Materia Medica

Natrium carbonicum (Sodium carbonate)

Bhanu Sharma
Written by Bhanu Sharma

Dr. Bhanu Sharma discusses the remedy Natrium Carbonicum

The common “Soda” of the shops Na2CO31OH2O

Chemical properties of Sodium

 Sodium is a chemical element with symbol Na (from Latin natrium) and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal. Sodium is an alkali metal.  It is a member of group 1 of the periodic table, because it has a single electron in its outer shell that it readily donates, creating a positively charged atom—the Na+ cation.

Biological Role of Sodium

Sodium is an essential element for all animals and some plants. Sodium ions are the major cation in the extracellular fluid (ECF) and as such are the major contributor to the ECF osmotic pressure and ECF compartment volume. Loss of water from the ECF compartment increases the sodium concentration, a condition called hypernatremia.

In nerve cells, the electrical charge across the cell membrane enables transmission of the nerve impulse—an action potential—when the charge is dissipated; sodium plays a key role in that activity.

In humans, sodium is an essential mineral that regulates blood volume, blood pressure, osmotic equilibrium and pH.

An adequate intake of sodium is also required for optimal growth of fat, bone and muscle tissues. According to the study above, severe sodium restriction may negatively affect glucose metabolism and disturb normal blood viscosity.

Role of sodium on mental sphere

Researchers at the University of Haifa’s Department of Psychology say that people may crave salt partly because its main component, sodium, helps fight depression. The findings, published in the journal Appetite in April, could help us recognize the reasons for craving

To investigate what drives salt consumption, Leshem and Goldstein analyzed the results of the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a series of studies of the health and nutrition of people in the U.S. They found that women with less salt in their diet are more likely to be depressed – and that depressed men and women are more likely to add salt to their food at the table.

According to this theory, more sodium means less depression, and less sodium means more depression (within certain unknown limits).

Relation between Serum sodium level and Depression

The Journal of Mood Disorders Volume: 4, Number: 4, 2014 published an article on relation between mood disorder and serum sodium levels.

Some authors have suggested that abnormalities in electrolyte metabolism can cause mood disorders. A few studies have demonstrated relationships between the metabolism of electrolytes and affective symptoms. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether there is any relationship between serum sodium levels and depression.

Methods: The study sample consisted of 42 patients with depressive disorders who were consecutively admitted to the inpatient psychiatric service and 34 healthy control subjects. In the patients group, thirty-five patients (83.3%) had major depression, three (7.1%) had psychotic depression, three (7.1%) had catatonic depression and one (2.3%) had seasonal depression. The serum sodium and serum creatinine levels were measured in a blood sample before eating anything in the morning. Urine sodium, urine creatinine and density of urine were studied in the first morning spot urine sample.

Results: Patients with depression had significantly lower serum sodium than healthy control subjects (p=0.04). There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of plasma creatinine, urine sodium, urine creatinine and density of urine.

Conclusions: The present study suggests that there might be a relationship between serum sodium levels and depression.

A 2008 issue of “Physiology & Behavior” featured a study that discussed various experiments involving induced hyponatremia that linked sodium levels and clinical depression. One particular experiment mentioned in the study involved the use of rat test subjects that exhibited symptoms consistent with depression after their sodium levels dropped below normal levels. The study posited a link between salt craving and mood. The study even suggested the possibility of salt being akin to addiction hence the negative effect of low sodium levels on mood.

Effect of sodium deficiency

Mood-related symptoms reported by the subjects included:

  • loss of appetite
  • loss of capacity to experience pleasure and joy
  • difficulty concentrating
  • excessive fatigue
  • general sense of exhaustion
  • depression
  • anxiety

Interestingly, the researchers believed it is possible that changes in mood and appetite are among the first noticeable manifestations of sodium deficiency. 

Salt actually becomes more palatable as a consequence of sodium loss, so when we become deficient in sodium, our taste buds play a fundamental role in restoring the balance.  People suffering from sodium deficiency typically report having a peculiar sensation in their mouth that is more commonly associated with thirst and with craving salt.

NATRUM GROUP Medicine in Homeopathy –

The Natrum group include medicines having the Na (Sodium) element.

The studies on lower sodium level and depression also confirm why depression, grief, melancholic states are the common theme of the Natrium group, and to compensate this deficiency, patients of natrum group usually crave salt, because it is the commonest source available.

