I have only just realized the beauty of baking soda. Now I know baking soda isn’t glamourous. Its not an extract from the trees of the Amazon and its not derived from a sacred African red bush. No, Arm and Hammer does not conjure up sexy images or will ever be showcased as an active on the labels of designer skincare brands – but it saved my vacation and is one of the best make shift, most readily available beauty 911 solutions.
The day before we left for our California road trip I got very ill. It was right after a very late lunch that I started to feel mild stomach pain, and by evening I was so sick that I couldn’t stand or sit up straight. The next morning wasn’t much better. Neither was when we flew out. By day three I started to get worried.
“I think I have an ulcer,” I said to Ben gravely as we went up the Trolley in San Francisco. That afternoon it got even worse. I was both hungry yet unable to eat because it felt like the pit of my stomach was burning and bloated.
“Darling, I’m scared. I scared I may have stomach cancer,” I announced while walking along the wharf. But too my dismay, Ben just giggled.
“Petal, I don’t think you have cancer. I just think we shouldn’t eat at the Korean place near the office anymore.”
“I’m serious!” I cried with a pout.
Before I left my mother had told me to take Pepto Bismol – and with a conga line singing “nausea, heart burn, upset stomach, diarrhea – hey!” in my mind, I flatly refused. “It looks like chemicals in a bottle. Its pink.”
“Well at least drink some baking soda in water. Its almost the same thing.”
So, on day three – when all my tinctures and enzymes had done nothing – I gave it a bash and bought a bottle of water and a box of baking soda at Walgreens. My mother had recommended a teaspoon of it in a cup of water, but instead I dunked about four times that amount into my evian (go big or go home right?).
It was a miracle! I almost immediately felt better – and after two more doses of this concoction that day I felt like I could eat a hearty meal (thank God – have you seen all my holiday photos of food?).
This started me on a major baking soda kick. I found myself recommending brushing your teeth with baking soda to magazine editors, I found out how to make a deodorant out of the stuff, and I began to carry a small sandwich bag of it in case my tummy flared up again which Ben called my “baggie of drugs”.
The beauty of baking soda is that is a natural antacid. We sometimes use a bit of baking soda in our water during facials when skin is inflamed and acidic. A compress with baking soda helps red, irritated skin immensely as it cools high Pitta and brings down acid heat. And because of this basic quality, it also takes the acid out of water making it excellent for putting in the bath for a bit of skin softening.
The other reason it helped my stomach is because baking soda also releases carbon dioxide which eats up gaseousness. And beyond the fact I love it for whitening teeth, soothing sensitivity or pampering my skin – nothing makes you feel more beautiful than not having a pain in your gut.
So, despite it sounding painfully pedestrian – I recommend trying out some of the fantastic properties of baking soda. It may not be exotic, but sometimes the best solutions are the most simple.