Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Top 7 Most Useful Home Remedies

An old healer once said to me: "GOD placed medicine all around us. We've just forgotten where to look..." and the more I learn about herbal medicine and home remedies, the more I know it to be true.

I believe there is already a cure for every ailment known to man, we just haven't figured out which leaves/bark/roots/fruits they are yet...I recently shared some of my home remedies on facebook, and my post was immediately swamped by likes and comments from people intrigued and wanting to know more.

The following is a list of the home remedies that I've found the most useful and versatile.As you'll see, these remedies are so useful that together, they cover just about every ailment and eventuality.

The Top 3 are excellent emergency remedies and I believe should be kept in every home first aid kit, AND every car or handbag...

1. Cayenne Pepper

This amazing spice has been known to stop a heart attack already in progress, in under a minute. Also strokes, internal hemorrhage and post-partum hemorrhage, if a pinch is placed directly underneath the patient's tongue.

Has the amazing ability to both thin the blood and help the blood clot. Known as an adaptogen, will adapt to the individual needs of your body.

One woman saved her son's life after being shot in the stomach, by applying cayenne pepper to the wound. It was enough to staunch the flow of blood, while they waited for medical help to arrive. Cayenne Pepper has the added benefit of drawing circulation to the area (which helps to speed healing) and also prevents infection from taking hold in open wounds.

My husband was working on a building site recently, and just days earlier, I had left a small packet of cayenne pepper there....just in case. I had given my husband instructions on how to use it.

On this day, his brother was operating a grinder and somehow it slashed open his hand, right in that webbed part between two fingers. Ouch! Blood began pouring out everywhere. My husband dashed in and grabbed the packet of cayenne pepper and began caking it onto the wound. His brother said it stung to the high heaven, but the blood began to clot right before their eyes.

My husband rang me and asked what should they do next? I advised them to go to the local clinic, in case it required stitches. Being men, they took no notice whatsoever and after resting for a while my brother-in-law realized that the wound was no longer hurting so he simply got back to work. 

I cleaned the wound every day with hydrogen peroxide, followed by aloe vera, and within 5-6 days it was closed over.

A pinch of cayenne pepper each day (added to food or drink) will help to prevent nose-bleeds.

A small pinch each day will also increase libido, due to increased circulation to the reproductive organs. 

Add a pinch to some coconut oil, and use as a massage for cold hands and feet in the elderly. It will have them warmed up in no time.

Also, I've successfully used this on limbs which have a slow-to-heal sore or ulcer. Don't use it on the actual sore or ulcer, but around the area and up the limb, will bring circulation to the area and speed up healing. Such a massage also feels delicious (so I'm told!) to anyone suffering from the aches and pains of influenza.

Cayenne Pepper also has analgesic (painkilling) properties - after the initial sting, that is!

2. Activated Charcoal

Has the ability to adsorb up to 100x it's own weight in toxins. This is why it is used in gas masks and water filters to remove impurities, heavy metals, chemicals and other toxins. Also used in hospitals and emergency wards, following a drug or medication overdose. 

Can be taken internally for upset stomach, food poisoning and "gas" pains. Add 1/4 tsp in a glass of water, once per day until symptoms ease. 

I can't remember what I ate on this particular day, but by evening, I was bent over double with sharp pains in the abdomen. I could barely straighten up enough to walk. I drank some activated charcoal in water, and within about 15 minutes, the pains were completely gone.

Can be applied topically to draw out toxins or poisons in the case of bites and stings. I was told by a Fijian woman about her husband who travels around the Pacific teaching herbal medicine. One night, he was in a remote Papuan village, and was woken during the night by a commotion. One of the villagers had been bitten on the thigh by a snake. He was in tremendous pain, and the leg had already started to swell. The man immediately applied activated charcoal, and by morning, the leg was back to normal size and the villager suffered no other side-effects.

Recently my 8-year-old son was attacked by a swarm of wasps or hornets while climbing trees in the bush. He ran home, screaming in pain. He had about 7 bites on his back and legs. I immediately dabbed honey, then activated charcoal onto the bites (at that time, we thought they were bee-stings, but figured out later they were wasps or hornets). Within about 5 minutes the pain began to subside, and he fell asleep. By the time he awoke, half an hour later, he had no more pain, and within another hour all signs of redness and swelling were completely gone.

