Home Remedies

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Stuffy nose can accompany a variety of different ailments from allergies to the common cold to sinusitis. It’s generally not serious, though if it persists long term you may want to see a doctor. It is incredibly irritating though, and I know when my runny nose gets going, all I want to do is end it. How can we do it?

1. Hot soup.

People often swear by chicken soup specifically, but if you eat an exclusively plant-based diet, a nice, vegetable-dense veggie soup will do the trick. Soup helps moisturize the airways and thin phlegm, making it easier to expel. It also soothes sore throats. Having soup two or three times a day while stuffed up can help immensely.

2. Turmeric.

This one surprised me a bit! Turmeric has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties and helps get rid of phlegm by killing the bacteria that causes excessive mucus. It also helps threaten the immune system. Try these turmeric remedies:

  1. Add  teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm dairy/non-dairy milk. Drink it in the morning and eening.
  2. Take a half-teaspoon of turmeric with a glass of water three times daily.
  3. Add a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of salt to a glass of hot water and gargle with it every other hour or so.
3. Ginger.

Ginger is a decongestant and has been used as a home remedy to fight respiratory infections for thousands of years. It also helps ease an upset stomach if you’re feeling a little bit queasy. One way to take it is to add a tablespoon of ginger slices to one cup of boiled water. Steep it for a few minutes then add a teaspoon of honey. You can drink this as much as you want. You can also just chew raw ginger slices or add ginger to your food.

4. Lemon juice.

Lemon juice is one of my all time favorite ingredients. It helps your body digest food more effectively, it’s great for boosting your immune system and it’s loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. Lemon juice helps fight off infection, which is where its mucous-containing powers come into play. What you definitely don’t want to do is buy lemon juice from concentrate. Buy a fresh, organic lemon and juice it by squeezing it. You can add it to a glass of cold water or in your tea. Another option is to simply suck on a slice of lemon. Add a little bit of salt and pepper to soothe a sore throat and clear your sinuses.

5. Salt water.

Warm salt water treats phlegm by destroying the bacteria that may be causing it. It also helps soothe sore throat. Simply add a quarter teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle periodically throughout the day.

6. Plain old steam.

Steam inhalation helps clear your sinuses by making your phlegm runnier and easier to eliminate from your body. A couple times a day, take a hot shower. Use water as hot as you can stand it. Make it nice and steamy. Additionally, you can pour boiling water into a bowl and hold a towel over your head over the bowl. Breathe in deeply through your nose for 5 to 10 minutes. This helps loosen up the mucous.

With any luck, this’ll help you beat the phlegm!

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I’m a lucky guy. I’ve rarely had any trouble with seasonal allergies. But everyone in my family has struggled with it year after year after year. Their runny nose, constant sneezing and itchy eyes – it stinks. Through them, I’ve been able to identify what works for them and share it with you. Here are my 10 tips for kicking the springtime allergies.

1. Check the daily pollen count.

This one’s easy. You can check the pollen count by clicking here. The pollen count describes the concentration of grains of pollen in a cubic meter of air. The count tends to be higher between 5:00am and 10:00am. If the pollen count if moderate or high, try to stay indoors. Wear a pollen mask when outdoors and sunglasses to protect your eyes. Or just sleep in.

2. Grab some antihistamines from the drug store.

A simple antihistamine tablet or nasal spray can help stop runny nose and itchy eyes. It’s best to use before you experience symptoms though. See #1. Decongestants can help cut down on the fluids that line your nose. You can also buy antihistamine eye drops if you have irritated eyes. If you’d like to skip the drug store, you can do things like sip apple cider vinegar, take lots of probiotics, flush your nose with a nasal irrigation, drink a nettle leaf tea, take a hot shower, breathe in eucalyptus oil, and even eat spicy food to help beat the allergies.

3. Don’t bring your shoes inside.

Your shoes could have tons of pollen on them, and you just track it right into your house if you don’t take your shoes off.

4. Change your ventilation filters regularly.

Your furnace filter should be changed every 6 weeks in winter. Make sure all filters in your home are changed often. Avoid use of fans if possible.

5. Keep windows closed and use your air conditioner.

Usually I recommend keeping windows open in the spring to let fresh air in, but if you suffer allergies, keep ‘em closed and turn on the AC. The filter in your air conditioner will help filter out pollen.

6. Dehumidify your home.

Humidity levels should be below 60% to decrease the growth of mold, which is another common allergen. Consider a dehumidifier in damp places, like restrooms.

7. Get rid of your rugs.

Pull the carpet, get rid of rugs, and vacuum your floors and furniture daily. Take down your drapes once a week and wash them.

8. Wash your bedding often.

Dust mites can cause allergies. Washing your bedding in 131 degree water kills all dust mites.

