During a lifetime, we accumulate an abundance of knowledge and wisdom, and all of us have our specialties.


During a lifetime, we accumulate an abundance of knowledge and wisdom, and all of us have our specialties.

My husband, for instance, knows a lot about the Earth’s physical features and geography, and my nephew Darwin knows a lot about antique John Deere tractors.

Some people specialize in cooking and recipes, while others specialize in art and art history. And still others are savvy about investing.

One of my specialties is home-grown remedies for almost everything. From treating a cold to getting rid of garden pests, I usually try the natural remedies first.

In addition to the old-fashioned chicken soup remedy, at our house we add a tablespoon of elderberry concentrate to our orange juice, and we take zinc lozenges at the first sign of a sniffle.

Researchers have studied the results of both, and both have been shown to shorten the duration of cold symptoms.

I always keep some crystallized ginger in the house in case of upset stomachs, and I have an aloe vera plant hanging in my kitchen window in case the cook burns her hands.

Research in Russia and China has found N-acetylcarnosine eye drops can slow the growth of cataracts. These eye drops also are recommended for senior dogs.

Tea tree oil is a good topical application for everything from cellulitis to cold sores. And, as for dealing with garden pests, I prefer pyrethrum as an insecticide. Made from flower blossoms, it is safe for humans and pets.

Because of this interest in natural remedies, I was intrigued when I came across Peter Ciullo’s book titled “Baking Soda Bonanza.”

With a fun cover very reminiscent of the Arm & Hammer baking soda box, it promises “Hundreds of Household Uses!”

But instead of the familiar “arm” and “hammer” logo, it has a picture with a young man brushing a huge set of teeth.

“Baking soda is a simple, cheap food ingredient for which generations of Americans have conceived some unusual, certainly unintended, but nonetheless ingenious folk uses,” Ciullo says.

Arm & Hammer, born in the 1860s, has a corner on the baking soda world market and was used to clean the Statue of Liberty in preparation for its 100th anniversary on July 4, 1986.

It took 100 pounds of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to rid the statue of the effects of acid rain, salt water and 100 years of weathering.

And that same cleaning power is available for your home. It can clean your walls, unclog your drains, brighten your clothes and freshen your carpets. It also can deodorize your refrigerator. Just put a small open box in the fridge door.

When discussing this book, a family member observed all we need for cleaning supplies is baking soda and vinegar. That’s almost true. And we would all be much healthier!

But there’s more!

There are personal uses, take for instance dental care. Baking soda is good for brushing your teeth, using as a mouthwash and as a toothbrush cleaner.

Ciullo has a wealth of ideas, both for household and personal care. So why not try this ecologically sound and inexpensive substance?

Read Ciullo’s suggestions or do your own research. And then when you get interested, look around for other home-grown remedies that just may work and surely will be healthier.

©2010 Marie Snider

Marie Snider is an award-winning health-care writer and syndicated columnist. Write Marie Snider at thisside60@aol.com.