Activated charcoal can be used on infected wounds or open sores, such as bacterial skin infections. Make a poultice by mixing some activated charcoal with finely diced onion, or grated potato. Fold inside a square of soft cloth and place the cloth against the wound/sore. Hold in place with a bandage or band-aid and leave overnight. Remove in the morning, there will be pus on the cloth. Repeat each night until healed. Leave off during the day to allow air to circulate and expose to sunlight. Only do this if the wound/sore is already open.

Activated charcoal can be taken internally for detox purposes. Put 1/4 tsp into a glass of water and drink. It is messy, but has no taste. Do this daily for 1 - 2 weeks, every 6 months or so. This draws and adsorbs toxins from the different parts of the body, and safely removes from the body via the bowels. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day - you don't want all those toxins getting clogged up in the bowels.

I sometimes use activated charcoal as an eye-shadow (the only "make-up" I ever wear) as it helps to prevent eye-infections, such as conjunctivitis.

3. Arnica

Arnica comes from the Arnica Montana plant and is one of the most outstanding remedies for bruises/bumps/swellings of all kinds.

This is an absolute miracle-worker, and I really encourage every mother to get some for her first aid kit. You will find it indispensable. My children have never yet had a bruise, a bump or a black eye, despite all the usual childhood knocks and bumps, including one really serious head-fall when my daughter just over a year old. This also works in case of trauma and shock, following accidents or surgeries.

I use the arnica pillules mostly, especially if the bump is near the eye, or if there is a general fall and you don't know exactly the location of the bump or future bruise, but topical solutions also work well.

One pillule of Ainsworths (Arnica) Homeopathic Remedy is usually enough for general bumps and knocks, but for more serious falls, I give one pillule every half an hour for the first couple of hours, and apply a topical solution.

I've been using arnica for over 5 years, and have had 100% success with this remedy (ie. no bruises, bumps or swellings)

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is actually the same chemical components as water (hydrogen and oxygen)...except it contains double the amount of oxygen. Do not ever drink undiluted hydrogen peroxide - our bodies can't handle such high levels of oxygen. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide, if yours is more highly concentrated, dilute with purified water to 3%.

We live in the tropics where bacterial infections are very common, due to the moist warm climate. In the beginning, it seemed like every scratch, every mosquito bite, every pimple turned into a pus-filled infection. Until I started using hydrogen peroxide on everything!! Every cut, every open wound now gets treated with hydrogen peroxide and bacterial infections have become a rarity in our household. It will fizz for a few minutes, this is normal.

My husband had a terrible ulcer on his lower leg that pained him terribly every night for more than seven months. He tried both natural and conventional treatments - all to no avail - it simply refused to heal. I got to thinking about it, and figured it needed a really comprehensive approach. I began by putting drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide on it (which fizzed), then I followed by massaging the entire leg (but not the actual ulcer) with coconut oil, mixed with a pinch of cayenne pepper. That was his first pain-free night in over seven months. Within 3 days, the ulcer was noticeably better, and within 10 days it was healed over. 

Strike another one up to natural remedies!

Sometimes we add 2 drops of hydrogen peroxide per 2 liters of water, if we are dubious in any way about the quality and cleanliness of the water we're drinking.

I've used hydrogen peroxide on ear infections before with some success. 

Also, an old home remedy, which I've used successfully. At the first sign of a cold or cough, lay on your side and add two drops of hydrogen peroxide into the ear. Lay still for about 10 minutes, then roll onto other side and repeat in other ear. This only works in the early stages, before the cold has progressed down into the throat and beyond. 

Add a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to a cupful of water and use as a mouthwash. Helps to stop throat infections and keep harmful bacteria in the mouth under control. Dip your toothbrush in straight hydrogen peroxide once a week to clean it. 

Can also be used as a facial cleanser.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

On EarthClinic.com - one of my favourite sites on the Internet - Apple Cider Vinegar is the No.1 most popular home remedy. And for good reason!!

I've been enjoying my daily dose of apple cider vinegar for several years now. I put 1 - 2 tablespoons of vinegar into a glass of water. In the beginning, I added stevia, but I've since grown accustomed to the taste and just have it mixed with water, and sip it like a cup of tea. The first few mouthfuls, I use as a mouthwash and gargle, and then drink the remainder.

