Cream of tartar is a chemical compound which is derived through the process of winemaking. It is scientifically known as potassium bitartrate ( or potassium hydrogen tartrate) and is an important ingredient in commonly used baking applications. Its use is not limited to baking and it can also be used as a household cleaner, just like baking soda.
Cream of tartar is a byproduct that automatically precipitates out of grape skins and even from the wine. However, when it used for the cooking purpose, it helps stabilize whipping cream and egg whites and also prevents the sugar from getting crystallized in baking.
The best way to store this acidic salt is to store them in an airtight conditioner and away from the sources of heat. This way it won’t go bad for a long duration.
This acidic salt is not just limited for the culinary and the cleaning purposes, but can also be used for natural remedies, mainly as a laxative.
How Cream of Tartar is Produced
Cream of tartar is produced during the process of winemaking. It crystallizes on the walls and as well as the corks of the wine bottles. From there, it is scraped off and collected. It is wet in form and is thus partially dried, and is then flash-dried at very high temperatures( 800 C to 900 C)
After drying the same at heavy temperature, this “cooked” potassium bitartrate is cooled and divided into two halves.
The first half is mixed with sulfuric acid, and the other option is mixed with carbonate. From these two mixtures, final product “cream of tartar” is obtained.
The last step involves the addition of a carbon block that will remove any traces of wine odor.
Cream of Tartar’s History
Cream of tartar is available since centuries, and archaeological studies have found the traces of cream of tartar in wine jars from Iran.
During the 16th and 17 centuries, Swiss and French chemists were busy finding out the uses of “cream of tartar”. The properties and the uses of cream of tartar identified later were based on these brainstorming events.
When the ingredients and uses of cream of tartar came to existence then this acidic salt soon made its place in kitchens, but it should also be noted that cream of tartar is also being used for home remedies since centuries.
Health Benefits of Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is a byproduct that we get during the process of winemaking. However, this byproduct is good for us and has helped us with culinary purposes and cleaning purposes. Benefits of cream of tartar are not just limited here, and it can also help us with some natural remedies.
Let’s know about them in detail.
(1) Helps Quit Smoking
Smoking is a dangerously addictive habit that gives rise to numerous health problems such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, esophageal cancer, and cataracts, etc. The nicotine present in the cigarette is an addictive compound which makes it near impossible for the smoker to quit smoking once they get addicted to it.
The addictiveness of the nicotine is the reason, quitting smoking is so difficult and people experience failure even after trying numerous times.
If you would like to quit smoking but finding it difficult to get out of the addictive grip, then cream of tartar is a good choice for you as it helps in quitting smoking.
Cream of tartar is very effective in removing nicotine from the bloodstream, and as mentioned earlier it is this nicotine which is responsible for the addictiveness of the cigarettes and is also responsible for causing damage to our heart, hormones and gastrointestinal system.
For quitting smoking, take a glass of fresh orange juice and add some cream of tartar to it. Mix it well and then drink it. It is suggested to drink this mixture before going to bed each night.
The laxative nature of the cream of tartar improves the bowel movement and cleanse toxins( including nicotine) out of the body.
This juice will also strengthen your immune system because of the presence of “Vitamin C”, an antioxidant in it.
(2) For Treating Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infection is an infection that occurs in any part of the urinary system. It could be at kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Generally, UTI occurs at the lower urinary tract- bladder and the urethra, but in serious cases, it can even spread to kidneys and worsen the situation.
Urinary tract infections are mainly caused by the E. Coli bacteria which is mainly found in the gastrointestinal tract, and sometimes other bacteria are also responsible for the same.
In addition to this poor personal hygiene, not drinking enough water ( dehydration affects our kidneys negatively), constipation and holding in your pee also increase the risk of getting urinary tract infections.
Treating UTI is important to eliminate the pain and discomfort associated with it.
However, prevention is better than cure and we should first focus on eliminating the chances of getting UTI.
One such compound that can help us in doing the same is “Cream of tartar”.
Cream of tartar can change the pH level of the urine
As the pH of urine change, the environment in which bacteria thrives turns hostile and they find it difficult to propagate. In a way, it changes “Favorable conditions” to “unfavorable conditions” for the bacteria and thus minimizes the risk of urinary tract infections.
