Home remedies are easy...
can save a bundle...
but know what you are doing.

For our purposes, home remedies and natural cures are the same thing.  The thing about natural cures is that usually they shouldn't be a stand-alone treatment.  Whatever the health issue, a spectrum of lifestyle changes is called for, not just taking an herb or supplement with no other intervention. 

Maybe stress management skills need to be learned, maybe more sleep is needed, maybe some bad eating habits need to be changed, or maybe an exercise program needs to be put in effect.  An herbal or supplement rarely is the answer all by itself.

The temptation is to grab a book on home remedies or go to the web and "Google" the ailment, see what it says to take and forget about the rest.  If the health issue is serious, the one thing you don't want to forget is to talk with your doctor. 

Do your research, find out which natural cure or home remedy fits your condition, then go to your doctor.  Don't ask him what he thinks about you taking the remedy.  Instead tell him you have researched this natural supplement and want to know if there are any contraindications.  Use the word, "contraindications", it has a very specific meaning to a doctor.

If you ask a doctor what he thinks about taking supplements or herbs or food; the answer is predictable.  It goes like, "It's not approved by the FDA" or "It's a waste of money, we don't know if it gets absorbed" or "There's no double-blind randomized controlled clinical trials" or "There could be side effects or interactions". 

On the other hand if you specifically ask if there are any contraindications, then the doctor will be forced to do some research in order to answer the question.  The point is that the wellness industry is consumer driven and we have to educate our care givers.  The sickness industry is pharmaceutical company driven and that is the environment in which the doctors are trained.

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Why Home Remedies?

Home remedies almost always involve an herb or supplement or greater intake of a particular food.

We have quoted Hippocrates before; "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food".  That is certainly a true statement but it comes with a big caveat, namely that all foods are not created equal. 

In general, produce from the big chain supermarket does not contain the same level of nutrients as those grown organically using natural fertilizers and natural pest control on small farms and sold at farmers markets or specialty stores.

Five factors contribute to a loss of nutrients in large corporate farming operations.  They include soil depletion, green harvesting, over use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, heating during food processing and removal of fiber and other nutrients, and addition of preservatives, flavorings, sugars, salt and various other substances that tend to destroy nutrients.

With all fruits and vegetables, buy fresh, buy organic and eat them raw, in their natural state.  If it comes in a  can, forget it. 

Herbs are a special case.  Most doctors tend to lump herbs and dietary supplements into the same bucket.  They are very different in that when someone takes an herb, they are usually trying to cure something.  That's why they call them herbal remedies.

When someone takes generic supplements like vitamins, minerals, omega-3 or phytonutrients their focus is on prevention and they are trying to stay healthy. 

In general, herbals, also known as botanicals, do have interactions with each other, pharmaceuticals and even some foods.  Supplements generally do not have such interactions or side effects but there are exceptions to every rule.

Because of the degradation in nutritional content of our modern diet, supplementation is not only desirable, it is mandatory for optimal health and wellness.  For example, today almost no one gets enough vitamin D or magnesium or some of the B vitamins or the essential fatty acids, especially omega-3.  We have to supplement these substances and many more.

Home Remedies Require
Planning and Patience

With all the foregoing as introduction, now we move into some of the more common home remedies and wrap up with a good reference list of books for personal research.

The thing about home remedies is that patience and persistence is required.  The mechanism of dietary supplements and herbals is that it usually takes several weeks of use before results start to be noticed; very unlike pharmaceuticals where relief may be seen in a matter of days. 

When most of us experience discomfort or pain, we want relief now, not in 4 to 6 weeks. So one strategy is to take the antihistamine or anti-inflammatory or whatever for faster relief while taking the natural substance for the more lasting longer term.

So let's get started with some of the more common ailments and how to approach them with one or more home remedies.  First off, I have not personally tried most of the following remedies mainly because I haven't had to. 

Most of them came from various lectures, books and word of mouth.  It is always recommended that anyone contemplating a home remedy should do their own research and check with their doctor regarding contraindications.

Many of the following home remedies came from a book, Alternative Cures: The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies for 160 Health Problems , by Bill Gottlieb who compiled natural home remedies from 300 of America's top doctors and natural healers.

Credit is given to the specific doctor cited in Mr. Gottlieb's book where appropriate.  The book is available from Amazon in paperback at a very reasonable price; click on the image to find out more.

Giving credit where credit is due, Bill Gottlieb is the former editor-in-chief of Rodale Books and Prevention Magazine Health Books, and the author of five books on health and healing, including the aforementioned 1.5 million-copy bestseller, Alternative Cures (Rodale, 2000).

Here we Go...
Home Remedies from A to W

It is impossible to cover every health issue in a webpage so about 20 or so of the most common ailments were chosen.  Anyone can Google a health condition and find any number of natural cures on the web or better still, look at the reading list and pick  up a couple of good books on home remedies for your personal reference library. 

The take-away message here is that for every health issue there are prescription drugs and there are natural approaches.  We have a choice to make.

Actually, to say an herb or supplement cures anything is both illegal and wrong.  Few to none of the natural substances in dietary supplements have been evaluated by the FDA nor approved for their use.  To date, only an FDA approved drug, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, can legally make the "cure" claim. 

What herbs and dietary supplements do is to support various structures and functions of the body and provide what the body needs to heal itself.  The trick is in finding the right combinations, amounts to take and having the patience to stick with the home remedies. 

In general, prescription drugs relieve symptoms fairly quickly while natural substances take weeks or sometimes months to rebuild the body. 

The obvious advantage to wisely using herbals and dietary supplements is that interactions and side effects are minimal to non-existent, they are a lot cheaper than the prescribed drugs and they attempt to get to the source of the problem, not just relieve symptoms.

Prescription drugs are all poison; all have side effects, all have interactions and all require a visit to the doctor’s office and filing of insurance claims.  Going for the home remedies would seem to be a "no-brainer".

Before getting into specific health issues, here is an overarching recommendation for all of them. Take a formulation of essential polysaccharides known as bio-active sugars, take the best antioxidant with a highest ORAC value available, take a formulation of plant sourced vitamin complexes and plant sourced minerals, grown hydroponically to standardize the mineral content and take a supplement specifically designed to support the endocrine system.

Then to top it all off, add a high grade omega-3 supplement for control of inflammation.

One more time...none of the home remedies presented here are intended to replace the care of a qualified medical practitioner.  Alternative cures are a component of integrative medicine and as such, should be undertaken in cooperation and guidance of your personal physician. 

With regard to home remedies, if the word "cure" is used, it is taken to mean that the body is being provided with missing nutrients or nutrients sufficient to allow the body to restructure itself and support its various functions, it is not the supplement that cures, it is the healing power of the body itself.

Quick links to the specific ailment
in order of appearance:

Home Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

The culprit in seasonal allergies such as hay fever, pollen, dust and even pet dander is the release of histamine, so the idea is to retard or inhibit the release. That is exactly what antihistamines are designed to do.

Histamines and other chemicals released by the cells make the blood vessels more permeable which allows the continuous formation of mucus.

Portrait of an allergy sufferer

Ever wonder where all that mucus comes from and why we don't eventually exhaust our reservoir of mucus?  It's because the reservoir is our own blood stream and it is continuously made and released on demand, depending on the presence of the allergen (pollen, dander, etc.) that the body is reacting to.

The big three supplemental home remedies for seasonal allergy control are stinging nettle, two 300 mg capsules of freeze-dried nettle three times a day; quercetin, 250 mg twice a day; and bromelain, 250 mg twice daily with the quercetin. Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory enzyme from pineapple that helps the body absorb the quercetin.  Quercetin is a flavonoid that can be a strong inhibitor of the release of histamine.

The thing with all these supplements is that they must be taken for about 3 weeks for the benefits to start so we need to anticipate the start of allergy season and start the supplements 3 to 4 weeks ahead of the season.

