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Home Remedies That Work

By Beth Howard | November 3, 2017 | Rally Health

Got the sniffles? Feel a cold coming on? Take care of yourself. You may have some effective remedies right in your home. Evidence suggests that many of your grandma’s go-to fixes really do work, not only for colds and flus, but for a wide range of ailments. If you are very ill, don’t skip calling your doctor or taking first-line medications. But below are a few kitchen staples — and there are no doubt more — that can help with common health symptoms, whether or not you take other medicine. Remember, supplements and even foods can affect medical treatments, so always talk to your doctor about the home remedies you use.

Cold, Cough, and Flu

Chicken soup — The brothy home remedy all-star really can help, according to research. Evidence suggests that chicken and vegetable soup might ease upper respiratory symptoms from cold or flu. Researchers found that the soup provided an antiinflammatory effect by slowing the movement of a type of white blood cell that is associated with cold symptoms, such as a stuffy nose. Soup’s on!   

Honey — Two teaspoonfuls of honey might help soothe a cough. Researchers compared honey with over-the-counter cough drugs, no treatment, and a placebo. Conclusion: Honey was more effective at relieving cough symptoms than no treatment and the placebo, and it may even be slightly better than one of the drugs, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), at reducing the frequency and severity of cough. It did not perform better than dextromethorphan (DayQuil Cough). But it does taste a lot better than cough syrup.

Nausea & Diarrhea

Ginger — This spicy root may help quell nausea during pregnancy, and other conditions. Ginger seems to help by reducing inflammation levels in the stomach, according to researcher Julie Ryan, PhD, MPH, a professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Ginger ale, unfortunately, is not helpful.

Peppermint — Double your pleasure, double your relief. A review of studies concluded that peppermint oil was significantly more effective than a placebo at relieving abdominal pain and other symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome. Case in point: In a four-week study from Italy’s G d’Annunzio University, 75 percent of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had 50 percent fewer symptoms, such as pain, bloating, and constipation or diarrhea, after taking peppermint oil (two 225 mg capsules a day) for four weeks. The menthol in peppermint appears to relax GI muscles, reducing the spasms that lead to those unsavory symptoms. You can get peppermint oil in capsules or as an essential oil at a health food store, but you can also get some benefits by adding fresh peppermint leaves to food or sipping peppermint tea. But peppermint can also interact with some drugs and medical conditions, including diabetes. So talk to your doctor before using.   

Pain Relief

Turmeric — Turmeric not only gives Indian dishes their rich color but also appears to fight the pain of osteoarthritis as well as ibuprofen does, according to a Thai study of a turmeric extract. It also reduces the damage to joints that happens with rheumatoid arthritis, according to NIH-supported research done on rats at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Reviews of human studies suggest a role for turmeric in arthritis treatment. “Turmeric products look very promising for arthritis,” says investigator Janet L. Funk, MD Time to get your curry on!

Coffee — Your morning coffee doesn’t just rev you up for the day, it may also help protect your health. Research shows that coffee may help prevent diabetes. In a Harvard School of Public Health study, the more coffee people drank, the lower their risk for type 2 diabetes. Even decaf was protective. It also may protect against Parkinson's disease and liver diseases, improve cognition, and cut depression risk. If that weren’t enough, caffeine is known to play a role in pain relief. And it can increase the effectiveness of other pain relievers. Just watch that caffeine. Sleep is important, too. Especialy when you are sick.

Beth Howard
Rally Health