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Home Remedies Are Back in Style

Posted Apr 06 2011 1:51am

What’s old is suddenly new again – home remedies are back in vogue and for good reason it turns out. Scientists are discovering that those tried-and true cures for basic health maladies actually have merit. The Mayo Clinic has even recently published a book of the 120 most effective home remedies. It’s made me re-examine those remedies that my parents used on me when I was growing up. So here are a few:

White vinegar for sunburns: As a kid I was frequently sunburned (we weren’t as vigilant about sunscreen back then) so my mom would douse cotton balls with white vinegar gently saturate my red, hot skin.  It was a smelly solution I grant you, but it did take the heat out of the sunburn and my mom claimed it sped up the healing process. Actually, according to dermatologist Audrey Kunin, MD, she was right: “The acetic acid in vinegar is essentially a topical NSAID (non-steriodal anti-inflammatory),” says Kunin, ” Of course this helps reduce the inflammation, the pain and hopefully some of the UV damage to the skin.” Today if I happen to get too much sun, I used aloe vera jelly. I find it just as effective if not more so than vinegar and it certainly smells a lot better!

Baking soda for bee stings and bug bites:  During my adolescence, my family spent summers at our cabin in Northern Minnesota where we would roam around barefoot for the month of our stay. Needless to say, stepping on bees was practically a daily event. After removing the stinger, my mom would cover the area with a paste of baking soda and water. I remember my dad, the chemist, would also use meat tenderizer on our stings with the same effect. He explained that the tenderizer neutralizes the proteins in the bee venom. He claimed it also worked on mosquito bites, too.

Pineapple for indigestion:  It seems counter-intuitive that at an acidic fruit like pineapple would facilitate digestion, but pineapple contains bromelain, a natural digestive enzyme. Pineapple and pineapple juice also have a mild diuretic effect so it really helps reduce the “fullness factor” after a large meal. In fact, pineapple makes a great dessert after a heavy meal. Here are some other home remedies for indigestion .

Honey for sore throats:  This is one of my favorite remedies. It’s not only effective, but it also tastes great – unlike most throat lozenges and cough syrup. Some research suggests that honey may even calm a cough in kids, especially at night. If I feel a sore throat coming on, or even if my throat feels scratchy, I add some honey to my chamomile tea. It soothes and coats my throat. Honey is also apparently a great healer of minor cuts and scrapes .

Tea tree oil for nail fungus:  I discovered this natural remedy for nail fungus when I started developing the problem after spending hours in warm water working as an aquatic therapist. Apparently, the tea tree plant has anti-microbial properties that make it an effective anti-fungal remedy. You must be vigilant in applying it twice daily and continue using it as a preventative as fungal infections are notorious for making a comeback. Apparently, tea tree oil also makes an effective acne remedy . But another blemish buster I’ve found works is…..

Toothpaste for pimples: Next to Clearasil,  our zit zapper of choice growing up was Crest. The toothpaste worked as a night-time remedy for a minor blemish Apparently, the same ingredients in toothpaste that kill bacteria in your mouth, remove the bacteria from your acne. Warning, however: toothpaste can be irritating to your skin , especially the arm and hammer brand with baking soda. Also, use toothpaste and NOT gel.

Castor oil for muscles aches and joint pain:   I’ve written about this remedy before and it really has helped me personally. It’s best for mild strains and pains.

Be Well,

Carolyn


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