Picture of Imitation Alka Seltzer for a fraction of the cost
As I was making bath bombs to give for Christmas I felt a little heartburn. I reached for the Alka Seltzer... Wow... $8.99 for 36 tablets! One dose is made of 2 tablets, so that comes to 50 cents per dose. Then I looked at the active ingredients. Citric acid and sodium bicarbonate. Exactly what I was using for the bath bombs! Sour salt and baking soda! I made a rapid calculation: one dose comes to 2 grams of citric acid, and 3.88 grams of baking soda. If I figure that citric acid costs $4/lb and baking soda is $1/lb, the exact same dose of alka selzer's active ingredients would cost me about 2.5 cents to make myself.... Twenty times less than the store bought version! OK to be fair, I didn't figure the cost of filler, and the store bought alka selzer also contained aspirin, but I neither needed nor wanted the aspirin. I was looking for heartburn relief only. Even if you end up spending more on the citric acid and less for the Alka Seltzer than I did, you'll still come out ahead.

Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor, a pharmacist nor a chemist. I figured out the dose of the ingredients by weighing them and then converting the measurements to volumes, because it's a more convenient way of measuring for most people. Also, since there is no aspirin in this mixture it will do nothing for headaches, hangovers, or flu-like symptoms. This is for acid indigestion, upset stomach and heartburn only. All the warnings on the Alka Selzer label apply for this concoction:

Ask a doctor before use if you have a sodium-restricted diet
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are presently taking a prescription drug.
Antacids may interact with certain prescription drugs.
When using this product do not exceed recommended dosage
Stop use and ask a doctor if you have taken the maximum dose for 2 weeks
If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use.
Keep out of reach of children.
adults and children 12 years and older
Fully dissolve two teaspoons in 4 ounces of water before taking
2 teaspoons every 4 hours as needed, or as directed by a doctor
do not exceed 8 teaspoons in 24 hours
adults 60 years and over
2 teaspoons every 4 hours as needed, or as directed by a doctor
do not exceed 4 teaspoons in 24 hours
children under 12 years
consult a doctor

KevinG96 months ago

Thanks Belsey I want to make this as I get extreme allergic reaction in brain.Have done food rotation nothing seems to work to help the symptoms.Alka seltzer Gold helps a lot to relieve the symptoms what would the recipe be if you included potassium bicarbonate? I would like to keep the ingredients as close as possible to

what is in Alka Seltzer Gold?Thank you so much for your reply.I am very grateful!

belsey (author)  KevinG96 months ago
Look at the label of your Alka Selzer gold. They list the active ingredients and their weight -- all you need then is a small scale and the proper ingredients to recreate it. Once you've matched the proper dosage you can add whatever you'd like for the inactive ingredients (sugar, corn starch, etc). You don't need to follow the label for those.
KevinG9 belsey6 months ago
Thanks for your reply, Where and what kind of scale should I buy ?

Thanks Kevin
belsey (author)  KevinG96 months ago

Any small electronic scale which can measure a tenth of a gram will do.

KevinG96 months ago

Thanks Belsey I want to make this as I get extreme allergic reaction in brain.Have done food rotation nothing seems to work to help the symptoms.Alka seltzer Gold helps a lot to relieve the symptoms what would the recipe be if you included potassium bicarbonate? I would like to keep the ingredients as close as possible to

what is in Alka Seltzer Gold?Thank you so much for your reply.I am very grateful!

spark master7 months ago
I was going to take it daily for GOUT, but felt the risks were more then the gains!

Cherries and cherry juice (probably the different varieties have different or better effects), is an age old remedy for gout. There's sour cherries, dark cherries, tart cherries, but I think the tart are suppose to be the MOST medicinal.

sour cherries IS what is called for, but I hate them. Sweet cherries I usually love. Sadly the cherries did nothing for me. Thanks fer the input though.

My friend who had gout swore by the tart cherries (different than sour or sweet). I personally don't like the tart or sour, but the tart worked for him. He also said that aspirin made it worse, but that drinking lots of clean water and putting" raw apple cider vinegar" (1T. unprocessed kind) in an 8 oz glass of water, also helped him alot. Hope this helps at all. Good luck and best wishes :-)

he man for whom I am named (It is an Italian thing), praised apple cider
vinegar for everything including arthritis. Doesn't do jack for me! BUT thanks for the suggestion.

rseiter18 months ago

for heart burn I use a 1/2 cup cold water, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and heart burn gone in seconds

THANK YOU, I was going to make a similar post... all the CA does is make the bicarb fizz!

belsey (author)  spark master8 months ago
Although plain baking soda will work, the citric acid DOES have a real function, it is not included just for the fun of watching it fizz. It serves as a chemical buffer and therefore it makes the solution a bit easier on your belly. In addition, by fizzing in the cup (rather than inside your belly when the baking soda hits the acidic gastric juices) the carbon dioxide is released in the air, rather than as loud burps, which besides being embarrassing, can also carry with them some of the acidity you are trying to avoid. If you read the instructable to the end, I do mention this -- unfortunately a lot of people seem to skip straight to the comments.

