Cebadina is a carbonated red drink common on the streets of León in the (Free and Sovereign) State of Guanajuato in central Mexico. 

Cebadinas del Centro,
Portal Guerrero 17
37000 León, Guanajuato

Cebadina is a refreshing drink in hot weather. The drink has a tart, sweet, refreshing flavour. It is taken cold and is often used as a digestive beverage due to the inclusion of baking soda and is regularly consumed as a hangover cure. Although the word cebadina is derived from cebada (barley) this drink is not made with barley. It may have originally been made with barley water but this no longer seems to be the case. The drink now could probably be called Cebadina de Tepache. Commonly it is a cross between tepache (1) and the agua frescas flor de Jamaica (2) and tamarindo. Recipes often call for the inclusion of pineapple vinegar.

  1. a lightly fermented drink made from very ripe pineapple (usually the peels)
  2. See Post Recipe : Agua de Jamaica

This recipe calls for you to make your own tepache as a base for the drink and takes about 5 days to complete.


  • 1 pineapple
  • 4 litres of boiled water
  • 2 cones of Piloncillo (about 200g)
  • 400g fresh tamarind
  • 100g flor de Jamaica


  1. Wash the pineapple, remove the crown and the base. With a knife peel off the pineapple skin leaving some pulp attached.
  2. Soak the pineapple rind together with the 4 litres of water and the piloncillo. After about 4 days you will know that it is ready when you can see on the surface of the liquid a creamy skin develops and bubbles begin to appear. This may take longer in cool weather.
  3. Peel the tamarind and soak the pulp in a litre of water in a pan. Put on the stove and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Remove the seeds and blend the liquid smooth. Strain to remove any stringy pulp.
  4. Place the Jamaica flower in a litre of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool and strain out the flowers
  5. In a 6 litre container place the fermented pineapple (4L), the tamarind (1L), and the Jamaica (1L). Place in the fridge and allow to rest for 3-4 days

To serve

Pour over ice in a tall glass. Only fill the glass ¾ full. Just before serving stir in a teaspoon of baking soda (1), the drink will foam up. Drink immediately.

  1. sodium bicarbonate

Medicinal effects of Baking Soda.

Baking soda has long been used as a quick acting antacid to treat heartburn and indigestion (1) and its alkalising properties can be used to make urine less acidic in cases of urinary tract irritation. It should however only be used as a temporary remedy in these cases as these symptoms may indicate a deeper pathology (i.e. peptic ulcer or GERD) which may require medical intervention

  1. See Posts : Empacho and Tequesquite (as well as these notes on medicinal use) for further information on sodium bicarbonate and its utility (and warnings).

Studies (Fakhri etal 2016) have shown that sodium bicarbonate can prevent (or at least ameliorate) the inhibitory effects of phytic acid found in various grains which can prevent the absorption of essential nutrients such as iron, calcium and zinc.
It has been reported that due to the sodium content of baking soda that it may affect hypertension. Studies indicate that consumption of water enriched with sodium bicarbonate (32.5 mmol/l of HCO3 in amount of 1.5 litres over a period of 4 weeks) in conjunction with a low-salt diet had no effect on blood pressure in healthy individuals and that the consumption of 2094.4 mg/l of sodium bicarbonate in 1 litre per day for 2 months can reduce heart disease index.
Consumption of one litre of water with a concentration of 48 mmol and 35 mmol over a period of 2 months caused decreased LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol and blood pressure compared to the control group. This study showed that sodium bicarbonate consumption reduces the risk of cardiac diseases in young men and women. It was also noted that consumption of sodium bicarbonate by patients with gastrointestinal cancer resulted in reduced nausea and diarrhoea caused by chemotherapy treatments.

WARNINGS – these only refer to the regular and daily use of sodium bicarbonate as a medicinal supplement. They may also be relevant if you are drinking multiple cebadinas (2 or more a day over a period of weeks).