To use cream of tartar for urinary tract infection, mix one and a half teaspoons of cream of tartar in one cup of warm water. Add some lime juice to the solution and drink the same once or twice in a day. You will get relief in a couple of days. If you don’t see any improvement in your condition then it is advisable to go see a doctor as there might be some other problems ( along with the UTI).
(3) Relaxes Our Body And Mind
Another advantage of cream of tartar is its ability to relax our body and mind.
This benefit of cream of tartar is mainly due to the presence of magnesium in it.
Magnesium is an important mineral that supports an astonishing 300 biochemical functions in our body. Some of these major functions are maintaining normal muscle and nerve functions, supporting the immune system, adjusting blood glucose level, helping in the production of energy and protein, and as well reducing stress and anxiety level.
Magnesium is an anti-inflammatory compound that inhibits the release of stress hormones and also prevents them from entering our brain.
Cream of tartar is a good source of magnesium and this makes it suitable for combating against stress.
Stress affects our physical, mental and emotional health negatively and also give rise to problems such as insomnia. When you are in stress, you don’t get proper sleep, and this further increases your stress level.
Magnesium can help break this vicious cycle as it induces quality sleep.
This vital mineral can be considered as the real chill pill as it helps us with anxiety, apathy, depression, headaches, insecurity, restlessness and as well as sulkiness.
This is another reason to add cream of tartar to your diet.
(4) Combats Acne
Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions of people around the globe. There are many causes of acne such as hormonal changes during puberty, certain medications, increased stress, poor diet that involves junk food and carbonated beverages, etc.
However, in addition to this, the clogging of our skin pores due to the accumulation of toxins, dirt, and pollutant is also responsible for causing and worsening the acne.
Cream of tartar is a wonderful detoxifying agent which means it helps in eliminating toxins and impurities from our system. When there are fewer toxins in our system, they don’t accumulate in our skin pores and thus minimizes the risk of acne.
For combating acne, mix one tablespoon of cream of tartar with 8 ounces of water, and drink the solution empty stomach every morning.
The detoxifying nature of the cream of tartar will ensure that the toxins get eliminated out of the system efficiently, and the laxative property will help with the bowel movement. This way it will also help with constipation which is a common problem these days.
When our body is free of the toxins, our vital organs like liver and kidneys that are responsible for the detoxification in our body doesn’t have to work beyond their capacity, and can thus focus on other biochemical functions they need to perform.
Following this remedy for one week will reduce the acne breakouts and give you clear skin.
(5) Treats Heartburn
Heartburn is a condition in which we feel a sharp and painful burning sensation in the chest region.
It happens when our stomach acid follows back into the esophagus or the food pipe. When it does so, it starts harming the walls of the esophagus, and we thus experience heartburn.
The best way to tackle heartburn is to reduce the pH level of the stomach acid. This can be done with the antacids.
Cream of tartar can be used to form natural antacid that reduces the pH level of the stomach acid and provides relief from heartburn and associated symptoms.
For treating heartburn, simply drink a glass of water mixed with half a tablespoon of cream of tartar and half a tablespoon of baking soda.
(6) Provides Relief From Arthritis
Arthritis is a painful condition that causes chronic inflammation in the joints and the USA alone, it affects around 31 million people. Some of the common symptoms of arthritis are swelling, pain, stiffness, redness and decreased range of motion in the joints affected by arthritis.
Cream of tartar is very effective for reducing the pain and inflammation associated with the inflammatory problems such as arthritis and rheumatism etc.
This advantage of cream of tartar is mainly because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
For arthritis benefit, half fill your bathtub with warm water and add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt and 3 tablespoons of cream of tartar to it. Once you enter the tub, fill the remaining portion of the bathtub and enjoy the warm bath. This will reduce pain from the joints. After half an hour, rinse off with cold water to remove the mixture from the skin.
Additionally, cream of tartar can also be used for making a solution that helps with arthritis.
For this, gently scrub 3 oranges and 3 lemons to ensure that sprays and other contaminants get properly removed from the fruits. After this, thoroughly blend these fruits without removing the skin and the seeds. Let the blended fruit mixture airdry for the whole night.
On next morning, boil one and a half-liter of water in a container, and add 50 gram Epsom salt and 50 gram cream of tartar to it. Once this solution is ready, add the blended fruit mixture to it, and freeze it after placing it in a suitable container.