Actually I did read it to the end, but I thought it was to buffer th aspirin, which can do nasties to the stomach lining. I have done straight bicarb over the years when it was late and I could not go to the store to buy tums and the like. Consistent consumption of bicarb does screw with your system, so if you have a lot of heartburn, you need to see a doctor. And silly as it is, some people love to burp, (not I, thank you), so if I needed this I would do it, but only for "occasional discomfort". And I would add the citric acid if I had it.

Is Citric acid (vit C?), also Sour Salt?


belsey (author)  spark master8 months ago

Citric acid is sometimes called sour salt, but it is not the same as vitamin C (which is ascorbic acid). You could use vitamin C to replace the citric acid. It is also a weak acid so it will buffer your solution too. I'm not sure if you'd replace the citric acid 1 for 1 or if your proportions would need to change a bit. FYI, there's no aspirin in my recipe, only in the commercial aka seltzer.

I did see your stuff is minus the aspirin. You have recreated (from Wiki), except they used tartaric acid as the buffer

Cachet Brioschi

Brioschi is an antacid which uses sodium bicarbonate and tartaric acid as its active agents.[4] It is known for the distinctive blue bottle in which it comes and the fizzing action it exhibits when used.[citation needed] The Brioschi pellets themselves come in several small pale, natural lemon/tan colored rods, which are put in cool water to effervesce which is then drunk to relieve the ache of heartburn.[citation needed] It appears to have an "Alka-Seltzer like" reaction when placed in water, but does not contain aspirin.

After moving from Fair Lawn, NJ to Syracuse, NY in 2011 in an attempt to restart the business,[5] Brioschi Pharmaceuticals International, LLC, filed involuntary bankruptcy in October, 2013.[6]
Their flagship product, Brioschi Effervescent, is no longer being
produced, resulting in remaining supplies being offered for sale online
for extravagant amounts.+

belsey (author)  spark master7 months ago

Interesting, I'd never heard of that company or product. But it's not very surprising that it shares a common ingredient with both alka seltzer and my recipe, since sodium bicarbonate is such a well-know and safe remedy for heart burn (at the right dosage of course).

alberto-a78 months ago

There is a large concern... from medical professionals like myself... about the over usage of Sodium Bicarb. We use it in emergency when patients have an overload of carbon dioxide build up due to lack of adequate breathing. Sodium Bicarb neutralizes the acidity in the blood to maintain metabolic acid/base balance. TOO MUCH sodium bicarb is dangerous.... be careful as it can throw your body into metabolic alkalosis... with iminent problems to follow. Please... do not over do! If you do not know what is that amount...consult your doctor.

belsey (author)  alberto-a78 months ago
Absolutely true, dosage limits should always be followed, even when using a commonly used chemical like sodium bicarbonate. One can OD on almost anything, even milk (as I recall vividly from a stupid bet a friend made in college...). It's just a matter of how much is ingested in what amount of time.
alberto-a78 months ago

There is a large concern... from medical professionals like myself... about the over usage of Sodium Bicarb. We use it in emergency when patients have an overload of carbon dioxide build up due to lack of adequate breathing. Sodium Bicarb neutralizes the acidity in the blood to maintain metabolic acid/base balance. TOO MUCH sodium bicarb is dangerous.... be careful as it can throw your body into metabolic alkalosis... with iminent problems to follow. Please... do not over do! If you do not know what is that amount...consult your doctor.

silkier8 months ago

To people who buy citric acid in bulk you can use it for descaling kettles and irons, it's wonderful stuff. Just add it to boiling water CAREFULLY (it bubbles up impressively) and leave it to do it's work. It's great as being edible there is no fear of horrible chemical residues when you finish, just rinse out well.

belsey (author)  silkier8 months ago
I use it to unclog my drains, too. It won't dissolve all the hairs and gunk, but if you're willing to put in a little effort and pull that stuff out, using this baking soda/citric acid mix will dislodge all the slimy stuff and finish the job (without killing all the fish in your nearby waterways)
sdfer8 months ago

This is very interesting ! ! ! What is the best place to buy the ingredients?

pallc sdfer8 months ago
belsey (author)  pallc8 months ago

This is a great source! You can also get it from cosmetic ingredient suppliers but theirs is not sold as food grade, so this is much better.

pallc8 months ago

I've used a similar recipe where I substituted potassium bicarbonate with just a little sodium bicarbonate instead of just sodium bicarbonate. The ratio is based on the USDA RDI calculator ( http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/fnic/interactiveDRI/ ). Just enter all your pertinent information into the fields and be sure to check the all macronutrients, vitamins and minerals checkboxes so you can view all the nutrients recommended while you are at it. Be careful with using just potassium bicarbonate because if the single dose is too high, you could get faint or go into shock from hypotension or bradycardia. Likewise, the sodium and sugar in some people could cause hypertension and tachycardia. That is why I like the USDA RDI potassium to sodium ratio amount to be safe. As a filler, I'd recommend xylitol ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol ) as may help with helicobacter pylori ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicobacter_pylori ) related acid reflux and/or ulcers and maybe starch too. Though I have to read up on the starches as there are so many with completely different characteristics. Plus the sugar can cause acid reflux also just like the sodium can. Great call on not using aspartame. Aspartame is yuck. Strange when you look in detail at formula's and risk assessment. Seems some medications don't cure... they only treat the symptoms temporarily so that there is ongoing revenue stream potential from reusing the medications for future interests. Anyhow, so you don't feel awkward; I am a trained chemist/biochemist with about 9 yrs in pharma QC/QS/QA and/or QE/R&D/AR&D technical support.

