any solution of tepid water will help to get rid of the smear from the silver when the metal comes in contact with a portion of aluminum foil.

Generally, sodium bicarbonate is put in washing machines in the form of a substitute for softener, in addition to getting rid of smells from the clothes. Baking soda is also useful in getting rid of deep tea and coffee blemishes inside cups.

Baking soda is also utilized in a procedure for cleansing paint that is known as soda blasting. In addition, baking soda may be added to swimming pools, garden ponds, spas with a view to enhance the pH intensities. Sodium bicarbonate possesses feeble sanitizing attributes, and, at the same time, it may also be a useful fungicide to eliminate specific microorganisms.

As sodium bicarbonate works as a counteracting agent, it may also be utilized to soak up smells that are attributable to potent acids. Since baking soda has the aptitude to absorb moldy odours, it has turned out to be a tried and tested product for sellers of used books when they want the books to be less stinky.

Baking soda is dissolved in water and used in the form of an antacid. It is taken orally to cure acid dyspepsia as well as heartburn. In addition sodium bicarbonate may also be taken orally to cure different types of metabolic acidosis, for instance unceasing renal failure as well as renal tubular acidosis. It may as well be effectively used in the case of urinary alkalinisation for treating an overdose of aspirin as well as uric acid renal stones.

It is known that sodium bicarbonate has been traditionally employed to treat scalding, to put off blistering as well as disfigurement with directions to cover the burnt area using a liberal layer of paste prepared with baking soda and water and subsequently seek medical treatment. This is basically owing to endothermic reaction that takes place between baking soda and water couple with the gentle antiseptic properties of sodium bicarbonate.

Side effects and cautions

People using sodium bicarbonate or baking soda therapeutically ought to be aware of the potential side effects caused by the use of this chemical salt. Administering sodium bicarbonate may result in a number of unfavourable results, including edema owing to overload or accumulation of sodium in the spaces between the tissues in the body, metabolic alkalosis, hyperosmolar syndrome (exceptionally high level of glucose in bloodstream), congestive heart failure, hypertension or high blood pressure caused by augmented sodium and hypervolemic hypernatremia (a condition wherein there is a total augmentation in sodium and water in body). When patients who take dairy-rich or high-calcium diets, antacids enclosing calcium or calcium supplements, for instance calcium carbonate (like Tums), use sodium bicarbonate, they may experience milk-alkali syndrome that may lead to metastatic calcification, kidney failure or even kidney stones.

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