Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, can be an effective treatment for digestive upset, gout and kidney stones, according to WebMD. Baking soda also has topical uses, such as relieving discomfort from burns and itching, The Old Farmer's Almanac notes.
Baking soda's effectiveness in treating disease stems from its antacid properties, WebMD explains. Reducing stomach acid is useful for treating heartburn and indigestion, and reducing acid in urine can help to prevent kidney stones and gout. Promoting alkalinity in the body also reduces or eliminates acidosis, which is a metabolic condition caused by a build-up of acid in the body's fluids that can have serious medical consequences, according to MedlinePlus.
For chronic conditions such as peptic ulcer and gastroesophageal reflux, patients should consult a physician before self-treating with baking soda, as stated by WebMD. Although baking soda can make some medications more effective, a patient should not use baking soda for this purpose unless directed by a physician.
Soaking in a tub into which baking soda has been dissolved in the bathwater can help reduce itching and sunburn pain, notes The Old Farmer's Almanac. A paste made from baking soda and water can also be applied directly to the affected areas.