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Home Remedies: Kitchen Cures for Common Ailments and Conditions

Updated on November 13, 2017
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Lois has over ten years experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them save money.

As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” (science-based medicine). Your refrigerator, shelves, and cabinets can hold everything you need to treat many health ailments and conditions. The ancient people of Greece, Rome, and other places around the world did not have a pharmacy to run to whenever somebody needed pills, ointments, and creams. They simply collected what they needed from their gardens and surrounding areas. This was also true just a few generations back where your ancestors practiced these kitchen cures. People in other countries with limited resources may not be able to afford health care or may have to travel a long distance to receive medical care. They have to rely on what is readily available to them. Sometimes, these cures are considered to be “old wives' tales,” because they are believed to be based on superstition and folklore. However, science is beginning to accept these cures since they have been proven to work and also have been around long before scientific research.

Before jumping into the car and heading to the nearest pharmacy when the next ailment shows up, take a look around your kitchen and see what you have available. If you take the time, you might save time and money by treating common ailments and illnesses with remedies that can be found right in your kitchen. Also by doing this, you may be avoiding side effects of commercially made medications.

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Pain

Toothache

One common ailment is toothache pain. It is usually caused by pressure on the nerves around an infected tooth. In some cases, the pain can become unbearable. Then if you are familiar with dentists, you may not be seen right away; you may have to wait a few days. How do you handle the pain before you can get in to see the dentist? If you have clove oil or anise oil available, rubbing it on the painful parts helps numb the nerve endings. Anise is safe for children (however, it is still best to talk to your child’s pediatrician for professional advice) and you can use this to treat teething pain.

Sore Throat

There are many herbs and spices that contain anti-inflammatory properties. These are natural pain relievers and are effective in relieving sore throat pain. However, you may have already known that when you are suffering from a cold or the flu that chicken soup is considered to be a miracle cure. The chicken fat found in soup helps ease sore throat pain. Since it is easy to get down, you are providing your body with the nourishment that it needs. However, it is important to get to the doctor if the sore throat pain does not go away or gets worse. This can be a sign of strep throat which needs to be treated with antibiotics.

Headaches

Headaches can be caused by many factors. Some common factors include stress, insomnia, heat, overdoing it, not eating right, and injury, to name a few. The pain can range from mild to extreme. In some cases with migraines, it is best to see the doctor if these kitchen cures do not work. It is best to find the root cause of a headache rather than trying to get rid of headache pain. For example, if you are working in high heat, a headache is a symptom of heat exhaustion. Making sure that you are drinking enough water is the high priority. If you are not getting enough sleep at night, try different ways to help you sleep. Later on in this book, you will find spices and food that contain calming and relaxing properties. These will help you get that restful sleep.

Inflammation

There are many herbs and spices that contain anti-inflammatory properties. These are natural pain relievers since they help reduce inflammation. Any condition that ends in itis such as arthritis is an inflammatory condition. Therefore, you need to treat these conditions with a food that is considered to be anti-inflammatory. One popular spice is ginger and is an excellent natural pain reliever for joint pain, muscle pain, as well as relieving stomach pain and diarrhea. This spice can be used internally or externally and can be used by itself or added to tea or honey.

Stomach Conditions

Heartburn

Heartburn is a common ailment with many people. There are many causes of this, including stress, high acidic foods, greasy foods, overeating, and pregnancy, to name a few. There are many types of food you can eat to ease the pain of heartburn. These include:

  • Bananas
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Milk

Gas, Bloating, and General Discomfort

We all experience stomach pains from time to time. The pain can range from mild to severe and have different causes. Two of the main causes are indigestion and intestinal gas. Most stomach pain can be treated with kitchen cures. However, if the pain is ongoing, severe or is located in the lower right of your abdomen seek medical advice immediately. The cures are for milder pain and pain located on your right side may be an indication of appendicitis.

Any tea that contains mint, especially if it is spearmint or peppermint, helps soothe the lining of your stomach. Anise is milder than mint and can be used to treat stomach aches in young children. You can either purchase teas that contain mint or anise in them or add the leaves from plants to a regular cup of tea. Chewing on black cumin seeds also works wonders for heartburn and relieving upset stomach, bloating, and diarrhea.

mint tea
mint tea | Source

Skin Conditions

Bruises

Do you get bruises often? If you are the type of person who bruises easily, you may not be getting enough Vitamin C in your daily diet. While you can take a Vitamin C as a supplement, you can also increase it by eating food such as citrus fruit, bell peppers, spinach, and broccoli. These are all loaded with this vitamin. Since Vitamin K also helps with preventing bruises, include green leafy vegetables, soybeans, and cheese in your daily diet. You can also soak a cotton sock in a warm salt water mix and hold it against the bruise. The salt helps speed up the healing by increasing circulation and breaking down the congealed blood under your skin.