In refrigerating condition, this mixture will stay good for up to two months.
For relieving arthritis, consume two spoons of this mixture every morning followed by a glass of tepid water with a half teaspoon of vitamin C added to it.
Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory compound that increases the effectiveness of this solution.
(7) Prevents Gallstones
Another health advantage of cream of tartar is its ability to help prevent gallstones.
For preventing gallstones, fill a quart-sized jar with water and squeeze six lemons to it. Add one tablespoon of Epsom salt, and 3 tablespoons of cream of tartar to it. Now place the jar in the refrigerator. Drinking a small portion of this solution before bedtime will reduce the risk of formation of gallstones.
Gallstones are formed when the bile juice released by the liver turns into solid particles. This mainly occurs due to the presence of high cholesterol or high bilirubin levels in the bile.
The emulsifying properties of this solution aid in breaking down the cholesterol level, and also increases bile flow, and thus minimizes the risk of formation of gallstones.
(8) Helps Treat Bacterial Infection
Cream of tartar is antibacterial and this property makes it very suitable for treating bacterial infections which could otherwise cause a wide range of problems, from inflammation to swelling, and fever.
Cream of tartar provides alkalinity to the body, and this is the atmosphere where bacterias find it difficult to propagate or even survive.
For this, simply mix half tablespoon of cream of tartar with a half cup of warm water, and drink the solution. This solution will create a hostile environment in the body, and it will be very difficult for the infection-causing bacteria to survive.
(9) Lowers Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a major health problem that affects millions of people around the world and is also a leading cause of various health problems such as heart failure, kidney damage, artery damage, blood clot, osteoporosis, sleep apnea and heart attack and heart stroke.
Living a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive salt consumption, stress, being overweight, excessive alcohol consumption and as well genetics plays a big role in the development of hypertension.
In addition to this, deficiency of potassium is also responsible for the causing and worsening the situation of high blood pressure.
Potassium is a vital mineral that helps our body in many ways. Some of the major functions performed by potassium are aids in maintaining fluid balance, maintains neurological health, regulates muscle and heart contractions, reduces water retention and so on.
Cream of tartar is very beneficial against hypertension because of the high level of potassium in it. Potassium is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus helps with the high blood pressure.
If you have hypertension induced by the potassium deficiency ( which you can find only after some blood tests in consultation with your doctor) then drinking a glass of water mixed with one teaspoon of cream of tartar will increase the potassium level in your body.
As always, consult with your doctor before trying any remedy.
(10) Treats Edema
Edema is the medical term given to the swelling of the body parts because of the retention of excessive fluid( basically) in the cells. There are many factors like excessive salt consumption, inflammation, and injuries, etc. responsible for the edema.
Cream of tartar is efficient against edema because of its diuretic properties.
Being a diuretic compound, it increases the production of urine by the kidneys because of which our body can get rid of the excessive fluids, and in this way, it helps with the edema.
(11) Helps In Reducing Water Weight
Obesity is a disease that affects millions of people around the world and is also a leading cause of other serious health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease and gallstones, cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and heart stroke, and as well as breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma.
For a healthy living, it is important to keep our weight under check and get rid of the excessive pounds.
Cream of tartar can help in doing the same. As per anecdotal reports, drinking a glass of milk with a small amount of cream of tartar added to it promotes weight loss.
This benefit of cream of tartar is because of its diuretic nature. Because of its diuretic nature, it prevents our body cells to retain excess fluid and thus helps with the water weight loss.
It also controls the growth of candida, a kind of yeast which hinders weight loss.
Using Cream of Tartar For Cooking
There are many uses of cream of tartar. We have already learned about the medicinal benefits of cream of tartar, now, let’s take a look at some of the culinary uses of it.
- Cream of tartar is used as a functional ingredient in the baking industry as it is used in the making of pies, cookies, and cakes.
- Sprinkling a small amount of cream of tartar on the vegetables(before cooking) preserves the natural color of the vegetables.
- Cream of tartar can be used for adding volume to the meringue. For this, add ⅛ of a teaspoon of cream of tartar for every 2 egg whites.
- The best way to stabilizing and for preventing whipped cream from deflating is to add a pinch of cream of tartar to it.