If the season is already underway and you are in the deep throes of the sneezing, Niagara Falls of mucous, itchy eyes and stuffiness, we are stuck with the Zyrtec, Claritan or Sudafed until the natural cure kicks in.

There is some evidence linking hypoglycemia or low blood sugar to seasonal allergies.  Some doctors have had complete resolution of seasonal allergies in some (not all) of their patients simply by cutting out all refined sugar and food products containing refined sugar.

By controlling insulin spikes and thus the resulting sugar crash of hypoglycemia, the allergies are also controlled.  The underlying theory is that an unhealthy diet rich in sugar laden foods, leaves the body weakened and unable to cope with the allergens causing the allergic reaction.

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Home Remedies for Asthma

Asthma can be reviewed at the page on The Respiratory System. No cures or treatments were discussed on that page but traditional medicine is geared to control the symptoms of asthma; not get to the root of the problem and cure it. Asthma is a horrible condition and the diagram below is a good illustration of how muscle constriction and inflammation cause the breathing difficulty in asthma. Asthmatic airway reduction

There are numerous home remedies involving nutrients, herbs and lifestyle adjustments that together may actually control the disease if not cure it.  Having said that, the home remedies covered below should only be undertaken as part of a treatment program guided and monitored by a qualified medical practitioner. 

Asthma is a chronic and physiologically complex condition with many triggers and should be treated by a doctor experienced in its treatment.  In the extreme, it can kill.

Start with the mineral magnesium.  It is a natural bronchial dilator in that it relaxes and opens the bronchial tubes. Dr. Richard Firshein, D.O. in New York recommends 500 mg/day of magnesium aspartate or magnesium citrate taken for six months.  Dr. Firshein speaks from experience in that he is an asthma sufferer who almost died from an attack before deciding to treat himself with the home remedies presented here.

Fatty acids are essential home remedies for asthma sufferers in that inflammation is a key component of asthma attacks.  The natural cure is omega-3 from fish oil and flaxseed oil.  Inflammation occurs as an acute response at the onset of an attack and a later response that can come on a day later and last for several weeks.  The late phase is the one believed to cause the tissue damage and be a factor in chronic asthma. 

Dr. Firshein recommends eating cold water fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel three times a week but concurrently supplement with six fish oil capsules of 1000 mg each per day.  Go easy on the fish or risk a heavy metal contamination from their mercury content and be sure to get a fish oil product that is molecularly distilled to remove the heavy metals.  A caution is that people who are aspirin sensitive may get worse after consuming fish oil.

Antioxidants are critical home remedies for everyone but especially asthma patients.  Since asthma is an inflammatory disease, the level of free radicals rise when inflammation is present in the body.  It's hard to beat the old standbys vitamin C (3000 mg/day in three doses), vitamin E (400 IU/day) and beta carotene (15 mg/day).

An amino acid, n-acetylcysteine (NAC) is also a powerful antioxidant and is a building block of glutathione, one of the most effective antidotes to free radicals in the body.  In addition, NAC helps prevent mucus from accumulating in the lungs; 500 mg twice a day is the recommended intake.

Very often allergies worsen asthma attacks and in that case, the bioflavonoid quercetin is what the doctor recommends. It is well documented for its anti-allergenic and antihistamine properties.  Take 100 mg of quercetin three times a 
day says Dr. Firshein.

Three herbs in the home remedies that are beneficial for asthma patients are coleus, to relax the bronchial muscles (50 mg two or three times a day); licorice, an anti-inflammatory, use the deglycyrhizinated form (DGL), 20 to 40 drops in a cup of hot water three times a day cooled to room temperature before drinking; and nettle, another nasal allergy remedy, taken as two 400 mg capsules three times a day.

<p>The next steps in controlling asthma involve learning to breathe and learning to control the panic and anxiety that accompanies an asthma attack.  At the onset of an attack, sit down, put one hand flat on the stomach, and use the other hand's thumb and forefinger to find the pulse on the opposite wrist.  Relax. 

Synchronize your breathing with your heart rate.  For every seven beats, breathe in.  After nine beats, breathe out through pursed lips until the air is gone.  Continue for 10 to 15 minutes and it should result in a calming effect that prevents the attack from getting worse.

<p>Learn to exercise for asthma.  The best approach is brief, intense, spurts of exercise.  Exercise for five minutes, stop and check your peak air flow and when it returns to normal, do another exercise cycle of five minutes. 

Repeat the process through four five-minute cycles.  Some asthmatics experience exercise induced attacks so some may need to use an inhaler prior to exercise and others possibly one of the drugs to control exercise induced asthma.

Finally, sooner or later, most asthmatics will have to take steroids to control the inflammation in the lungs but steroids are not exactly ideal; long term they can do irreversible harm to almost every organ in the body and they deplete the body of a variety of vital nutrients. 

Until the patient can get off the steroids, it is imperative to take three 100 mg capsules of potassium a day and eat fruits high in potassium like bananas.  Eat more protein content foods such as fish, milk and soy products.  Finally take 500 mg of calcium citrate and 500 mg of magnesium citrate a day.

Home Remedies for Bladder and
Urinary Tract Infections

There are lots of home remedies for bladder infections.  We have all heard of the cranberry approach for urinary but it is well proven.  Drink 24 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice a day in 3 8-oz servings.  It stops e-coli bacteria (the most common cause) and most likely other bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls. 

Drink lots of water; 64 ounces a day (8 glasses) and make it filtered or bottled.  There's too much contamination coming out of our water taps these days. 

Take 400 mg/day of magnesium citrate for as long as the infection is present in order to create an alkaline urine.  E-coli doesn't like alkaline environments. 

Crank up the vitamin C to 1000 to 4000 mg/day; 50,000 IU of vitamin A (one IU of vitamin A is .0003 mg or 15mg) but only for a week (too much vitamin A is toxic is toxic over time); and 300 to 600 mg of bioflavonoids such as quercetin or genistein from soy products.

Thirty mg/day of zinc will strengthen the immune system but only take that quantity during the infection.  If anyone is into herbs, try uva-ursi, couch grass, dandelion and echinacea combining 1 ounce or each herb as a tincture (alcohol based derivative of the herb) mixed together.  Take one-half teaspoon three times a day.

Home Remedies for Bursitis and Tendonitis

Both bursitis and tendonitis are inflammatory conditions.  Recall that conditions ending in "itis" are inflammations.  In the case of bursitis, it is an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac (the padding) between a muscle and the bone of a joint; a hip, knee or shoulder for example. 

In tendonitis, we have inflammation of a tendon connecting muscle to bone.  The usual cause of both conditions is a sudden overuse, such as the sedentary desk worker who decides to go out and play football with the guys on the weekend 

Now we have a choice; either reach for the painkillers or try a couple of simple home remedies. 

A bursitis pain site

During the first 24 hours after first experiencing pain, try the freezer remedy.  Go to the freezer, take out a few ice cubes or better still, a bag or box of frozen vegetables.  "Alternative Cures" recommends a bag of frozen peas since they can adapt to the contours of the body where the pain is felt.  

Covering the frozen bag with a towel, gently massage the inflamed joint about 5 to 10 minutes, just long enough for the area to become numb.  Do the massage every other hour for the first 24 hours (not through the night while sleeping) and then three times a day thereafter.  The cold will reduce the inflammation and thus relieve the pain, according to Rich Reiger, a massage therapist in West Virginia.

Next in the home remedies is omega-3 from fish oil or flaxseed oil.  The fatty acids in omega-3 are known and proven inflammation fighters.  Understand that there are lots of fatty acids and those found in polyunsaturated vegetable oils like corn oil and safflower oil or hydrogenated oils in margarine and most commercial baked goods can increase inflammation.

If omega-3 supplementation is made a dietary lifestyle habit, we will be better equipped for those occasional touch football games and strenuous household honey-do's like moving the piano. It will be harder to get the tendonitis or bursitis and if we do, it won't last as long.

