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Use of Kitchen Chemicals to Cure Some Common Diseases

Updated on November 10, 2015

List of Topics Included.

(1) Treating, “Acidity of Stomach”

(1/A) Understanding the root of problem of acidity

(1/B) Factors responsible for high level of Hydrochloric acid in stomach

(1/C) How hydrochloric acid enters in our stomach?

(1/D) Curing acidity of stomach by chemicals known as, "Antacids"

(1/E) Curing acidity of stomach by sugar

(1/F) Avoiding situation responsible for acidity is also part of curing

(2) Treating throat infection by sodium chloride (NaCl)

(3) Treating indigestion by carbonic acid-soda water

(4) To stop bleeding from wound by applying alum

(5) To treat dehydration by dilute solution of salt and sugar

(6) To stop vomiting by salt or sugar

(1) Treating, “Acidity of Stomach”

The irritating and burning sensation, experienced inside our stomach, is called a problem of acidity. Sometimes such irritation extends to the lower part of esophagus (means food pipe).

Due to continuous burning sensation, it causes irritating pain.

(1/A) The Root of Problem of Acidity

The root of problem of acidity is the presence of excessive quantity of hydrochloric acid (having chemical formula: HCl) in our stomach. Hydrochloric acid being a strong acid produces corrosive effect on skin, resulting in burning sensation.

(1/B) Factors Responsible to Increase Level of HCl in Stomach

There are some reasons for increase of HCl in our stomach.

(a) Over dieting, means eating more quantity of food than necessary.

(b) Irregular diet means improper time of eating.

(c) Consumption of spicy food.

(d) Consumption of alcohol.

(e) It is also believed that mental tension has an important role for over secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

(1/C) How Hydrochloric Acid enters in our Stomach?

The food we eat can not be digested completely unless it is broken into smaller pieces.

The primary job to break the loaf of food into smaller pieces is done in our mouth through the phenomenon of chewing by our teeth. It is due to this reason that food we eat must be chewed appropriately before it passes further into digestive canal.

However, the process of chewing only is not adequate to break down the food into such small particles required for its metabolism. In order to break down the food particle further into still smaller particles, natural secretion of hydrochloric acid takes place in our stomach.

The hydrochloric acid secreted thus in the stomach, attacks bigger food particles to break them into fine particles, through a phenomenon called, “disintegration of food”.

In this way the presence of hydrochloric acid in our stomach is not only beneficial, but is vital too.

In a healthy person, the amount of secreted hydrochloric acid is just enough to bring about proper disintegration of food. But in unhealthy person, the amount of HCl secreted is not controlled properly, resulting in excessive secretion of HCl. This additional and unwanted amount of hydrochloric acid now attacks the inner walls of stomach and destroys the protective layer (also called lining) of mucous.

It is due to damaged mucous lining of stomach, the acid now attacks the skin of stomach causing damage to them resulting in burning sensation.

(1/D) Curing Acidity of Stomach by Chemicals Called Antacids

Knowledge of the cause of acidity itself is knowledge of its treatment. As the problem is caused by acid, it must be a base, which can resolve it. This is because acid and base are two substances with opposite characteristics. Hence an acid can be destroyed (means neutralized) by a base, and vice versa. This means, consumption of a base, can destroy the hydrochloric acid inside the stomach, giving us relief from this problem.

The basic substances used for such purpose are called, “antacids”, simply because they possess opposite characteristics of acid (means anti-acid).
However, before proceeding further in the matter, following two important factors must be considered carefully regarding quality and quantity of base.

(1) Quality of base:

Base selected should not be a strong base like sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, because such bases are even more harmful.

Only weak bases listed below can be consumed.

(a) Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate (having chemical formula: NaHCO3) is also known as sodium bicarbonate or Baking soda. It is white crystalline powder. It is
available in everybody's kitchen, as it is used to make food soft and spongy. As it is
water soluble, it can be used in the form of its solution in water.

(b) Magnesium Hydroxide which has chemical formula: Mg(OH)2 is also used to treat acidity. As the appearance of magnesium hydroxide is like milk, it is also known as, "milk of magnesia". Its benefit over other antacids is that it can serve as mild laxative also.

Hence, over and above treating acidity, it helps treating constipation as well.

(c) Aluminium Hydroxide which has chemical formula: Al(OH)3 is also used to treat acidity.

(2) Quantity of base:

The quantity of antacid (means dosage) should be just enough to neutralize the additional quantity of HCl, because proper level of HCl is also required.

Over consumption of antacid is not desirable, as it may lead to other problem of poor digestion. As the quantity of antacid required may differ from person to person, it should be determined carefully by concerned person based on his/her own experience.

(1/E) Curing Acidity of Stomach by Sugar

The sugar available in our kitchen can also be used in some cases, to cure acidity temporarily. If a person suffering from acidity is not diabetic, sugar can be used for immediate relief as per following explanation.

In chemical language, sugar is called, "sucrose", which has molecular formula: C12H22O11.

When a tablespoon full quantity of sugar is taken orally to treat acidity, its chemical reaction with water called, "hydrolysis of sugar", takes place in the stomach.

Hydrolysis of each sucrose molecule yields one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. This chemical reaction can be expressed as per following chemical equation.

As shown in the equation, hydrochloric acid acts as a catalyst during this reaction. This means, when we take sugar, its hydrolysis occurs in stomach resulting in consumption of HCl to give us relief from pain of acidity.

However, there are certain limitations of this method as given below.

(1) Catalyst is required in small quantity hence only small quantity of acid is consumed. Therefore severe problem of acidity may not be cured by this method.

(2) Catalyst is regenerated after reaction hence relief gained may be temporary.

(3) As consuming sugar is not advisable to some people, this method can not be applied to all.