pallc pallc8 months ago

I should also note if you are interested in the USDA RDI calculation in general, you should consider that the amounts/doses are a little high in my opinion. Review the Cronometer ( https://cronometer.com/ ) associated recommendations also. The CRON-diet ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CRON-diet ) uses the USDA RDI at a 10-25% less amount for RDI. Cronometer.com uses USDA Nutrient Data ( http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/ ) as well as other countries and food manufacturers nutrient data also. Really interesting stuff since diet should be considered also to help prevent acid reflux. Especially if you have some other type of associated disease causing or impacted by the reflux like ulcers or G.E.R.D.

belsey (author)  pallc8 months ago

I calculated my doses based on the alka seltzer I had when I was formulating this recipe... I weighed my active ingredients to match the amount in the commercial package, added the filler then measured the total volume of a dose. I realize that's not lab quality precision, but it's good enough to figure out an approximate (and safe) dosage of these particular ingredients. That said even a commercial tablet, in spite of its being precisely measured, is still a rough estimate of the required dose which varies depending on the individual's weight and the severity of symptoms or, as you point out, diet or the underlying cause of the acid reflux. So it's possible my dosage could be a little high for some individuals, but this dosage won't harm anyone.

belsey (author)  pallc8 months ago

Thanks for sharing your professional and personal experience with us! I'd been thinking of trying potassium bicarbonate as a low-sodium version (and I even bought some to try it out) but I never got around to it. Now thanks to your calculator I can try it without too much anxiety! Xylitol is a good idea as a sweetener, because it's also safe for diabetics and teeth.

pallc pallc8 months ago

Awesome Instructable by the way Belsey! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year! :-|)

elsie448 months ago

Why is citric acid necessary? For years our family used a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and much as I hated the taste, it seemed to work. Now I disguise the taste with water and a splash of lemon or orange juice which would provide some citric acid I guess. And sometimes a half spoon of honey.

Good post - i would like to see your other projects too.

According to my doctor , anyone with any kidney problems should avoid aspirin.

belsey (author)  elsie448 months ago

Copied from step 2:

Several people have commented that plain baking soda can work too -- although it is a common home remedy, adding citric acid has two advantages:
1. when mixed with water and an acid, baking soda has a chemical reaction which produces carbon dioxide. This is the fizz which is produced when this powder is mixed with water. When this reaction happens in your stomach (rather than in the glass, where the gas dissipates into the air) it can cause swelling and tenderness, and it might force more of the acidic stomach juices up the esophagus -- which worsens the heartburn rather than help it.
2. the citric acid acts as a chemical buffer. This means it will not make the Ph of your insides fluctuate wildly as the base (baking soda) hits the acid (stomach juice).
A commenter who tried both methods said the plain baking soda seems to work faster but that soda combined with citric acid prolonged the effect.
Then of course it's simply much more fun (and tasty) to mix a fizzy, sweet drink rather than downing a glass of lukewarm salty water...

The lemon juice you add, since it is also acidic, will serve the same buffering purpose (plus make the drink more palatable) -- so it is a fine substitute for the citric acid, and easier to find in stores.

1233fire8 months ago

This is a great post. Thank you for taking the time. It is interesting that Arm & Hammer Baking Soda has this information on the side panel of their boxes and bags. Few people know that it is there. Please read it (below) before using it. It is located in the Drug Facts panel. I have been using 1/2 tsp in 6 ounces of water and add molasses to taste. It does a good job of masking the flavor. I just dip a clean plastic knife into the molasses jar and whatever sticks to it is all I use. Then stir with the knife until all is dissolved; about 30 seconds. I take it every night at bed time to keep my sinuses clear. It works. I buy 13.5 pound bags at Costco. I also use it to make deodorant, toothpaste and laundry soap. After a lot of research, I wouldn't be without it.


Add 1/2 teaspoon to 1/2 glass (4 fl. oz.) of water every
2 hours, or as directed by physician.
Dissolve completely in water. Accurately measure 1/2 teaspoon.

Do not take more than the following amounts in 24 hours:

seven 1/2

three 1/2
teaspoons if you are over 60 years

Do not use the maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks.

Other information: each
1/2 teaspoon contains 616mg sodium

acoleman38 months ago

lot simpler and a lot cheaper as well as safer to just use 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of sodium bicarbonate in a short glass of water. btw, it's not sodium that causes health problems but an imbalance of sodium and potasium.

elsie448 months ago

Why is citric acid necessary? For years our family used a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and much as I hated the taste, it seemed to work. Now I disguise the taste with water and a splash of lemon or orange juice which would provide some citric acid I guess. And sometimes a half spoon of honey.