Massage can be therapeutic for bursitis or tendonitis caused by tension in the shoulders and neck, very common in desk jobs and chronic poor posture.  The tension can restrict circulation to those upper limbs and the body is unable to easily repair the damage from sudden exertion or even day-to-day wear and tear. 

The treatment is self-administered and consists of resting the head against the back of a comfortable chair, taking deep relaxing breaths, and beginning behind the ears and moving toward the spine, press the fingertips into the muscles all along the base of the skull.  While breathing deeply, find the most sensitive points and press and hold 
those points until the tension eases and the muscle softens. 

Step two; find the places with the most tension in the back of the neck, under the skull and down to the shoulders.  Same as step one, when a sensitive spot is found, press and hold until the tension subsides.

Step three is to cross the right arm over the chest and squeeze all the large muscles on top of the left shoulder.  Breathing deeply, press and hold until a release of tension is felt. 

The last two steps require some imagination.  Still sitting comfortably with the head resting against the chair, drop the arms to the sides and imagine that the head is as heavy as a bowling ball but is completely cradled by the surface it is resting on.  Remind your neck and shoulders that the head is being supported and they can now let go and take a break.

Last step is when you are ready to return to activity, imagine the head is as light as a balloon, move the head and shoulders around a bit and then let the balloon lift off. 

<p>Self administration is good but having your significant other do the massaging and pressing and holding for you is pretty nice too.</p>

Home Remedies for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a persistent pain that comes for a visit and stays.  Think of conditions like arthritis, chronic headaches or back pain, fibromyalgia or repetitive strain injuries. 

The cautionary note here is to see the doctor if a pain doesn't respond to conventional or home remedies or that is accompanied by unexplained weight loss, blood in the stool, fever, stiff neck, seizures or any number of other quality of life distresses. 

Remember that pain is a signal that something is wrong; it is the warning light on the dashboard.  We can fix the pain but we must always look for the underlying cause if it is not readily apparent.

There are half a dozen good tried and true home remedies for pain that should be given a chance before reaching for the pain pills.  Side effects from NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) kill thousands of people every year.  The NSAIDS are our old friends Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Nuprin, Naprosyn, Celebrex, aspirin and on and on; it's a very long list.

A naturally occurring amino acid and a pathway to the neurotransmitter serotonin is 5-hydroxytryptophan, abbreviated as 5-HTP.  It acts to increase the level of serotonin in the brain which may aid in the alleviation of some types of chronic pain. 

When we are deficient in serotonin, we have a lower threshold of pain, experience pain more quickly and for longer periods of time than normal.  Higher levels of serotonin also help us sleep more deeply and deep sleep is believed to be an antidote for pain. 

Physicians have used 5-HTP to treat the pain of fibromyalgia, migraine and arthritis.  Dr. James Braly, M.D. recommends 200 mg or less per day but warns that it is still experimental and the long-term effects are unknown; don't take it without a doctor's guidance.  It is sold as a dietary supplement in 50 mg or 100 mg gelatin or vegetarian 

If serotonin sounds familiar as a pain reliever, consider that the popular prescription migraine drug, Imitrex, contains succinate sumatriptan, a selective 5-hydroxytryptamine1 receptor subtype agonist (an agonist is a drug that binds and alters the activity of a receptor). 

The action is attributed to its binding to serotonin 5-HT1B and 5-HT1D receptors in cranial blood vessels (causing their constriction) and subsequent reduction of pro-inflammatory protein-like molecules used by neurons to communicate with each other. Evidence is accumulating that these drugs are effective because they act on serotonin receptors in nerve endings as well as the blood vessels.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is another serotonin booster with scientific studies showing that it has the ability to help alleviate chronic pain.  Dr. Braly recommends taking 50 mg/day of this and most B vitamins.

Sulfur, best taken as methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) at a level of 500 mg three times a day can help heal connective tissue, aid in the production of pain-relieving detoxifying amino acids and significantly reduce inflammation.  Dr. Braly believes that it should be included in the diet of anyone experiencing chronic pain.

Getting to the herbals of home remedies, boswellia is a powerful anti-inflammatory that blocks leukotrienes.  Remember the Singulair commercial on TV that claim to block leukotrienes; so who knows what a leukotriene is anyway? 

A leukotriene is an inflammatory agent produced from arachidonic acid which in turn is a result of an imbalance in the fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6; too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 and you get inflammation from leukotrienes and (prostaglandins as well).

Boswellia is preferable to NSAIDs in that it does not carry the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, ulceration or kidney failure.  The recommended intake is 250 mg three or four times a day as long as the pain persists.  Look for a product that is standardized to contain 37.5 to 65 percent boswellia acids.

Like Indian food?  Good, then go for turmeric, that yellow Indian spice that is rich in curcumin.  It is very effective in reducing joint swelling, stiffness and chronic arthritic pain.  Curcumin works by blocking several inflammatory processes and improving circulation to the painful area.  Take a 200 mg supplement two or three times a day until the pain subsides.

Organic Turmeric Powder Jar
from: Starwest Botanicals Inc.

Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that works by digesting proteins and can also digest small blood clots and improves blood flow to areas of chronic pain.  It is also an anti-inflammatory.  The recommended dose for chronic pain is 500 mg per day and look for a product with at least 1,200 milk-clotting units (MCU), a measure of bromelain's strength.

Bromelain Powder
from: Starwest Botanicals Inc.

Zinc is an essential mineral for optimal health and one in which a deficiency can cause chronic pain and inflammation. Zinc deficiencies are quite common in people over 50 as levels tend to drop as we age.  A daily supplement of 25 to 50 mg is recommended.  When the pain is gone, reduce the dose to 15 mg/day which is generally the amount found in a multivitamin supplement.

Lastly, if you have recently had major surgery, be aware of something called postsurgical chronic pain syndrome.  Under the stress of surgery, the lining of the small intestine can become permeable and leak excessively, causing numerous problems that lead to the post surgical pain, slow healing and possible muscle wasting.

The home remedies include an amino acid called glutamine, the primary fuel for the small intestine lining.  Start taking a rounded teaspoon full of glutamine powder in an 8-ounce glass of water three to five times a day.  Continue at this level after surgery until all pain and inflammation is gone.  Dr. Braly says that there are no side effects but anyone 
having end-stage liver failure should not use it.

Home Remedies for the Common Cold

Colds and flu are caused by a virus so overcome the temptation to run to the doctor for an antibiotic.  It won't work and will only contribute to your antibiotic resistance.  Their are several home remedies that may be preferable to the anti-viral.

Photos:  The cold is caused by a Rhinovirus, the one on the right.

This is not a Rhinovirus! This is the Rhinovirus!

Home remedies start with our old friend vitamin C.  Take 6,000 to 12,000 mg of vitamin C per day split up into hourly doses or, if inconvenient, three equal doses.  If you're not already taking vitamin E, then start at 400 to 800 IU.  Vitamin E is an antioxidant that will help rid the body of toxic by-products from the immune system fighting the cold infection. 

At the onset of a cold, start taking 50,000 to 100,000 IU of vitamin A but for no more than 5 days.  Vitamin A helps strengthen the mucosa throughout the respiratory system which will trap cold viruses before they can do their damage.

Suck on a few zinc lozenges each day (but no more than six) since some healthcare providers think it directly kills the rhinovirus that causes colds.  Others think it does nothing at all.  Nevertheless, most Americans are deficient in zinc and it's good for prostate health too.  Don’t have a prostate?  OK, then just take it for the cold.

There are several herbs in the list of home remedies that have proven to be effective in dealing with colds.  Echinacea at 175 to 225 mg/day; goldenseal at 175 to 350 mg 3 or 4 times a day for 10 days; garlic at 300 to 500 mg for 5 to 7 days; and thymus extract at 350 mg or label directions for 1 to 2 weeks.