Chemical Equation showing Hydrolysis of Sucrose

Hydrolysis of sugar requires acid, hence results in decreased level of acid.
Hydrolysis of sugar requires acid, hence results in decreased level of acid. | Source

(1/F) Avoiding Situation Responsible for Acidity is also Part of Curing

There are some special situations which must be avoided to control acidity. This includes consumption of some acidic food stuff and bad living habits as discussed below.

(1) Citrus fruits like lemon, orange etc. contain acid hence consuming such fruits may increase level of acid in the stomach. Hence, person suffering from acidity should avoid such fruits as far as possible.

(2) Use of curd, butter milk, tamarind (Indian imli) etc. should be minimized, as food stuff containing these ingredients also contain various organic acids like: lactic acid, tartaric acid etc.

(3) Use of edible oil, butter etc should also be avoided as it contains various fatty acids.

(4) Habit of eating spicy food frequently, is harmful for patient suffering from acidity. Instead, consumption of milk and milk products like shake, pudding etc may help to control acidity.

(5) Sedentary lifestyle is the main cause of over secretion of HCl in stomach. Light exercises like: walking, swimming, yoga etc can help a lot to control the problem of acidity.

(2) Treating Throat Infection by Common Salt-NaCl.

What is called, “Throat Infection?”

Our mouth is the gateway for bacteria, virus and other disease causing Micro-organisms. Mostly the bacteria of air borne diseases (like cold, coughing, pneumonia, etc.) enter in our body through mouth.

To protect us from bacteria entering through mouth, nature has provided a guard like structure in our mouth called, “tonsils”.

Functioning of tonsils is to fight with entering bacteria to destroy them. During such performance, tonsils get damaged, i.e. they become sore and swollen. It is due to this reason that our throat becomes sore on catching infection.

Actually, this is the alarming sign indicating something wrong with throat. We should immediately take some measure to destroy the bacteria at this stage so that they do not enter in lungs to cause more damage.

Destroying bacteria at this initial level can make us free from such infection.

Sodium chloride or table salt, available in kitchen, can be used for this purpose.

As sodium chloride is antiseptic and antibacterial, its dilute solution in water may be used for gargling.

However, it is necessary to repeat the phenomenon of gargling after each 5 to 10 minutes due to following two reasons.

(a) Sodium chloride is a mild antiseptic it can not destroy all the bacteria present in mouth in only one gargling.

(b) Reproduction of bacteria is very fast, a few bacteria can grow into millions in a few minutes.

(3) Treating Indigestion With Soda Water

The problem of indigestion is opposite to that of acidity. Due to lesser secretion of hydrochloric acid in stomach, the food is not digested properly. Here, the intake of weak acid, like carbonic acid (means soda water), becomes helpful.

Being an acid, soda water attacks bigger food particles present in stomach to break them into smaller ones. In this way it helps the job of hydrochloric acid.

However, due to its unstable nature, soda water needs to be prepared as and when it is required.

For this purpose, two kitchen chemicals are required.

(1) Citric acid having chemical formula: C6H8O7 and

(2) Sodium hydrogen carbonate having chemical formula: NaHCO3.

These two chemicals should be mixed in proper proportion.

As both of these chemicals are solid, water is required to make them react. On reacting they produce carbon dioxide gas.

Even though significant quantity of gas expels out, the resulting solution is rich enough in carbon dioxide, because solubility of carbon dioxide in water is very high. As the resulting solution is soda water, it can be used to treat indigestion. Though, the soda water prepared thus, contains salt like sodium citrate, it is not much harmful.

Home preparation of soda water to treat indigestion

Citric Acid

Citric acid can react with sodium hydrogen carbonate(baking soda) to yield soda water.
Citric acid can react with sodium hydrogen carbonate(baking soda) to yield soda water. | Source

(4) To Stop Bleeding From Fresh Wound by Alum

Whenever we get injured, bleeding starts from the wound. It is necessary to stop such bleeding immediately.

As human blood is negatively charged colloidal solution, application of any positive charged ion on wound can immediately stop bleeding due to coagulation (this is in accordance with theory proposed by two scientists: Hardy and Schultz).

As per this theory, the coagulation power of positive ion depends upon its charge. More is the charge, higher is the coagulating power of cation. In this way Al3+ is a powerful cation to stop bleeding. The alum (also known as potash alum having chemical formula: K2SO4.Al2(SO4)3.24 H2O) is right chemical to use for this purpose.

Potash alum is white crystalline solid. It can be rubbed softly on the wound to stop bleeding soon.

(5) To Treat Dehydration by Dilute Solution of Salt and Sugar

What is dehydration?

It is a situation in which our body suffers lack of water. There are number of factors resulting in loss of water from body. They are: diarrhea, vomiting, excess sweating etc.

The situation of dehydration should be taken seriously and should be treated immediately.

In mild situation of dehydration, only drinking of water frequently may be helpful. However, in sever situation drinking of water may not be useful.

This is because water we drink can enter in our body by the phenomenon called, "osmosis". In absence of required quantity of salts, no osmosis can take place.

In such situation, drinking water containing some common salt (NaCl) and sugar becomes helpful. Such solution is also known as, "O.R.S."

To prepare such solution, small amount of sugar and salt are dissolved in drinking water. Consuming such solution frequently by the patient, can help to recover from condition of dehydration.

(6) To Stop Vomiting by Salt or Sugar

During the situation of vomiting little consumption of table salt (means sodium chloride), immediately helps to stop vomiting. This is also helpful when it is felt that vomiting is about to start.

In place of NaCl sugar can also be used.


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    • yograj yog profile image

      Yogesh Oza 23 months ago from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, INDIA.

      Thanks, Larry Rankin.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 24 months ago from Oklahoma

      Some uses of household chemicals I wasn't aware of.

      Very informative.