History of sodium bicarbonate
In 1791, a French chemist, Nicolas Leblanc produced sodium carbonate as soda ash for the first time. Subsequently, after the discovery of soda ash, sodium bicarbonate was discovered in 1801 by the scientist Valentin Rose in Berlin from the same soda ash. The sodium bicarbonate was commercially produced by bakers, John Dwight and Austin Church in America in 1846. At the time of the Spanish flu in 1919, suggestions were proposed to cure the disease with the help of sodium bicarbonate by the United States senator, who learned it from a society of people who were allegedly using the same and had controlled the number of deaths due to the epidemic.

General uses of sodium bicarbonate

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Sodium bicarbonate is used for a variety of purposes in day-to-day life. Some of its common uses are as follows.

Sodium bicarbonate is used in common households and industries for the baking process. Therefore, it is commonly known as baking soda. It is also known as cooking soda or bicarbonate soda. It is used for the preparation of cakes, bread, or biscuits. When mixed with the batter, it reacts with the acids present in the batter and produces carbon dioxide, which creates air spaces in the batter, the characteristic feature of the bread.

Sodium bicarbonate is also used as a cleanser of teeth and gum and is hence used in the commercial preparations of mouthwashes and toothpaste.

It is also used as a cleaning agent in a normal household. It can be effective in the removal of coffee and tea stains from the utensils. It can also be used with the washing powder to remove the stains and odors from the clothes too.

Many people recommend keeping an open bowl containing baking soda in the refrigerators to remove the odors.

Sodium bicarbonate is also used in the formation of ‘black snake’ fireworks. Under the effect of fire, the sodium bicarbonate and sugar get decomposed by emitting carbon dioxide in the form of long snake-like ash giving the appearance of the snake.

Medical and therapeutic uses of sodium bicarbonate
Apart from several common uses of sodium bicarbonate, it can also be widely used in medical and therapeutic purposes, which are as follows:

Sodium bicarbonate behaves like an antacid to treat mild indigestion when consumed by mixing it in water. It produces a brisk effervescence due to the carbon dioxide produced during this reaction.

Sometimes for acute cases of acidosis, the solution of sodium bicarbonate is injected intravenously. In the case of low blood pH, the use of sodium bicarbonate is recommended to raise the pH level. For the production of effervescent tablets, sodium bicarbonate is combined with some acids like tartaric acid.

It is suggested that sodium bicarbonate can enhance performance when it is used before any type of high power exercise. However, it depends on many other factors also.

Sodium bicarbonate is also used before the scans that use contrast dyes. If sodium bicarbonate is injected into the body before the scan, it reduces the risks for the damages caused to the kidneys due to the contrast dyes.

Precautions for the use of sodium bicarbonate
Certain precautions are necessary during the use of sodium bicarbonate, which includes:

Checking for any kind of allergic reactions before the use of sodium bicarbonate is essential.

Doctor consultation is required before using sodium bicarbonate if a person has any kidney problems, heart problems, low calcium levels in the body, or edema.

Sodium bicarbonate should be avoided during pregnancy and lactating to avoid any risks.

The use of sodium bicarbonate increases the sodium levels in the body. Thus, people with high blood sodium levels must avoid it.

Persons with low iron levels should either avoid using sodium bicarbonate or take it separately with iron supplements because sodium bicarbonate can decrease iron absorption by the body.