Home Remedies for Diarrhea and Constipation

Strange as it sounds, many of the home remedies are the same for constipation and diarrhea.  Water is a common remedy in that, if constipated, water is absorbed by fiber to create soft stools that move easily through the digestive tract.

On the other hand, diarrhea is very dehydrating so water is needed to replenish lost fluids.  In both cases, the standard advice is to drink 64 ounces of water a day (eight 8-ounce glasses of water).

A quick note on diarrhea is that it may not be a bad thing.  A sudden onset of diarrhea usually means that the body is trying to rid itself of something you ingested that's not good for you; possibly a bacteria from that deli sandwich where some employee didn't wash their hands or maybe a parasite snuck in during that trip across the border. 

In these cases, it's probably best to let the diarrhea run its course.  If it continues or starts showing traces of blood, then see a doctor.

Fiber intake is another of the home remedies that both conditions have in common.  With constipation, fiber combined with lots of water gets things moving.  fiber supplementation for diarrhea will make stools firmer.

If the water and fiber doesn't do the trick for constipation, there are a few other home remedies to try.  Prune juice or prunes are standard fare for this condition.  They contain compounds that stimulate intestine to get moving plus prunes are rich is fiber. 

Rita Elkins, an herbalist in Utah and author of "Miracle Sugars", recommends the herb cascara sagrada in her home remedies in that it has a laxative action that also "improves the tone of the bowel, making it work better".  She advises taking a 450 mg capsule for 3 or 4 weeks in conjunction with an increase in fiber intake. 

Take the capsule after the evening meal or at bedtime and the problem should start resolving the next morning.  Don't use it more than 14 days without medical supervision and don't take it if there is intestinal inflammation.  So it sounds like she is saying to take it 3 to 4 weeks but if you hit 14 days without relief, see the doctor.

Another laxative herb is triphala.  Dr. Light Miller, N.D. claims that it is good for long term use, non-addictive and helps rejuvenate the GI tract.  Her recommendation is two 1,000 mg tablets three times a day for six months. 

Another natural laxative is aloe gel, taking a tablespoon or two three times a day until the constipation is relieved.  Be sure to check that the product you buy is intended for internal use.

Aloe Vera Gel
from: Starwest Botanicals Inc.

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to constipation in that it relaxes the intestinal muscles allowing for normal squeezing action which moves the contents along.  Take a daily supplement of 400 to 500 mg to prevent constipation.

Two lifestyle home remedies that have a bearing on bowel movement are exercise and routine.  Exercise regularly to relieve stress which can worsen constipation and set a consistent routine for elimination. 

Getting back to the home remedies for diarrhea, there are several that offer relief.  Start by taking a probiotic supplement to ensure that the intestine is populated with the right complement of "good bacteria".  Look for a product that contains at least 4 billion units of acidophilus.  This can also help avoid the troublesome traveler’s diarrhea.

Colostrum is a substance produced by female mammals in the first few hours after giving birth.  It is a wonderful  immune-supporting substance and some natural health practitioners believe it can help control both acute and chronic diarrhea.  It is readily available and should be a part of all home remedies.  Follow the label directions.

Another herb recommended by Dr. Rita Elkins in her home remedies is slippery elm which is believed to sooth an inflamed lining of the colon.  She says it is safe to use and the best way to take it is to open 2 or 3 370 mg capsules and mix with water to form a gel.  Take about a tablespoon of the gel.  If the taste is too much to bear, mix it with mashed banana or applesauce, both of which also help ease diarrhea.

Chronic diarrhea, the type that goes on and on for months, may be linked to dietary allergies such as wheat gluten or lactose intolerance.  Adjust your home remedies by cutting out all wheat products and dairy products containing lactose.  Other suspects include sucrose, maltose, corn syrup, candy and artificial sweeteners.  If the cause is dietary, the diarrhea should resolve in one or two weeks.

Home Remedies for the Flu

Every healthcare provider I ever met advised me to get a flu shot every year.  I used to do that until seven years ago when a fatty tumor appeared on my left upper arm at the site of the shot.  It is still there and I carry it around as a reminder never to get another flu shot. 

Fatty tumors at inoculation sites are quite common yet it's a well kept secret.  Ask any vet about it and they will tell you that it is very common in dog and cat inoculations.  Ok, I'm chasing rabbits.

Want to get rid of the flu in 24 hours?  According to Dr. Peter Holyk, M.D., drink a cocktail of one or two cloves of garlic, three droppers of echinacea tincture, three droppers of goldenseal tincture, a dash of cayenne pepper, juice from half-a-lemon, 6 to 8 ounces of organic tomato or vegetable juice.  Put it all in a blender with a few ice cubes.  Sip it slowly, twice a day.  From the sounds of it, flu may be preferable to the cocktail.

The flu bug is no fun

Other home remedies are pretty standard.  Drink lots of water (100 ounces a day while sick), 3,000 mg vitamin C complex (not isolated ascorbic acid) a day in three doses and breathe steam or humidified air.

Drink ginger tea every 2 or 3 hours, three drops of astragalus tincture in water three times a day for 10 days (no flu should last that long), and hold the dairy foods until you are well since dairy tends to increase mucus production and worsen nasal congestion. 

Cautionary note:  If the flu symptoms last more than five days or are accompanied by a 104 degree fever or higher, chest pain, bloody mucus or discharge of brown or green phlegm, see the doctor right away.  You don't want the infection moving into the lungs, causing viral or bacterial pneumonia.

Home Remedies for Hangovers

Recognizing that hangovers are caused by several things including dehydration, toxins, alcohol by-products (notably acetaldehyde) and impurities in some types of alcohol from the fermentation process, the cure is to tackle each of the causes.

First off, alcohol is a diuretic and absorbs water from all parts of the body, including the brain.  Loss of water in the brain fluids cause a shrinkage of tissue resulting in that pounding headache.  So step one in the home remedies is to drink lots of water, preferably before crashing for the night and more the next morning.

Anybody get the license number of that truck? Walter Crinnon, N.D., a naturopathic doctor, swears by a teaspoonful of bifidus powder dissolved in a glass of water and taken as a nightcap. Bifidus is a Probiotic that acts to detoxify acetaldehyde, a digestive by-product of alcohol that is believed to cause most of the hangover symptoms.

B vitamins will help clear the liver of toxins and are most effective if taken before drinking alcohol.  The herb milk thistle is also believed to protect liver cells from alcohol sourced toxins. 

Dr. Beverly Yates, N.D. in her home remedies recommends taking two 70 mg capsules standardized to 70 - 80% silymarin (the therapeutic substance in the herb) taken with a meal prior to drinking or while drinking.

The best of the home remedies is to just drink in moderation and not over-do it.

Home Remedies for Headache and Migraine

Cautionary note:  Headaches can be extremely serious and a medical doctor should be seen as soon as possible if the headaches get progressively worse over days or weeks.

If headaches come on suddenly after never having had a headache; if a headache comes on after coughing, straining or exertion; if it is accompanied by a loss of memory or change in personality or behavior; or if accompanied by a change in vision, ability to walk or weakness or numbness; see a doctor.  If a headache comes on suddenly that is more painful than any other ever experienced, see a doctor immediately.

There are many home remedies for headache pain starting with the simple application of an ice pack over the painful area for about 20 minutes to reduce swollen blood vessels pressing on nerves. 

Be sure the ice pack or cold object is wrapped in paper or a towel protect the skin.

Not now, I've got a headache

Acupressure is one of the home remedies that may provide relief.  By pressing the acupressure point in the thick, meaty part of the web between the thumb and forefinger in a rhythmic, pumping action, working each hand for about a minute at a time can often provide relief. 

Aromatherapy is another of the home remedies for tension headaches and can be effective at times.  Rub a little peppermint oil on the temples at the start of the tension headache.  Dilute a drop of peppermint oil in one or two drops of almond oil or other carrier oil to apply to the temples and rubbing.

