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Natural Remedies for Common Ailments

So, I thought i would take yet another break from my normal posts to talk about home remedies.  Everyone deserves to treat things naturally. There are already so many chemicals shoved down our throats in the form of medicine, food, and even cleaners.  In my personal opinion, I would much rather do anything natural before even considering something unnatural and chemical.  So here is my list of natural remedies that I have either used personally or that I’m fairly sure may work based on the properties of the plant or item.

Ginger

Ginger is great for nausea. You can create a tincture from it and then freeze it. The resulting ice cubes can help you get through pregnancy and the nausea after surgery.

If eaten regularly it can boost the immune system and help prevent colds. It is also supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties….so even if you don’t eat it, you may benefit from supplements. Just ask your doctor first.  And girls…the anti-inflammatory properties will help with cramps as well.

Sugar

Two teaspoons of sugar for hiccups works great. Really you can use any coarse substance as the granules rest the irritated nerve, but sugar tastes the best.  Another option for hiccups is to drink with a pencil in your mouth. You end up being so focused on not spilling it all over yourself that you stop hiccuping. It works for me when sugar isn’t available…even if it sounds silly.

Garlic

Garlic has many great uses.

First you can mix six pressed garlic cloves in water. Gargle twice a day for a sore throat.  You can also do this with salt, but I prefer garlic. It taste better by my personal opinion.
Garlic can also be applied directly to the face to help treat acne.

Eating garlic regularly can help prevent illness as it is packed full of immune boosters and antioxidants.

Crushed garlic diffused in warm water is supposed to be a great treatment for fungus in the feet or under nails. I’ve never tried this one, but I plan to. Right now I just apply vicks vapor rub and it mostly works.

Lindon Flower Tea

Great for lowering fever it also dilates blood vessels and stimulates the hypothalamus to better regulate temperature.  Buy or grow the dried herb yourself and diffuse in water with a steeper or reusable tea bags.  Cheesecloth works as well.

For a higher temperature you can also take a bath in tepid (not cold) water to lower your body temp.  Just make sure you bundle up and get back to water once you’re done. http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/natural-home-remedies/reduce-fever

Aloe Vera

Keep a plant on your window sill (it’s really hard to kill) and crack a piece open for any burns, heck even sunburns.  We used to have one and I’ve been meaning to get another one.

Use it to condition your skin. Just harvest the juice and use as you would a toner.

Drinking aloe vera juice aids in natural cleansing of the digestive system. There are many food substances that can cause fatigue and exhaustion, which you can combat by drinking aloe vera juice. When consumed regularly, aloe vera juice will also help increase your energy level and help you maintain a healthy body weight.

I have been told that you can use it to treat gum disease, but I haven’t tested this nor do I have a reason to yet. But if you try it let me know how it works out (and yes it is safe to ingest).

Peppermint

Peppermint is good for reducing flatulence. It kills bacteria and relaxes the intestinal muscles for smoother digestion.

Odor Killers

You can soak your feet in white vinegar or water and baking soda to get rid of stench.

You can also make homemade deodorant in a pinch by making a milky mix of baking soda and water.

Black tea is also supposed to be good for this though I haven’t tried it.

Raw Honey

Put some in your tea, but make sure it’s raw honey from your area. It can help you reduce allergic reactions to pollen and allergens specific to your religion or city.  Why does it work? (http://www.diynatural.com/local-honey-for-allergies/)

It has to be raw because raw honey still contains all the living enzymes needed to protect your body from a histamine overdose. It has to be local because it has to be the pollens causing your reaction. There is no magic number for how close the producer needs to be to your home. Finally, it needs to be harvested around the same time your allergies affect you. If you have fall allergies a summer harvest honey isn’t going to do you any good. It’s not the same pollen, hence not the same allergies.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda is a wonder. While I’m not sure it will cure cancer there are claims that it can do so (or at least help), but here are the things I know it will work for.

First you can use it as a natural teeth whitener and toothpaste.  Second, you can gargle it to get rid of bad breath.  Third, as an antacid with a bit of water.

Olive Oil

Great for chapped lips. It takes a few days, but will help them to heal.  Can be used to moisturize and heal dry and cracked skin.

When it comes to hair care products, you simply cannot ignore olive oil. Packed with fatty acids, several antioxidants and vitamin E, olive oil works as a great moisturizer for your hair. It can help treat dry and damaged hair by sealing the cuticles or the outer layers with moisture. Olive oil is the right solution for hair problems like split ends and frizzy hair. It can even strengthen and add shine to your hair.

To nourish dry tresses, give yourself a hot olive oil head massage.

  1. Apply warm olive oil thoroughly on your scalp and hair shafts.
  2. Using your fingertips, massage the scalp for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover your hair with a warm towel and leave it on for 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
  5. Do this once a week.

