Home health remedies that actually work
There are few more miserable experiences in life than sitting in a packed surgery, side-by-side with other glum-looking patients and their potentially contagious problems, waiting to be seen by the doctor. So are there some ailments that we could effectively treat at home using everyday items that we’ve probably already got in our kitchen cupboard?
The answer is yes, there do appear to be a number of home remedies that have been proven to work. Here are some that I think you might find useful.
Ginger for nausea
The best available evidence demonstrates that ginger is an effective and inexpensive treatment for nausea and vomiting, and is safe. Research has found that ginger helps to alleviate nausea due to morning sickness during pregnancy, motion sickness, or chemotherapy treatment. It is thought it may work by ginger obstructing the serotonin receptors in the gut that cause nausea. Take half a teaspoon of fresh ginger up to three times a day. See here for more information.
Duct Tape for warts and verrucae
Multiple studies have found duct tape to be just as effective at eradicating warts as cryotherapy (freezing), and this option is often less painful.
Wash and dry the skin and cut a piece of ordinary grey duct tape, a similar size to the wart. Place the tape over the wart for six days, replacing it if it falls off. On the evening of the sixth day, remove the tape and soak the wart in warm water for about a minute. Dry the area and then use an emery board or pumice stone to ‘file’ away the dead wart tissue. Leave uncovered overnight and reapply more duct tape in the morning. Repeat the process until the wart has gone.
If the wart becomes painful or irritated at any time during the process, please see your doctor. Throw away the emery board or sterilise the pumice stone after each use.
Mint Tea for indigestion and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Mint is made up of an organic compound called menthol, which, amongst other things, is an antispasmodic for smooth muscle. In this way, it can calm the wall of the gut and prevent the cramps and air trapping associated with indigestion and IBS.
Turmeric for joint pain
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a naturally produced bright yellow chemical compound with proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. In tests it has been shown to be just as effective as Ibuprofen and Diclofenac Sodium in the treatment of osteoarthritis….but without any adverse side effects. See here for more information.
Tea bags for puffy eyes
The caffeine in the tea bags helps with vasoconstriction, or shrinking of the blood vessels, around the eyes, leading to less puffiness or swelling skin. The cool temperature also helps decrease inflammation and swelling under the eyes. Simply wring out wet tea bags, place in the fridge for a few minutes, and then put over closed eyes.
Cayenne pepper to curb appetite
A good sprinkle of cayenne pepper on your food is likely to help you meet your short-term weight-loss goals. Researchers found that the capsaicin found in red peppers, which gives cayenne spice it’s heat, reduces appetite and cravings for salty, fatty, and sweet foods, whilst also increasing body temperature and the amount of calories burned. Interestingly, the greatest benefits were reported by study subjects who didn’t ordinarily use the spice before the test, and that once it becomes familiar to people, it loses its efficacy. See here for more information.
Salt water for mouth ulcers and sore throat
Gargling with warm salt water when you have a sore throat or mouth ulcers may help relieve some of the pain and irritation. It creates an alkaline environment in which it is difficult for bacteria to thrive. It also acts as a local anti-inflammatory for the lining of your mouth and throat.
RICE therapy for sprains and strains
Sprains and strains are common injuries affecting the muscles and ligaments around your ankle, foot, wrist, thumb, knee, or leg.
Rest: stop any exercise or activities and try not to put any weight on the injury.
Ice: apply an ice pack (or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel) to the injury for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
Compression: wrap a bandage around the injury to support it.
Elevate: keep it raised on a pillow as much as possible.
Aloe Vera for sunburn
Cool your sunburned skin by having a cold bath or shower, sponging it with cold water, or holding a cold flannel to it. Use a lotion containing Aloe Vera to soothe and moisturise your skin, and drink plenty of fluids to cool you down.
Apples, pears and prunes for constipation
A high fibre diet, along with adequate fluid, is an effective constipation treatment. An apple, pear or handful of prunes contain around 5 grams of fibre, and also contain sugar alcohol called sorbitol, which is not absorbed well by the body, causing water to be pulled into the colon and leading to a laxative effect. Avoid bananas, gluten, caffeine, alcohol, and chewing gum.
Rehydration for diarrhoea
Replace the water and nutrients lost by the body during a bout of diarrhoea and/or excessive sweating by sipping water or diluted fruit juice, and eating foods high in carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice or potatoes), bananas, and salty foods such as soup and peanut butter.
Cucumbers for eyestrain
Lie on your back and place one cucumber slice (about one eighth inch thick) over each closed eye. Cucumbers contain antioxidants that studies have shown help decrease swelling and relieve pain. Replace the slices with a cooler pair every two or three minutes, for up to 15 minutes in total.
Cherries for gout
People who ate about 10 cherries every day were less likely to experience flare-ups of gout, according to a study of 633 patients by Boston University Medical Centre. Red and purple fruits, especially tart cherries, contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties called anthocyanins, which reduce the levels of gout-causing uric acid in the bloodstream. Two further studies by British researchers in the Journal of Functional Food, and another by Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J., confirm these findings.
Honey and lemon for a cough
Coughs are usually caused by viruses such as the common cold or flu and generally clear up without treatment once the immune system has beaten the virus. In the meantime, drink plenty of fluids and make your own homemade cough mixture by mixing honey and lemon in hot water.
Steam bath for a blocked nose
Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot (but not boiling) water, will soften and loosen the build-up of mucus in your nose. You can add menthol crystals or eucalyptus oil to the water if you like.
Thank you for reading this blog post. If you have any tips that you’d like to share, or ideas for future posts, please do let me know. I would love to hear from you.