Several herbal, vitamin and mineral supplements are widely used with varying degrees of success.  Vitamin B6 may help stabilize the brain's serotonin levels; take 50 mg per day for chronic headache. 

Some migraine sufferers have had considerable success in supplementing with magnesium.  As a supplement, 350mg/day is considered an upper limit especially since all green leafy vegetables, whole grains and dark chocolate contain significant amounts of Mg. 

An excellent website page on migraines and magnesium can be found at http://www.help-for-migraines.com/magnesium-migraine.html.

Feverfew is an herb that may reduce the frequency of migraines due to its anti-inflammatory properties, similar to aspirin.  The recommended amount is 125 mg/day of dried feverfew in caplets, standardized for .2% parthenolide and look for the name tanacetum parthenium on the label to ensure authenticity.

A wide variety of foods are headache and, particularly migraine, triggers.  Dr. Gerard Guillory, M. D. estimates that 80 to 90 percent of migraines can be traced back to MSG (monosodium glutamate), the ubiquitous food additive. 

The problem is that msg hides in a lot of foods and is not listed on the label as msg.  Some of the things that msg masquerades as are hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, yeast extract and yeast nutrient, maltodextrins, textured protein, calcium caseinate and hydrolyzed oat flour.  Many flavorings contain msg including natural beef, pork and chicken flavoring, malt extracts and flavoring, barley malt, broth, stock and many food seasonings.  Plan your home remedies to exclude msg.

A substance called tyramine is linked to chronic headaches and it is in a wide variety of foods. Opinions are divided on the role of tyramine but if someone suspects that it may be a cause, the best course is to eliminate all foods containing tyramine for awhile and see if the headaches persist.  If not, then gradually add the foods back into the 
diet one at a time and see if one of them triggers the headache. 

A few of the foods containing tyramine are most smoked, cured and aged packaged meats, pickled and fermented foods, vinegar, smoked fish, caviar and herring, aged cheese, high yeast foods, chocolate, sugar and high fructose corn syrup, sour cream and yogurt, pods of navy beans, peas and lima beans and red wine.  It's quite a list but we have to start somewhere.

The Migraine Diet:  A Summary

A quick summary of diet and migraine relief is to stick as closely to the paleo diet as possible.  That simply means any food that can be eaten without being processed which automatically rules out grains, bread, pasta and pasteurized dairy products.  

It does include fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, oils, wild caught fish, organic poultry and meat.  A caution is to go easy on the fresh fruit due to the fructose content which can be hard on the pancreas and encourage pancreatic cancer if eaten in excessive quantities.

In addition, eliminate all gluten products, artificial sweeteners, and genetically modified foods which knocks out most corn and soy products. 

Suggested supplements for migraine relief include:

  • Magnesium at 300-400 mg/day
  • Vitamins B2, also known as Riboflavin, at 400 mg/day
  • Vitamins B6, B12 and B9 (folic acid)
  • Butterbur
  • Omega-3 at 2-4 grams/day
  • CoQ10 at 300 mg/day
  • Pregnant women or those expecting to become pregnant should just use the magnesium, omega-3 and a low dose of riboflavin and skip the rest.

    Many home remedies are geared to reducing stress and widely used; including meditation, visualization, and energy healing which is an exercise that drains the bad energy into the ground and lets fresh energy from the earth flow into the body.  I'm not making this up.

    An excellent website for researching headaches is http://www.relieve-migraine-headache.com. Check it out.

    Home Remedies for Hearing Loss

    Sooner or later hearing loss will afflict every one of us and in this day of ear-buds and iPods, the problem will grow and strike more and more young people.  Most conventional ear docs will say that the condition is permanent and can't be treated except with hearing aids.

    Would you look at all that wax!

    Alternative medicine begs to differ, at least if you happen to be a lab rat.  Four nutrients given to aging rats with severe hearing loss had their hearing improved by 5 to 10 decibels while rats not given the nutrients continued to lose their hearing by another 5 to 7 decibels.  The test ran six weeks which is a remarkably short time to be 
    exhibiting such improvement. 

    The next step is to see what it does for humans in a controlled clinical study.  Want to be a guinea pig (or lab rat)?

    Here are the four nutrients:

  • Acetyl-Carnitine; an amino acid that assists mitochondria make energy, use 150 mg/day
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid; a powerful antioxidant essential to mitochondria function, use 150 mg/day
  • Coenzyme Q10; carries fatty acids across cell membranes, use 60 mg/day
  • Glutathione; another powerful anti-oxidant that helps vitamin C and E work, use 50 mg/day
  • Try the home remedies above for six months and see what happens; can't hurt and all are safe to take long term.

    Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure and
    Vascular Plaque Build-up

    The page on heart disease details that this is the number one killer in the U.S. of all health related causes of death, accounting for over 650,000 deaths each year. Basically it all boils down to vascular dysfunction and inflammation.

    The popular view is that cholesterol is bad and will clog the blood vessels and result in a heart attack.  The more accurate picture is that cholesterol is only a marker for heart disease, our body needs cholesterol and produces it on its own without our help.  The question is what our body is doing with it and why.  Cholesterol is used to construct the membrane of every cell in our body, insulates nerves axons, assist in hormone production and carry chemical signals around the body. 

    Things go awry when inflammation enters the picture and starts damaging the inner lining of blood vessels.  Cholesterol arrives on the scene to repair the damage caused by inflammation and starts building a patch.  The patch is plaque and if not taken care of, it will eventually clog the vessels or rupture.

    The key then is to keep inflammation out of our system and there are several simple home remedies to address that.  We don't have to be so quick to reach for the Lipitor or Crestor or whatever other statin the drug companies are pushing.

    Nevertheless, heart disease is serious and home remedies should only be undertaken as part of an integrative treatment program with your doctor.

    The first is simply adopting a healthy diet.  If people all ate foods that were just picked from the tree, bush or out of the ground, the cardiologists would be looking for other employment.

    Looks like a perfect 120 over 80! The easiest of the home remedies is fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and legumes are low in vascular damaging saturated fats, high in fiber and full of natural vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Look at the Mediterranean Diet and eat accordingly...raw, natural state and Low Glycemic.

    The following dietary supplements should be considered in home remedies for controlling and reversing vascular dysfunction.

    L-arginine is the crucial.  This is an amino acid that the body uses to produce nitric oxide, a gas that tells the blood vessels to relax and open up.  Nitric oxide strengthens the "cap" over the plaque in a vessel, making rupture less likely; dissolves the plaque, and makes the vessels more supple and flexible.  So if we want more nitric oxide 
    take 5,000 mg/day of L-arginine in liquid form with other nutrients.

    There are three antioxidant home remedies to take and two to know about.  Coenzyme Q10 is required by every cell in our body and its anti-oxidant properties help stop the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which is a key step in hardening of the arteries and plaque buildup.  Take 90 to 180 mg per day in three divided doses.

    Folate and the B-complex vitamins protect the cardiovascular system from the damaging effects of homocystine; which accounts for about 30% of all heart disease.  Go for 800 to 1,000 ug of folic acid, 400 ug of B12 and 50 mg of B6 daily.

    Resveratrol is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoid found in red wine, purple grape juice and the skin of red grapes.

    It has numerous benefits in warding off heart disease such as decreasing the stickiness of blood platelets, helping blood vessels remain open and lowering LDL cholesterol; all of which help combat atherosclerosis.

    The effective doses of resveratrol for chronic disease prevention in humans are not known.  Most supplements contain anywhere from 10-50 mg of resveratrol.

    If you would rather drink your resveratrol than take it in a pill, contact wine.com and look at their red wine selections. Click on the banner above.

    L-Carnitine and Alpha-lipoic acid are two antioxidants that our body makes in adequate quantities and supplementation 
    is not usually needed.

