Baking Soda is Sodium bicarbonate, Sodium hydrogen carbonate, or NaHCO3. In its natural mineral form, straight from the earth, it is called nahcolite. Originally coined baking soda or cooking soda because of its most common use, baking. Although it does provide many health benefits as well.
Of course, we know it’s a leavening agent in baking. It makes foods rise by reacting with the acids in the other ingredients and releasing carbon dioxide gas. Common acids that cause this reaction include phosphates, cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. These reactions begin occurring at 80* C or about 120* F.
Here’s a tip: add a little baking soda to your fried food batter and it will prevent batter from cooking off with the steam.
Benefits of Baking Soda
Pest control: use it to kill cockroaches – once they eat it, baking soda reacts with the acids in their internal organs and causes them to fill with carbon dioxide gas, thus killing them. It is also a safe antifungal – it controls fungal growth on gardens and in bathrooms.
Paint & Rust Removal: gentle abrasive that removes paint and corrosion without scratching surfaces, excluding aluminum.
Alkalinity (pH) Increase: baking soda is a base (high pH), opposite of an acid (low pH), and thus used to increase the pH level in ponds, spas, pools, foods, and bodies.
Pyrotechnics: it is incendiary, caused by thermal decomposition of sugar, like the fun black snake firework.
Mild Disinfectant: weakly beaks cells walls of fungi, bacteria, and viruses; absorbs unfavorable smells; increases pH of acidic infectants
Fire Extinguisher: Sodium bicarbonate can be used to extinguish small grease or electrical fires by being thrown over the fire, as heating of sodium bicarbonate releases carbon dioxide. Because it can act as an alkali, the agent has a mild saponification effect on hot grease, which forms a smothering, soapy foam.
Neutralization of Acids & Bases: Sodium bicarbonate is amphoteric, reacting with acids and bases. It reacts violently with acids, releasing CO2 gas as a reaction product. It is commonly used to neutralize unwanted acid solutions or acid spills in chemical laboratories. A wide variety of applications follows from its neutralization properties, including reducing the spread of white phosphorus from incendiary bullets inside an afflicted soldier’s wounds.
As An Antacid: Sodium bicarbonate mixed with water can be used as an antacid to treat acid indigestion and heartburn. Its reaction with stomach acid produces salt, water, and carbon dioxide.
- Intravenous sodium bicarbonate is an aqueous solution that is sometimes used for cases of acidosis, or when insufficient sodium or bicarbonate ions are in the blood. In cases of respiratory acidosis, the infused bicarbonate ion drives the carbonic acid/bicarbonate buffer of plasma to the left and, thus, raises the pH. It is for this reason that sodium bicarbonate is used in medically supervised cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- It is used for treatment of hyperkalemia, as it will drive K+ back into cells during periods of acidosis. Since sodium bicarbonate can cause alkalosis, it is sometimes used to treat aspirin overdoses. Aspirin requires an acidic environment for proper absorption, and the basic environment diminishes aspirin absorption in the case of an overdose.
- Because baking soda neutralizes stomach acid, it’s the perfect remedy for ulcers. Drink a glass of water with 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda to relieve symptoms.
Healing with Baking Soda
- Sodium bicarbonate has also been used in the treatment of tricyclic antidepressant overdose.
- It can also be applied topically as a paste, with three parts baking soda to one-part water, to relieve some kinds of insect bites and stings with swelling.
- Sodium bicarbonate has been found to have no effect on the blood pressure of several types of rat models susceptible to salt-sensitive hypertension, in contrast with sodium chloride.
- Sodium bicarbonate can be used to treat an allergic reaction to plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac to relieve some of the associated itching.
- Sodium bicarbonate can be added to local anesthetics, to speed up the onset of their effects and make their injection less painful.
- Bicarbonate of soda can also be useful in removing splinters from the skin. Remove splinters by applying baking soda paste three times a day until splinter pushes out.
- Assists in preventing cancer by increasing pH of tumor or cancer cells without affecting blood pH, thus killing abnormal cells.
- Regular consumption of baking soda helps to improve kidney function by balancing body pH and reducing acids in the blood stream.
- Baking sodas alkalinity alleviates lactic acid formation that occurs with strenuous exercise, thus allowing athletes to do more in a workout.
Hygiene with Baking Soda
- Toothpaste containing sodium bicarbonate has in several studies been shown to have a better whitening and plaque removal effect than toothpastes without it.
- Sodium bicarbonate is also used as an ingredient in some mouthwashes. It has anticaries and abrasive properties.
- It works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums, neutralizes the production of acid in the mouth, and also acts as an antiseptic to help prevent infections.
- Safely soak your dentures clean with a 10% solution.
- Sodium bicarbonate in combination with other ingredients can be used to make a dry or wet deodorant.
- Works as a gentle exfoliant on skin, applying to face in upward circular motions and rinsing with warm water.
- Hand and foot softening by soaking in a 10% solution. Nourishes and balances skin, kills bacteria, absorbs odors, and kills nail fungus.
- Sunburn, eczema, psoriasis, poison ivy/oak, and dermatitis relief by soaking affected area in 10% solution or adding baking soda to a natural lotion or oil base.
- Sodium bicarbonate may be used as a buffering agent, combined with table salt, when creating a solution for nasal irrigation.
- It is used in eye hygiene to treat blepharitis. This is done by addition of a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to cool water that was recently boiled, followed by gentle scrubbing of the eyelash base with a cotton swab dipped in the solution.
- Add baking soda to shampoo to increase residue, oil, and dirt removal, as well as balance pH, smooth follicles, and improve hair health.
- Neutralize foot odor by sprinkling it in shoes before and after wearing them.
Cleaning with Baking Soda
- A paste from baking soda can be very effective when used in cleaning and scrubbing pots and pans and hard surfaces.
- A solution in warm water will remove the tarnish from silver when the silver is in contact with a piece of aluminum foil.
- Baking soda is commonly added to washing machines as a replacement for softener and to remove odors from clothes.
- Alone, it is a gentle cleaner for baby clothes, leaving no odors or residues.
- Sodium bicarbonate is also effective in removing heavy tea and coffee stains from cups when diluted with warm water.
- Also, baking soda can be used as an ultimate multi-purpose odor remover.
- Many carpet cleaners include chemicals that can be harmful to your pets or children, so use baking soda to give your carpet a good cleaning instead. Sprinkle your carpet with baking soda; let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and then vacuum.
- Washing your car with baking soda leaves a shiny, spotless car. Make sure it is dissolved completely to avoid scratching the paint.
- Bath and shower cleaning with 50% solution removes mold and mildew stains while freshening. Apply, allow to soak, and rinse with warm water.
- Improves dishwasher effectiveness by breaking up grease and grime and reducing rinse spots.
- Sprinkle down the garbage disposal with hat water to clean, sterilize, and deodorize.
- Sodium bicarbonate is an amphoteric compound. Aqueous solutions are very mildly alkaline due to the formation of carbonic acid and hydroxide ion.
How is it obtained?
- NaHCO3 is mainly prepared by the Solvay process, which is the reaction of sodium chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide in water. Calcium carbonate is used as the source of CO2 and the resultant calcium oxide is used to recover the ammonia from the ammonium chloride.
- Naturally occurring deposits of nahcolite (NaHCO3) are found in the Eocene-age (55.8–33.9 Mya) Green River Formation, Piceance Basin in Colorado. Nahcolite was deposited as beds during periods of high evaporation in the basin. It is commercially mined using common underground mining techniques such as bore, drum, and longwall mining in a fashion very similar to coal mining.