I am prone to digestive problems, and find that a daily fix of ACV really helps to prevent them, it also increases energy. Taking 1 -2 tablespoons in a glass of water half an hour before meals helps to digest the meal and prevents acid reflux/heartburn.

Taken on a regular basis long-term, can help to ease asthma and allergies, sinus problems, eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions, PMS, high blood pressure, arthritis, varicose veins and weight loss.

I had feedback from several women who had either irregular periods or no periods at all, that they're periods started again/became regular after 1 - 2 months of daily apple cider vinegar.

ACV is also excellent when used externally for skin problems. For warts, apply straight apple cider vinegar to a cloth or cotton wool, then attach to wart using a bandaid or plaster (you will experience a burning or stinging sensation). Change daily. After a few days to a week, wart will change color and start to fall off.

For athletes foot and other fungal infections, use a solution of 50:50 ACV/water and soak the affected area in it for 10 minutes. It will probably sting in the beginning. Do this daily. You may increase the ratio of vinegar to water as the skin starts to heal.

Use as a facial toner to neutralize skin pH. I also add half a cup of ACV to a liter of water and use as a post-shampoo hair rinse, instead of conditioner. It helps to keep dandruff away, and also gives hair shine.

For vaginal yeast infections, add half a cupful of ACV to 1 liter of water and use as a douche. Consider taking ACV internally long-term, since yeast infections are a symptom of internal candida overgrowth. For hemorrhoids (external ones) apply diluted apple cider vinegar direct to the site. It stings for a few minutes and then begins to feel better - also take ACV internally will help. Some people experience relief from hemorrhoid's by soaking in a warm bath to which 1/2 to one cup of ACV has been added.

Be sure to buy the raw, unfiltered ACV, as most supermarket varieties are pasteurized and filtered, making them next to useless in terms of medicinal effectiveness. Bragg's brand is highly recommended.

6. Turmeric (Also known as curcumin)

Did you know that turmeric is one of the world's most potent anti-inflammatory agents? Sayer Ji and the team from Green Med Info spent 5 years reviewing the science on this incredible spice and discovered that  turmeric is equal to, or even more effective than some drugs, including statin drugs (cholesterol-lowering drugs), cortico-steroids (used for arthritis, etc), antidepressants, some chemotherapy drugs, and diabetes drugs.

Turmeric is the best remedy I've ever used against boils. My son is prone to boils around the buttock area during the hot humid summer months. At the first sign of a boil, we make a drink of 1/2 tsp of turmeric added to half a glass of water and get him to drink once per day. (For an adult, add 1 full tsp to one full glass). Also, mix turmeric with black pepper and enough coconut oil to make a paste, and apply direct to the boil twice a day.

(Turmeric does temporarily stain the skin a yellow color...)

If we catch it early enough, it simply disappears overnight. If it has already started to become hard and red, it comes up to a head very quickly - within a day or two - and heals very quickly, as opposed to 1 - 2 weeks without treatment. 

Turmeric is also effective against chronic diarrhoea. I once had a case of chronic diarrhoea, which lasted more than 6 weeks. I began to take 1 tsp of turmeric in a glass of water (tastes like you're drinking cold curry!) once per day. By the end of the second day, the diarrhoea was gone, never to return again.

While taking turmeric, be sure to drink plenty of water during the day, since it does firm up bowel movements, it may lead to constipation in some people.

7.  Coconut Oil

Ahhh. Where does one begin with coconut oil. One of it's claims to fame is that it contains lauric acid, a substance that is found only in human breast-milk....and coconut oil.

Coconut oil is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and ant-inflammatory.

Coconut oil is my go-to oil for my daily oil-pulling routine. After a life-time of tooth troubles, 8 fillings and two back teeth removed and several thousands of dollars spent on dentist fees...I haven't had a toothache, or even so much as a niggle, since I began oil-pulling.

