To be clear, with soda, I mean washing soda or sodium carbonate.

In the Netherlands, when you have an inflammation in/on your finger or toe (see this image), the doctors will advise you to submerge the finger or toe in a "soda bath" for 10 minutes 2 times per day. I'm not talking about a yeast infection, but an inflammation under the skin. Basically when your toe or finger gets red and swollen. This can occur when you, for example, bite the skin around your nails. It's supposed to 'soak' (not sure if this would be the correct translation of the Dutch word 'weken') the skin so it can get rid of waste coming from the inflammation.

I wonder if this actually helps or not as I've heard people claim it doesn't work. Also, this is a remedy from "old times", which doesn't give me much confidence either.

I can't find much about it online. At least nothing scientific. Only some Dutch sites that suggest the approach. I can't find any such advice online in English. I might not be searching using the correct terms, though. When searching in English for 'infection', I kept finding it as the solution to a yeast infection. When searching for 'inflammation' I foud people suggesting to put the soda crystals in a cloth and putting it on the wound. That all seems like something else.

Some sources to Dutch articles suggesting this approach:

Basic claim:

"Dit werkt antibacterieel, dus hierdoor week je het wondje goed schoon." (This has an antibacterial effect, so it will soak the wound clean.)

(This article mentions both inflammation and infection. For inflammation and small infections it recommends the soda bath, but gives no reason why this would work)

This source specifically talks about how it should work:

It states that it makes the skin soft because of the ph value and the warm water which allows waste from the inflammation under the skin to come out more easily. Also, the soda disinfects ('ontsmet').

That last source does state that (s)he doesn't know of any research into this method and that it's a method from 'old-times'. Probably because in the past other methods were not as easily accessible and most people had washing soda in their cupboards.

Tip: Don't google for "infected finger" on Google images. I almost threw up googling for that image of a slightly inflamed finger...

Edit: Changed infection to inflammation. I didn't realize inflammation was the direct translation of 'onsteking' and thought it was the same as 'infectie' which means infection in Dutch. Although I wonder if there still are subtle differences between 'onsteking' and 'inflammation'.

  • 1
    Can you please clarify what the Dutch articles are saying? Is it intended to prevent infections when you have inflammation (including fungal infections)? Is it for cleaning existing infections on or near the surface of the skin? Or for curing "internal" infections? – Oddthinking Nov 3 '16 at 15:32
  • @Oddthinking, updated. Changed infection to inflammation (I didn't know the difference in Dutch until now :)) and added another source with explanation that talks about the specific effect. I.e. it's supposed to heal inflammations under the skin. – Matthijs Wessels Nov 3 '16 at 21:55

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