Is Cream of Tartar Gluten-Free?
Some people are sensitive to gluten and have celiac disease. Their immune system mistakenly considers the gluten protein as an enemy (foreign invader) and starts attacking them. Because of this, they experience problems such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, headache, tiredness, depression, autoimmune disorders, and unexplained weight loss.
If you are suffering from gluten sensitivity then you should avoid intake of any form of gluten. Rye, barley, and wheat are some of the prime sources of gluten.
The scary part of gluten sensitivity is that if non-gluten food was in contact with the food containing gluten, then even that can trigger the symptoms of gluten sensitivity.
With that being said, although the cream of tartar doesn’t have any gluten in it if it was in contact with any other food item that has gluten in it, then it’s best to avoid this cream of tartar.
Gluten is widely used in the baking industry as it is the gluten that levels up the dough and gives it a good structure. So, if you are experiencing gluten sensitivity after eating the freshly baked cake you bought from the market then the real culprit is the other ingredients of the cake, and not the cream of tartar.
Using Cream of Tartar as a Cleaning Product
(1) Removing Stains From The Clothes
Cream of tartar can be used for remaining stubborn stains out of the clothes. For this, add a small amount of 3 % hydrogen peroxide to a small dish and add cream of tartar to it. Mix them to form a paste which can be applied on the stains you want to get rid of. Once you apply the paste on the stains, let it air dry for 5 to 10 minutes, and then wash off in the washing machine.
This stain removal paste is efficient in removing all types of stains. However, you will have to make sure that it doesn’t harm the fabric of the clothes. Doing a patch test will help in figuring out the same.
(2) For Clearing Bathrooms
Getting a crystal clear bathroom is like a “Dream come true” experience for many and we would like to experience it much often. Sure, some products help you clean the bathroom but we very well know how effective they are.
Cream of tartar can also be used for getting back the lost shine of the bathroom.
For this, mix an equal amount of baking and cream of tartar, and add a few drops of lemon juice to it. This will make an effective bathroom cleaner which you can use to get rid of the all kind of stains( including the limescale traces that sticks to baths, sinks, and toilets) from the bathroom.
Apply the solution to the dirty areas of the bathroom and let the magic happens. After 30 minutes, rinse off with water and then wipe it off with a dry cloth.
(3) For Clearing Stainless Steel And Aluminium
Cream of tartar is a wonderful cleansing agent which not only eliminates the stains from the clothes and bathroom but also the stainless steel and aluminum appliances. Over time, it’s natural for these utensils and appliances to accumulate water stains and dirt that damages their appearance.
For removing stains from steel and aluminum appliances, simply add some water to the cream of tartar and make a thick paste. Use this paste to clean jewelry, cutlery and large kitchen appliances like sinks and ovens. Mixing a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the mixture will also make it suitable for rust removal and for bringing back lost shine of the cutlery.
(4) For Fixing Scratched Kitchenware
Another household use of cream of tartar is to use it for fixing scratched kitchenwares. It can be used for removing scratches from plates and cups.
For this, take one little water and add some cream of tartar to it. Make a thick paste and then apply this paste on the scratched surfaces with the help of a cloth. Let it air dry for a couple of minutes, and then wipe it off with a dry cloth. You will notice a significant improvement in the condition of kitchenware.
(5) For Keeping Ants Away
Along with all these benefits, the cream of tartar is an excellent ant repellent. Sprinkling a little cream of tartar power at places where ants are believed to come from will be enough to keep them at bay.
Difference Between Cream of Tartar and Baking Soda
Both Baking soda ( sodium bicarbonate) and cream of tartar( bitartrate) offer similar benefits when it comes to health and household functions, and also have a similar chemical appearance, they are completely different from each other.
Cream of tartar is a byproduct of winemaking, but the baking soda is made extensively from seawater using a technology in which baking soda gets isolated.
Cream of tartar mixed with cornstarch and baking soda forms baking powder.
When baking soda is combined with water and acid, then it forms carbon dioxide bubbles which help the dough to rise. Cream of tartar is acidic which means it gives the favorable condition to the baking soda to help it rise the dough.
It is common to use cream of tartar and baking soda together in a recipe. However, the cream of tartar is also used without baking soda.
It is mainly found in the meringue recipes as it is good for stabilizing eggwhites and gives them volume.
