Instant Solutions

Instant Solutions
Burn Relief, Joint Health, Chest Pain, Motion Sickness, Cold/Flu, Nasal Congestion, Coughs, Pet Health, Cuts, Poison Ivy Dandruff, Posture, Diarrhea, Safe Sun, Exercise, Sleep, Hangover, Stiff Neck, Hiccups, Taking Pills, IndigestionNatural Burn Remedy Found in Papaya Pulp

Pediatric doctors in Banjul, Gambia, have found that papaya pulp makes an excellent burn dressing. The doctors mash the pulp of the papaya and apply it directly to burns. Children tolerate it well and it has proven to be very effective at sloughing off dead tissue, preventing infections and providing a clean wound.

Papaya pulp contains the proteolytic enzymes papain and chymopapain which have been used for centuries to remove warts and other skin imperfections. Apparently, the pulp also has components that exhibit antimicrobial activity since the doctors in Gambia are also applying the pulp to infected wounds with successful results.


Kudzu for Chest Pain
Studies in the Orient have shown that Kudzu (Pueraria lobota) has the ability to relax and sooth muscles such as those located in the major blood vessels. Taking roughly 3 to 10 grams of the dried root has been effective in the treatment of angina pectoris (the severe chest pain caused by a sudden decrease in blood supply to the heart muscle).


Go Soak Your Toothbrush…
If you’re under the weather, always soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide before using it. It doesn’t do much good to knock out the “bugs” and then turn around and reintroduce them into your system with a contaminated tootbrush.

Sore Throat Remedy: Fresh Ginger Root
ALTERNATIVES subscriber Thelma T. of Richmond, Virginia recommends the following remedy for sore throats:

“Whenever we feel a sore throat coming on, we immediately start sucking on on a slice of fresh ginger root. It will soothe the throat and get rid of scratchiness and irritation.”



Putting Your Cough on Ice
An easy way to stop coughing without the use of cough syrups or medication is to keep some ice cubes in your mouth. This works because the cold numbs the nerves supplying the throat. The ice must be kept continuously in the mouth. If you want to re-mineralize your body during this time, or make the technique more acceptable to children, an ALTERNATIVES reader recommends that you freeze one of the sports drinks into ice cubes.

Onion Cough Syrup
This onion cough syrup recipe was a Mailbox suggestion for my newsletter Alternatives from Kermit T. of Fresno California. He said he has used it for years:

“Place 3 large chopped white onions in a double boiler along with one-quarter cup of honey. Cook slowly for a couple of hours, strain off the liquid and dispose of the onions. The liquid can be taken as often as needed.”


Another Benefit of Turmeric:
It Heals Cuts
I’m a big fan of turmeric and all the health benefits it provides. I’ve been writing about it for years (see ALTERNATIVES May 1994, and February 1997, and included it in the superfoods complex in Daily Advantage. As we’ve covered in previous issues, turmeric has been shown to have remarkable anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.

According to subscriber Larry S. of Salt Lake City, it’s also an effective remedy for cuts:

“Being a chef, I love to cook with turmeric, but I’ve also come to admire its ability to stop the bleeding of a cut. Putting turmeric powder directly on cuts causes the blood to clot almost immediately.”


Have Dandruff?
Try Baking Soda
– Sharon Carpenter of Kula, Maui, Hawaii contributed the following do-it-yourself remedy for dandruff: When taking a shower, she recommends wetting your hair and using baking soda instead of shampoo.
Consider Selenium
– Selenium can reduce the incidence of dandruff, psoriasis and eczema. Certain companies have already taken advantage of selenium’s topical healing powers. For example, the selenium-containing shampoo Selsun Blue has been effective in helping to eliminate dandruff for many people.


The BRAT Cure for Children with Diarrhea
Marge W.P. of Ogden, Utah shared an easy way of remembering what to give children with diarrhea (it’s a good thing to remember for grownups too). Practically all you need to remember is the word BRAT. The letter B stands for bananas. R stands for rice. A stands for applesauce, and T stands for toast.

Bananas are rich in potassium. Rice adds bulk and helps slow the intestinal tract. Applesauce has pectin, which is good for calming the bowels, and toast adds additional bulk.

Diarrhea in small children can quickly become a serious situation because of rapid mineral loss. If the problem persists, be sure to ask your doctor to help monitor the situation.