Good post - i would like to see your other projects too.

According to my doctor , anyone with any kidney problems should avoid aspirin.

lazemaple8 months ago

icing sugar aka powdered sugar contains cornstarch already so perhaps if you used powdered sugar, left out the added cornstarch it would not clump.

ldmorgan1 year ago

Bravo! Great 'ible!

paizley1 year ago
For me, it's 2 parts citric acid to 1 part sodium bicarbonate. Using very cold water, add the citric acid first and dissolve. Add the the bicarb. Don't stir. It will react. The cold water slows the reaction so it won't overflow. It does help to use a larger glass and only fill half with water. If you want to use aspirin, add it with the citric acid. My ratio is tarter than regular Alka Seltzer but that's how I like it. It's fast and easy.
Tobita5 years ago
I'm pretty sure you could compress it into a tablet if you were to mill the powder much finer before pressing it dry.
belsey (author)  Tobita5 years ago
That might work theoretically, but practically I don't have any way to grind it super fine, and even if I did some powder would probably become air-born and uncomfortable. Just pouring regular citric acid into the bowl can get a little unpleasant, so if the particles were finer I imagine it would be even worse. I see the problem as how to squeeze the powder into shape --  and thinking of your comment, I realized a garlic press might be the perfect tool! Line it with a small piece of aluminum foil, press it, pull it out with the foil and wrap it up... Might just work! Still a lot of labor though, so I'm not sure if it's worth the effort. The powder works just as well spooned into a cup of water...
lawdog3235 years ago
FYI- aspirin is great for your skin... :)
lsrieck5 years ago
 Really cool idea - but for me the active ingredient is aspirin.  I've ground up plain old aspirin, and added it to vitamin C, with some baking soda and come up with a pretty good substitute.  Good for colds, hangovers, upset tummies and the like.
i made this and enptied out a old paracetamol Tablet thingy ! (could use a tablet organizer you know themt hings monday tuesday etc ) steralized it in my mini steamer (must make a ible on that too) and put this in them Made about 20 tablets because i left out cornstarch ! yay
belsey (author)  stephenniall6 years ago
If you used the quantities I gave in the instructable your dose is wrong. You should be getting 66 tablets, not twenty. Give or take a little (because you left out the cornstarch), your tablets are 3 times too large. Nothing life threatening, but do be careful!
i didnt use the dose you supplied Plus i left some not in tablet form
belsey (author)  stephenniall6 years ago
Glad to hear that...
rattyrain6 years ago
Do you think it would be possible to form a tablet by mixing the active ingredients with melted (liquid) sugar?
It seems some people are having problems with the stuff hardening if cornstarch is left out. Perhaps this can be used for making tablets?
belsey (author)  omnibot6 years ago
Yes, I just thought of that too. As soon as I get a chance I'll do some experiments and if it works out I'll post an update.
I've been thinking about beeswax or gelatin to help form pills under pressure.
belsey (author)  rattyrain6 years ago
That's what I was trying to do with the Agave syrup -- my experiment failed, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. I might simply have put too much syrup into the mix. I didn't have the patience to make it work, but if you want to attempt it I'd love to hear about your results!
alkatom6 years ago
Made up a batch following recipe and 10 minutes later it hardened in the air tight container. One thing i left out was the cornstarch , didn't have any. Is it the cornstarch that keeps it from hardening?
belsey (author)  alkatom6 years ago
Yes, the cornstarch would help prevent it from hardening, but it's odd that happened. I've made it without cornstarch (using extra fructose) and I didn't have any trouble. The only time it did turn to stone was when I tried replacing the cornstarch with powdered vitamin C. I still used it though... hacking at it with a fork was a pain but it worked just as well. Maybe your fructose had absorbed more water than mine had. Sorry. Hope you have better luck next time.
alkatom belsey6 years ago
Broke it up with a knife and hammer, added the cornstarch, and no more cement. Have been taking alkaseltzer for 40 or 50 years with the aspirin and this is a nice substitute. Thanks to the author.
kid do u even know the cause of heart burn? it is excess acid in the stomach all u need to do is dissolve bicarb of soda in water and drink it
belsey (author)  Captain Dyson6 years ago
Yes, sweetie, I know that. The citric acid acts as a buffering solution, preventing the stomach's Ph to fluctuate too much with the sudden arrival of bicarb... in practical terms this means this solution might be slower to act, but the effect lasts longer.
Jupitane6 years ago
Very cool man!
SoapyHollow6 years ago
FYI, just plain ol bicarbonate (baking soda) is the traditional remedy for heartburn. You can stir about a teaspoon into water, and it'll settle tummy gas. :)
belsey (author)  SoapyHollow6 years ago