 

Witch Hazel

Use it for cuts to kill bacteria. It’s also great for clearing acne. Just apply to face daily as a toner.

  • The big one for me: Spot and blemish control. Witch hazel can reduce the inflammation on a pimple. …
  • Soothe and heal diaper rash. …
  • Shrink bags under the eyes. …
  • Soothe and reduce external hemorrhoids. …
  • Varicose vein relief. …
  • Soothe poison ivy and poison oak. …
  • Treat chicken pox blisters. …
  • Heal your bruises faster.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is my favorite household product. It is good for your health, cleaning, and a number of other things.

First, it can be used in a sinus rinse (a drop or two) to help kill a fungal infection in the sinuses. It can also be drank by itself or mixed in water to achieve the same result (though not as quickly).  Just a warning on the rinse though…it does burn like the dickens, so be careful. I’d only use that one if you are just so down right miserable that a little more pain won’t matter.

You can use it to clean product from your hair.  Just pour a cup and rinse your hair with it before you get out of the shower. And if you don’t want to smell like apple cider for the rest of the night you can use lemon juice afterwards. it will naturally lighten your hair and I know it has some other hair properties….I just can’t remember them. Some recommend mixing it with water, but I have no problem using it straight. It will also kill any fungi that may be attacking your scalp. I just suggest only doing it once or twice a week.

It is a natural teeth whitener when gargled and it will also kill bacteria in your mouth. i mix it with baking soda, which will do the same thing. Honestly they taste better together than apart in my opinion and packs a double whammy.

A small dose of raw ACV can be used to treat constipation and supposedly aids in weight loss….we’ll see. I’m taking it for sinuses….so I’ll let you know if I see any significant change here.

When applied to the skin it can be used to treat skin blemishes.  Some even say it helps diminish wrinkles and fine lines. I’ve not ascended to the crone, so if any of you wonderful wise women out there try this let me know how it works. I would love to know.  I was told just to apply it as a toner. I can attest that it does help with acne.

It can be mixed with honey and warm water to soothe your throat and end a cough caused by a cold.  It will also help your body fight off infection.

Eggs

The whites can be used as a face mask. Just let it dry and then peel it off.

You can take the yellows to use for a dry scalp treatment….just be sure to wash your hair with cold water unless you want egg bits in your hair.

There are tons of natural remedies out there if you only seek them out. Many of them work far better than their toxic companions that you would otherwise buy in the store.  And there are tons of sites dedicated to the topic as well. The ones I’ve shared here are just ones I”ve tried or heard about from others.  I hope you benefit from them as much as I have.
Blessed Be.

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Pests Begone

Hope your week is going splendid so far. Today is going to just be a listing of all sorts of natural remedies for pests that our families may face. Some you may have heard of before and others may be new.

Bed bugs.

These pesky vermin run rampant in my parent’s community, where we currently unfortunately live.  I have three natural remedies for this. However, only two of them can really be done by yourself.

First, pure peroxide. 100%. Spray the little buggers directly and they die. Only problem is that it only works with direct contact.

The second, and probably the best option is diatomaceous  earth. It’s powdered unicellular algae fossils.  You just have to sprinkle it around your floor boards. It breaks down their exoskeleton and dehydrates them. I know this also works on ants. It supposedly works on common garden pests and can be sprinkled on pets as an anti flea treatment and internally (with food grade only) for worms. I don’t know for sure about the garden or pets, but its worth a try. We’re buying some for prevention and to try for its numerous health benefits to humans.  We’re also going to give some to the boyfriend’s parents to try for their dog.

The third will require a professional, but it is the quickest way to get rid of them.  Heat. You will have to vacate your house for up to twenty four hours after removing a myriad of food, flammables, aerosols, and anything else they list. In addition to their list I suggest game systems, expensive electronics, vinyl records, and any precious non fabric family items that you adore. We were lucky to have a room where we could bag these and section them off for three months instead.

Lice

….they are gross, but not a sign of dirty hair. They actually only enjoy clean scalps. So don’t think of it as being dirty. It doesn’t help that they are passed around schools, prisons, and camps like wild fire.  Regardless, they are annoying no matter what kind of hair we have.

Whatever you do please do not use the chemical treatment you get at the store. It has a ton of toxins in it that are entirely unnecessary and damage your hair. Not to mention that it is way overpriced. If you want to get rid of lice there are much easier ways.

The best thing you can do is smother them and comb them out. To do this you’ll coat your hair with a substance (I’ll get to that in a moment) and then let it sit there for about thirty minutes before washing it out. Then you just comb out your hair.