Sodium bicarbonate should be taken at least 2 hours apart from other medications as it lowers the stomach acid which may slow the rate at which other medications are absorbed.

The primary issue with the overuse of sodium bicarbonate is one of electrolytes. The first issue is an initial overload of sodium resulting in hypernatremia. This can cause CNS manifestations including irritability, restlessness, lethargy, and seizures (Fuchs and Listernick 1978.) Other neurological effects including paresthesias (1), muscle twitching, tetany (2), and myoclonus (3) have been reported. (Ravazzi 2000)(Mennen & Slovis 1988). When the body excretes the bicarbonate through the urine it takes sodium and potassium with it. This can cause electrolyte imbalances that affect heart rhythm and contractility (Khanna 2001). These symptoms are usually reversed by ceasing the sodium bicarbonate intake and reinfusing with a potassium electrolyte (potassium chloride infused intravenous saline)(Mennen & Slovis 1988).

  1. a burning or prickling sensation that is usually felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet, but can also occur in other parts of the body.
  2. Tetany is a symptom characterized by the involuntary contraction of muscles that leads to painful muscle cramps, spasms of the voice box (i.e., larynx), and sensory disturbances.
  3. Myoclonus refers to sudden, brief involuntary twitching or jerking of a muscle or group of muscles. It describes a clinical sign and is not itself a disease. The twitching cannot be stopped or controlled by the person experiencing it. Hiccups are a form of myoclonus, as are the sudden jerks, or “sleep starts,” you may feel just before falling asleep.

Baking Soda as an Antacid

Add one half teaspoon to one half glass (4 fl. oz.) of water every 2 h, or as directed by physician.

Dissolve completely in water.

Accurately measure one half teaspoon.

Do not take more than the following amounts in 24 h: seven one half teaspoons or three one half teaspoons if you are over 60 years

Do not administer to children under age 5 years

Do not take when the stomach is overly full from food or drink as there may be a risk of spontaneous gastric rupture due to production of large volumes of carbon dioxide on neutralization of stomach acid by the ingested bicarbonate (Lazebnik etal 1986)


  • Fuchs S, Listernick R. (1978) Hypernatremia and metabolic alkalosis as a consequence of the therapeutic misuse of baking soda. Pediatr Emerg Care. 1978;3(4):242–243. doi: 10.1097/00006565-198712000-00006.
  • Khanna A, Kurtzman NA. (2001) Metabolic alkalosis. Respir Care. 2001;46(4):354–365.
  • Lazebnik N, Lellin A, Michowitz M. Spontaneous rupture of the normal stomach after sodium bicarbonate ingestion. J Clin Gastroenterol. 1986;8(4):454–456. doi: 10.1097/00004836-198608000-00015.
  • Mennen M, Slovis CM. (1988) Severe metabolic alkalosis in the emergency department. Ann Emerg Med. 1988;17(4):354–357. doi: 10.1016/S0196-0644(88)80781-9.
  • Razzavi B. (2000) Letter to editor. Baking soda toxicity. Am J Med. 2000;108(9):756–757. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9343(00)00394-6.
  • Suad A. Al-Abri, Kent R. Olson (2013). Baking Soda Can Settle the Stomach but Upset the Heart: Case Files of the Medical Toxicology Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. , 9(3), 255–258. doi:10.1007/s13181-013-0300-4
  • Yadolah Fakhri, Nazak Amanidaz, Yahya Zandsalimi, Maryam Dadar, Ali Moradi ,Bigard Moradi, Leila Rasouli Amirhajeloo, Hassan Keramati, Athena Rafieepour : (2016) Association between sodium bicarbonate consumption and human health: A systematic review : International Journal of Medical Research &Health Sciences, 2016, 5, 8:22-29 22 : ISSN No: 2319-5886
  • Yi JH, Han SW, Song JS, Kim HJ. (2012) Metabolic alkalosis from unsuspected ingestion: use of urine pH and anion gap. Am J Kidney Dis. ;59(4):577–581. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2011.11.033.

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