There is a great possibility that you have a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, a common household disinfectant, in your cleaning cabinet or medicine chest.
Hydrogen peroxide is mainly used for cleaning and sterilizing purposes. It is also known as a bleaching agent and therefore used to ensure that germs stay away from tabletop surfaces.
This specific compound (chemically represented as H2O2) has much more to offer than just cleaning. Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent home remedy that can be used to fight infection, provide relief from pain, detoxification and a host of other application inside and outside the house.
Hydrogen Peroxide – Discovery and Manufacture
Hydrogen peroxide was defined and produced in 1818 by treating barium peroxide with nitric acid. Until mid twentieth century, this process was used in order to create hydrogen peroxide. A new improved version of the compound was produced much later when hydrochloric acid was used to treat barium peroxide.
Of late, sulfuric acid is used for the purpose, a process that also provides manufacturers with barium sulfate as a byproduct. Today, most of the hydrogen peroxide is produced by the ‘anthraquinone’ process, which is based on reduction of oxygen, as in direct synthesis from the elements.
Hydrogen peroxide is available in different potencies and concentrations. It is also soluble in water and therefor available as a solution as well.
What Makes Hydrogen Peroxide Effective as a Remedy
Have you ever wondered why rainwater is more beneficial than tap water? To understand this we need to understand the chemical compositions of three things – water, hydrogen peroxide and ozone. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has one oxygen atom more than water (H2O).
The earth’s protective layer, ozone contains three atoms of oxygen (O3) and is formed when ultraviolet light breaks atmospheric oxygen (O2) into two unstable oxygen molecules. These free molecules of oxygen then combine to form ozone.
The problem is that ozone is extremely unstable and easily gives up the extra oxygen atom to falling rainwater producing hydrogen peroxide (H2O + O = H2O2) in the process. It is this hydrogen peroxide in rainwater that makes it more effective than tap water.
Hydrogen Peroxide is a germicidal agent that kills microorganisms by oxidation, a process that can be called controlled burning. On application or ingestion it reacts with organic substances to break them down to their elemental form. This separation of water and oxygen pushes extra oxygen in the system creating an environment in which harmful bacteria or viruses and cannot survive.
This fact that hydrogen peroxide can kill germs with a process called oxidation makes it the world’s safest and most natural sanitizer as it is composed of only water and oxygen. It effectively detoxifies the system and works as a germicide and antibacterial and antiviral agent.
Research indicates that hydrogen peroxide is also required for numerous chemical reactions that take place in our body. It has been established that Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, produces hydrogen peroxide to fight infections.
Hydrogen peroxide works to stimulate production of active lipid compounds (prostaglandins) that have a wide range of positive effects such as:
- Dilation in vascular smooth muscle cells
- Accumulation or separation of platelets
- Alleviation of pain by sensitizing spinal neurons
- Induction of labor
- Reduction in intraocular pressure
- Regulation of inflammation
- Regulation of calcium transportation
- Hormone regulation
- Control of cell growth
- Ability to act on hypothalamus to produce fever
- Increase in glomerular filtration rate
- Inhibition of acid secretion from the stomach wall
Health Benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide
Some of the common health benefits of hydrogen peroxide are cleansing wounds, treating sinus infections, eliminating parasites, relief from toothaches, detoxification and treating cancer. Each of these have been detailed below.
Wound Cleansing: This is perhaps the most popular application of hydrogen peroxide. The compound is often used medically to clean wounds. When applied to wounds, it acts as a germicide by oxidizing the organic matter in the wound and prevents infection.
Washing and rinsing is enough but some experts recommend soaking the wound in hydrogen peroxide solution for ten minutes. The solution can also stop bleeding from the wound. However, it is important to keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide may cause mild tissue damage to open wounds if left open for an extended period of time.
Sinus Infections: Hydrogen peroxide is highly effective as a treatment for sinus infection. A tablespoon of 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide in a cup of non-chlorinated water can be used as a nasal spray. This can clear nasal passages, eliminate bacteria and prevent the condition from worsening.
Effective Colon Cleansing, Enema and Douche: Two cups of a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide in a gallon of warm water is an effective colonic and can flush out different toxins. One tablespoon in a quart of warm water works well as enema. Two caps of 3 percent solution in warm distilled water can be used as a douche to remove yeast infections.
While using hydrogen peroxide for these applications it is imperative that care be taken to maintain a good bacterial flora. It is also recommended that the recommended level of dilution be used for these applications in order to get the best out of the remedy.
Foot Bath for Athlete’s Foot: A 50-50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water can be used for a foot bath for athlete’s foot. Diabetic patients have reported relief from problems of blood circulation by soaking their feet in diluted H2O2 (1 pint of 3 percent solution mixed with 1 gallon of warm, non-chlorinated water) for 30 minutes every day.
Mites Infection: Hydrogen peroxide is an amazing remedy for mite infected skin. Spray it on the infected skin twice giving it a few minutes break between applications. To get rid of mite and other toxins, you may also add two quarts of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to your bath and soak for at least half hour. This will not only kill the infection but also rejuvenate you.