What works best (http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/home-remedies-for-head-lice#4) is almond or olive oil (which is commonly found in the pantry or kitchen). If you don’t happen to use this there are a few alternatives, but be prepared to wash your hair several times due to the oil factor. These options from best to worst include vegetable oil, canola oil, mayonnaise, and peanut butter. I only list all the ones I know work because I know that there are times when money is so tight you have to just use what you have.  Anyway, if you suffocate the little buggers, they will die and then it’s just a matter of getting the eggs and nits out, (just like you’d have to do otherwise, but at a fraction of the cost.)

The link above does list some essential oils that one can use, but I know that not everyone has those readily available or can afford them. Nor have I tested those methods yet (and I hope I don’t have to -fingers crossed). So test them at your own risk.

Ants

I mentioned the diatomaceous earth earlier, but here are a few other tips and tricks that help waylay ants….though so far the food grade diatomaceous earth seems to be the best option I’ve seen.

Cinnamon, cucumber and cloves placed at points of entry are supposed to deter them, but it’s a short term solution. If you’re waiting to get something better it works as a bandaid but eventually your line will get broken. At least with diatomaceous earth its fine enough to spread under your floorboards and into cracks.

Borax and sugar works, but there are concerns and debates about how natural or toxic borax is….so do your research on borax before deciding if you really want this in your home.

Cockroaches

Diatomaceous earth works here. And Catnip is a natural deterrent. So are garlic and bay leaves.  But once again, a deterrent is more of a temporary solution than a permanent one.

Fleas

Diatomaceous earth, citrus oils and tinctures work as well when sprayed.

I haven’t actually tried this one, but cedar oils and shampoos are also supposed to be great natural flea deterrents and can be used for continuing treatment.

Mosquitoes

First of all change any standing water you may have like bird feeders at least once a week if not twice or more.

Second, if you love the grill toss some rosemary and sage. They will naturally help repel bugs and mosquitos when you cook out.

Marigolds are also good at deterring these pests.  It has a scent that they do not like.  The same goes for Tai Lemon Grass which contains citronella.

Moths

Place cedar or cedar oils on a cloth inside your closet. This is why many men’s clothing stores use cedar hangers for suits.

Homemade moth-repelling sachets can also be made using any of the following: bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, eucalyptus leaves, lavender, pepper corns or wormwood.

Dried lemon peels are also a natural moth deterrent – simply toss into clothes chest, or tie in cheesecloth and hang in the closet.

And there is my list of helpful ways to get rid of common pests. If I learn any more I’ll post about them here.

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Green Pediatrics: A World Full of Natural Treatments

In the first part we discussed what a green pediatrician is and talked about some of the hallmarks of their profession. We also discussed vaccines and their problems in relation to green pediatrics.  If you did not read the post there is a link to it here (insert blog link).

Today I want to talk about a few other things that relate to green pediatrics and our children’s overall health.

Childhood Allergies

Childhood allergies seem to be on the rise, just like childhood disease.  Whether it be seasonal, food, skin rashes, asthma, or respiratory problems, more children are acquiring these problems than ever before. As of 2007, as a nation, these disorders were affecting 35 million people in this country and we spend an estimated 6 billion a year in treatment. That’s not including productivity time lost due to appointments and such.

What is causing this rise? Well, the obvious culprits are pollutants in our environment and over stimulation to our immune system, due to these environmental factors. Unlike our ancestors, we are exposed to more allergens than ever before. Our immune systems were never intended to handle all of the toxins we meet in our daily lives.  It has caused us to become more sensitive to allergens, says Dr. Michael Rosenbaum in Growing Up Green.

Tips to combat allergies

  1. Limit your family’s exposure to controllable allergens like pet dander and tobacco smoke. I know I’ve had to work on this in my parents’ house. My father is not allowed to smoke anywhere but their bathroom due to my allergies and my mother’s health issues.
  2. If you can afford them, get high efficiency particulate air filters in every room of your house. This is something I want to work on once I get my own place.
  3. In humid areas use dehumidifiers to limit mold growth. We have to do this due to my allergies.
  4. You can purchase allergy proof bedding to reduce symptoms if you have consistent problems. If not, then regularly wash your linens in hot water.
  5. Wash stuffed animals as they can hold onto dander and allergens.
  6. Carpet is an enemy to anyone with allergies. Either vaccum regularly or try to get rid of them.
  7. Use non-toxic house hold cleaners.
  8. Talk to you pediatrician about natural supplements that can help with preventing allergies. Some of these include: probiotics and essential fatty acids.
  9. Neti pots are your friend….and if that won’t clear it…try this recipe to clear your sinuses with one: 1 drop peroxide, 1 drop apple cider vinegar, a pinch sea salt and baking soda, and boiled water that has been cooled to room temp. It hurts but it’s the only thing that clears my sinuses.

