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6 Health Benefits of Cream of Tartar We’ll Bet You Never Knew

  1. Health Benefits of Cream of Tartar
  2. Natural Smoking Cessation Aid
  3. Non-Drug Blood Pressure Regulation
  4. Helps Ease Arthritis Pain
  5. Fights Urinary Tract Infections
  6. Helps Digestion and Eases Constipation
  7. Relaxes Your Body and Mind

You may think cream of tartar is only for cakes and pies. But did you know this pantry ingredient can alleviate some of your most pressing health concerns?

It’s true: cream of tartar has a long history of health use. And while many of its reported health benefits are based on folk medicine, we’ve dug up some fascinating facts.

Cream of tartar is the common name for potassium bitartrate, a byproduct that comes from making wine. It’s not creamy at all; it’s actually a powder. In cooking, it’s used to stiffen egg whites and keep sugar in recipes from crystallizing.

But there are other powers in this simple kitchen ingredient. According to folk wisdom, cream of tartar performs some amazing health magic. The health benefits of cream of tartar include maintaining healthy blood pressure, easing constipation and helping you quit smoking.

Here are six surprising ways cream of tartar can make you healthier.

SPECIAL NOTE: Potassium bitartrate could have negative effects if you take too much of it. Always consult your physician before trying this or another ingredient for the purposes listed below.

1. A Natural Smoking Cessation Aid

One of cream of tartar’s most touted health benefits is that it’s reported to help you quit smoking. According to people who’ve tried it, cream of tartar appears to help remove toxins from the body, making the tobacco withdrawal period easier.

In recent years, more and more people have been looking to quit smoking or chewing tobacco products. And there’s plenty of good reason, according to experts in the field of smoking and health.

According to the CDC, nearly 500,000 Americans 18 and over die from smoking each year.

Smoking-related illnesses cost us a staggering $300 billion annually. And that’s without any guarantee of curing the issues, which can include cancer, heart disease, and COPD, a progressive condition.

Why keep doing it, then? Anyone who has tried to quit using tobacco products knows the answer: withdrawal is painful and uncomfortable. But the main physical withdrawal symptoms only last for as long as nicotine is still in the body, health professionals say.

Most of the nicotine will be gone from your body within four days of stopping smoking. Within three weeks, your body should be nicotine-free. It’s getting over the initial period that’s key.

To try the cream of tartar method. most advice points to using up to one teaspoon in a glass of orange juice daily.

Ask your doctor whether it’s safe for you to try this remedy. If so, take for seven days, then stop the regimen. This covers the four-day period that smokers feel the worst of physical withdrawal.

2. Non-Drug Blood Pressure Regulation

If you have high blood pressure, you’re not alone: statistics say 75 million other American adults have it too. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can lead to heart disease or stroke.

And alarmingly, only half of diagnosed patients have their condition under control, according to data.

Potassium performs an important role in the regulation of blood pressure. It does so by reducing the effects of sodium, according to the American Heart Society. The organization recommends eating foods rich in potassium to ease pressure on artery walls.

Cream of tartar, or potassium bitartrate, is 20% potassium. A half-teaspoon a day is the common wisdom for preventing high blood pressure issues. Dissolve the cream of tartar into warm water or a warm flavored drink. (Heat will help it dissolve.)

Careful– too much potassium can cause issues and may be dangerous. Never take excessive amounts of cream of tartar. If in doubt, ask your doctor.

3. Helps Ease Arthritis Pain

Like some other salts, such as Epsom salt, potassium bitartrate can help soothe aches. This includes arthritis pain, according to books written on the subject.

Jude C. Todd, author of Jude’s Herbal Home Remedies: Natural Health, Beauty and Home-Care Secrets, recommends the following method:

  • Run a warm bath. Fill to halfway.
  • Add 2 T. Epsom salt and 3 T. cream of tartar.
  • Get into tub. Fill the rest of the way with warm water.
  • Soak for approximately 30 minutes.
  • After your soak, rinse with lukewarm to cool water to remove the Epsom salts and cream of tartar from your skin.

