Happy Inauguration Day!  With all the talk about healthcare reform, this information seems timelier than ever.  I hope you find it useful.  If you have comments or questions, please feel free to reply to this message and share them with us.

Want more great ideas for natural healing?  Check out The Big Book of Home Remedies!

Any time you’re injured or feeling less than your best, you’ll find yourself asking, “How do I know whether I need to see a doctor or not?”  It’s not always an easy question to address generally, but here are some simple guidelines for when medical treatment cannot wait.

You DO need to see a doctor when:

  • You have chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • You are bleeding profusely, or you are coughing up or vomiting blood.
  • You have black or tar-looking stool, or if you have diarrhea that goes on for 24 hours.
  • You have sudden or severe pain, especially in the abdomen.
  • You have weakness, dizziness or fainting spells.
  • You are suddenly confused or have difficulty speaking.
  • You have sudden changes in vision.
  • You have suicidal thoughts.

On the other hand, there are many times when you can heal yourself naturally and save yourself a trip!  Remember these home remedies for common problems…

Constipation:

  • Prevention is much easier than treatment (as usual!). To prevent and treat constipation, make sure you drink lots and lots of water (1-2 liters a day, unless your liquid intake is restricted for medical reasons).
  • Have plenty of fiber in your diet. The best sources of fiber are beans of any kind, leafy green vegetables, nuts, peas and fruit with the skins on.  Remember that old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”?  Maybe that has to do with the amount of fiber in the skin!
  • Eat fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, and sauerkraut; as well as sprouted foods like wheat and alfalfa. Why?  Because all these foods contain healthy bacteria, and a healthy digestive system needs healthy bacteria!  One note of caution . . . if any of these foods makes you gassy or bloated, try substituting it for another.  There’s no need to put yourself through discomfort when there are so many other choices.  And, by the way, all these tips can help prevent diarrhea as well.

The Common Cold:

  • Echinacea tea with honey and lemon really does fight the common cold. You may also want to take some extra vitamin C and some zinc, both of which have been shown to be effective. * Here’s another easy home remedy: Put about two inches of water into a wide sauce pan, and add a teaspoon each of dried thyme and oregano. Add a tiny (and I mean tiny!) pinch of cayenne pepper. Heat the water to steam, shut off the heat, place a towel over your head and breathe the fumes in through your nose and mouth.  But be careful!
  • Rub a drop or two of sesame oil on the inside of your nostrils. Studies have shown that sesame oil can slow down or even prevent the cold virus from taking hold.
  • Eat some Chicken soup . . . yes, that’s right, chicken soup, just like your nana used to make. It turns out that chicken soup is high in certain amino acids that help break up the mucus that makes you cough.  The hot steam from the soup may help as well.  If these home remedies don’t help within a day or so, call a doctor.

Sore Throat:

Gargle with salt water.  Take about 6-8 ounces of water, and add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (recommended because it contains all sorts of other useful minerals).  You can gargle with this mixture for a sore throat, or use it as a nasal spray.

Fever:

  • Wet sock treatment may sound a bit loopy, but it works and is definitely worth a try! First, make sure your feet are nice and toasty warm.  Take clean cotton socks, and soak them in cold (even icy) water.  Wring out the excess water from the socks, and put them on.  Yes, put them on!  Cover the wet, cotton socks with a dry pair of wool socks.  Go right to bed, cover up well, and rest.  The idea is that your body is reacting to the cold wet socks by heating them up, and the effect increases the circulation of blood, clearing the virus out of your system faster!  I know it sounds crazy.  But, I have tried this numerous times and it has worked for me.
  • Another way to treat a fever, which works especially well with younger children, is to use tepid or just slightly warmed baths. You do NOT want to use cold water; use lukewarm water that will gently help lower your child’s temperature.  Remember that a fever is nature’s way of burning off an infection.  You only want to lower a child’s fever if that child is so uncomfortable that they cannot rest.  In general, for infant ailments of any kind, call a doctor for treatment recommendations.  And no matter what, drink lots of water!  Always make sure you are well hydrated.

If you liked the information above, take a look at The Big Book of Home Remedies to learn even more.


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