Yes, I do know that... but this does have a few advantages over plain baking soda: the acid works as a buffer solution, which theoretically means it brings the acidity in your stomach within a certain range regardless of what the Ph was to begin with. Practically it means that the soda works faster but the effect does not last, whereas this combo might not kick in instantly but it works longer (so you'd need to take it less often). This is quite unscientific, coming just from a single person who tried both. Whether it is true for everybody or not, at the very least this is more fun and tastes a whole lot better than plain ol bicarbonate. And by the way, your bath bombs were a great success (although I wasn't so good at getting them out of the molds without breaking them, so I ended up grinding them and putting the powder in pretty glass jars).
Oh yeah, I wasn't criticizing. Just passing along folk wisdom. :) I'm sorry to hear that your bombs broke though. Lemme know if you want some help troubleshooting them. :)
belsey (author)  SoapyHollow6 years ago
and I didn't mean to sound defensive... when I published this I knew the citric acid was there for a reason (or it wouldn't have been listed as an active ingredient) but I wasn't sure of its exact role. I was interested to learn though comments what it does and wanted to pass that on... The relative failure of the bath bombs was entirely my fault. For my first batch, I had a tin mold which had a slight rim which pulled the 2 halves apart. The second time I wanted to experiment with cocoa butter, powdered milk and chocolate fragrance -- eventually I'll get it to "stick" but the first version worked well simply as fizzy bath salt.
Cocoa butter is really tricky in bath bombs. Any butter is. I recommend saving the butters for making melts instead. (I should do an instructable on my chocolate raspberry cocoa and shea bath melts. They're beyond decadent, and super easy to make. ) To get a good chocolate color, replace a tablespoon or two of the corn starch with cocoa powder. (The unsweetened stuff...you don't want to attract ants.) I'd stick to using a light oil and water emulsion for the liquid. To add milk, replace up to an 1.5 oz of corn starch with milk powder. Again, try to find one that does not have corn syrup solids in it. Cheers, and happy bathing!
belsey (author)  SoapyHollow6 years ago
Thanks for the good advice... that's pretty much what I did, except I replaced more cornstarch with milk because I wanted to use the entire 3.2 oz pack. That might have been the problem, but I think my main mistake was I didn't have quite enough liquid. I'll just have to try again. I have a big jar of cocoa butter, so until you publish that interesting instructible there's only so much chocolate lip balm I can make...
Keep your butter in the fridge, and it's good practically forever. You can freeze it too, but I find that it makes the butters "grainy" for lack of a better word. You can also add up to 2% tocepherol (liquid Vit E), and that will add a natural preservative. But seriously, in the fridge...universes will end before that stuff will go rancid. :)
belsey (author)  SoapyHollow6 years ago
I'll do that. Thanks again for your comments!
omnibot6 years ago
Cool .. my partner has a bad stomach and we just go for the bicarbonate. I'll try this as well. Before she used a fortune in anti-acids. My personal view is that having a sour stomach on a regular basis is a symptom of a real problem and anti-acids are just a temporary quick-fix, change your diet and see a doctor. Good instructable, this will save a lot of money for a lot of people. You wouldn't happen to know what Efexor antidepressants are made of by any chance? ;)
omnibot omnibot6 years ago
I wonder if the citric acid is a key-component or just there to make it taste better.
belsey (author)  Little Frisky6 years ago
That's interesting -- thanks for the link. I guess that means in this application the citric acid makes it gentler on the belly than pure soda -- regardless of how acidic it is inside, the citric acid/soda combo will bring the internal Ph within a certain range, whereas with pure soda the result will vary more depending on what's going on inside.
omnibot belsey6 years ago
Well .. from initial tests it seems soda with acid works slower and longer than just soda which gives instant results but wear off quite fast. Depending on needs we use either.
belsey (author)  omnibot6 years ago
Good to know. Thanks for the comment!
Buffer solutions .. I didn't think of that. Thanx. Yeah, I'm Swedish but I'm very comfortable with english especially with technical stuff. Unfortunately the school I went to was so full of brainless sportsjockeys that when they kicked me out in 8'th grade they they were still trying to learn how to read. The physics- and chemistry-classes were a joke, we never did anything more than destil water. I just built my own lab in a secret location *Moah ha ha ha*
I always prefer Swedish to English. I've read a lot of English textbooks, mostly of mathematical and technical nature. English books have at least five times more pages and are written in very small text -- they have more errors and contain less information, sometimes they even leave out proofs. Ad to damage most American writers of technical literature are afraid not to be taken seriously and writes really boring (with the excellent exception of Donald Knuth, I usually giggle myself through his books, andthey are only twice as heavy as they would be in Swedish). Of course, German books are even thinner then Swedish ones and are always very detailed. Sometimes I force myself to read in German because of this, despite the fact that I read German painstakingly slow.