9. Get allergen-proof pillow cases and mattress covers.

This helps significantly decrease contact with dust mites and helps reduce asthma and allergies.

10. Wash up.

Wash your hands often and make sure your hair and any facial hair is clean. This helps keep bedding clean and wipes away any potential allergens.

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Uncovered recently in an old manuscript in the British Library was a thousand year old remedy for eye infections that has been proven to kill the superbug MRSA, or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureas, an antibiotic-resistant superbug.

Dr. Christina Lee of the School of English at Nottingham University and an expert on Anglo-Saxon culture recreated the 10th century potion to test its strengths as an antibacterial remedy. The “eyesalve” as it’s called, calls for two species of Allium, which includes garlic, onions and leek, wine, and oxgall, or the bile from a cow’s stomach.

The method of implementation is incredibly specific. It calls for making the topical solution in a brass vessel, straining it to purify, and strictly must be left to sit for nine days before used medicinally. No one expected it to work, but it actually did. When tested, microbiologists were amazed to find that the salve cleared up styes and, incredibly enough, was effective against MRSA.

“We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab,” Dr Lee said of their findings.  “We believe modern research into disease can benefit from past responses and knowledge, which is largely contained in non-scientific writings.

“But the potential of these texts to contribute to addressing the challenges cannot be understood without the combined expertise of both the arts and science.”

Dr. Lee translated the cow bile recpie from Bald’s Leechbook, which came in the form of a leatherbound Old English manuscript. The Leechbook is thought to be among the world’s first medical textbooks and contains numerous Anglo-Saxon recipes for medicines, salves, and other types of treatments.

“Medieval leech books and herbaria contain many remedies designed to treat what are clearly bacterial infections, weeping wounds/sores, eye and throat infections, skin conditions such as erysipelas, leprosy and chest infections,” Dr Lee added.

On a personal note, my father passed away in part due to an incurable MRSA infection. Hearing that this remedy actually works is encouraging. Hopefully many lives can be saved.

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It seems kind of weird, right? Why freeze your lemons? Well first, let’s talk about why you should incorporate lemons into your diet in the first place.

For starters, the true nutritional benefit of the lemon is in its peels. The peels contain 5-10 times more vitamins than simply the lemon juice, and the peel is the part we throw away! Lemon peels help rid our bodies of toxic junk, provide tons of vitamin C to keep your immune cells fighting fit, and some studies have shown lemons to prevent cancer.

Lemons also have anti-microbial effects against infections both fungal and bacterial. They may also be effective at removing internal parasites and worms. Lemons are like little scrubbers for your insides.

So, they detox the body, help prevent cancer, and keep the immune system strong. Why freeze them?

Well, by freezing them, it’s easier to incorporate them into your diet. A frozen lemon is easily grated and added to a smoothie without the normally bitter flavor of the peels. It can also help maintain the nutritional value of the lemon longer and prevent them from spoiling. Of course, be sure to wash your lemons before you put them in the freezer to scrub any pesticides or dirt from their surface.

Enjoy those frozen lemons!

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Did you know that the bottoms of your feet are a direct entryway into your body through what Chinese doctors call meridians? Meridians are pathways to each organ in the body. Some argue that meridians don’t actually exist, but those who understand Chinese medicine recognize that meridians are closely related to the nervous system. And you have one of those, right? It’s basically the same thing.

The bottoms of your feet have a variety of different nerve endings. 7,000 to be precise. Those nerves link to a variety of different organs in the body. The electrical signals sent across these meridians often become dormant when you wear shoes. Stimulating those meridians is important. You can do so by grounding yourself with the earth’s negative ion field (stand outside without shoes on) or using onions.

One of the coolest ways to stimulate these meridians is with cut up onion or garlic in your socks (at the bottoms of your feet) while you sleep. Both bulbs are known as air purifiers and when applied to the skin, they kill germs and bacteria. Phosphoric acid also enters the blood stream and helps purify the blood. We don’t recommend reusing onions as they collect the germs and bacteria. We also don’t encourage eating the foot onions.

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If you or someone in your home has ended up with a bleeding wound, it can be pretty easy to treat or potentially life threatening. Whether you find yourself wanting to plug a cut or need to slow down bleeding while medics get to you, there’s one trick that Native Americans have used for thousands of years. They put Cayenne pepper on their wounds. It’s likely not in your medicine cabinet, but I’d bet Cayenne is in your spice cabinet right now. Cayenne is a great addition to any first aid kit for backpackers, campers, or even just at home.

It’s easy to use for external wounds. Just apply the powder directly to your cut or laceration. The bleeding should stop shortly after. If your wound is larger than just a minor scrape or cut, a teaspoon of cayenne powder mixed in a glass of water taken orally can help slow the bleeding. The spice is a styptic, meaning it stops bleeding when applied to a wound and helps the blood clot when taken orally.

