Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has been known for centuries as a versatile substance with many different uses. As the name suggests, it’s most famous for its role in baking and cooking. There are numerous medicinal and household purposes attributed to this humble white powder and we’ll describe one of them in this article.
Baking soda can be found in nature as a part of the mineral natron, which contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate. This mineral was used already in ancient times as a cleaning substance. Baking soda, as we know it today, has been manufactured since 1846 and its popularity soon reached iconic status. Almost every home features a box of sodium bicarbonate. Cheap, safe and simple to use, it became a part of the solution for many ailments and troubles.
Baking soda for colds and flu
In 1924, Dr. Volney S. Cheney published a book called Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Medical Uses, in which he recorded his experience with treating flu. He observed that people who were treated with baking soda either remained healthy or they developed a milder version of the disease. Dr. Cheney reported giving generous doses of sodium bicarbonate for influenza and in many cases the symptoms disappeared within 36 hours. He also suggested taking baking soda as a preventive measure.
The general belief is that when taken internally, baking soda helps to maintain the pH balance in your bloodstream. The substance has an alkalizing effect on the body, which is linked to better health and disease prevention. Although it has many supporters, this theory has not been scientifically proven.
If you want to follow the recipe prescribed by Dr. Cheney in 1924 (that is still valid today), here it is:
Day 1: take ½ teaspoon of baking soda diluted in a glass of cold water, six times a day, at about two-hour intervals.
Day 2: take ½ teaspoon of baking soda diluted in a glass of cold water, four times a day.
Day 3: take ½ teaspoon of baking soda diluted in a glass of cold water in the morning and in the evening.
After this initial period, take ½ teaspoon of baking soda diluted in a glass of cold water every morning until your symptoms are gone.
Other natural cold remedies
The best approach is always prevention. Keep your immune system strong, so that you don’t develop a health problem in the first place. By looking after your body and mind (think nutrition, sleep, relaxation), you’ll keep a lot of ailments at bay.
If you do go down with a cold, you can use some other natural healers that will boost your immunity and help you recover faster:
- Drink lots of fluids (herbal teas and warm broth) to thin the mucus.
- Increase vitamin C intake and take echinacea – this is the best-researched herb for enhancing immune defense.
- Drink elderberry tea. Also check out my previous post and learn how to make healing elderberry cough syrup, and another easy and effective syrup to relieve sore throat and cough.
- Check this garlic syrup recipe for chest infections.