People swear by different home remedies for common health complaints. Popular ones include ingredients like baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and lemon juice. But can these remedies effectively address acne or digestive issues?
Research suggests that when used together, baking soda and lemon juice offer various health benefits.
pH levels: Acidic, alkaline, and neutral solutions
The use of baking soda in combination with lemon juice is based on the principles of acidity and the pH scale.
In chemistry, the pH scale is used to measure the acidity of a solution. Solutions can have pH levels between 0 and 14. The lower a solution’s pH level, the more acidic it is.
A solution with a pH level below seven is considered acidic, while a solution with a pH level higher than seven is considered alkaline or basic. Pure water and other neutral solutions have a pH of seven.
Baking soda is a base. Dissolving baking soda in water produces an alkaline solution. A 0.1 Molar solution of baking soda has a pH of about 8.3.
Lemon juice, which contains citric acid, has a pH of three. When you add baking soda to lemon juice, you increase its pH. The result is a more neutral solution.
Detailed below are some of the possible health benefits of using baking soda and lemon juice as home remedies.
The human skin has a low acidic pH of about 5.7. Exposure to a basic solution like baking soda dissolved in water can increase the skin’s pH. Higher pH levels can disrupt the skin’s barrier function and result in acne, dryness, or excess oil production.
Lemon juice contains citric acid and vitamin C, both of which offer potent skin benefits. Citric acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) often used by manufacturers to make chemical peels. (Related: 10 Benefits of Lemon Juice You Didn’t Know About.)
Take note that low pH levels can cause hyperpigmentation, skin irritation, and UV (ultraviolet) light sensitivity.
A lot of oral care products contain baking soda, which has antibacterial properties. Baking soda helps remove plaque without eroding tooth enamel.
Baking soda also helps get rid of surface-level tooth stains. In a 2017 article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, researchers reviewed the results of 21 studies and found that toothpaste containing baking soda safely and effectively removes tooth stains.
If you’re looking for an alternative to conventional teeth whitening, try using this simple baking soda and water mixture.
Baking soda and water teeth whitener
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) of baking soda
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of plain water
- Add enough water to the baking soda to make a paste.
- Use your toothbrush to apply the baking soda paste on your teeth.
- Leave the mixture on your teeth for around one minute, then rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
- Repeat this every other day for at least one week for best results.
Neutralizing stomach acid
Excess stomach acid may cause uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, and vomiting. Individuals with excess stomach acid use over-the-counter (OTC) antacids to relieve their symptoms, but these are linked to negative side effects like allergic reactions, constipation, or even sensitivities to some types of food.
A baking soda and lemon juice remedy can help neutralize stomach acid like an antacid.
In a 2017 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, scientists examined the antacid effects of various foods. They noted that while lemon juice alone had almost no effect, combining it with baking soda effectively neutralized the synthetic stomach acid they used for their experiment.
Lemons, like other citrus fruits, are full of naturally-occurring citric acid. When you combine lemon juice and baking soda, citric acid reacts with sodium bicarbonate to produce sodium citrate, a buffer.
A buffer is a weak acid or base that prevents drastic changes in pH levels. Even though lemon juice can’t neutralize stomach acid, it can help stabilize the pH level in your stomach.
To relieve indigestion, add one teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water then mix well. Add a few drops of lemon juice then stir again before drinking. If you have excess stomach acid, this solution can help relieve painful gas.
Take note that baking soda may explode in the stomach and cause tearing. Adding lemon juice helps dispel some of the gas before it hits your stomach.
Considerations when using baking soda and lemon juice remedies
If you plan on using baking soda remedies regularly, consult a physician first. Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate, an active ingredient that may interact with other medications.
Refrain from using baking soda if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease since it can increase sodium levels in your blood.
Baking soda can also have side effects like:
- Excess gas
- Frequent urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Swelling of the lower limbs
Lemons are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. They also contain compounds with antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
However, since lemon juice is acidic, consuming too much may cause the following side effects:
- Acid reflux
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tooth decay
- Tooth enamel loss
Whether used on their own or combined, baking soda and lemon juice can help improve skin conditions, whiten your teeth, or relieve digestive issues.
Follow usage guidelines when trying homemade remedies to avoid adverse side effects. Read GroceryCures.com for more reports on natural food cures available from any grocery store.