by Lizzie Bennett
Modern studies into ‘old wives tales’ are turning up surprising evidence that many of these nostalgic old remedies actually work.
For thousands of years, this spice was used to knock out nausea. It has been used in Asia for centuries to combat nausea, and it works. A string of studies pointing to ginger’s potential to combat nausea related to motion sickness, chemotherapy and pregnancy. Try candied ginger, ginger tea or even ginger cookies the next time that you’re feeling queasy.
Remember when Grandma swore by prunes to keep you regular? Well she was right, and the scientists have proved it…though I prefer not to think of the clinical trial! Recent science has confirmed prunes’ benefits: A 2011 study found that eating 12 a day relieves constipation better than the trendier psyllium supplements.
This pain-easing ointment was always a favorite with athletes but not so much with the average exerciser, mostly because of the medicinal scent. BenGay now comes without the pungent smell and is entering the modern age in the form of gel as well as cream.
A randomized study by The American Journal of Preventative Medicine has proved that salt water gargles soothe a sore throat. Rinsing your mouth with a salt solution can also help reduce the pain of mouth ulcers and other minor irritations.
Petroleum jelly has dozens of uses, many of them not medical so I’ll try and stay on topic. It seals scratches and shallow wounds preventing bacterial colonization and infection. It prevents chaffing. It puts a waterproof barrier between you skin and water stoping drying and flaking of the skin. ( It also waterproofs boots, prevents rust on garden tools and burns like hell even in wet conditions)
Exedrin fell out of favour when non-steroidal painkillers came on the market. It is very useful however for migraine and other severe headaches and is well worth having around the house.
Pepto-Bismol was originally invented to treat infants before it became the ultimate upset-stomach cure for adults. In recent years, however, studies have shown that it works particularly well to treat traveler’s diarrhea—and even to prevent it if taken before a trip.
Where do I begin? Ice packs are a classic headache-killer. Newer pain relievers may be more effective, but a recent study shows that migraine sufferers get great relief from ice packs. It also reduces the pain of muscle injuries and rubbed over veins where the skin is thin, like on the inside of your wrists can cool the blood of overheated individuals very effectively.
Cinnamon is a natural antibiotic that has been used for centuries as a mouthwash. In solution is effective against a wide range of bacteria including MRSA, E.Coli 0157, and several other ‘serious’ bacteria.
Regular sugar poured into wounds keeps them clean and helps them heal faster. Literally just pour it into the wound, cover with a clean dressing and leave it alone. Repeat every 12 hours.
Natural yoghurt can clear up thrush. Yeast infections can occur in the mouth, nipples (lactating mothers) and on the genitals of both men and women. Natural yoghurt, eases the irritation and generally speeds up the recovery from yeast infections.
Natural yoghurt also eases the pain of sunburn. Smooth it over the burnt area and leave it. The pain from the burn is relieved immediately, and the relief lasts for a considerable time. Every year staff in resorts in Turkey, Egypt and other extremely sun drenched areas can be seen smothering pasty skinned Brits with yoghurt. Happily I am slightly olive skinned and have never burnt, but those people I have spoken to swear it stopped their pain instantly.
Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent wound cleaner. It makes a great mouthwash as it fizzes on contact with organic matter, mechanically removing debris from wounds and from between teeth. Use at no more than a 3% solution.
Well that’s it, it’s late and I’m tired.
About the author:
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.