    Several clinical trials indicate that L-carnitine can help reduce symptoms of chest pain caused by reduced oxygen-rich blood to the heart (angina) and improve the ability of those with angina to exercise without chest pain.

    Some small studies suggest that people who take L-carnitine supplements soon after a heart attack may be less likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, die of heart disease, experience chest pain and abnormal heart rhythms, or develop heart failure. However, other studies have found no benefit

    Antioxidants are depleted as they attack free radicals, but evidence suggests alpha-lipoic acid may help to regenerate these other antioxidants and make them active again.  It is found in every cell, where it helps turn glucose into energy.

    Vitamins C and E are both powerful antioxidant home remedies that help stop free radicals thus protecting the endothelium of the blood vessels.  Take between 90 and 100 mg/day of vitamin C and 400 and 800 IU per day of Vitamin E.

    Vitamin D3 is a miracle nutrient for combating heart disease. Its benefits include improved vascular, bone and immune system health as well as better brain function and mental health.  Take 5000 IU per day of Vitamin D3.

    L-arginine should be taken as a supplement to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides; reduce blood clots and strokes; and improve heart failure and wound healing.  Take 5,000 mg/day, preferably as a liquid and with food.
    Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that is a key substance in controlling inflammation.  Take between 2,000 and 3,000 mg per day being sure to buy a brand that is molecularly distilled to remove heavy metals and should be cold pressed as heat treating destroys omega 3. 

    Over 3,000 mg per day should be done with a doctor's supervision since excessive omega-3 could make one susceptible to bleeding, especially if taking a blood thinner like Coumadin (warfarin).

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

    Anytime we see a disease with the word "syndrome" attached to it, rest assured it is just the medical community’s way of saying they don't have a clue what causes it.  If you have abdominal cramping, aches or burning, especially after a meal, and are plagued with bouts of either constipation, diarrhea or swings between them, or have severe indigestion, gas or bloating, you probably have IBS.

    The doctors will probably give you a prescription for diarrhea, another for the cramps and possibly a tranquilizer to calm the colon by reducing the stress in our life. 

    There are natural cures but the medical schools just don't teach the healing benefits of nutrition.  The home remedies involve some things to avoid and some things to take.

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it's in there somewhere!

    Start by eliminating caffeine and alcohol, especially beer.  Avoiding caffeine includes all sources including coffee, tea, colas and chocolate.  Next to avoid is gas producing foods such as beans, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli and asparagus.  Gas or no gas, broccoli is just too good a superfood to cut out of the diet, so eat it and try Beano if it gives you gas.

    Avoid saturated fats since they stimulate contractions in the GI tract and can cause the cramping and diarrhea associated with IBS.  The exception is butter; use a teaspoon of butter per day as it is rich in an acid (butyric acid) that nourishes the cells in the intestinal walls.

    Things to eat are high fiber foods such as found in whole grains; sweet potatoes (don't eat white potatoes, too high  glycemic), and supplement with fiber cereals like All-Bran, Fiber One and similar cereals.  Along with the fiber, drink the standard eight glasses of water daily.  The fiber won't work unless it is bulked up with water.  Obviously, the idea here is to keep the food moving through the colon.

    A couple of other nutrients to consider are: 3 or 4 cups of peppermint tea a day to sooth the entire digestive tract; magnesium glycinate, a mineral believed to tone and relax the muscles of the intestinal tract (take according to label directions); and hydrolyzed fish protein which can repair an intestinal tract damaged by medications, chemicals in 
    food, stress or whatever trauma the gut may have suffered. 

    "Hydrolyzed" means that the protein has been broken down into its component parts for easier digestion and absorption.  One doctor recommends taking two capsules of a product called Seacure before each meal.

    Probably more important than anything mentioned above is to take omega-3 to control the inflammatory component of IBS and take a good probiotic supplement to insure that adequate friendly bacteria are present in the colon.

    Navigate to the page on probiotics to read up on these incredible bugs that populate our GI tract.

    Home Remedies for Kidney Stones

    Cautionary note:  Kidney stones can be caused by a number of serious diseases; as such, home remedies should be undertaken only as part of a treatment program guided and monitored by a qualified medical doctor.

    Want to maximize your chances of getting a kidney stone?  Eat lots of fat, little fiber, loads of refined sugar, white flour and make red meat a large part of your diet.  Oh, and don't drink much water.  Sooner or later you will likely be able to enjoy the exquisite pain of a kidney stone.

    Home of the kidney stone

    Want to avoid the experience?  Try the following home remedies. For calcium stones, reverse the above suggestions and add 600 mg of calcium citrate a day, 300 mg of magnesium, 400 IU of vitamin D3, 100 mg of vitamin B6 and throw in the ayurvedic herb gokshura (tribulus terrestris) according to label directions for good measure.  Exercise to a sweat to keep calcium in the bones and out of the urine.

    For Uric acid stones, keep drinking lots of water, drink 2 or 3 glasses of orange, grapefruit and tomato juice to maintain a correct pH balance. Avoid or limit foods that increase uric acid (purines). 

    These include anchovies, sardines, meat extracts, liver, gravies, kidney, sweetbreads and fried foods; no more than 3 ounces of lean meat, and no more than one serving of oatmeal, oysters, crabs, tuna, ham, lima beans, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas or spinach per day.

    <p>Passing a stone hurts and one suggested doctor's remedy is a ginger compress applied over the area of the affected kidney on the lower back, covered with a piece of plastic (like a small trash bag) and a dry towel over the plastic. 

    To make the compress, boil 8 quarts of water in a large pot, take a piece of fresh ginger about the size of your palm, wrap it in a piece of cheesecloth and tie a string around it, like a large tea bag.  Put it in the boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes.  Reduce to heat so that the water is hot but not boiling. 

    Remove the ginger with the string, squeeze the liquid out over the pot then replace the ginger in the pot.  Remove the pot from the heat, soak a washcloth in the hot ginger fluid.  Remove it and wring it out so that it is wet but not dripping.  Now place the cloth over the kidney with the plastic and towel.  Repeat this application every 5 or 10 
    minutes for 45 minutes so that the area stays warm. If it is still painful in 12 hours, do a second application.

    Home Remedies for Muscle Cramps and Spasms

    A muscle cramp or spasm is the muscles way of telling us it needs help, right now.  Ever wake up at night with the muscle in your calf constricted and giving you intense pain.  You get up and walk around and massage it and most of the time it goes away.

    Wouldn't want these muscles to get a cramp!

    What just happened is that the muscle sent you a message that it needs magnesium, potassium or water.  Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and those nighttime leg or calf cramps can be caused by a deficiency of magnesium in the system. 

    Supplements can help reduce or even eliminate this problem.  Similarly, low levels of potassium can cause muscle cramps...the simple home remedies are to eat bananas, spinach, and cantaloupe and/or take a natural multivitamin and mineral supplement.

    For immediate relief, pressure from the thumb or heel of the hand at the center of the cramp for 8 to 12 seconds usually works, intermittent stretching and relaxing the affected muscle usually works and, if neither or those work, try putting a cold pack or ice pack over the area for 20 minutes.

    Home Remedies for Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is a wasting disease of bone.  Bone is a living tissue just like the rest of the body; osteoclasts remove old bone, leaving microscopic spaces which are filled by osteoblasts to build new bone.  Problems arise when more bone is eroded than is built; bone becomes weakened and will eventually break under even mild stresses.  The task is to identify the causes of the bone degeneration and fix it. 

    Osteoporosis is both preventable and reversible and all it takes is proper nutrition, exercise and a checking for a progesterone deficiency. 

    Beginning with nutrition, limit red meat, poultry and fish consumption to 6 ounces per day.  The kidneys can't eliminate the protein waste products until they have adequate calcium to do the job and bones is where the kidneys get the needed calcium.  Bones are, in fact, our calcium reservoir.  They store excess calcium and provide calcium for 
    required body functions.

