Category Archives: Home Remedies

Naturally Improve Your Vision

Medications, including Over The Counter (OTCs) can cause eye problems.

There are a number of prescription and OTC drugs on the market that inadvertently cause eye problems such as an increase in intraocular eye pressure (IOP), dry eye and glaucoma. Such medications like those used to treat bladder control, or benign prostate hyperplasia are just a couple. One well-known and over-used OTC that is linked to an increase in IOP is nasal sprays. The steroids used in many nasal sprays to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages unfortunately also cause an increase in pressure of the eye resulting in steroid-induced glaucoma. Often this is such a slight elevation that it goes undetected for years. Often any benefits or relief from using such OTCs is not worth the long-term damage they could be causing.

Certain diuretics or anti-hypertension medications can cause the condition most popularly known as dry eye. If you think any medications could be the cause of your recent eye problems, consult an optometrist. They will usually ask you what medications you are on or have recently started and they can tell you better than your doctor whether or not they may be causing your eye problems. A few natural treatments that you can use to substitute for OTC or medications laced with a myriad of side effects are listed below. Read more…

 

HOME REMEDIES: Another use for dark chocolate

dark_chocolateWho needs an excuse to eat chocolate? Virtually nobody. However, here is another benefit of dark chocolate that many of you may not know about.

Researchers found that chocolate’s theobromine compound is more effective than codeine at suppressing persistent coughs without the side effects of drowsiness and constipation.

Organic dark, minimally processed chocolate can also help ease colic or stomach indigestion. Great excuse to eat chocolate when you don’t feel well.

See our main health page, Health Circkles, for much more alternative health information than what is posted on this blog, including full articles on health issues, news, nutrition and anything alternative health related.

Removing A Splinter.

sliverinfingerWorking around the yard or garden you can pick up a splinter, or sliver, simply by grabbing a wooden-handled tool, fence gate, tree branches etc.

They can be irritating, painful and some splinters are the same color as skin making it hard to see them let alone remove them. And, if you have ever had a sliver driven up under your fingernail, you know how difficult it is to get at when that happens.

Try soaking the area with the splinter in 2 Tbsp of epsom salt dissolved in a cup of warm water, this will increase the osmotic pressure of the skin and help draw the splinter out on its own accord.

HOME REMEDIES: Arthritis

arthritis-handsGlucosamine and chondroitin are powerful anti-inflammatories that reduce pain and slow cartilage loss. There’s evidence that this combination can be effective for people with mild to moderate arthritis. Follow the dosage directions on the label. And keep at it: You might have to use it for a month or more before you begin to see benefits.

Take a half-teaspoon of powdered ginger or up to 30 grams (about 6 teaspoons) of fresh ginger once a day. Research shows that ginger helps relieve arthritis pain, probably because of its ability to increase blood circulation, which ferries inflammatory chemicals away from painful joints.

Take two 400-milligram doses of SAM-e every day. SAMe is made in the body from a reaction between methionine, which is an essential amino acid, and adenosine triphosphate, a molecule that carries energy. SAMe is involved in many different reactions in the body. Also sold as a supplement, that has been shown to help relieve arthritis pain by increasing blood levels of proteoglycans—molecules that seem to play a key role in preserving cartilage by helping to keep it “plumped up” and well oxygenated. In a review of SAM-e studies sponsored by the U.S. government, the supplement proved comparable to anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) in fighting arthritis pain.

Many people who supplement their diets with omega-3 fatty acids—found in cold-water fish like salmon—discover that pain and stiffness are lessened. These substances seem to discourage inflammation in the body.

HOME REMEDIES: Bug Bites, Stings.

Summer can be a hazard what with all the insects and plants that can cause irritation. The best summer bug bite and bee sting remedy around is plantain leaf, and it’s so easy to grow. Plantain grows along roadsides, but you don’t want to use it after millions of vehicles have contaminated it with chemical exhaust. So save the seeds from a plant, disperse them in a dry area with good drainage, cover them lightly with soil and if you even get one plant to come up, you will have plenty more as it readily self sows.

poulticeThen the second you get stung, pick a plantain leaf (you can easily recognize plantain as it is the only plant that has leaves with vertical veins) crush it up in your mouth and apply it to the sting. Keep it there for a minimum of 20-30 minutes and you will be surprised at how it takes down the swelling, pain and redness. Works for almost any bug bite or skin irritation.

HOME REMEDIES: Canker Sores.

honeycomb-1Nobody is exactly sure what causes them, but some educated guesses are acidic foods or having an acidic system, food allergies or stress.

Researchers at Saudi Arabia’s Salman bin AbdulAziz University gathered a group of 94 people suffering from canker sores and randomly separated them into three groups. The first treated their sores with plain old commercial honey, the second used an oral corticosteroid cream, and the third got an over-the-counter product that forms a protective paste to cover sores while they heal. Participants applied their respective treatments three times daily while researchers observed the effects.

In just 4 days, all sores in the honey group had disappeared completely—but the number of sores in groups 2 and 3 hadn’t budged. Honey even helped to soothe pain. After day 1, honey users reported a 95.5% decrease in pain, with total pain elimination by day 2. Groups 2 and 3 were not so lucky: It took them 8 days to reach the same pain-free state.

Make Your Own Cough Drops.

 HorehoundMake Your Own Horehound Cough Drops.

Nothing over-the-counter soothes a sore throat or cough as well as the herb horehound. Problem is, the stuff tastes nasty. But here is a recipe to make your own cough drops that isn’t too bad, and if you have a bad enough sore throat, these work wonders. Since we featured horehound this month in our Herbs column on the left of this page, we thought we’d give you this home “wonder” remedy as well. They really do work, I’ve made them and used them myself. I now have horehound growing all over my yard.