Use this method up to three times per week. If your skin becomes irritated, cut back on or discontinue the soaks. However, most people find a cream of tartar soak to be wonderfully soothing.

4. Fights Urinary Tract Infections

Don’t use any home item to substitute medical attention for a UTI, but using cream of tartar can get you well faster, according to several health authors.

Jethro Kloss, author of Back to Eden: The Classic Guide to Herbal Medicine, Natural Foods, and Home Remedies Since 1939, the use of cream of tartar for UTI goes back decades.

Try this common method: dissolve 1 tsp. cream of tartar in a glass of warm water. Drink daily. Some natural health experts recommend two glasses per day. However, you may wish to be conservative when using potassium bitartrate.

Do not use this method for more than three days. In the meantime, be sure to see your doctor. Some conditions mimic the symptoms of UTI and should be ruled out.

5. Helps Digestion and Eases Constipation

Cream of tartar contains small amounts of magnesium, a mineral your body uses for several key purposes. It’s also famous (and documented) as a natural laxative.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found a combination of magnesium and citric acid (magnesium citrate) stimulated the bowels prior to colonoscopy in research participants.

You may have already taken magnesium in some over-the-counter products, such as Phillips Milk of Magnesia. If so, you’re familiar with magnesium’s effect on moving the bowels.

Although cream of tartar contains only a minimal quantity of magnesium, when used in conjunction with other methods such as drinking plenty of water, exercising, and eating fruits and vegetables, it is said to help for this purpose.

Try 1.5 teaspoons in a glass of warm water before bedtime. If a bowel movement doesn’t happen overnight, repeat the process in the morning. DO NOT exceed this dosage. See your doctor if your constipation continues.

6. It Relaxes Your Body and Mind

One other way magnesium can benefit you is that it is relaxing, according to reports.Magnesium-rich foods, such as that famous glass of warm milk, have a long history of “bedtime snack” aids for insomnia.

Psychology Today calls magnesium “the original chill pill”. An eye-opening article by the magazine pointed out this quaint description from the early 20th century: “[Magnesium helps cure] anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, irritability, restlessness, talkativeness, and sulkiness.”

Deficiency of this important mineral can have serious consequences, particularly to the brain and the emotions, experts say. Muscles may also be more tense if you’re not getting enough magnesium.

Keeping magnesium-containing foods, such as cream of tartar, in your diet may help you stay more on an even keel and protect you from depression and anxiety.

What is Cream of Tartar?

We touched on the origins of cream of tartar earlier. Cream of tartar is a fascinating ingredient with an accidental, but ultimately very useful, history.

Cream of tartar is the common name for potassium bitartrate. It’s also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate.

Cream of tartar is a byproduct of the winemaking process, believe it or not. Potassium bitartrate crystallizes in the bottom of wine casks as wine is fermenting.

Although these crystals are unwanted in finished wine, they’re perfect for a variety of other applications, including cooking.

Cream of Tartar Nutrition Facts

You wouldn’t think that cream of tartar would have so many unique health benefits. With it’s excellent fiber content and a huge boost of potassium, rest assured knowing that this additive is sure to help you achieve some new levels of “feel good.”

One tablespoon of cream of tartar has:

  • 23.2 calories
  • Zero sugar and zero fat
  • 4.7 mg sodium (1% RDV)
  • 5.5 grams of carbohydrates
  • Potassium- 1485 mg
  • Fiber- 1% RDV
  • Calcium- 0.7 mg (1% RDV)
  • Iron- 0.3 mg (5% RDV)
  • Magnesium- 0.2 mg (1% RDV)
  • Phosphorus- 0.5 mg (1% RDV)
  • Zinc, copper, manganese and selenium contain 1% RDV

Though these percentages of the recommended daily value seem relatively low, remember that this is only one tablespoon! It’s very easy to double or even triple these nutrients.