    Bones, the calcium storehouse!

    Nutritional home remedies include calcium citrate, magnesium (600 mg/day), vitamin D3, vitamin K (150-500 ug/day), manganese (5-20 mg/day) and the trace minerals zinc, copper, boron, silicon, and strontium; all of which should be present in a natural, hydroponically sourced multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.  If taking other medications, consult your doctor before taking calcium citrate since it can reduce the effectiveness of other meds by changing the 
    acidity of the stomach.

    Exercise is critical to maintaining healthy bones.  Putting strains on the musculoskeletal system through weight bearing exercise results in more calcium going to the bones.  "Weight bearing" also includes walking, biking, tennis, weight lifting, working out on a universal exercise machine.

    Dr. John Lee, M.D. believes that the hormone progesterone is more important to women than estrogen for keeping bones strong.  The production of both falls off after menopause but progesterone begins to decrease by the mid-thirties.

    The first impulse from the medical community is to jump on hormone replacement therapy generally using a synthetic estrogen.  Over time this seems to be a pretty sure-fire path to breast cancer.  Instead, Dr. Lee uses a natural 3% progesterone creme applied at bedtime; no side effects and better than the synthetic products.  Follow the label 

    Home Remedies for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

    Most likely, not many people ever heard of Peripheral arterial disease until drug companies started scaring people with it in TV commercials in their effort to expand the market for statins (blood thinners).

    PAD is a blockage of the arteries in the legs from plaque buildup with early signs being manifested by intermittent pain when walking.  This early sign is called intermittent claudation and the pain usually goes away after resting for a short while.  

    It is best not to ignore the signs since it is atherosclerosis in the legs and if left untreated will probably evolve to death from stroke, heart attack or amputation of the limb due to tissue death.

    The same home remedies for cardiovascular disease are applicable to PAD since the root cause is the same; inflammation and poor diet. 

    Carnitine can help ease the pain of PAD by supplying the leg muscles with higher levels of fatty acids which supports the muscles getting more oxygen.  Dr. Seth Baum, M.D. recommends 2,000 mg twice a day.

    Vitamin E at a level of 400 IU a day has helped people walk further without pain.  Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and to that could be added 500 to 1,000 mg/day of omega-3 to help keep inflammation in check.

    Niacin, vitamin B3, is believed to help widen the arteries, bringing more oxygen to the leg muscles.  Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld, M.D. recommends a form of niacin called inositol hexaniacinate which is the safest form and does not cause liver problems or trigger a niacin flush (itchy, over-heated, red face).  The recommended amount is 500 mg twice a day for 3 months.  Then hold off for a month.

    The herb ginkgo is another substance that lets people walk farther without pain by improving circulation to the legs.  Dr. Rothfeld recommends a 24% extract of 40 mg three times a day, also for three months then a month off.

    Home Remedies for Prostate Issues

    Prostate issues range from full-blown cancer to BPH, benign prostate hyperplasia, generally referred to as an enlarged prostate.  Prostate cancer is extremely serious with over 185,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. 

    This is definitely not an area for home remedies without the guidance of a qualified urologist.  With the advent of the DaVinci surgical system, prostate surgery has been elevated to a whole new level of technology and advances in targeted chemo and radiation have improved the outcomes for prostate cancer.

    Since the focus here is on home remedies, there are several approaches that have shown benefit in all types of prostate issues.  Nevertheless, for any type of active cancer, an integrative approach seems to be the more sensible, safe approach than pursuing alternative remedies only.  For prevention, by all means, go natural.

    Diagram showing prostate surrounding the urethra

    Starting with Coenzyme Q10, 15 prostate cancer patients were given 600 mg a day in an oil base and their progress closely monitored.  After one year, progress in 4 cases had been stopped and the other 10 were reversed.  This was a ridiculously small study and efforts are underway to replicate it on a larger scale.  Dr. Michael Schachter, M.D. in 
    Suffern, NY gives all his prostate cancer patients 200 mg three times a day.

    Selenium is an anti-oxidant mineral that one study shows can cut the incidence of prostate cancer by 60% with a daily intake of 200 ug.  Dr. Schachter, mentioned above, gives his patients a therapeutic dose of 400 to 600 ug per day but he is quick to say that such a dose should only be taken under strict medical supervision.

    Most men know about taking zinc for prostate health but for active prostate cancer a daily supplement of zinc picolinate of 30 to 50 mg is used by Dr. Patrick Quillan, R.D. in Tulsa, OK.  He says the prostate has the highest concentration of zinc in the body and the additional amounts can help the prostate battle cancer cells.

    Saw Palmetto is the herb of choice for shrinking prostate tissue and blocking the effects of testosterone which can feed prostate cancer.  Dr. James Forsyth, M.D. recommends 80 mg twice a day for his prostate cancer patients combined with 25 mg of pygeum which may also retard prostate swelling. Pygeum is an herb that has shown to reduce the symptoms of BPH in combination with nettle and saw palmetto.

    Lycopene, a phytochemical found in tomatoes is another powerful anti-oxidant that has shown properties in regulating cancer genes.  Dr. Robert Roundtree, M.D. in Boulder, CO prescribes a teaspoon of tomato paste a day for his cancer patients.

    High levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids either in supplement capsule form or cod liver oil exhibit several benefits for combating prostate cancer including the mitigation of inflammation and helping control the development of new cells.

    Dr. Patrick Quillan, previously mentioned, prescribes 2 teaspoons a day of cod liver oil (flavored) or two tablespoons of flaxseed oil (can also be taken as four 1,000 mg capsules).  In addition, he says 1,000 to 2,000 mg per day of pumpkin seed oil can supply the prostate with zinc and magnesium.

    A few other tips for prostate cancer prevention include cutting out saturated fats and cutting back on caffeine and alcohol.  Take an anti-oxidant supplement including Vitamins E and C plus zinc and selenium mentioned above.  Here's one the men will like and that is to exercise the prostate regularly.  Some studies show that frequent ejaculation reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

    Home Remedies for Psoriasis

    Psoriasis is a noncontagious, lifelong disease which, according to the NIH, afflicts 7.5 million Americans.  According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, it takes five forms, the most common being a plaque form characterized by raised red patches covered by a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells. 

    It is also an auto-immune disease with the red patches being areas of inflammation.  No matter, if you have it, you know what it is and what it's like.  The question is, how do we get rid of it?

    Sticking to the non-drug, home remedies, Dr. John O.A. Pagano, D.C., claims to have been healing psoriasis sufferers for 30 years using nutrition.  what a novelty...remember Hippocrates, "let food be your medicine..."  According to Dr. Pagano, most caregivers view psoriasis as a skin disease and immediately go to topical ointments and drugs that may clear up the skin but wreak havoc on the rest of the body.

    He says it does not originate with the skin but is an intestinal condition in which the walls of the small intestine become thin and permeable allowing toxins to enter the bloodstream in large numbers.  The overload becomes so great that the body can't eliminate it through normal liver and kidney function so tries to compensate by eliminating the toxins through the skin via sweat glands, resulting the lesions typical of psoriasis.

    Here is Dr. Pagano's dietary approach which he recommends following for 3 to 6 months under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.  Then continue the diet for another 3 to 6 months before reintroducing the foods that have been eliminated.

    Psoriasis covering back and arms

    The first step is cleansing by drinking 64 ounces of water throughout the day; eating a serving or two a day of stewed prunes, figs, apples, raisins, peaches, pears or apples for their laxative effect; exercising 30 to 40 minutes a day to sweat out toxins, increase circulation, oxygenate the blood and increase filtration through the liver and 

    Next, moisturize the skin with a 50-50 mixture of olive oil and peanut oil on thinner lesions and castor oil on thicker lesions; stop using antiperspirants since they block normal elimination through sweat glands (deodorants don't).  It's probably best to avoid this one if you have a peanut allergy; psoriasis is likely preferable to death.