The worst books to read are badly translated English books, most technical literature in Swedish is in this cathegory. Even worse are books written in English by Swedish professors. Swenglish is even more verbose then English (as you may have noticed).

Tip If you use a technical manual to operate some gizmo and fail to make it work. Read the German manual, it is better proofread then the other languages.
Phoghat omnibot6 years ago
The citric acid just makes it fizz.
belsey (author)  omnibot6 years ago
On the box it says its purpose is as an antacid -- which is weird because it is definitely acidic. The Alka Seltzer web site says their tablets work faster because the fizzing dissolves the medicine in the glass. To quote their site: "Simply put, the medicine dissolves fast and is ready to work the instant you take it. The time it would take for the body to dissolve a solid form pain reliever is eliminated." The citric acid together with the baking soda and water causes this reaction, so maybe the only purpose is to speed things up. Since there's nearly twice as much soda as citric acid the acid is neutralized and the soda can act faster. If this theory is true, that would mean that your solution, pure bicarbonate, is the simplest and cheapest solution. The bubbles are just smoke and mirrors -- but they are kind of fun, and it does taste good.
omnibot belsey6 years ago
In case you haven't seen it : Little Frisky has replied it's a buffer solution. Good to know.
omnibot belsey6 years ago
Yeah true, a teaspoon of bicarb in water just tastes like salty water with chemicals *yuck* and the bubbles do make it more festive.
I started getting heartburn at 22, it gradually worsened for a year until I was taking antacids 6 times a day and sleeping sitting up. Turns out it was a symptom of something else; I had an undiagnosed food allergy. I think people reach for the antacids because they assume it is caused by things they are choosing not to change. I know I didn't go to a doctor because I assumed they would tell me to lose weight and eat better and take antacids. Which, judging by my experience getting my allergy diagnosed, is what would have happened, but that doesn't change the fact that it was a symptom and I should have treated it as such.
Interesting. My partner is 22 yo and your description could fit her. We've figured out she has problems with milk, soy and eggs but not gluten by excluding them from her diet. What was your allergy?
Sulfites, which translates to anything made with wine, dried fruit or processed corn, including corn syrup and corn starch. Because it is not one of the 'big 8' no one ever brought it up as a possibility, but I was told to go on a rotating diet, basically eat the simplest foods possible and only eat the same ingredient once every 5 days. That helped me figure out a pattern of my reactions (after the year of heartburn I started breaking out in hives) and from that which things I was allergic to.
"He who doctors himself, has a fool for a patient". This goes to prove that adage. Whenever something is wrong, if it doesn't go away in 3 or 4 days, see a doctor. So many people using common sense logic (or so they think) get sicker when they try to alleviate their own symptoms.
omnibot Phoghat6 years ago
Only to true. I've met any number of people who rejects any diagnosis by doctors and claim anything they choose to believe in from electricityallergy to possession by demons and doctors themselves accordingly. Unfortunately I find that unless you're illness is really easy and common or extremely interesting and bizarre doctors tend to send you home with two aspirins. This I think is why some people go in for the supernatural explanations feeling they have been let down by modern medicine. The way the prices on mediation are going home remedies are on the rise again. I've heard story's of families treating their ADD- and autistic children with marijuana because actual medication is just to expensive. This I believe is the result of monopolization of the market through druglobbyism and built in obsolescence.
Phoghat omnibot6 years ago
I'm a pharmacist and have been against big pharma since I began practice right after the last ice age. My first job was in a community pharmacy in mid-town NY two blocks from MSG. We would advise our patients to use the generic form of the drug whenever one was allowed. This was back in '69 way before anyone was using generics like they do today. It's also very funny that when generic drugs became more well known and pharmacies everywhere were using them, their price went way up doubling and tripling in some cases.
omnibot omnibot6 years ago
Incidentally, it is possible that expensive medication is part of a strategy to improve the performance of the drug as, according to this research on Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy, it seems patients have more faith in the expensive stuff.
Thank you. This is going to come in handy. I may even feel an instructable comming on ;)
tercero omnibot6 years ago
I'd try ginger tea instead of the anti-acid. It'll settle the stomach quickly...and you can thank Jamie and Adam for the treatment. I saw it on Mythbusters and it works the treat.
Phoghat tercero6 years ago
Gas, only.
omnibot tercero6 years ago
Yer, she uses that a lot to. Usually cuts a couple of slices of ginger and pours hot water on them.