It is also used for making icing and syrups because of its ability to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.
Side Effects of Cream of Tartar
Although the cream of tartar is beneficial for us and provides numerous medicinal benefits. There are a couple of side effects that may arise due to ( overconsumption) cream of tartar. Keeping these side effects in mind will help you to make the right choice.
(1) Increased Risk of Hyperkalemia
We have learned that the potassium present in the cream of tartar is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus helps with hypertension or high blood pressure.
Although this is a good thing, there is a dark side to it.
Cream of tartar is very high in potassium. Just 10 grams of cream of tartar provides around 1650 mg of potassium. The daily recommended intake of potassium is 3500 mg to 4700 mg.
This means that just 10 gram of cream of tartar is enough to fulfill about 30 percent to 50 percent of the daily potassium requirement.
It is important to keep an eye on your cream of tartar consumption as excessive intake may lead to hyperkalemia.
Hyperkalemia is a condition that occurs when there is too much potassium in our system. Some of the common symptoms of hyperkalemia are tiredness or weakness, feeling of numbness, nausea, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, palpitations, and irregular heartbeat.
Additionally, if you have high blood pressure and are taking medications for lowering the blood pressure level then consuming cream of tartar along with it may worsen the situation.
(2) Increased Risk of Dehydration
Cream of tartar is diuretic in nature which means it is very effective for preventing our body cells to retain excessive fluid ( which otherwise make them look puffy and swollen) and also aids in excreting out this excess fluid out of the body.
Being a natural diuretic, cream of tartar is also good for our kidneys as it helps our kidneys to flush out toxins from our system.
It is also laxative in nature which means it is effective for improving bowel movements and helps with constipation and other gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc. We lose excessive water even during the bowel movement as it is what makes the passage smooth.
However, prolonged use of cream of tartar is not good for us.
This is because these diuretic and laxative properties will make our body to lose not just the excess fluid but even the necessary fluid level which is mandatory for performing vital body functions, and may increase the risk of dehydration.
The importance of water in our body is known to everyone. Our body is made up of 60 percent water, and as well as our vital organs like the heart ( 73 percent water), brain ( 73 percent water), lungs (83 percent water) and our kidneys ( 79 percent water) are made up of water. Bones which are considered as dry as desert are made up of 31 percent water.
Our body needs water to function properly, and condition such as dehydration can affect us negatively.
Increased thirst, dry mouth, sleepiness, decreased urine output, excessive yellowness of the urine along with burning sensation due to bladder irritation, headache, dry skin, and dizziness are some of the symptoms ( or you may consider them as signals) that you experience during dehydration.
(3) May Cause Eye Irritation
The National Fire Protection Association which is an international non-profit organization that works to eliminate death, injury and property loss due to the fire, electrical and other related hazards, has given a rating of 2 to the cream of tartar. A rating of 2 means it is a hazardous chemical that should be kept away from the eyes. Even if a small portion of cream of tartar gets into the eye then it may cause mild to moderate eye irritation and you may also experience swelling and redness of the eye.
If for any reason, cream of tartar gets into your eye then immediately flush your eyes with water for a minimum of 15 minutes. Depending on the severity of the situation, it is also advisable to consult with a doctor.
(4) May Cause Digestive Problems
Cream of tartar is laxative in nature which makes it very suitable for the people suffering from constipation. The laxative property of the cream of tartar improves bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of stool from our system. This not only helps with constipation but also minimizes the risk of other gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, flatulence and indigestion, etc.
However, it is advisable to not rely on the laxative property of the cream of tartar for too long as it is very strong laxative which may cause more harm than the good when consumed over a prolonged time.
Cream of tartar is also known to eliminate excess fluid from our system which may cause dehydration in the body. When there is not enough water in the system then it will be difficult for the body to digest food properly which may lead to indigestion and poor absorption of the nutrients.
Too much laxative may cause diarrhea, a condition in which the body loses a lot of fluids during excretion and this will deteriorate the condition.
So, if you are suffering from chronic constipation that comes back like taxes then it is advisable to consult with your doctor.
There are several other food items such as prunes, pears, figs, citrus fruits, and chia seeds, etc. that has laxative benefits, and are very safe in comparison to the cream of tartar.
The information contained in the post is for general purposes only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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