According to Dr. Sankaran, in periodic table sodium needs only a single bond for stability. Similarly, natrum group patients have need for an individual relation i.e. one to one relation, and they have issues related one to one relationships.  They tend toward being reserved, have very few relationships and usually have one single important one. Natrums may become ill from problems in that relationship, experiencing depression, grief and melancholic states.

Sodium also plays a major role in the endocrine system, glandular pathology (enlargement of the glands with indurations) especially the parotid, thyroid, axillary, inguinal, abdominal and salivary.

Chronic migraine Headaches are the common symptoms of all natrums.

All natrums aggravate from sunlight and hot weather except, Nat ars. and natrum sulph.

German researchers discovered that mice which were fed a high-salt diet healed infections in their feet more quickly, and we also see that all natrum group remedies are generally effective in skin diseases.

Some common Medicines of the Natrum group

  • Natrum aceticum
  • Natrum arsenicosum
  • Natrum benzoicum
  • Natrum bromatum
  • Natmm carbonicum
  • Natrum iodatum
  • Natrum metallicum
  • Natrum muriaticum
  • Natrum nitrosum
  • Natrum nitricum
  • Natrum oxidatum
  • Natrum phosphoricum
  • Natnim silicatum
  • Natrum sulphuricum
  • Natrum tartaricum
  • Aurum muriaticum natronatum etc.

Sodium carbonate  (Natrium carbonicum)

USES

Sodium carbonate (also known as washing soda, soda ash and soda crystals), Na2CO3, is the water-soluble sodium salt of carbonic acid. Sodium carbonate is an important chemical in industry and commerce where it is best known as washing soda, a cleanser on its own and an ingredient in many soaps and cleansers. As soda ash it is also extensively used in the ceramic industry. As a medicine it was traditionally used for external skin problems like eczema, rashes and burns. In old-school practice its chief uses are as an external application in solution to burns and eczema and as a douche in nasal or vaginal catarrh. It clears off the superficial layers of the epidermis, and leaves the skin dry and cracked. 

Natrium Carbonicum in Homeopathy

Introduction

Nat carb is the typical salt of the Natrum group. It was proved by Hahnemann, and is one of the antipsoric remedies of the Chronic Diseases. We have seen that serum sodium level is directly linked with depression and anxiety and  Hahnemann showed that depression anxiety and sadness, are the core feelings of natrum patients.

The  peculiarity of mental state of natrum carb is “ indifference and aversion to mankind”. This indifference is for all family members, loved ones, friends, relatives and strangers.  The patient develops anxiety and fear of facing people and maintains a distance from them.

They often hide their emotions so as not to display negative emotions and always try to put on a happy face for others, while internally they feel rejected, betrayed.

According to Dr. Sankaran, all natrums need relationship but with a single person or with very few people and issues with this relationship make them ill.  Natrum carb especially feels rejected or betrayed in relationships and this feeling makes him indifferent to mankind.

On the physical level, sodium carbonicum greatly affects the skin and mucous membranes. On skin we find vesicular eruptions in patches and circles; the herpes family is especially related to Natrum carb ( zona, herpes labialis, herpes preputialis etc.)

Enlargement of the glands with indurations, axillary, inguinal, abdominal, salivary. Especially suitable for enlargement of the prostate in older men. Chronic enlargement of the parotids and tonsils.

Nartum carb patients are chilly. They having a sensation of coldness, aversion to open air and indoors ameliorates and covering ameliorates. The body and extremities are worse in winter, and the head in summer.

All discharges of Natrium carb are offensive, putrid whether stool, vomiting, expectoration, leucorrhoea etc.

Mind

Aversion to family, friends, strangers, company and social gatherings. Fear of facing people, aversion to certain people. Unable to do the slightest mental exertion, which leads to state of brain fag and confusion. A state of trepidation from the slightest noise, the slam of a door, thunderstrome etc.

This mental state is very similar to the state of Sepia. Sepia also has the indifference, aversion to the family, loved ones, but we can differentiate them on the physical level.  Where both act on the GI tract, sepia has an all-gone sensation in the abdomen which is relived after eating and in natrum carb there is the sensation of fullness in abdomen and eating aggravates the patient in general. The patient is fearful inside but puts a smile on to hide emotions from the world.

About the author

Bhanu Sharma

Bhanu Sharma

Dr. Bhanu Sharma is a young homeopathy graduate from Jaipur, who is very passionate about homeopathy. She has been working as an assistant doctor at Dr. Bhatia's Asha Homeopathy.

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