LAYW – For Diarrhea Caused by the Loss of Natural Bacteria Through Antibiotics.
If the diarrhea is a result of medications, such as antibiotics that wipe out the natural bacterial flora, I’ve obtained excellent results using a product called Lactic Acid Yeast wafers. This product restores the natural bacteria in the lower bowel. Usually, chewing two wafers with each meal will do the trick within a day. (For small children, one-half to one wafer can be crushed and put into their food or drink to accomplish the same thing.)


For Those Who Don’t Have Time to Exercise
The most common excuse people give me for not exercising is they don’t have time. Sorry, folks: the exercises below don’t require any additional time. They can be done while in the car, waiting in lines, talking on the phone, etc.

Pick a couple of these ideas and use them each day. When you see just how much time we waste sitting, standing in lines, waiting for stoplights, and so on, you’ll see just how easy exercise can be and you can do it in a very short time.

Quick exercises for hectic times
• Every time you have to stop at a stoplight, tighten your abdominal muscles and hold them until the light turns green. Repeat this at every stoplight.
• If you are a passenger in a car, give your eyes a workout! You can strengthen your eye muscles and lessen the need for glasses by focusing on something very close inside the car and then quickly focusing on an object far off in the distance.
• If you’re by yourself, you can do contortions with your face to help firm up the facial muscles and give yourself a “face lift.” By moving your lips, cheeks, and eyebrows, making hundreds of movements and faces, you can tone up the small facial muscles and avoid some of the wrinkles from those loose and weak muscles.
• Stretching is great exercise and can be done several times a day with little effort. At least once a day “reach for the sky,” stand as tall and as straight as you possibly can, push your shoulders back as far as they will go and put every joint in your body through its total range of motion.
• Take several deep breaths. Fill your lungs from the bottom up. Inhale slowly and feel the lungs expand from your abdominal area up through your chest to your collarbones and throat. Then slowly exhale until you have every molecule out.
• After getting in bed at night, stretch your body from your ankles and toes to your head and neck. Imagine making yourself a foot longer and feel the warm relaxing stretch.


A “Fishy” Hangover Remedy
ALTERNATIVES subscriber Lynton O. of Leicester, England recommends the following hangover remedy frequently used in England:

“On the evening of your over-consumption, if you can bring yourself to eat a generous portion of salted pickled herring, the morning after can be as pleasant as the party itself.”

This isn’t as “fishy” as it may sound. Salted pickled herring often works because it is high in unsaturated fatty acids. A better and more concentrated remedy that works the same way is to use oil of evening primrose. This oil contains gamma linoleic acid (GLA) which your body eventually converts to prostaglandins (PG1, the good kind), which can help prevent liver damage and even hangovers from alcohol. Alcohol (and aspirin), by the way, block the formation of PG1.

Oil of evening primrose is sold under a variety of labels in health food stores, although the quality and potency among brands varies considerably. The brand Efamol is probably your best choice. Almost all clinical studies proving this oil’s effectiveness have used this type.

L-cysteine can also be used to prevent or often greatly reduce “hangovers” from alcohol poisoning. This amino acid helps neutralize toxins in the liver by increasing glutathione levels, which is one of the body’s most powerful detoxifying compounds.

Hangover remedies such as these may occasionally come in handy, but as you know, they only treat a symptom. Avoiding overindulgence in the first place is the most effective cure for hangovers.


Remedies for Hiccups
Over the years ALTERNATIVES readers have contributed a variety of remedies for hiccups. These annoying spasms of the diaphragm (the large, flat muscle dividing your chest from your stomach) can occur when you overeat, drink carbonated beverages, or have an illness that irritates the phrenic nerve in the diaphragm.

Although hiccups usually last less than an hour, they can persist for hours or even days. Regardless of their duration, no matter how long you have to put up with them is too long. Try these solutions the next time your throat decides to backfire.

Put your hiccups on ice
Bill B. of Denver City, Texas recommends holding something cold (ice-cubes, a couple cold cans of beer or soda, etc.) on both sides of your Adam’s apple on your throat. Do this for about a minute and the hiccups will stop completely.

Now, “Ears” an interesting solution…
You’ve probably heard that drinking a glass of water helps get rid of hiccups, but Cindy C. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin suggests this extra step:

While drinking a glass of water, get someone to close your ear canals by pressing inward on each of the small skin flaps just in front of the ear canal. Pressure should be continued on these flaps for at least 10 seconds after the entire glass of water has been drunk.

A remedy that isn’t hard to swallow…
An ALTERNATIVES subscriber from Amarillo, Texas says that taking one heaping teaspoon of peanut butter hasn’t failed once in 16 years to cure a case of hiccups.


