Let us begin with a disclaimer: this post is not intended to provide any sort of medical advice and we take no responsibility for any harm that may occur while following the instructions given. That said, this post is actually intended to collect the common housewife’s tales about how to take care of minor issues like bruises and cuts or seasonal disorders like the common cold.
Now I confess that I do not like allopathic medicine, or more accurately, the misuse of it. Antibiotics are the most overprescribed medicine that I have found commonly sold over the counter. They are very effective, but are also overkill for most domestic situations. Our immune system is very good at fighting bacteria and virii and small cuts and colds take no more than a few days to go away, provided you have taken some precautions. So let us dive into common remedies that can be found in any household.
The common cold is a seasonal viral disease that strikes during the rainy and winter seasons. There is no medicine that can actually stop it but there are ways to mitigate the symptoms.
- A teaspoon or two of ajwain seeds in steaming water can help clear nasal blockages by steam inhalation 2-3 times a day.
- Turmeric boiled with milk and honey is a good way to keep the cold away.
- The same can be said of ginger tea
- Chewing a few cumin seeds can help mitigate coughs.
- Cardamom powder with honey is also useful for coughs.
- Cinnamon powder and honey is a good combination for those suffering from nausea and vomiting.
- Fever can be mitigated by boiling and reducing coarsely grounded coriander seeds and drinking it with honey 2-3 times a day
Keep in mind that these are only for mild symptoms. Flu has similar symptoms and is far more dangerous so it is better to consult a medical professional.
Bruises, Abrasions and Cuts
Children often come home from playing outside with abrasions, bruises and cuts. There is usually no need to go for adhesive bandages as these playground injuries heal in a matter of days. Antiseptic liquid is the go to solution in these situations but Dettol is usually considered too strong (stings fiercely) and Savlon can be in short supply. Here are some home remedies if you do not have a bottle of antiseptic liquid handy.
- Washing the cut with honey and clear water can help heal faster.
- Applying ice to bruises reduces blood flow to affected region, alleviating pain.
- Aloe vera can reduce swelling in case of bruises and also has antibacterial properties for cuts and abrasions.
- Spitting on open wounds to clean them is NOT a good idea. Saliva contains bacteria that can infect cuts.
- Pineapple flesh is also good for swellings and bruises.
Bandaging a cut is usually not a good idea as bacteria present on the skin can find the bandaged area a good place to proliferate leading to pus formation. It is better to leave the wound to open air till a scab forms.
Burns and boils are a common issue during cooking. Oil splatters, hot utensils and vessels and even steam from a pressure cooker can easily burn your skin. If the skin itches and does not blister then it is only a first degree burn and can be treated at home. However if the skin starts peeling off, go directly to a doctor.
- Cold water can be used to clean the burnt area. Do NOT use ice as it can damage the skin further.
- In this case it is recommended to use a skin ointment as no home remedy acts fast enough.
- Aloe vera can be used in the place of an ointment to soothe the burn.
Acne and Other Skin Ailments
Most skin ailments are short term reactions to changing environmental conditions and do not require much effort to mitigate. However moles and sores are not simple conditions and may require actual medical intervention.
- Use of turmeric paste twice a day on the affected area can reduce acne significantly.
- Warm coconut oil is the perfect remedy for dry skin.
- Lemon juice mixed with water can help you get rid of oily skin.
- Massaging the skin using yogurt can help get rid of dead skin cells which reduces pigmentation and skin tan.
Acne is mostly caused due to hormonal imbalances and is mostly prevalent in the teen years. A healthy diet with less greasy food can help reduce it.
Hairfall and Dandruff
Hair is a defining part of our personality and any damage to it can affect our mentality. Here are few tips to help against common issues involving hair.
- Gooseberry or amla rinds applied two hours before bath is good for preventing hairfall and premature greying.
- Aloe vera paste can also mitigate hairfall.
- Neem leaves can be ground to paste and applied to hair to take care of dandruff.
- Fenugreek seeds (Methi) can also be prepared and applied as above to similar results.
Hair health is connected to body health. Keeping yourself hydrated and getting proper sleep will directly help fight hairfall and dandruff. A proper diet and keeping away from harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol will promote hair growth.
Headaches and Migraines
Pain is the body’s way of telling you that there is something wrong with it. Headaches can have many causes: stress, cold, sinusitis etc. Here are some home remedies to lessen the effect of headaches in day to day life.
- Ginger paste applied to forehead can reduce headaches.
- Ajwain paste or cinnamon paste also have the same effect.
- Drinking water can sometimes help when headaches are caused due to dehydration.
- A cold or warm compress can help alleviate migraine.
Just like hairfall, headaches and migraines can be mitigated with a healthy diet and reducing stress in daily life. In case of chronic migraine it is better to consult with a medical professional.
Acidity and Stomach Ulcers
The stomach produces hydrochloric acid to help in digestion. However there are many conditions where the acidity of the stomach acid exceeds the organ’s capability to keep it contained. This is called hyperacidity. This can cause breaks in the stomach lining causing chronic pain (ulcers).
- Gooseberry (amla) juice is good remedy for hyperacidity as well as ulcers. This also helps in constipation.
- Pomegranate (anar) juice is also a good way to deal with hyperacidity.
- Cumin seeds fried in ghee can also reduce hyperacidity.
Lifestyle changes will have far more effect on hyperacidity than any home remedies. Reducing stress and healthy eating will reduce this significantly.
There are many more natural ingredients that you can get at home or your garden than can be used to heal common ailments, but listing them all would take quite some time. Needless to say, modern science may have advanced human understanding of diseases and health significantly but ancient wisdom still holds true.
I hope these simple remedies help you keep yourself and your family happy and healthy. Thank you.