Mouth and Tooth Care: Dentists use hydrogen peroxide regularly for its excellent germicidal and healing properties while performing procedures such as root canal treatment. It can also be used as a home remedy for tooth whitening, alleviating toothache and as a mouth wash. Some even recommend it as an additive in toothpastes.
Hydrogen peroxide is an inexpensive but effective mouthwash. A 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution with some chlorophyll (optional) for flavor is a good option. It can be mixed with some baking soda to make a thick paste to be used as a toothpaste.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used regularly for tooth care and tooth whitening without the pain of an additional expense that comes from expensive strips and uncomfortable trays.
Relief from Toothache: Hydrogen peroxide is not a pain killer but a healing agent. It effectively eliminates the pathogens that cause infection and inflammation, the underlying cause of toothache.
If you suddenly develop toothache and cannot go to a dentist right away, put 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in your mouth for ten minutes and spit out. Do this few times in a day and you will see a phenomenal reduction in pain.
Hydrogen Peroxide Inhalation
One of the more popular ways of using hydrogen peroxide for internal purposes is the inhalation method. According to Bill Munro (March 1924), high PSA levels caused due to prostate cancer can be brought down by inhaling hydrogen peroxide using a nasal spray pump. He recommends a dosing of five pumps, six times a day.
Inhalation therapy is easy. Any nasal pump would do as long as it sprays fine mist. Empty the nasal pump of its contents and wash thoroughly to make sure that you rinse all soap water.
Fill it with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Point the bottle at the back of the throat and inhale strongly. Do this five times in one go. Make sure that you do not inhale up the nose.
For treating viral infection you will need to pump every two hours. It may take a day and half or two days for the infection to go away. For infections that have persisted for long in your blood it may take anything between one to two weeks.
Other Benefits and Uses of Hydrogen Peroxide
Besides the aforementioned health benefits, there are a host of other applications of hydrogen peroxide that you can benefit from.
- Hair lightening: As a bleaching agent, it can be used to lighten the color of your hair. A 50-50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water sprayed on wet hair can lower the color tone of hair. The cost of this solution is nothing compared to commercial hair dyes that can cost a lot and damage hair in the long run.
- Home Cleaning: Hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean countertops, glass and mirrors. A spray bottle of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or a few drops on the dishrag can do the trick. Doing this will not only kill germs but will also leave a fresh smell.
- Dishwashing: Add 2 ounces of H2O2 to water before washing dishes or putting them in the dishwasher and you can be sure the dishes and cutlery are germ free.
- Multipurpose Sanitizer: The combined use of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (not to be mixed but used separately at the same time) is far better than using commercial bleach. It is non-toxic and kills almost all E. coli bacteria, shigella and salmonella in contaminated food as well as surfaces. When sprayed separately on vegetables, cutting boards, sinks, counters and floors, both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide mix for a brief time leading to a chemical action that produces a new compound that is a powerful sanitizer and disinfectant.
- Remove Stains: A 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution can be used as a powerful stain remover. It can tackle blood stains that are as old as two months old. Adequate care must be taken not to use it too much in order to protect clothes from discoloration.
- Fabric Bleach: Instead of synthetic bleach, use H2O2 to bleach white clothing.
- Soak Vegetables and Meats: Use 3 percent H2O2 (one-fourth cup in full sink of water) and soak vegetables and meat before cooking to effectively wash away harmful chemicals and any bacteria that may be there.
Understanding Different Concentrations of H2O2
Hydrogen peroxide is suitable as a home remedy regardless of the form. However, care must be taken to use the right concentration for different purposes. Not all concentrations are meant for internal use.
Hydrogen peroxide is graded according to the use it can be put to. Concentrations range from 6 percent (pharmaceutical grade) to 90 percent (as an oxygen source for rocket fuel).
Food grade hydrogen peroxide is a purified form of the compound that is produced specifically for the purpose. Food grade hydrogen peroxide has 35 percent concentration and is more potent than what you will find in supermarkets.
However, at this concentration it is an extremely potent and powerful oxidizer and dangerous to consume unless it is diluted. Concentrations above 10 percent can harm you and must be diluted before ingestion.
Using food grade hydrogen peroxide on a wound will cause a burning or tingling sensation but will not harm healthy tissue.
When we discuss the antibacterial properties of hydrogen peroxide for various internal and external uses, we need to understand that good bacteria, (in the colon and vagina) are aerobic. They depend upon free air or oxygen to thrive.
Harmful pathogens, including cancer cells on the other hand, are anaerobic and they can thrive without the presence of oxygen as well.
There is no controversy with regards to the efficacy of hydrogen peroxide that is produced within the body. It is considered to be essential for life. There is also no controversy with regards to the topical use of the compound.
Whatever controversy is present today emanates from the refusal of the medical community to accept anything beyond the traditional allopathic medication regimes as effective.
Hydrogen peroxide is safe when used in accordance with the guidelines laid down for internal use. It is also an effective and natural product that can help in getting rid of bacteria and viruses.
The effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide can be gauged by the fact that colostrum, the mother’s first milk, contains high amounts of hydrogen peroxide.
Further reading: The Detox Benefits of a Hydrogen Peroxide Bath