Grandma Knows Best
At Healthyfocus, we mainly deal with natural remedies for a wide range of ailments from skin care to diabetes. With concerns over powerful pharmaceutical medication growing, the scientific community is paying closer attention to nature as a way of treating people more safely and effectively.
Problems with prescription medication include a long list of potential side effects, the risk of dependence and the fact that they do not always work. The growing concerns about antibiotic resistance are a prime example.
Now, I am sure that the vast majority of us remember grandma’s tried and trusted remedies. Sure, they may have sounded bizarre at the time but many of them were passed down to her from previous generations. I remember my grandma making me wear duct tapes on my warts and thinking it was a bit crazy but did she have a point?
In this article, we will look at a number of old fashioned remedies that you can use effectively and safely. I just wish my dear old grandma was around to read it. I can just imagine her saying ‘I told you so’ with a smug smile on her face.
Salt for a Sore Throat
Apart from making your food taste great, salt has a variety of uses around the home. One of these is for treating a sore throat. It could not be easier. All you have to do is add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of water and gargle with the mixture a few times each day.
While this may be an old-fashioned remedy, it is one that really does work. Studies suggest that gargling can be helpful and according to experts gargling with some salt water can relieve much of the pain and the irritation that you feel with a sore throat.
Just be sure not to add too much salt and be very careful not to swallow it. This traditional remedy is both safe and extremely effective but if your symptoms do not go away, you should visit your doctor as you may have some kind of infection.
Tea Bags for your Eyes
Tea is an incredibly popular drink the world over but it also comes with an amazing range of health benefits. One of these is to treat puffy eyes. Whether your eyes are puffy from lack of sleep, age or a heavy night on the town, tea bags can provide you with a simple and effective solution.
Tea is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Tea bags can also help constrict the blood vessels surrounding your eyes and relieve the swelling and puffiness. Make sure that you use chilled tea bags because the cool temperature can also help reduce the swelling under your eyes.
All you need to do is make up a pot of tea with some tea bags and then put the bags in the fridge to chill. When they are cool, simply place them over your eyes for 15 minutes or so.
Apart from reducing the swelling around your eyes, the caffeine found I tea may also act as a natural sunscreen that can protect against skin cancer. (1)
Ginger for Nausea
Ginger is another traditional remedy for a wide range of illnesses especially digestive troubles. Studies have started to back up what our grandparents always knew. Ginger is really good for your health.
One of the most popular uses of ginger is to alleviate nausea. Studies indicate that ginger can prevent and treat nausea caused by morning sickness, motion and even chemotherapy treatment. (2) Although experts are not certain exactly why it works, they are certain that it does.
They believe it may work by obstructing serotonin receptors found in the gut which cause nausea. Ginger may also prompt your body to release certain enzymes that help us break down our food.
To treat nausea, you could chew on a piece of fresh ginger. Alternatively, you could try inhaling ginger essential oil.
Prunes to Treat Constipation
Now this is a traditional remedy that I am sure you are all familiar with. As a child, my Nan used to try and force me to eat prunes which actually put me off the things for years. It was only later in life that I realized just how delicious they were especially when chopped and added to oatmeal.
Making sure that you get plenty of fiber into your diet is one of the best ways to prevent constipation and prunes certainly do the job on the fiber front. Prunes are a great source of dietary fiber containing three grams in each serving.
If you are prone to bouts of constipation, add some of these tasty treats to your diet and make sure that you stay hydrated. A serving comes in at around 100 calories so they are not likely to harm your waistline either.
Cranberries for Urinary Tract Infections
This is another traditional remedy that you have probably heard of. I am sure that many of you have a mother or grandma that reached for the cranberry juice whenever they got a urinary tract or bladder infection. It remains a popular home remedy for UTIs today but is there any scientific basis for its effects?
Many experts speculate that cranberry juice simply helps flush the toxins from the urinary tract, much like any fluid would. Some also suggest that the acidic environment produced by the fruit can help destroy the bacteria.
