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Using ascorbic acid (vitamin c) externally: Sore throat, irritated skin, cold sores
In my previous blog entry I have
described that a mixture of citric acid and ascorbic acid was really good to keep hair and scalp healthy.
It completely prevents dandruff.
Having that spray bottle with a citric acid and ascorbic acid handy I tried some other applications
and the results are amazing.
- It's flu season and sure enough it was my turn this year. The nose was running and I had a bad sore throat. Swallowing was difficult. I tried
first some camomile tea but it did not make much of a difference. Since I had this spray bottle with
a solution of citric acid and ascorbic acid already I just sprayed it into my mouth to see what
would happen. The results were very positive: I was worried that the acid might hurt a bit on my already irritated throat but
it did not. However I could feel almost immediately some relief. Within 1/2 hour swallowing became much easier and my sore throat was gone after a few applications.
- Having a running nose irritates the skin. With the body already weakened cold sores (caused
by the herpes virus) can be a problem since it re-activates the virus. I applied some ascorbic acid solution onto the skin under
my nose and around my lips. I waited 3 min to let it dry a bit. Afterwards I applied some lanolin. I did this a few times
a day and the skin healed perfectly. No cold sores, no cracked skin.
- Use it as a sinus rinse: ascorbic acid is a very efficient biofilm disrupter but it does not damage human mucous membranes.
After a flu it is common to get yellow colored mucus coming out of the nose. This yellow colored mucus is due to an opportunistic bacterial infection in the nose and sinus after the flu (the flu is a viral infection). Common sinus rinse kits recommend to use water serialized by boiling with a mixture of salt and baking soda dissolved in the water. You have to let the water cool down to room temperature before using it. Table salt and baking soda have a little bit of an effect on bacteria in biofilms but ascorbic acid is much more powerful. I used 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder + 1/4 teaspoon of table salt in 200ml of water. I rinsed twice a day and the sinus infection was over within two days. You can not add ascorbic acid to the pre-mixed salt and baking soda packages from common sinus rinse kits since the baking soda would neutralize the ascorbic acid. I don't use citric acid here since citric is probably too strong for the nose. Ascorbic acid is a bit tougher on the nose than salt and baking soda but it is not a big difference. It is actually more pleasant after your nose is dry again since it feels more clean. Please note that it is very important to use previously boiled water. Clean tap water may contain mycobacteria or brain-eating amoeba (Naegleria Fowleri) and all kind of other stuff that is safe to drink but not safe to put into your nose.
- Use it as a wound disinfectant. You can spray it on small wounds and scratches. It's especially good for wounds that got dirty (e.g you fell and you got some earth or dirt onto the wound). Clean the wound and then spray the ascorbic acid (or ascorbic acid + citric acid) solution onto the wound. It will stop the swelling if the wound is already a bit infected and it will heal faster. It burns a bit when you spray it on but it is not worse than any alcohol based wound disinfectant. I would not use it on deep wounds.
I find this very interesting and I think it is not well known how beneficial the external use
of ascorbic acid is.
1) A small spray bottle with a solution of citric acid and ascorbic acid. Keep it in a dark cabinet. Ascorbic acid oxidizes quickly and becomes yellow-brown when exposed to light. 2) A plastic bottle from a sinus rinse kit.
Why citric acid and ascorbic acid? I choose this mixture more out of intuition than for any particular
reason but after having seen the benefits I have been thinking about it. In nature both acids are very
often found together (think fruits). Maybe there is something about this combination. It seems to me
that the combination of both acids provideds better results than any of the two alone. However just
ascorbic acid works too and I did not do any detailed studdy on this.
It's not easy to buy pure ascorbic acid crystals in Canada or the US. Pharmaceutical companies in America seem to have concluded that ascorbic acid
is just a supplement to be taken in tiny amounts and they found that
they can make more money if they add flavors, colors and other stuff
to sell nice tablets.
In other words the difficulty to
get it here is probably driven by financial considerations. In any case you can't use this tablet stuff from the pharmacy for any of the above applications! Therefore don't go to the pharmacy to buy ascorbic acid. Go to
a health food store. They might have it. You are looking for pure ascorbic acid crystals (looks like white salt) with no
other ingredients. You DON'T want BUFFERED ascorbic acid (aka sodium ascorbate) which is also a white powder but it is not
an acid. The other option is to order it via ebay from Europe. In a lot of European countries you can get it in the supermarket or the pharmacy.
To this date there is a big argument ongoing between "vitamin" advocates and people who argue against it. Note that none of them talk about the external use of ascorbic acid. They all talk about "eating it". It's still a related subject and it is interesting to see different viewpoints on the subject. The truth is probably, as it is often the case, somewhere in the middle.
- This is a letter from Linus Pauling. It was considered quackery for some time but
more recent research indicates that there is some benefit in taking more vitamin C when the body is under stress. Interesting to read:
https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/ResourceMetadata/MMBBKT, My Love Affair with Vitamin C, Linus Pauling, written Jan 27, 1992. Local copy: My Love Affair with Vitamin C, 768KBytes, pdf
- This article is a good to read after you have read "My Love Affair with Vitamin C". Again it does not say anything about the external use of ascorbic acid but it is very interessting to see different view points on the vitamin subject in general. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/07/the-vitamin-myth-why-we-think-we-need-supplements/277947/, The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements, the atlantic, Jul 19, 2013. Local copy: Why We Think We Need Supplements, the atlantic, 256kBytes, pdf
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