Dr. Richard Schulze, ND, MH, proclaimed, “If you only master one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It’s more powerful than any other.”

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Did you know that some 60 million Americans suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is basically a blanket term to describe a variety of bowel issues? Conventional medicine has yet to come up with a definitive cure, but you certainly can treat the underlying causes of of your stomach distress. Dr. Mark Hyman outlines 5 steps you can take to overcome IBS and heal your digestive system.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a fairly common gut disorder. The cause of it is unknown and the symptoms are typically varied. Some experience abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, and overall feelings of unwellness. It depends from person to person Additionally, 1 in 5 people in the United Kingdom also develop IBS at some point in their lives.

Taking steps to live a healthy, active life and eating the right foods may also help you in preventing and treating this disorder.

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When you smoke a cigarette, it takes 6-8 hours for that nicotine to work its way out of your system. Your body takes care of filtering it out. Sometimes a bit of nicotine gets left behind in your system for up to 20-30 days, making it necessary to help your body filter it all out. Here are our 10 tips for flushing nicotine from your body.

  1. Drink plenty of water! Being hydrated helps your body flush out all toxins, nicotine included.
  2. Eat lots of vegetables. This is just general good health. Vegetables like eggplants, beans, cucumbers and celery to increase the flushing.
  3. Eat nettle. It’s high in iron and good for your immune system.
  4. Adding kiwi to your diet infuses you with vitamins A, C, and E, which are reduced when you smoke.
  5. Pine needle tea has been shown to help disinfect the mouth and throat, as well as help with overall lung health.
  6. Breathe deeply! Infuse your bloodstream with lots of oxygen so your cells are able to work at their maximum capacity.
  7. Eating spinach will add folic acid to your body, which helps make the taste of tobacco repulsive.
  8. Eating broccoli helps provide your body with vitamins B5 and C, which help your lungs repair.
  9. Oranges are also high in vitamin C, which is a vital vitamin that many smokers are deficient in.
  10. Carrot juice also helps remove nicotine by giving your body plenty of vitamin A, B, C, and K. Nicotine also damages your skin, which these vitamins will help repair.

Image credit: Philippa Willitts, Flickr

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Hydrogen peroxide, or H202, is an inexpensive and fairly common household item, and for good reason. Hydrogen peroxide has tons of uses, from health to cosmetic. Here are the 25 reasons to keep hydrogen peroxide around:

  1. Disinfect small cuts; what it’s famous for.
  2. Bleach your hair.
  3. Add highlights to your hair.
  4. Whitens your teeth when used as toothpaste or mouthwash.
  5. Antiseptic mouth rinse.
  6. You can use it to disinfect your tooth brush.
  7. Get rid of acne.
  8. Heal boils.
  9. Remove ear wax.
  10. Relieve ear infections.
  11. Remove sub-dermal parasites.
  12. Rid yourself of foot fungus.
  13. Clean tile surfaces.
  14. Whiten grout.
  15. Clean your toilet bowl.
  16. Removes tub scum.
  17. Controls mold and mildew.
  18. Works as a great window cleaner.
  19. Disinfects countertops.
  20. Soak your sponges and rags in it to keep them longer.
  21. Disinfect cutting boards.’
  22. Wash pesticides off your fruits and vegetables.
  23. Whiten laundry.
  24. Clean rugs and carpets.
  25. Cleans dehumidifiers.

Image credit: Tim Samoff, Flickr

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It really stinks when you have to get up early but you just can’t fall asleep. Your sleeplessness could be due to a number of things. You could be eating the wrong foods, trying to sleep counter to your natural rhythm, or spending too much time using electronics before bed. A good tip if you’ve been having trouble falling asleep is to stay away from screens for a couple hours before bedtime.

Just last night I was struggling to get to sleep, so I gave this little remedy a try. It definitely worked for me! Wasn’t bad tasting either. Let’s give it a try:

You will need:

  • 1 chamomile bag
  • 1/ 1/2 cups of organic milk or coconut, almond, or hemp milk.
  • 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • 20 drops of Valerian

Instructions:

  1. Pour your milk or milk substitute into a small pan. I used almond milk. Add the chamomile tea bag and simmer for about ten minutes.
  2. Pour the cocoa powder into a mug and add a small amount of filtered water, forming a thick paste.
  3. Remove the teabag from the milk. Squeeze it to make sure the mix is drained from the bag.
  4. Add the Valerian tincture and pour the hot milk into the mug.
  5. Stir well and drink ten minutes before bed.

Photo credit: Marco Arment, Flickr

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