Home remedies that work
Mint has been used for hundreds of years as a health remedy. Peppermint oil might help with irritable bowel syndrome -a long-term condition that can cause cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation -and it may be good for headaches as well. More studies are needed to see how much it helps and why. People use the leaf for other conditions, too, but there’s no evidence it helps with any of them.
This natural sweetener may work just as well for a cough as over-the-counter medicines. That could be especially helpful for children who are not old enough to take those. But don’t give it to an infant or a toddler younger than one. There’s a small risk of a rare but serious kind of food poisoning that could be dangerous for them. And while you may have heard that “local” honey can help with allergies, studies don’t back that up.
It’s been used for thousands of years in Asian medicine to treat stomachaches, diarrhea, and nausea, and studies show that it works for nausea and vomiting. There’s some evidence that it might help with colds, too. But it’s not necessarily good for everyone. Some people get tummy trouble, heartburn, diarrhea and gas because of it, and it may affect how some medications work. So talk to your doctor, and use it with care.
Chicken soup may not be a cure-all, but it’s a great choice when you’re sick. Research published in the medical journal Chest suggests that enjoying a bowl of chicken soup with vegetables, prepared from scratch or warmed from a can, can slow the movement of neutrophils in your body. Neutrophils are a common type of white blood cells. They help protect your body from infection. When they’re moving slowly, they stay more concentrated in areas of your body that require the most healing.
The study found that chicken soup was effective for reducing the symptoms of upper respiratory infections in particular. Low-sodium soup also carries great nutritional value and helps keep you hydrated. It’s a good choice, no matter how you are feeling.
This spice has been hyped as being able to help with inflammation, but the research isn’t there yet. Some small studies have shown that it may help with arthritis knee pain and skin rashes that happen after radiation treatment for cancer, though. If you try it, don’t overdo it: High doses can cause digestive problems.
This comforting drink does more than keep you awake and alert. It’s a great source of some powerful antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage and help you fight disease. It may even lower your odds of heart disease and certain kinds of cancers, like skin, breast, lung, and colon.
Some studies show that people who eat more garlic are less likely to get certain types of cancer (garlic supplements don’t seem to have the same effect). It also may lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
You might not like the smell, but some old-fashioned topical ointments, such as vapor rub, appear to reduce cold symptoms in children older than 2 years, according to a study. Just one or two applications before bed can help open air passages to combat congestion, reduce coughing, and improve sleep. Vapor rub is gaining traction among some doctors who encourage parents to avoid giving over-the-counter cold medicines to young children because of unwanted side effects.
Use a bag of frozen peas or simply a plastic bag or wet towel with ice in the first 48 hours after an injury to help with pain and swelling. You also can use it on injuries that cause pain and swelling over and over again – but only after physical activity.
No matter what you have heard or how badly you want relief, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before trying any home remedy. This is even more important if you take prescription or over-the-counter medications, because some can affect how drugs work. And keep in mind that many don’t have any research to back them up.