I am neither a doctor, a pharmacist but a chemist. I think I should say some warning words. I think this is not a recipe for alka selzer but for a soft drink. The aspirin (acetylated salicylic acid) is used as pain reliever and as a antipyretic medicine and against every kind of inflammation. Citric acid and sodiumbicarbonate are only inside for galenic purposes. You can add lemon juice to carbonated water, too but that will not result in a proven medicine. Instead you can use a tea of willow bark or blackcurrent juice, there is a little portion of saliicylic acid inside but salicylic acid is more agressive to your stomach than the acetylated compound. My advise is to use this recipe for fun or because you like its taste, and to use Aspirin tabletts when you are ill. Aspirin is the working agent, and nothing else. Carbonates and acid form nice bubbling solutions (t.rohner already said that), and carbonates were used for treatment of pyrosis (heartburn) . But when using them for this purpose they produce a big amount of gas in your stomach and that is not really healthy. Nowadays pharmacists don't recommend carbonates as a medicine for treatment of pyrosis. Having said that all theres only one thing to mention: Cheers!
belsey (author)  haraldbreisgauer6 years ago
Although as I said, I am not a doctor, chemist or pharmacist, I did check my facts before publishing this: here is a link to the Alka Selzer website which shows their aspirin-free product designed solely for heartburn. They sell a version of their product with aspirin for heartburn accompanied by aches and pain (that's what the aspirin is for: aches and pain). Baking soda alone does reduce heartburn symptoms, and some people take it plain, with fine results. But as I learned from comments by some knowledgeable readers, the citric acid acts as a buffer solution. As a chemist, you should be able to understand that better than I: a weak acid, added to a weak base will bring the Ph to a nearly constant value. As I understand it, this means that by adding the weak citric acid to the weak baking soda the acidity level of your stomach will be brought within a certain acceptable range -- an advantage over baking soda taken plain. It is possible that I misunderstood this last concept of "buffer solution." But the fact is, Alka Seltzer does sell one version without aspirin for simple heartburn, and that this mixture does temporarily relieve those same symptoms. If you let it dissolve properly before drinking it gas should not be a problem either. I would NOT recommend using this as a soft drink because you like the taste: it contains sodium, to be avoided by some people, and it should not be used more than is described in the warnings on step one.
I admit that I didn't knew this kind of alka seltzer. I know alka seltzer, like aspirin as a synonym for a preparation containing acetylsalicylic acid. In your instruction you mention that "the store bought alka selzer also contained aspirin". The use of citrate buffer as a medicamentation against heartburn was not known to me before an I think it is not very common here. Different markets different products. Mea culpa. I think you should make clear in your instructable that its an "imitation" of alka seltzer heartburn relief and not the classic one. By the way the recipe citric acid with baking soda water and sugar is the classical recipe for effervescent powder. I think it can't be in your purpose that people with headaches, fever influenza etc. use effervescent lemonade instead of a proven medicine. I hope you don't see my comments as offense but as a proposal. Happy new year and Cheers!
belsey (author)  haraldbreisgauer6 years ago
The title of the instructable does call it an imitation... it's true that the Alka Seltzer I had contained aspirin, which, according to the label, is an analgesic (for pain relief) whereas the bicarbonate & citric acid were listed as antacid (for heartburn relief). Since I wasn't looking for pain relief I checked, and sure enough, A.S. is available without aspirin... That said, I did not take offense, but I did want to emphasize that the drink should not be taken for the pleasant fizzy effect. The effervescent candies I had a kid I'm sure contained the same stuff, but the proportions were different. My guess would be something like 1/8 citric acid, 1/8 baking soda, 3/4 sugar. I think you're right for one thing though... it seemed obvious to me that I was suggesting this mixture for temporary relief of heartburn only. Not hangovers, not flu, not headaches... however that doesn't seem to be clear enough, so I will add a line on that in the warnings. Thanks for the comment!
I like Alkaseltzer and its generics for the taste, which is probably largely due to the aspirin. It is kind of like a Fizzie for grownups. How's the taste of the aspirinless version?
belsey (author)  flybynightenterprises6 years ago
I used to like the Fizzies as a kid too -- and I'm sure they contained the same ingredients, though with different proportions. This mixture tastes OK but it's a little less sweet than the real Alka Selzer -- I guess the Aspartame (aka Nutrasweet) is sweeter than the fructose I used. However if you're just doing it for taste, I would reduce the proportion of baking soda (which makes it taste salty) and increase the fructose. Or use plain old granulated sugar instead and dip stuff in it, like those sour popping lollipops. You should still get the fizzing effect -- however as I said in the comment above (and in the warnings), don't overindulge...
ClayOgre6 years ago
Hmmm...this has me wondering. When I was a kid, there were these sort of "beverage mix" things you could buy, called "Fizzies". You dropped them into a glass of water and they made flavored soda water. Haven't seen them for sale in years. Wonder if you couldn't use this method to make them, but I have no idea how, since the end result would have to taste considerably different than alka seltzer, and have a totally different end purpose.
Ha! They still make 'em.