• 1 cup fresh horehound leaves
• 1 cup water
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• Granulated or powdered sugar, to coat

1. Put horehound in a small nonreactive saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then remove horehound and squeeze out liquid. Add sugar and honey to pan, stir with a wooden spoon while bringing to a boil, then turn heat down to a gentle simmer. If bubbles threaten to overflow the pan, reduce heat slightly and stir.

2. Boil to hard-crack stage (330 degrees), but even if you use a candy thermometer, test often toward the end of cooking to get the hardness right. Keep a shallow cup of cold water nearby. Stir the liquid occasionally, and watch how it falls from the spoon. When it forms a thread, begin testing for hardness by allowing a drop of the mixture to fall into the cup of cold water. Don’t trust your fingers to examine the now-hardened drop in the cup: bite it. If it’s at all gooey or sticks to your teeth, keep cooking. When it’s hard enough to crack when you bite it, remove pan from heat immediately.

3. If the mixture crystallizes, just add a cup of water and an extra tablespoon of honey to the pan, scrape the crystalline chunks into it and begin again.

4. Lightly butter a candy mold, cookie sheet or other heatproof baking pan, and pour in the hot mixture. If you’re using a flat-bottomed pan, score the surface of the candy after it has cooled enough to become firm. This will help in breaking it apart, which should be done as soon as the candy can be handled.

5. After individual drops are formed, sift granulated or powdered sugar over them to keep homemade cough drops from sticking together. Store horehound cough drops in a moisture-proof container.

You can add mint or other herbs to try and improve the flavor, but usually it just ends up tasting even worse. Peppermint essential oil is the only thing we would recomment adding if at all.

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HOME REMEDIES: Shiny, healthier hair and scalp naturally.

Shiny-Hair-292x300New studies have shown that we wash our hair too much, stripping it of it’s natural oils. Scientists have also discovered recently that we have a microscopic natural bacteria on our scalp thay may actually help to keep our scalp and hair healthy.

New research suggests that you only wash you hair once or twice per week with a very mild soap. And also that we tend to scrub our heads too vigorously damaging the hair. So the key to natural healthier-looking hair is actually to wash it less and be more gentle with it.

Herbal Hair Products You Can Make Yourself:

Some herbal rinses you can make yourself will help heal, dry, damaged hair over time.

Yucca root was used by many Native American tribes to wash their hair because it has natural saponins, but they also found out that it can make hair shiny and silky feeling as well as prolong gray hair – so they say. Make a strong tea out of the root which you can sometimes find in health food stores like Whole Foods. Keep it refrigerated in a jar with a lid and when you wash your hair, rinse it with the tea and leave it in. Make sure to strain the tea very well when you make it so you don’t get dirt and root sediment in your hair that will dirty it.

Aloe Vera Styling Gel: The gel from an aloe plant can hold hair in place and get rid of frizzies as well as any hair gel and it is very nutritious and healing for hair. Try it instead of hairsprays that are heavy on alcohol and dry out hair.

HOME REMEDIES: Sore Muscles

Young Woman Holding Her Neck in PainWe all overdue it once in a while, but there’s no need to suffer afterward.

Hot baths are the best for sore muscles. They increase circulation, relax the muscle and promote quick healing by doing so. If you’ve really done yourself in, and need something you can take to work with you or during the day when you can’t soak 24/7, below are a few good herbal alternatives to aspirin or chemical salves.

Kava Kava works great to relax the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Natives on the Islands where it grows also use it to lift their mood. So you can’t go wrong with this herb. It was difficult to find in the stores for a while because the FDA wanted to ban it, but I am now starting to see it at Whole Foods.

Bergamot is the herb used to flavor Earl Grey tea. It also happens to be a good relaxer. It can numb your tongue if it is very fresh and strong.

Valerian is a very stinky herb that has been used for years to treat headaches and relax nerves. If you are experiencing pain, try this herb, however, it tastes like stinky feet, so try mixing it with something or bite the bullet and take it in water and do it like a shot.

Salves: There are some good herbal salves on the market made with arnica, cayenne or menthol for sore muscles when you need something for on the go. They may label the cayenne as capsaicin, but it’s the same thing. Also the menthol may be from eucalyptus.

 

HOME REMEDIES: Rashes

rashItchy skin can drive a person nuts. Ultimately, you want to find the cause of the rash to eliminate it forever, not just cover it up, but often that can be difficult to do with allergies.

To soothe itching and heal a rash temporarily, here are some natural alternatives:

Aloe: Heals skin, stops itching. Apply aloe vera gel (not juice) to the rash 2-3 times a day.

Plantain: Works very well for rashes caused by a toxin such as in poison ivy, poison oak, bug bites or other skin irritations caused by toxins in plants. Often just rubbing up against a plant such as borage or stinging nettle can cause rashes in sensitive people.
Wild plantain grows along roadsides and in fields. Crush the leaves to release the juices either by chewing them lightly in your mouth or using a mortar and pestal. Place the crushed leaves on the rash and keep it there for at least 30 minutes. Refresh the poultice as needed.

Calendula: Is very soothing. Although it does not work as well as the above two remedies to actually heal a rash. If you can find calendula oil or a salve that is actually made from the herb in a decent potency, give it a try. Otherwise try making a strong tea (decoction) from the flower petals and soaking the rash in it or applying a cloth soaked in the tea to the rash and keep it there for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Diaper Rash: Best cured by keeping the baby clean and dry. Old urine can burn the skin and if you have a severe case going on, try 8 parts water to one part vinegar and wiping the baby’s bottom with this solution after every diaper change. Powders do not really help.