Top 17 Baking Soda Health Benefits, Uses, Side-Effects and More

Learn 17+ medicinal usage of Baking soda. Know what are it's usage side effects and interaction with other medicines. Learn how to use it for treating several health conditions.

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3 is a white colored, very common and useful edible household chemical. It is also referred as bread soda.

Baking soda is commonly used in the kitchen as leavening agent in preparation of pancakes, cookies, Idli, Rava Idli, Dhokla, etc. It is a base that reacts when it comes into contact with acids, like buttermilk, yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar. This reaction produces carbon dioxide (CO2) in the form of bubbles. The trapped CO2 gas makes the dough or batter to rise and make the food light, spongy and soft.

It is also used for cleaning teeth, removal of stains, soothing feet, deodorizing and countless other uses. Baking soda or bicarbonate of soda has alkalizing effect on the body. It makes urine less acidic and gives relief in excessive acidity.

Synonyms: Meetha Soda, Mitha Soda, Khaane Ka Soda, Bread Soda, Bicarbonate of Soda, Sodium Bicarbonate, Svarjiksara

Chemical Formula: NaHCO3

What is Baking Soda?

Baking Soda is sodium bicarbonate. It is a white crystalline compound, NaHCO3, with a slightly alkaline taste and used in making effervescent salts, antacids, leavening agent and beverages, artificial mineral water, pharmaceuticals, and fire extinguishers.

It is a base and reacts with acids to produce carbon dioxide.

This property of releasing carbon dioxide on reaction with weak acid is utilized in cooking, making blood alkaline and to neutralize acid of stomach.

2NaHCO3 → Na2CO3 + H2O + CO2

Are Baking powder and Baking Soda same?

No, both are different.

What is Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder?

Baking soda is used in preparation of baking powder. Baking powder is baking soda + weak acid + starch.

Baking Soda = Only Alkali / Base (NaHCO3)

Baking Powder = Alkali/Base (NaHCO3) + Weak Acid

Baking powder is used in preparation of cakes, biscuits, pies, pastries and other bakery items whereas baking soda is used in preparation of food items containing some sour ingredient such as lemon juice, curd or buttermilk.

Baking soda releases lesser carbon dioxide compared to baking powder. It is more alkalizing and gives bitter, soapy and salty taste. It also adds yellowish color to dish. It reacts with liquid and added immediately before dish preparation.

Baking powder is releases more carbon dioxide. It does not add any taste to the dish. The rate at which carbon dioxide is released depends on the added weak acid.

You can use Baking powder in place of Baking soda in cooking BUT baking soda should not be used in place of baking powder. For example, in preparation of cake ONLY Baking Powder should be used.  Baking soda becomes unstable at high temperature. So, it is added to recipes such as cookies, pancakes, which are not cooked at high temperature for the long baking time.

Baking Soda Mechanism of Actions

  1. It is alkalinizer.
  2. It reduces acidity.
  3. It neutralizes acids found in blood.
  4. It binds up free tricyclics in the blood to reduce the toxic effects in tricyclic overdoses.

Medical Uses of Baking Soda

Baking Soda is helpful in variety of medical condition. It is well-known antacid when taken along with some weak acid. It is alkalizing and raises the pH of stomach. Baking powder gives relief in symptoms of dyspepsia. Baking soda increases plasma bicarbonate, buffers excess hydrogen ion concentration, raises blood pH and reverse the clinical manifestations of acidosis or reduced pH of blood and body tissues.

Below is given some important medicinal uses Baking Soda.

It is important to mention here that all these remedies are done with Baking soda and not with baking powder. Both are different in terms of ingredients. Baking powder contains both base and acid along with starch whereas baking soda has only one ingredient i.e. sodium bicarbonate.

1- Antacid, gas, flatulence and indigestion

Baking Soda is one of the active ingredient of commonly available OTC antacids such as GSK Eno, Mankind Gasofast. If you have baking soda at home, you can use it for same purpose.

For using sodium bicarbonate as antacid, take one teaspoonful of baking soda in a glass of water and squeeze one lemon juice. Drink immediately.

If required, repeat after four hours.

Baking soda should be used as antacid in case of indigestion, heartburn and upset stomach. It should be kept in mind that it neutralises acidity of stomach and should not be consumed in other digestion related problems such as cramps, peptic ulcers, stomach distension in case of excessive eating/drinking. Also, its use should be avoided if a person is on a restricted sodium diet and elevated blood pressure.

2- Acne, pimples, blemishes, skin lightening, fairness, improving complexion by reducing blemishes

  • Mix 2 teaspoon baking soda with 1 teaspoon water. Apply on the face for 10-15 minutes. Wash with plain tap water. Do this once a weak for a few months.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Apply on the face for 10-15 minutes. Wash with plain tap water. Do this once a weak for a few months.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 teaspoon Olive oil. Apply on the face for 10-15 minutes. Wash with plain tap water. Do this once a weak for a few months.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 3 teaspoon Apple cider vinegar. Apply on the face for 10-15 minutes. Wash with plain tap water. Do this once a weak for a few months.