However, according to studies, there may be a more scientific explanation. Some studies have revealed that cranberry juice can reduce the ability of bacteria to stick to the cells lining the bladder. (3)
Studies into the effects of cranberry juice on UTIs have however been inconsistent and more are needed to confirm its effects. Nevertheless, cranberry juice has been used for many generations to treat urinary tract problems and it is difficult to ignore the volume of anecdotal evidence. It certainly will not cause any harm but if your infection persists, you should consult a doctor.
Oatmeal Baths for the Skin
We have looked at a number of natural remedies for inflammatory skin conditions as well as general skin care treatments. For people with common conditions like psoriasis and eczema, your plain old oatmeal might be able to help.
It certainly sounds a bit odd to take a bath in porridge but an oatmeal bath can be extremely soothing to the skin. It has even received backing from the National Eczema Association who say that an oatmeal bath is great for irritated, dry and itchy skin. (4)
When you soak oatmeal in your warm bathwater, it produces a slimy film which coats and protects the skin and helps to trap in the moisture.
Do not use instant oats for this remedy. Instead, grind up some rolled oats and add a cup to your warm bath.
Lavender for Insomnia
Lavender has a wide variety of uses but is probably best known for its stress relieving effects and its ability to help you get off to sleep. While it may be a traditional folk remedy, there is plenty of evidence that lavender essential oil can be inhaled to relieve stress and promote a good night of sleep.
Research suggests that inhaling lavender oil can decrease your blood pressure and heart rate which is essential for relaxation. According to research, the main chemical compounds found in lavender have natural sedative effects. (5)
One study found that people who inhaled lavender oil before they went to bed exhibited brain waves suggestive of a deep sleep. (6)
Lavender oil should not be used internally but you could try a nice relaxing cup of lavender tea instead.
Aloe Vera for Burns
Aloe vera has a number of uses for the skin and is commonly used to treat sunburn, bites and bruises. However, there is plenty of evidence that aloe vera is a great remedy for burns. One study demonstrated that aloe vera gel was extremely effective against second degree burns. (7)
The gel from fresh aloe has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties which can help soothe burns and speed up recovery. Either use fresh aloe leaves and extract the gel or buy ready-made pure aloe gel to apply to your burns.
Chicken Soup for a Cold
This is a home remedy that my Nan always recommended whenever I was coming down with a cold or any sort of respiratory complaint. I was also very grateful for it. Not only does chicken soup taste great but it is a very effective remedy for the common cold.
There is probably a scientific explanation for eating chicken soup when you come down with a cold. Chicken soup contains prostaglandins that may help to fight the infection. One pilot study also showed that that chicken soup had anti-inflammatory effects which has been supported by more recent research. (8)
Honey for Coughs
This is another great home remedy that our Nan’s always told us to use and for good reason. According to experts, honey is especially good at soothing coughs caused by some type of irritation. It works by lubricating your throat and some studies have found that honey was even more effective than regular, over the counter cough medications. (9)
One thing to keep in mind is that very young children under the age of one should not eat honey as it may cause botulism.
Duct Tape to Treat Warts
Now, I know that duct tape is incredibly useful, we all use it around the home as a quick fix when all else fails. But how many of you know that it could naturally get rid of warts?
Believe it or not, duct tape actually does work and there is research to support the claims. Doctors admit they are not sure why it is effective but a study published in 2002 demonstrated that it was even more effective than traditional treatment. The researchers found that covering your warts with duct tape was even more effective than traditional freezing treatment. (10)
It is certainly a lot cheaper, more convenient and less painful.
Baking Soda for Shiny White Teeth
If you want whiter, brighter teeth, then look no further than your kitchen cupboard and pull out the baking powder. Baking powder was used many years before the shelves were filled with a dizzying variety of toothpastes and other oral health products.
Studies have demonstrated that this humble and extremely cheap product is good for the teeth and is especially useful for whitening your teeth. Simply put a little baking soda in a dish and mix in a small amount of water to make a smooth paste. Dip in your toothbrush and brush as normal.
It really works but there is still some debate about how abrasive baking soda is compared to regular toothpaste. For a more detailed article on baking soda for teeth whitening, click this link.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading about some of these traditional remedies that really do work.
Do you have a favorite home remedy that has been passed down through your family? Please let us know about it and we can add it to our list.