Indigestion: Here’s Something Easy to Digest
If you have recurring problems with indigestion, I’ve got a not-so-sweet solution for you: herbal bitters. Bitters active the bitter-taste receptors on the tongue, which, in turn, stimulate the secretion of digestive juices. Several herbs are considered bitter: dandelion root, wormwood, chamomile flowers, goldenseal, and gentian root.

Generally a couple of drops in a little water taken about 15 to 20 minutes before meals will help with indigestion. (Be aware that too large a dose may cause vomiting. This stuff really is bitter!).


Joint Health

1. Pop Goes a Joint? Try this remedy…

If you pop any of your joints badly, take 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon of bromelain within an hour of the injury. Because bromelain helps maintain the body’s normal inflammatory response mechanism, you should find no noticeable inflammation later.

2. A glass of buttermilk a day keeps joint discomfort away

Mrs. C.B. of Portland, Oregan sent this “Health Hint” for joint discomfort. According to a Swiss friend of hers, this remedy is common in Switzerland: Drink eight ounces of buttermilk a day for six weeks and your discomfort will be gone.

One reason why this remedy works may be that buttermilk is rich in calcium. Calcium deficiency is one of the main causes of aching joints.

Other sources of calcium include: seafood, almonds, asparagus, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, cabbage, kale, kelp, oats, prunes, sesame seeds, tofu, turnip greens, watercress, whey, and yogurt.

3. An “apeeling” remedy for joint stiffness

If your joints are stiff, don’t peel your carrots, potatoes, apples, and so on, and never pull the strings off the celery. Not only will you get some of the best roughage to scrub out the intestinal tract, but the sodium in these peels will help the stiffness in your joints.

You don’t need to worry about this kind of sodium, because it’s not sodium chloride like table salt and it won’t cause any of the problems associated with table salt.

You will also get the benefit of the potassium, which is sometimes called “brain food” because it helps with alertness and mental well-being.

4. An unsavory joint discomfort remedy

If you need relief from joint discomfort, a reader recommends drinking the following concoction:

Add 1 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon Epson salts to a big glass of water. You might want to add a little vinegar to the water as well. If you can get past the taste you should have relief from joint discomfort.

5. Exercises for preventing knee problems

If you jog or participate in athletics, chances are you have your share of knee injuries. Women in particular may have more problems because, as women get older they frequently have weaker knee joints. If you’ve started to experience knee problems, or if you want to avoid any future problems, there are a couple of simple exercises that can help.

The best exercise involves strengthening the muscle that crosses on the inside of the knee.

Exercise one:

– Stand up straight with your hands on the top of a desk or counter in front of you.

– To exercise the right knee: lift your left foot slightly above the floor and then slowly bend the right knee until your body dips about six inches. Now, slowly straighten the knee until you’re upright again. Do this 10 to 15 times and repeat the exercise with the left knee. Do this at least twice daily (preferably three times, spread throughout the day).

– If you have difficulty standing or bending the knees, try exercise two.

Exercise two:

– While sitting in bed, with the back supported and your leg outstretched, place a large pillow (or large, folded towel) between your knees. Whatever you use should be large enough to separate the knees enough so you cannot touch your feet together.

– Now, while keeping your legs straight, try to bring your feet together. Try hard for three to four seconds, then relax and repeat the process 10 to 12 times, three times a day. Be sure to keep your toes pointing straight up toward the ceiling.

– During either of these exercises, you should be able to feel the muscles on the insides of your thighs tighten. As these muscles strengthen, they will be better able to support the knee, which will mean less pain and more stability.


Quick Remedies for Motion Sickness

If you have a problem with motion sickness or seasickness, be sure to bring along some ginger root and papaya tablets on your next trip.

One gram of ginger root taken with a couple papaya tablets about 20 minutes before traveling can work wonders. If the trip is a long one, the same dosage may have to be repeated after several hours if the symptoms reappear.

Try one of these alternatives if you don’t have ginger root and papaya tablets on hand:
1. Drink 12 oz of either ginger ale or 7-Up mixed with the juice of one lime and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
2. Drink the juice of one coconut and two limes mixed together.
3. If available, grind and eat the seeds of a papaya.


Runny Nose Remedy

In addition to taking extra vitamin C, echinacea and elderberry extract, you can shorten the duration of symptoms with a hot salt-water facial and quick nasal rinse. This works especially well when your nose seems to run like a faucet.

First, in a clean sink or large saucer add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of salt to a quart of fairly hot water. Once the salt has dissolved, immerse your face in the water for five to ten seconds; repeat this three or four times. Allow the water to run into your nose, but keep your mouth and eyes closed.