In case, lemon juice, vinegar cause irritation then dilute the mix by adding rose water.

Baking powder, lemon and apple cider vinegar are known to cause dryness. So, mix honey or olive oil to lessen the drying effect.

3- Acne mark

Apply paste of baking powder, 2-3 times a weak.

4- Blackheads

Apply baking powder and water mix.

5- Bad breath, Mouth wash

Dissolve one teaspoon baking powder in a glass of water and use this for gargling.

6- Chicken pox

Mix baking soda with water and apply topically.

7- Cleaning toothbrush, dentures and hair care items

In one bowl of water, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and soak the items.

8- Dandruff

Mix required amount of shampoo to wash hair and baking powder in a mug. Use this mix for washing hair.

9- Dermatitis, burn

Mix baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and olive oil and apply.

10- Facial scrub

Mx 3-part Baking soda with one part water to make a paste. Apply this on skin circular motion for five minutes. Then wash off with plain water.

11- Hangover

Mix teaspoon baking soda + 1 teaspoon lime juice + ½ teaspoon sugar, and a pinch of salt and drink.

12- Insect Bites and bee sting

Apply ice cube on the sting site.

Make baking soda paste by mixing 3-part baking soda to 1 part water. Apply to the bite or sting several times a day until symptoms go away.

13- Moles and warts

A paste made from castor oil and baking soda is good for moles and warts.

14- Nausea and vomiting, overeating

To 1 cup of water, add lemon juice, sugar and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. Stir and drink.

15- Relaxing bath

Add one-third cup baking soda in a tubful of water. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

16- Sunburn, windburn, prickly heat  

Mix 3 parts Baking Soda and 1 part water and apply to the affected body part.

17- Teeth discoloration

  • Take baking soda (2 teaspoon) + ripe strawberries (3-6) + cream of tartar (1 teaspoon) and a cup of water. Make a paste. Apply to teeth overnight for a week.
  • Take toothpaste on toothbrush. Dip this in baking soda and use.

18- Yellow Toenails

Mix baking soda (3 tablespoons) + 3% hydrogen peroxide (1 tablespoons). Apply on toenail and wash the feet after 10 minutes.

Non-Medicinal Uses

1- Cleaning wash basin

Take baking soda on sponge and rub wash basin, bath tub to remove the stains.

2- Clogged drains

Mix one cup Baking soda and vinegar. Pour in the drain. Wash with hot water.

3- Cleaning bronze

Mix Baking soda and lemon. Apply on the bronze article and clean by rubbing.

4- Cleaning utensils

Sprinkle baking powder and rub with sponge and wash with plain water.

The Dosage of Baking Soda or Sodium bicarbonate

  1. For Dyspepsia, as an antacid 1-5 gram cab be taken, when required.
  2. For Urine alkalinisation, maximum dosage that can be taken in one day is 10 grams with a sufficient fluid intake.
  3. For Chronic metabolic acidosis, maximum dosage that can be taken in one day is 5 grams.

Contraindications of Baking Soda

  1. Metabolic or respiratory alkalosis (increased respiration raises the blood pH beyond the normal range (7.35-7.45) with a concurrent reduction in arterial levels of carbon dioxide)
  2. Hypernatraemia (serum sodium concentration exceeding 145 mmol/L)
  3. Severe pulmonary oedema (excess fluid in the lungs)
  4. Hypocalcaemia (deficiency of calcium in the bloodstream)
  5. Hypochlorhydria (low level of hydrochloric acid in gastric secretions of the stomach and other digestive organs)

Caution while using baking soda

Baking Soda should be taken carefully in

  1. Epilepsy
  2. renal impairment
  3. the liver cirrhosis
  4. hypertension
  5. oedema
  6. eclampsia

Pregnancy Category FDA

Category C: Either studies in animals have revealed adverse effects on the foetus (teratogenic or embryocidal or other) and there are no controlled studies in women or studies in women and animals are not available. Drugs should be given only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the foetus.

Adverse Reactions of Baking Soda

  1. Hypernatraemia (serum sodium concentration exceeding 145 mmol/L)
  2. Hyperosmolality (increase in the osmolality of the body fluids)
  3. Hypocalcaemia (Abnormally low levels of calcium in the circulating blood)
  4. Hypokalaemia (Abnormally small concentration of potassium ions in the circulating blood)
  5. Irregular heartbeat
  6. Muscle hypertonicity
  7. Metabolic alkalosis (pH imbalance in which body has too much alkalinity, and does not have enough acid to effectively neutralize the effects of the alkali)
  8. Mood changes
  9. Muscle weakness
  10. Shortness of breath
  11. Stomach cramps
  12. Tiredness
  13. Twitching

Drug Interactions

  1. Increases toxicity of
  2. amphetamines
  3. ephedrine
  4. pseudoephedrine
  5. flecainide
  6. quinidine
  7. quinine

Decreases effects of

  1. lithium, chlorpropamide and salicylates
  2. May affect the absorption of certain drugs due to raised intra-gastric pH



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.