    The home remedies include a diet of 70 to 80% fruit and vegetables (high fiber), lots of leafy, green salad and 20 - 30% whole grains, poultry, fish, lamb and low-fat, low sodium dairy products; no red meat whatsoever and no products containing hydrogenated fats (usually present in processed foods)and use olive oil for cooking instead of butter or margarine.

    Eliminate foods from the nightshade family (toxic to psoriasis sufferers) which includes eggplant, white potatoes, peppers, paprika and tomatoes and tomato products like catsup, tomato juice, pizza and absolutely no tobacco since it is also a nightshade.

    No shellfish, junk foods including fried foods, potato chips, alcohol, pickled and smoked foods, no excess sweets like soda, pastry, pies or candy.  Hit the omega-3 heavy to control inflammation, preferable sources are fish oil and flaxseed oil. 

    Finally he includes three herbals in his regimen of home remedies; slippery elm 30 minutes before breakfast, prepared as a warm tea (half teaspoon full in a cup of warm water); yellow saffron as a tea taken five days a week but stop if experiencing excessive urination or bladder irritation; and lecithin at a dosage of 1 tablespoon three times a day, 5 days a week.  So that's it. 

    Sounds like a lot to do but mostly it's just a lifestyle change in dietary habits.  Since psoriasis is usually a lifetime condition, why not spend a year following Dr. Pagano's plan to see what happens.  Cutting all the trash out of one's diet has to have a lot of healthy benefit anyway.

    A parenthetical note is that if psoriasis is truly an autoimmune disease, then in addition to Dr. Pagano's approach, the home remedies should include liberal amounts of glyconutrients in the daily diet in that they support the immune system's ability to distinguish self from non-self cells and hopefully, give the body a reason not to attack itself.

    Varicose Veins

    Varicose veins arise when the tiny valves in the veins of the leg break or fail to close. This allows gravity to pull the blood back into the legs and pool up.  The typical treatment from the medical community is to prescribe compression hose.  The alternative practitioners think they can do better with the home remedies. 

    The cautionary note is to see an M.D. if the aching and fatigue in the legs worsens; if hard lumps on the veins that won't go away are noticed; or if there is a painful, burning or red swelling in a local area.  The last thing you want is to have phlebitis develop (vein inflammation).

    The list of home remedies includes the bioflavonoid quercetin, taking one or two 500 - 600 mg capsules three times a day with meals.  Other bioflavonoids are grape seed or pine bark, taken daily at a dosage of 150 - 300 mg.  Colorful berries (cherries, blueberries and blackberries) are loaded with the flavonoids present in the grapeseed or pine bark.

    Other home remedies call for Vitamin C.  It strengthens vein walls and 2,000 to 3,000 mg daily are recommended as an ongoing routine.  Other substances that may help are horse chestnut (300 mg capsule twice a day); butcher's broom (100 mg three times a day); bilberry (80 mg 3x/day) and gotu kola (60-120 mg/day); and bromelain (500 mg 3x/day).

    Lastly, most home remedies involve exercise. Walk or swim 30 minutes a day, 5 or 6 days a week.  Sleep with the feet slightly elevated and consider hydrotherapy before retiring for the night.  To improve circulation to the legs, put the feet in very cold water for 30 seconds, then in very warm water for two minutes, repeating the process three times with the final 30 seconds in cold water.

    Water Retention

    Water or fluids that normally go through the body pool up in tiny spaces between the cells.  It is much more common in women than men since women have larger spaces between the cells to allow for expansion during pregnancy.  fluid buildup and dissipation over the course of a woman's menstrual cycle is normal but fluid retention all the time is a health problem.

    Conventional medicine will try to control the situation with drugs called diuretics that flush water out of the body.  Unfortunately, they also flush out needed minerals like potassium and magnesium that muscles, the heart and nerves need to do their job. 

    Another side effect is raising blood sugar.  So by taking a little pill to get rid of excess water, we end up taking a whole handful of pills to correct the side effects.

    Now that's water retention!

    There are some home remedies to edema.  Believe it or not, drink more water.  Water retention or not, we should be drinking about 64 ounces (8 glasses) of water every day.  If we have water retention, the temptation is not to drink water, then we get dehydrated because we aren't drinking enough water to meet our body’s needs. 

    The kidneys react by deciding to store or conserve water so we end up with even more water retention.  To stop the kidneys from making a reservoir out of our bodies, get back on a normal water intake and the kidneys won't think we are drying out.

    Photo:  Now that's water retention!

    There are a few foods that are natural diuretics that include asparagus, carrots, artichokes, alfalfa sprouts, celery, watermelon and parsley.  Just eat one of these every day and edema could be a thing of the past. 

    An herb that is considered nature's best diuretic is dandelion leaf.  Take 250 mg of dandelion leaf extract three times a day or take 30 to 60 drops of tincture in half a cup of juice or water three times a day. 

    This natural cure comes from Dr. Mark Stengler, N.D. in San Diego, who says dandelion can be taken indefinitely if we are using it to take care of water retention from high blood pressure but if taking it for leg swelling during pregnancy, take it until the symptoms are under control then cut the dosage in half. 

    Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) at a level of 100 mg a day can help strengthen the liver and allow it to work more effectively to remove water from the body.  The best way to be sure of getting vitamin B6 is to take a B-complex supplement.  Otherwise B6 is found in nuts, meat, vegetables and whole grains.  A good balanced diet should in fact give us enough B6.

    The last thing to mention on water retention comes from ayurvedic medicine where it is thought that jumping, as on a mini-trampoline, stimulates the lymphatic system of vessels that drain fluid.  If I happened to be on the heavy side or had problem knees, I think I would just stick with the home remedies above and forget the jumping.

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    The Home Remedies Reading List

    Just click on any of the titles below, all pertinent to home remedies in one form or another, and you will taken to Amazon.com for more information on the book or to buy it online.

    The Arginine Solution: The First Guide to America's New Cardio-Enhancing Supplement

    The Cardiovascular Cure: How to Strengthen Your Self Defense Against Heart Attack and Stroke

    The Coenzyme Q10 Phenomenon

    The Complete Home Health Advisor

    The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together

    Essential Oils Pocket Reference

    The Five Forces of Wellness: The Ultraprevention System for Living an Active, Age-Defying, Disease-Free Life

    The Healing Nutrients Within: Facts, Findings, and New Research on Amino Acids

    The Healing Power of Flax: How Nature's Richest Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Help to Heal, Prevent and Reverse Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes and Heart

    Health and Healing: The Philosophy of Integrative Medicine and Optimum Health

    The Hormone Solution: Stay Younger Longer with Natural Hormone and Nutrition Therapies

    Hydrogen Peroxide: Medical Miracle

    Marginal to Mainstream: Alternative Medicine in America

    Miracle Sugars: The Glyconutrient Link to Disease Prevention and Improved Health

    Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth: The Surprising Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Why

    The New Healing Foods: 1,404 Refrigerator Remedies, Countertop Cures, and Miracle Menus that Fight Everything from Arthritis, High Blood Pressure, and ... Cranky Gut! (Jerry Baker Good Health series)

    Omega 3 Oils: A Practical Guide

    The One-Minute Cure: The Secret to Healing Virtually All Diseases

    The Oxygen Prescription: The Miracle of Oxidative Therapies

    Prescriptionfor Drug Alternatives: All-Natural Options for Better Health without the Side Effects

    Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Her bs & Food Supplements

    The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First - The Simple Way to Defeat Depression, Overcome Anxiety, and Sharpen Your Mind

    Ultraprevention: The 6-Week Plan That Will Make You Healthy for Life

    The Ultimate Omega-3 Diet: Maximize the Power of Omega-3s to Supercharge Your Health, Battle Inflammation, and Keep Your Mind Sharp

    What You Must Know About Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & More: Choosing the Nutrients That Are Right for You

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