The Dirty Theory

The dirty theory proposes that the rise in all these health conditions has to do with not allowing our children’s immune systems to develop naturally.  This includes protecting them from everything dirty and overexposing them to antibiotics instead of allowing the immune system to do its job. Some of these toxic chemicals we use to clean our homes also destroy too many bacteria. We have become so germ phobic, with little to no need, that our immune systems don’t get their proper exercise.

There are tons of bacteria that are beneficial to our health. Our intestines would not work without some of the bacteria that live there and our body has to learn to tell the difference. That becomes harder when we don’t allow our bodies that opportunity.

If you would like to learn more about hygiene hypothesis or the dirty theory, there are tons of articles out there.

And if you would like to learn about helpful bacteria in the body, here is a link from Scientific American

Antibiotic Overload

We touched on this in the last article, but antibiotics are used way too often in modern society. A kid gets sick, the school wants them to immediately go to the doctor, get on meds, and come back to school. I know it’s inconvenient when your kid misses school, but pumping them full of meds that prevent their immune system from getting its workout isn’t the answer. Nor is sending them to school where they can infect more students.

This is not to say that antibiotics are bad. They are a great tool and they aren’t dangerous, but we do pay a price for using them too often.  The more we use antibiotics the more resistant our bodies become to them. If we overuse them, they won’t work as well when we really need them to.  Continuing this trend will most likely create superbugs that we can no longer treat.

It doesn’t help that they are encountering it in other items they eat and drink either. Milk and meat are pumped full of antibiotic due to our horrible farming practices.

Growing Up Green presents a few alternative options. I’ve posted a few of them on my Herbal Remedies page. The one I did not include was for colic as it was fairly intensive and meant looking at your diet and mental health. So, if you are struggling with colic in your baby you might look up colic in Growing up Green on Google Books if you just need to read that section.

I would also recommend looking up homeopathic and natural remedies whenever you can. I’m not saying to use them for serious conditions. Only that a cold or cough doesn’t need cough syrup when chamomile tea and honey will work just as well.  There are natural remedies made with organic, non-toxic products that you can make at home for cheap (and most of the time they work better than the overpriced stuff you buy at the store).  For example, burns can be treated with aloe vera plants, poison ivy can be treated with a tincture made of different plants. Or on a slightly less organic track, toothpaste can be used to make zits shrink.

Or if you’re not into making your own remedies I suggest looking up Boiron products. They are all natural holistic alternatives.

The Happy Pill

Just as antibiotics are over prescribed, so are meds for other mental health issues.  From ADHD to depression, the doctors these days just want to throw meds at the problem without diagnosing the underlying issue. As a college graduate with a Bachelor’s in psychology this really disgusts me and is a disservice to the profession, as well as those they serve.

If we just look for the underlying causes we won’t have to use medication.  Some problems like ADHD can be related to diet, while others may be rooted in past events and experiences in life.  Giving a child, or adult, a pill and hoping the problem goes away is like putting a band aide on a gaping wound.

Not to mention the side effects that these meds may have.  Unfortunately green medicine is fairly rare in psychology and mental disorders.  I really do wish that we would stop trending toward self-gratification and the quick fix.  Instead we’re putting children on meds that could damage their long term development because their minds and bodies are not fully developed.

I realize that some parents do not see an alternative, but there are solutions, you just have to look for them and find holistic doctors. It really is a choice and a lifestyle.  The problem can be vitamins, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, or hormonal imbalances.  These are complex issues that simply cannot be cured or treated with a pill and there not be consequences.

Head Lice

We know it runs rampant through the school system at times. Or you might catch it from your child’s friend. I know I often had to treat myself for it. But very few people know that lice are actually attracted to clean hair, so don’t take the infestation as an insult. However, please don’t insult your body by using toxic chemicals to remove the pests when there are much better alternatives. Using agricultural pesticides on our scalp or those of our children does not sound like a good idea.

Some oils can be used to prevent lice, such as tea tree, rosemary, lemon and ylang-ylang.  If you already have it before you can work on prevention there are a couple of simple household products that work just as well if not better. You still need the lice comb though. Slathering your head with mayo , vegetable oil, or olive oil works great. I recommend vegetable oil as it is the easiest to get out of the hair. Just soak your child’s scalp and hair in the oil and cover it for about forty five minutes. The dense oil suffocates the pests and then you wash it out and nitpick just like you would otherwise.  Another preventative tool is to rinse your hair in apple cider vinegar at the end of a shower. It just takes about a fourth of a cup poured over the scalp. It makes it harder for the little buggers to latch on.

Growing Up Green recommends an oil mixture of tea tree, ylang-ylang, anise, rosemary, marjoram, sage and eucalyptus in a coconut oil base.  Mix it with a small amount of shampoo and leave it on for fifteen to thirty minutes then wash and repeat daily for a week.

These are just a few of the ways you can go green with your medical routine.

Blessed Be.