Natural home remedies have been with us for a very long time.
In past times every housewife, as part of her domestic responsibilities, could put together a home remedy for just about every minor ailment. These remedies had been passed down through the generations and, in the days before there was a pill for everything, were relied on for everyday health and wellbeing.
Over the years new knowledge, ideas, methods and ingredients have been added to the list, and many of the old remedies are still useful today. Here is a selection of common ailments, and how to treat them the old-fashioned way.
There are numerous home remedies for a cold, but the one that has probably been around the longest is garlic. When a Roman soldier got the sniffles he would slip a clove of garlic into each sandal, the wisdom being that by the time he could taste the garlic in his mouth, his cold would be gone. Garlic has excellent antioxidant and antibacterial properties and although garlic does not cure a cold – nothing does, yet – it can significantly reduce the duration of symptoms. Eat crushed garlic raw if you can, or use plenty in your cooking. A daily garlic supplement can guard against cold infections.
Cough and Sore Throat
For either condition, add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of honey to half a cup of warm water and drink. Take this mixture several times over the course of the day. The honey soothes irritation caused by coughing, while the acids and amino acids in the vinegar have antiseptic and antibacterial properties to fight the infection.
For a sore throat alone, you could simply gargle with salt water several times a day.
If you have a stomach upset causing nausea, vomiting, cramps or diarrhoea, once again garlic comes to the rescue. Crush a clove of garlic and add to a teaspoon of brown sugar; take this mixture, with water if required, three times a day. Garlic breaks down and destroys the bacteria that have formed in the stomach to cause the symptoms. The sugar aids in the absorption of the garlic.
No substitute for dental treatment, of course, but whilst waiting for a dentist’s appointment you may like to ease the toothache with raw onion. Chew some onion and hold it in the mouth over the painful tooth for a few minutes to take the pain away. Onion juice has antibacterial agents that destroy mouth bacteria, so you could also use raw onions to prevent tooth decay.
Cuts, Grazes and Minor Burns
Smear some dark honey over the affected area and cover with a clean dressing. Honey, especially the darker varieties, contains enzymes that kill bacteria. The honey keeps the wound moist and at the same time destroys the microbes that could cause infection. Studies have shown that wounds heal faster with honey than a conventional dressing.
Next time you get a splinter in your finger, or anywhere else, don’t go poking around for it with tweezers or a needle – use a banana instead! Cut a small piece of banana skin and place it over the splinter, flesh side down. Secure it in place with a small dressing and leave it overnight. Enzymes in the banana skin will draw the splinter out by morning.
These are just a few examples of home remedies that we can use on an everyday basis. There are many, many more, and the study of natural home remedies and their history is quite fascinating. We may not wish to do without mainstream medicine, but it is comforting to know that we can help ourselves with some of these old time treatments.