pastorkev6 years ago
"He who pays unnecessarily for overpriced medications and overpriced diagnosis is a fool for a patient."
mclisa6 years ago
You can still buy ichthammol through through horse supply sites, here's one:


Notice that it says "For animal use only" Your call whether you qualify :=)
This is a great idea! I think Alka Seltzer uses compression to form their tablets...but I'm not positive.
they do :)
Phoghat osgeld6 years ago
As do pretty much all tablets are made by compression.
lbrewer426 years ago
I wonder if grinding up an Altoid mint might also be something that would help all of this since mint is something that helps an upset stomach feel a lot better? In fact, I have heard when Altoids were first made -- many moons ago -- supposedly they sold as stomach meds.
i, being a pharmacist, can tell you that oil of peppermint has been used fro the time of Og the caveman as a remedy for intestinal bloat or just plain old gas. The prep that's listed here is pretty much safe (when used with the cautions listed). Where did you hear about compounding being illegal? I live in NY City and have a practice near many doctors specializing in in vivo and in vitro fertilization and have many prescriptions that must be compounded.
Goodhart6 years ago
As with Alka-seltzer, make sure you do not use it TOO often. Unlike Tums, which can give you a bit of extra calcium, this mixture, as well as the store bought version, IS going to increase your sodium intake. Those of us that are a bit older, and especially those of us with high blood pressure, are sensitive to taking in extra sodium salts
belsey (author)  Goodhart6 years ago
Definitely. As I said in the instructable, all the Alka Seltzer warnings apply to this mixture too -- just because it's home-made with common ingredients doesn't mean you can go ahead and take it all the time. It only relieves temporary symptoms -- like Alka Seltzer it does nothing for the underlying cause of the problem, and yes, it also increases your sodium intake.
Goodhart belsey6 years ago
Just being overly cautious, having had heart surgery, and having high blood pressure I am a little more sensitive about reading labels and such, I not only avoid A-S. but baking soda / baking powder in general, along with table salts, although I occasionally use Low sodium salt (a 50/50 mix of table salt and potassium salt)
kill-a-watt6 years ago
compounding without a license, I see :-) Once Big Pharma shuts down all the Compounding Pharmacists, they'll be coming after you (and all those people who put nails in their apples for the extra iron) (very nice)
bleh its citric acid, and baking soda cirtic acid is used in almost anything sour or citrus flavored for those exact reasons baking soda is a age old remedy for heartburn its not like the author is making home made penicillin mixed with heroin or anything its a common known fact, with some twang to it
Goodhart osgeld6 years ago
The acid will react with the baking soda, much like vinegar will, this is where the fizz comes from.
hah Look at what the FDA did to Guaifenesin, a drug that predates, and is exempt from the pure food and drug act. Ever wonder why boil-ease no longer has any Ichmathol in it? It's a wonder the damn FDA didn't kick down my door and haul me away for curing myself of scabies with homemade sulfur ointment.
not really, your mention of boil-ease is the first i ever heard of it and lchmothol? ill have to google that one and get back with you but i still stand with my statement its 2 non toxix non drug ingredients used in many many many things including common food items if its approved for food use, i highly doubt you will be seeing the dea with a fda suit kicking in your door over a simple home remedy thats mostly proven safe (as with alot of things you could over do it) ... especially since this product is not being marketed for sale i really dont see the difference tween this and mixing food coloring into a cake, or flower and sugar
Oh and mixing sulfur with an ointment like lard to make a medicine against scabies goes back at least to ancient Greece.
Tongue-in-cheek about the DEA, although I do find it quite curious that big pharma would outlaw the traditional profession of pharmacists, (you know, compounding), turning these skilled practitioners into glorified pill counters (or really, glorified counting-pill-bot operators) while simoultaniusly moving from requireing a four year degree to needing a six year degree. While big pharma is busy proving in clinical trials that their patented allergy medicine that works against ragweed and pet dander ALSO works against dust mites (thus deserving two more years of patent protection), they're also rallying against pharmacists creating new and innovative ways to deliver medications to patents (for example, anti-smoking lollypops with nicotine inside)
t.rohner6 years ago
Funny idea, but in fact, the active ingredient in Alkaselzer is Aspirin (Acetylsalicyl-acid). The Sodiumbicarbonate and the citric acid are for the bubbling dissolution in water. (Fizzies) If there is more bicarbonate than acid, it helps with heartburn. It can raise the PH from sour to neutral or at least less sour.
belsey (author)  t.rohner6 years ago
There are different types of Alka Selzer: the one I had was for heartburn WITH body aches and pains (the would be the aspirin part). They also sell it just for heartburn, in which case there is no aspirin, just citric acid and bicarbonate.
t.rohner belsey6 years ago
Didn't know that, i only know the one containing aspirin. Known around here as a hangover cure...
nak t.rohner6 years ago
exactly >.<;
CyberBill6 years ago
"...my cute little balls started swelling, and ended up the next day as a bubbly, sticky mess..." AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Best line in an instructable ever. :)
belsey (author)  CyberBill6 years ago
It's very hard for me not to go back and edit that line.... I'll resist since it seems so entertaining. But I think I will change the "my" to "the." Somehow it seems less embarrassing that way.
static belsey6 years ago
Whatza the matter? Your litle balls ain't cute? Less embarrassing will mean less entertaining. Nobody can see you blushing anyway. :)
belsey (author)  static6 years ago
I put my foot in my mouth to begin with because I've never been a teenage boy... That plus growing up speaking French, where a ball is just a ball, nothing else. American tourists at the restaurant I worked at used to howl with laughter when I offered them ice cream balls for desert.... yet I did it again. Oh well.
Yeh, it lol'ed me to :=)
Shatman6 years ago
Hmmm... If I coat some birdseed with this stuff...
jongscx Shatman6 years ago
I take it you know that birds can't burp... and that you'd end up with either bloated birds, exploding birds, or birds with explosive... discharge?
belsey (author)  jongscx6 years ago
My curious dog (accidentally) got a little powder on his nose... luckily no discharge of any sort, but he did get a very funny expression on his face when he licked it off...
Shatman jongscx6 years ago
Yeah, way back when I used to cut up seltzer tablets and let the birds eat them, then scare them onto my neighbor's car. The bloating really helped them, if you catch my drift.
static6 years ago
When working in the oil patch I knew a guy who would carry a box of baking soda in his truck. No fancy plop plop fizz fizz for him, just eat it right out of the box.
DrBlind6 years ago
This is a really awesome instructable. Thanks for making it.