Like every other species in the world, we are susceptible to a variety of illnesses and inconvenient side effects due to our bodies reacting to our environment and other internal and external stimuli. While modern medicine has come up with remedies to cure or control these issues via a pill, cream or ingestible liquid/tablet, there are fixes that can be found around the house or without visiting a physician as well. Going to the doctor for every issue may not be plausible to solve everything that ales you or your loved ones (especially when on the road or camping), so we have put together a list of some “Home Remedies” that can help in your time of need. Though these may treat symptoms, we still suggest looking to a medical professional or doing further research to identify and resolve the underlying issues that may be causing these inconveniences. Some of the symptoms could be signs of much more dangerous illnesses that should reviewed by a licensed physician. In addition to the potential for a much more serious underlying problem, the risk of an allergic reaction to some of these remedies is also possible, so at the very least, keep a detailed log of what you have tried for reference should any new symptoms arise.
While most people use this to “treat” issues such as stress or shyness, Vodka has properties that can be helpful in other areas as well. Being that vodka contains alcohol, it works similar to traditional ‘rubbing alcohol’ in that it is antiseptic and “drying”. With this being the case, vodka can be used to kill the bacteria responsible for foot odor. Wiping your feet down with a Vodka soaked rag can get rid of the smell of a gym locker-room that emanates from your feet as they sweat throughout the day. By killing the fungus and drying out the moisture that allows its growth, vodka or rubbing alcohol can be a helpful tool to exterminating odors commonly associated with sweaty feet.
Known to contain ‘probiotics’ or bacteria that is helpful to the natural functions of our body, Yogurt is more than just a tasty snack for those looking to lose a few pounds. Not only is it full of ‘animal protein’ and other helpful vitamins and minerals (calcium, vitamin b-12, vitamin b-2, potassium and magnesium), but the probiotics can have positive effects towards the curing or controlling of a plethora of other health issues. Yogurt is known by researchers to help deal with gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease and more. Research has also shown that some of the probiotic strains found in yogurt have been shown to help boost immune systems and “discourage” vaginal infections which can be common in women with diabetes. As far as weight loss is concerned, yogurt has been shown to make you feel “fuller” than other snacks with similar calorie levels, which can be helpful for controlling portion sizes set by a dieting plan. One unexpected benefit of yogurt found in controlled studies shows that the probiotics can suppress the growth of ‘bad-breath’ causing bacteria. The probiotics actually seem to create an unhealthy environment for the bacteria that causes bad breath, helping to alleviate halitosis.
As Mary Poppins suggested years ago, “just a spoonful of Sugar helps the medicine go down”. While this may be true and the reason why so many children’s and adult medicines have a sweet taste, Sugar has a bag of tricks all of its own. According to Andre Dubois, MD, PhD, when you consume a teaspoon of sugar during an episode of the hiccups, they come to an end within minutes of ingestion. According to Dubois, the sugar modifies the nerve muscles that would typically tell the diaphragm muscles to spasmodically contract, relieving the symptoms commonly known as “the hiccups”.
While it may seem to only be useful to treat bad breath or to remove food stuck between teeth after meals, Gum has a few other less noticeable beneficial uses. The first use that I have found to be true is relief from the anxiety associated with public speaking. For many years I instructed young men as they made the transition from civilian to Cavalry Scout Soldier in the US Army. During this time, I never had issue with speaking to large groups with the confidence necessary to warrant trust in the accuracy of my claims. It was not until after I completed my contractual obligations with the military and focused on ‘higher education’ by attending a university that I began to experience what is commonly known as “stage fright” or anxiety from public speaking. Not only did I fidget and allow my eyes to wander while speaking, but I experienced “cracking” in the tone of my voice, nausea and clammy hands, I was like a stereotypical 13-year-old boy when attempting to ask his “crush” to a school dance. Being a former soldier, I immediately began to search for a way to correct the sudden shyness I was facing. While anxiety medication like Xanax or Prozac seemed like possible solutions, I wanted something that I could easily acquire that did not leave me in a “less than present” mental state. While searching, I came across chewing Gum as a potential fix, tried it out and it worked. From the information I’ve seen, the gum works by “tricking” your mind into believing you are eating. Like most (if not all) animals, if we take the time to eat, it means we have assessed our surroundings and deemed it safe to shift focus to food consumption rather than worrying about danger from predators. This leftover biological response from a time before we sat atop the food chain can be tapped into to resolve other stressful situations, such as public speaking, by simply chewing a piece of gum. Taking it a step further, in a study funded by NASA, research shows that chewing or consuming (eating or smelling) peppermint or cinnamon Gum, candy or aromatherapy diffusers lowers stress while driving. Participants that ate or smelled the peppermint or cinnamon showed 20% less anxiety, 30% increased alertness, 25% decreased frustration and felt as if the ride seemed 30% shorter.
In my family, the only time I saw Cloves was when the Thanksgiving/Christmas ham was being prepared for additional flavor. Though they are small in size, the eugenol rich clove oil can be beneficial. Should you cut yourself and not have access to Neosporin or something similar, powdered cloves can be sprinkled on the wound to help prevent infection. Being that eugenol is an antiseptic and has pain killing properties, Cloves can be very helpful in situations involving open wound care. In addition to wound care, Cloves can help with calming persistent coughs. By simply keeping a clove under your tongue while experiencing coughing fits, you with notice less coughs as well as light relief from a “sore throat” you may be experiencing.
Chocolate is commonly known to “enhance” moods of those that consume it, especially in regards to dealing with ailments of the romantic genre. For years, people around the world have eaten Chocolate to help alleviate the pain associated with a “broken heart” and swear by its medicinal properties. While this is reason enough to keep a supply of chocolate for a “rainy day”, there are many other benefits to consuming this product of the cocoa bean. When consuming dark Chocolate, researchers have found study participants to show a lower risk of stroke, increased heart health, lowered risk of diabetes, improved vision and blood flow, and improved brain functionality on mentally strenuous tasks. In addition to all of these benefits, like cloves, chocolate can help calm coughing fits, helping the body heal faster.