1 - 2 tablespoons of coconut oil taken internally each night before bed, can help to encourage a pain-free bowel movement the next morning, for those who are prone to constipation/hemmorhoids. Taken internally on a regular basis can also help to prevent/alleviate intestinal parasites and candida and aid in weight-loss. Some people notice a feeling of nausea or skin break-outs following the use of coconut oil. This is probably due to a cleansing reaction. Start with 1 tsp, and gradually build up to 2 tablespoons as your body adjusts.

Coconut oil is great for cooking, and does not go rancid at high temperatures, unlike some other oils.

Chewing gum or lollies stuck in kid's hair? No problems. Massage some coconut oil onto it for a few minutes and it'll come away easily.

Coconut oil is excellent for massage and also can be used as a personal lubricant (with the added benefit of helping to prevent vaginal yeast infections).

Another remedy I learned from the Tongan people, is for coughs or chest complaints. Pour some coconut oil into the palm of the hand, then rub both hands together very fast until the oil is hot, then quickly lay hands on the chest of the patient. Massage the oil for a minute or two, then ask them to roll over and repeat on the upper back. The Tongans use coconut oil that has been boiled with different leaves and flowers in it, but virgin coconut oil seems to be just as effective.


Other Honorable Mentions:

The following remedies are also important, although I probably use them less often then the ones listed above. 

Iodine (Sometimes called Lugol's Solution) I use this to disinfect things. I've successfully used this to treat ear infections in others, by adding 2 drops of iodine to a tablespoon of water and dropping into affected ear. (It may sting for a few minutes). I've used this one about 7 - 8 times with a success rate of 100%. 

My young nephew was extremely underweight and had been hospitalized twice for "failure to thrive". At 7 months old, he couldn't hold his head up (let alone sit or crawl) and barely weighed more than his birth weight. His mother was still breastfeeding, so I began adding 2 - 3 drops of iodine into a glass of water each morning (with a squeeze of lime juice to help mask the taste). Within 3 weeks, he was noticeably heavier and within 6 weeks, he began crawling.

Iodine supplementation (3 drops per day in glass of water) also helped my mother-in-law to bring both her blood sugar and blood pressure down to normal levels.

I add 2 -3 drops of iodine to my morning green smoothie, which is shared by all our family. An old kinesiologist, who uses muscle-testing on all his patients to test nutrition levels, told me the number one deficiency is iodine. He estimated about 90% of his patients were suffering from some level of iodine deficiency. (For your info, the other common deficiencies he finds, are magnesium, zinc and Vitamin D.)

In the case of nuclear accident or chemical warfare, iodine - large amounts of it - would be necessary to protect your thyroid from radiation. Given that we are bombarded daily by chemicals, electro-magnetic radiation, fluoride in tap-water etc, etc, most of us need an extra boost of iodine in order to keep our thyroids working efficiently. Iodized table salt simply doesn't cut it...

Sea Salt (or Sea Water, if living near ocean) and Aloe Vera: The ocean is the mother of all healers! She can heal superficial wounds and she can heal wounded spirits and wounded hearts, too. 

A healer from Fiji told me the best remedy for serious burns was to go straight and bathe in the ocean. After that, apply fresh aloe vera to the burns. Continue this each day, and the burns will heal quickly, with no infections and no scarring.  

Clove Oil: Nothing beats clove oil when it comes to toothaches! It works better than painkillers. Carefully apply with a cotton tip to the affected tooth, as it will numb any part of the mouth that it comes into contact with. (Which is peculiar, because it doesn't numb external skin...Perhaps someone could explain that to me!)

Here in our little village, I occasionally get called upon by people suffering from toothaches or ear infections, because word has got around that my remedies work. Three cheers for iodine and clove oil...!

Onions: A cut onion is thought to absorb viruses and bacteria, which is why the old hands used to put a cut onion in the room of a sick person. They also placed a cut onion against the feet of the sick person, covered with a sock and left overnight. The onion was thought to draw out bacteria and virus during the night.

Last year, I had the unfortunate experience of being bit on the finger by a centipede. Common creatures here in the tropics. I immediately applied a cut onion, and the stinging was gone after about 5 minutes, and there was no swelling. 

Several months later, I ran into a cousin who had also been bitten by a centipede 2 days prior. His hand was a swollen, ugly purple color which was still throbbing. I told him, "Next time, get the onion onto it, man!!"

Do you have any home remedies that are so useful, you just can't be without them?

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