Cuts and Scrapes

If you have minor cuts and scrapes, they still can become infected if bacteria and microbes enter the wound. One way to prevent this from happening is to slice a raw potato and put a thin slice against the abrasion. If you have a deeper cut, dab some honey on it. Both of these have infection-fighting properties.

Acne

Are you plagued by acne? Does it seem that no matter what you do the pimples are here to say? Or does the acne clear up and then return with a vengeance? There are many items that you can find in your kitchen that contain astringent properties. These are effective in reducing and eliminating acne. Some of the items you can use to clear up your complexion include:

  • Orange Peels
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Garlic Juice

Stings and Bites

Insects

Many people fall victim to bee stings and mosquito bites. While stings can be painful, they are usually not dangerous unless if you have an allergy to them. Mosquitoes, on the other hand, can carry a variety of diseases such as malaria, West Nile Virus, and so on. For both bites and stings, the best remedy is prevention. Avoid using perfumes especially if you plan on being outdoors for an extended period of time. Many insects are attracted to sweet smells. Also avoid eating sweet food, since they can smell it as it is absorbed out of your body. Even alcoholic beverages tend to draw these insects to you. If you are planning on hiking in the woods, wear long sleeves and pants, keeping a majority of your skin covered. If you are approached by a bee or other stinging insect, it is best to stand still while it investigates you. If you panic and try to swat it away, the insect may think you are attacking it and may go into defensive mode by stinging you.

If you do all the above precautions and still happen to get bit or stung, there are several treatments that can be found in your kitchen. The first thing is to wash the area with soaps that do not contain perfume. The best brand to keep in the house for such emergencies is Ivory Soap. Use the soap with cool water. If you are suffering the itch from a mosquito bite, you probably are tempted to scratch the itch from the bite. However, avoid doing since that can cause the bite to become infected. Apply a paste of baking soda and water to the bite. This will help reduce swelling and itching. You can also use a slice of banana or papaya and place it over the affected area. Both of these are soothing to the affected area of the skin. Papaya contains an enzyme called papain which is found in many meat tenderizers. This enzyme helps neutralize the venom from bee stings and helps reduce inflammation.

Onions are excellent for a wide variety of skin conditions including rashes and acne. They have antibacterial and infection-fighting properties. For an excellent salve, mix one tablespoon of diced onion along with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar-another excellent infection fighter. Heat it up in the microwave for thirty seconds or until it is lukewarm. Wash the area with soap and water. With a cotton ball, apply the mixture to the affected area.

Jellyfish

A jellyfish sting is never a good experience. Depending on the type of jellyfish, if you fall victim to them when you go to the beach you may experience not only pain but also nausea vomiting and may even have a fever. It is a good idea to carry a bottle of apple cider vinegar and a small bag of flour with you the next time you want to catch the waves. The vinegar plays a role in neutralizing the toxins from a jellyfish sting. After you wash the area with the vinegar, make a paste of flour and water and apply it to the affected area. This not only helps relieve the pain, it also helps draw out the toxins.

Since each of us reacts to a sting or bite in different ways, we have different ways of handling pain. Some may find the pain bearable while others cannot deal with any pain. However, if you know that you are allergic or find yourself having difficulty breathing or if the pain or swelling does not go away within a few hours, seek the advice of a healthcare provider.

Cold Symptoms and Prevention

Did you know that the most common disease is the common cold? You can catch it any time of the year. The best way to boost your immune system is to include Vitamin C in your diet. Food such as citrus fruits may make your recovery time quicker. If you include Vitamin C rich foods in your daily diet, you may prevent yourself from getting sick in the first place.

Don’t you just hate nasal congestion and cannot stand the taste of the nasal drops that are sold in pharmacies? You can make your own nasal drops by adding a pinch of table salt to a bowl of warm water. You can also crush a clove or two of garlic into a bowl of hot water. Inhaling the vapors will clear up the nasal passageways.

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Hiccups

Holding your breath, drinking a glass of water, and being scared out of your mind are three common cures for the hiccups. However, there are other kitchen remedies that you can try as well.

One remedy is to put a teaspoon of sugar in your mouth and allow it to melt in your mouth. Mary Poppins had it right in “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." Adding two teaspoons of table salt to a cup of plain or vanilla yogurt works wonders in keeping the hiccups at bay. Even sucking on a piece of gingerroot halts the hiccups in their path. However, with children, ginger may be too hot for them. Therefore, a teaspoon of peanut butter is an excellent substitute.

Precautions

Always read the cautions listed with each food or supplement, because there are some that you should avoid if you have an existing health condition or if you are pregnant or nursing. While the things you use from your kitchen are safer than commercially produced medications and prescriptions, with fewer side effects, you need to be aware of food that you may be allergic to. Do not use these kitchen cures as an excuse for not going to a doctor. While these cures are meant to save money, you need to speak to your doctor since some foods, spices, herbs, and supplements may interact with medications and supplements that are already taking.

© 2017 Lois Ryan

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