Baking Soda: It’s among the most versatile products ever made. It’s renowned as a household
cleanser. It’s also a leavening agent in baking, because it reacts with acidic
ingredients and produces the carbon dioxide bubbles that give breads, muffins, and
pastries their “lift.” But best of all, it has a long history of healing.
What’s it good for?
• Anal Itching
• Athlete’s Foot
• Body Odor
• Canker Sores
• Chicken Pox
• Dry Mouth
• Foot Odor
• Gum Problems
• Heat Rash
• Insect and Spider Bites
• Sore Throat
• Urinary Tract Infections
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is among the fastest-acting
antacids. It stops itching from insect bites and stings. It helps remove dental
plaque and neutralizes tooth-damaging acids. It eases symptoms of bladder
infections. Doctors even use it to reduce blood acids during dialysis for kidney
disease. So don’t take that yellow box in the back of the refrigerator for granted.
Nature’s Neutralizer: All chemicals can be rated according to their pH, a measure of acidity and
alkalinity. Chemicals with pH values of 6 and lower are acids. Those with a pH
of 8 or above are alkaline. (Water, which comes in at 7, is neutral.) With a pH of
9, baking soda is mildly alkaline and takes the edge off potentially harsh acids.
Consider heartburn. It usually occurs when the highly corrosive hydrochloric
acid in the stomach splashes upward into the esophagus, causing a temporary
chemical burn. You can get relief by taking a sodium bicarbonate tablet or a
teaspoon of baking soda, with a few drops of lemon juice, mixed in a glass of
water. When you down this fizzy stuff, it neutralizes hydrochloric acid by
converting it to harmless sodium chloride and carbon dioxide. The effects last
only about 30 minutes, but they occur almost instantly. (Don’t use this remedy
too often, however, because baking soda contains a lot of sodium, which may
raise your blood pressure. Lemon juice helps dispel some of the gas baking soda
can form when it combines with stomach acid.) There are many other ways to
take advantage of baking soda. For example, with baking soda on hand you can:
Reduce tooth-damaging acids. Acids produced by bacteria in the mouth
gnaw away at tooth enamel. You can neutralize them by swishing your mouth
with a baking soda solution several times a day. Or moisten your toothbrush with
water, dip it in baking soda, and brush. Baking soda is slightly abrasive, so it
polishes teeth without damaging the enamel.
Make feet smell sweet. Added to a footbath, it neutralizes bacterial acids
that cause foot odor. You can also pit it against underarm smells.
Take the bite out of stings. Don’t scratch yourself raw when mosquitoes
or other insects have made you the day’s buffet. Instead, mix a little water with
baking soda and apply the paste to the itchy areas. A baking soda paste can also
help ease the itching of poison ivy and chicken pox.
Soothe tender tushies. Infants with diaper rash feel better after a bakingsoda soak. It decreases itching and helps irritated skin heal more quickly