Okay, I just made that number up.
But it’s not far from the truth. It may even be an underestimation. I just googled “baking soda benefits” and found three and a half million articles in a fraction of a second, including scientific research results.
Easy enough for everybody to find, so I don’t need to list them all here.
I do however want to focus on the remarkable fact that once upon a time, baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) used to be a common household product for medicinal and cleaning purposes and that its use was much more widespread a few decades ago than today.
Unfortunately nowadays, it seems that chemical pollutants and drugs have gained market share at the expense of this miraculous white powder, which is now by and large being ignored by the masses. Why has it fallen out of favour with the public?
Perhaps we should ask the the big pharmaceuticals.
Sure enough, there are conscious people who have moved away from “regular” pharmaceutical and cleaning products and have turned to natural alternatives in order to spare health and environment. They probably have a good stock of baking soda in their cupboard.
They use it not only for cooking, but also for personal hygiene (such as home made toothpaste and deodorant), cleaning around the house (from cleaning the oven and freshening up running shoes to polishing silverware and clean batteries) and medicinal purposes (like treating bladder infections, upset stomachs and curing the flu; there is even clinical evidence available proving that baking soda is effective in treating cancer).
There you go, now I’ve mentioned a list of purposes anyway.
Unfortunately, it is often thought that people who use baking soda instead of shampoo are a bit weird and smelly. Or that the housewife who makes her own laundry softener with baking soda is a crazy hippie witch. And that the person who dissolves a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water instead of taking an Alka-Seltzer needs to see a “real” doctor. (Note that for the price of a box of those pills you can buy three kilograms of baking soda.)
But it remains a fact that baking soda has been proven over and over as one of the most useful natural substances in the world.
Even if we choose not to believe the effectiveness of baking soda with regards to cancer (although it is used in some hospitals in combination with other treatments and several progressive doctors have as well), we can focus of the smaller successes we can achieve by replacing several of our common household products with it.
Personally, I started using baking soda to wash my hair a few years ago alternating with natural shampoo and bit by bit I discovered and introduced more usages. I now drink it to prevent urinary tract infections and neutralise my overall pH acidity. I use it to disinfect small superficial wounds, to clean kitchen appliances and the other day I cleaned my tiled floor with baking soda and apple cider vinegar (and no, nor my hair nor the house smell like salad dressing). My husband, who despises mint, uses it to brush his teeth.
And perhaps one day I’ll be replacing my dish washing liquid and laundry detergent with a home-made brew based on baking soda as well.
If we want to do our bit in saving our planet from pollutants, protect ourselves from toxic products and create a healthier living environment, a simple product like baking soda is part of the answer.
Oh, and it also helps if we want to save money.
I find it works.
Just remember, baking soda is a natural product without any chemical compounds, it’s cheap and it can be used for a multitude of purposes—yes, perhaps even more than 101.
PS. Straight after writing the draft version of this article, I did the dishes. With regular, chemical, non-biodegradable dish washing liquid. Hmmm… Must. Try. Harder.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman