Healing Help from Dr. Grandma:
Natural remedies for common ailments
With the beginning of a new year come resolutions, and many of those have something to do with health.
We resolve to lose weight. We resolve to eat more healthfully, to start taking vitamins, to exercise.
My own New Year’s resolutions almost always include a determination to eat more organic and unprocessed foods and further minimize the amount of chemicals and medicines I feed my body.
While there’s no alternative to competent medical care when it comes to serious health issues, there are some natural remedies – most tried and approved by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers – that can save us from turning to the medicine cabinet when we have a cut, headache or sore throat. These remedies are safe for both adults and children.
Cuts, scratches and scrapes
The following provide healing for cuts, scratches and scrapes: honey, aloe, Mullein flower oil, St. John’s Wort oil and castor oil. Also, you can stop the bleeding of minor cuts by using a brown paper grocery sack as a compress bandage.
Many times, a splinter is easily reached and removed with a pair of tweezers. If it’s deeply imbedded, though, cut a piece of ripened banana peel and cover the affected area, pulp side down. Hold it in place with a piece of surgical tape. Leave it on overnight, and, in the morning, it should be drawn to the surface and easy to remove. This also works with stingers left behind by offending bees and wasps.
Minor burns can be treated with the following. For serious burns, contact your doctor. First, bathe the burn in cold water. Vitamin E oil, lavender oil, St. John’s Wort oil, honey and comfrey ointment aid burns. Or, mix together one tablespoon each powdered comfrey root, honey and wheat germ oil and apply to the area and cover with a bandage.
Add two cups of apple cider vinegar to warm bath water and soak for 15 minutes. This will almost immediately soothe the pain associated with the burn. Or, add one-quarter cup of baking soda to a warm bath and soak. After the bath, you can wrap the skin with cheesecloth soaked in plain, whole-milk yogurt to further soothe the burn.
Smash a ripe banana and apply it to the pimple right before bed. Let it dry before falling asleep. Wash it off in the morning. Much like the banana extracts the splinter from the skin, it will draw the bacteria from the face, clearing the pimple.
Inhaling peppermint or eucalyptus oil can help clear sinus congestion. Add one drop of either oil to a cup of steaming hot water and, closing your eyes, lean over the cup and inhale. You can also mix a drop of either oil with one teaspoon nut or seed oil (such as almond or grapeseed) and apply it to the cheekbones and forehead.
Combine the juice of half a lemon with one tablespoon of salt and half a cup of warm water (half a cup of sage tea is even better) and gargle four times a day as long as the sore throat persists. Gargling with four to six drops of grapefruit seed extract mixed with half a glass of water can also be effective.
Heartburn and acid reflux
Chronic heartburn and acid reflux
Chronic heartburn and acid reflux can oftentimes be managed with a change in diet. For the occasional attack, however, aloe juice (mix one-half teaspoon with one-half cup of water and drink) or spearmint tea can provide relief by balancing the body’s pH.
Effective stomach soothers include peppermint, ginger, sage, fennel seed and dill seed. You can find many of these herbs in teas at the health food store.