Cream of Tartar’s History

According to online resource, cream of tartar has been observed for an amazing 7000 years. This is confirmed by archaeological evidence showing sediment traces in wine jars from Iran.

In the 16th through 17th centuries, Swiss and French chemists began dabbling in what potassium bitartrate could do. Properties of the ingredient and new uses were discovered on the heels of this information.

Eventually, cream of tartar found its way into kitchens everywhere for cooking applications. But the chemical uses of cream of tartar had a place in homes, too. Evidence for the ingredient as a home remedy date back generations in books and news articles.

How Cream of Tartar is Produced

As potassium bitartrate crystallizes on the walls, and under the corks of wine bottles, it is scraped off and collected. This wet form is allowed to partially dry, then is flash-dried at very high temperatures (800-900C).

The “cooked” potassium bitartrate is cooled and divided into halves. One half is mixed with sulfuric acid; the other is mixed with carbonate. This produces the final product, cream of tartar.

In the final step, carbon block is used to remove any traces of wine odor.

What the Cooking Applications for Cream of Tartar?

Cream of tartar stabilizes and stiffens egg whites for a wonderful food consistency. If you’d like to get your cream of tartar “dose” in a delicious way, here’s how cream of tartar is commonly used in recipes:

  • Meringue
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Vegetables, to maintain their rich color (add a scant ? tsp. In warm water; drain)
  • Cake and cookie icings

Other Fascinating Uses for Cream of Tartar

Wait – don’t put that cream of tartar back in the cabinet yet! Try it in these fun and functional ways:

  • Mix ? T into 2 cups vinegar for a cleaning ingredient; use in a spray bottle to remove food from kitchen surfaces
  • Add 1 tsp. to 2 cups flour, 2 cups water with food coloring, 1 cup of salt and a little oil for homemade Play-Doh
  • Mix with a tiny amount of water to form a paste; use the paste to scour aluminum cookware
  • Make a paste using a sprinkle of water and ½ tsp. lemon juice to spot-treat stains on clothing; allow to sit for 30 minutes, then wash as you normally would
  • Mix with vinegar to form a paste and place along openings and cracks where ants come into the house; the mixture will repel the ants

Is Cream of Tartar Dangerous?

We often report on foods and teas that have virtually no side-effects. However, cream of tartar, while a natural reaction in the winemaking process, should be used with caution.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If you are being treated for kidney disease, DO NOT use cream of tartar or any other potassium-containing ingredient or food without your doctor’s approval.
  • Cream of tartar may have a laxative effect. Use sparingly, especially if you didn’t intend this use, but experience diarrhea or runny stools.
  • The potassium in cream of tartar could leach your body of certain salts. Using too much of it could result in dehydration. Watch for this issue. Dehydration may show up as dry lips, difficulty swallowing, an inability of the eyes to produce tears, and very dark urine. In extreme cases, the heartbeat may become irregular. If you experience any of these issues, see your doctor immediately.
  • NEVER use more than 1-1.5 teaspoons of cream of tartar in a 24-hour period. If you experience any side effects, discontinue use and call your doctor. More isn’t better; if your issue is not resolving, get medical help.

Helpful Hints

  • Cream of tartar dissolves better in warm water. If your cream of tartar won’t dissolve, try a warmer temperature liquid.
  • If you use cream of tartar for your bath, particularly in conjunction with another element such as Epsom salts, rinse these out of your bathtub after draining the water. Some salts can be corrosive to surfaces over time.
  • Store cream of tartar in a tightly capped canister in a dark area.

Cream of tartar has a long history of use in recipes and for household chores, such as cleaning. It has fascinated chemists for centuries and dates to 5000 BCE.

Reports of a severe reaction to cream of tartar are rare, but always exercise caution and use minimum amounts until you know how your body will react.

Remember, cream of tartar is useful for so many things, and a small can goes a long, long way. It’s inexpensive, easy to find in any grocery store, and you’ll find yourself reaching for it again and again– for health, delicious foods, and more.

Now you know the health benefits of cream of tartar.