Grandma was right: Many of her home remedies are sound
By Barbara Pierce
Grandma was wise in the ways of the world—especially when you’re not feeling 100%.
She had a home remedy for whatever ailed you. New studies show she was clearly onto something.
“Most home remedies are good, helpful,” said Peter Corn, owner of Peter’s Cornucopia in New Hartford. A locally owned and operated health food store, Peter’s Cornucopia has been selling natural supplements, organic produce and health items for more than 30 years.
Here are some of the home remedies Corn recommends that have been found sound by medical experts:
— Chicken soup for a cold: A bowlful can mitigate cold or flu symptoms. There’s more to this bowl than good taste — there’s some real healing power in it. The hardy broth contains vitamins, minerals, and fat. The warm broth improves cold symptoms, clears up nasal congestion, while the protein in the chicken boosts the immune system.
— Honey with lemon for a cough or sore throat: Stirred into boiling water, this isn’t just soothing; it actively fights the throat irritation that comes with a cold or flu. Honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, properties that can help quiet your cough. Lemon contains vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of a cold.
— And the heat of the brew matters: In a study, participants with colds were given a hot drink while others were given the exact same drink at room temperature. While both temperatures relieved cold symptoms, only the hot one eased sore throats, too.
Some say this is a good remedy for constipation also.
— Apple cider vinegar and honey is Corn’s favorite remedy for a number of ailments. Diluted in warm water, people have used it for centuries. Packed with vitamin B and probiotics, it’s beneficial as a regular addition to your diet.
Apple cider vinegar has various healthful properties, including the ability to kill or slow bacteria, viruses and fungi, as well as preventing cell damage. What’s more, evidence suggests it may offer benefits such as aiding weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving the symptoms of diabetes.
— Cod liver oil is another of Corn’s recommendations. Commonly taken as a dietary supplement, it’s packed full of nutrients. Turns out grandma was right when she made her kids take it, as it contains large amounts of vitamins A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
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— Vitamin A is essential for the immune system, bone growth, night vision, and cellular growth. Vitamin D not only prevents rickets but supports muscle function.
— Elderberry is a favorite with his customers, said Corn. Packed with antioxidants and vitamin C that help the immune system, it was very popular when the coronavirus was at its worst. Some experts recommend elderberry to help prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms.
— Black cherry juice, or tart cherry, in juice or capsule helps gout and inflammation, said Corn. It reduces the length and pain of a gout attack.
— Cranberry juice keeps your kidneys clean, supports the urinary tract, and fights urinary tract infections.
Home remedies recommended by other experts:
— Breathe into a paper bag to calm an anxiety attack: This works because when you exhale, you are filling the bag with C02. When you inhale, you inhale that C02. The theory is that, after a moment or two, this will begin to ease your symptoms. However, it’s important to note this is unsafe for people with heart or lung problems.
— Slip into a warm bath for just about anything. Hydrotherapy has been hot for centuries. But scientists are now exploring why soaks seem able to relieve pain, lower fevers, and promote better sleep. They’ve found that bathing in 104-to-109-degree water 90 minutes before bed can improve overall sleep quality and help us fall asleep faster.
Other research suggests a warm bath may temporarily bring a fever slightly down. And the steam helps loosen sinus congestion and gets mucus to start draining, helping to relieve cold symptoms. Others found the heat causes our blood vessels to dilate, which improves circulation to tissues, which in turn reduces pain.
— Eat ginger to settle your stomach: Numerous studies have shown that ginger root (fresh or dried) can be as effective as over-the-counter drugs at treating nausea, motion sickness, and even vomiting.
— Coke, Sprite, or ginger ale: But when it comes to stomach distress, many people view a cup of flat soda as just what the doctor ordered. The quick and popular remedy is said to help settle the stomach with its slight fizz and replenish fluids and glucose lost by vomiting and diarrhea.
It is wise to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before you try any home remedies, especially if you take prescription or over-the-counter medications, because some can interact with or affect how medications work.