Follow the facial with a quick nasal rinse by adding a few drops of Citricidal (NutriBiotic’s grapefruit seed extract) to 1/2 cup of warm water. Cup a small amount of the water in the palm of your hand, and then lean over and gently “inhale” the water into your nasal passages.

Do this two or three times before bed and first thing in the morning. You may momentarily feel a very slight tingling or burning sensation as the Citricidal coats the nasal and sinus passages.

Once the Citricidal gets to these hard-to-reach areas, it can begin to combat any foreign invaders.

Simple, inexpensive techniques like these can help keep the respiratory tract clean and healthy. And don’t forget to soak your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide before using it when you have a cold. It doesn’t do much good to knock out the “bugs” and then turn around and reintroduce them into your system with a contaminated toothbrush.


Pet Poisoning Remedy: Feed Your Dog Sauerkraut?

If your pet accidentally eats rat poison, here are a couple remedies that may save help save the animal’s life.

First, if at all possible, try to get your pet to vomit before the poison is absorbed into the system. You can do this by mixing a tablespoon or two of salt in a glass of water and forcing it down the animal’s throat.

Then, take your pet to the vet and ask that it be given a Vitamin K shot. Most rat poisons work by eliminating the animal’s ability to stop bleeding. After ingesting the anticoagulants and consuming water, the animal bleeds to death internally. Vitamin K reverses the anticoagulating effect and allows the blood to clot.

If you’re not able to get to the vet for Vitamin K shots, keeping a can of sauerkraut on hand will provide a ready source of emergency Vitamin K. It may be tough to get your dog or cat to eat it, but what could happen if you don’t try might be a lot tougher to swallow.


Poison Ivy Remedies

The following suggestions may help you shorten the duration of poison ivy:
– Mix vitamin C powder with water to form a paste that can be applied to sites where the skin has been exposed to poison ivy or poison oak, and the problem will completely resolve within 24 hours. Thanks to Dr. Karen Davis for contributing this Health Hint. Dr. Davis also suggests that you take 2 grams of vitamin C orally for a few days following the episode. The vitamin C helps to strengthen your immune system against the poisonous sap (urushiol) in poison ivy.
– Try the essential plant oils lavender or camphor to help stop the itching and pain and speed healing. [Note: some essential oils could actually exacerbate the problem, so we don’t want to send readers looking for just any old essential oil.] One of my favorite products to use for the symptoms of poison ivy is “White Flower Oil.” It can be found in larger health food stores and practically all Chinese medicine shops. (In Chinese it’s called Pak Fah Yeow.)
– White Flower Oil is a blend of the natural oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, wintergreen, and camphor. I have found it most useful for treating poison ivy and poison oak. It is a potent product, as the strong smell will indicate. Apply a couple of drops and rub it gently into the skin lesions. The oils actually have a drying effect, so as soon as the lesions have stopped oozing you can stop using the White Flower Oil and instead apply your favorite moisturizing lotion. White Flower Oil is inexpensive and commonly comes in a small 20-milliliter bottle­enough to last a long time.

Exercises for Avoiding Poor Posture

Just looking around and seeing how people slump and slouch, you would think that poor posture is natural and unchangeable.

Well, it’s not, and there are some easy habits and exercises we can do that will correct the problem.

Anyone who sits and works with their arms out in front of them will have stiffness and problems between the shoulders. Secretaries, accountants, bookkeepers, computer operators, mechanics and so on are especially prone to these problems.

When the shoulders begin to slump, the muscles on the front chest wall begin to shorten and the small muscles between the shoulder blades weaken. This will cause a constant tiring pain and stiffness in that area and eventually lead to dowager’s hump.

There are two easy exercises that will help strengthen the shoulders and prevent the hump.

Both of these exercises can be done in about five minutes and the best time to do them is first thing in the morning and right before bedtime; however, any time during the day that you feel stiffness, you can easily do three or four of one of these exercises and get relief.

Exercise one
1. While standing, raise the elbows to shoulder level with the arms bent and touch the thumbs to the chest.
2. Now, while you keep the elbows level with the floor, push the elbows back as far as possible (slowly, no jerking motions). Hold the elbows back and count to five.
3. Now return the elbows to the starting position and straighten the arms out to the sides. While keeping them level with the floor, push the hands back as far as possible and hold them back to the count of five.
Start with five repetitions twice a day and gradually work up to 20 to 25 repetitions at least twice a day.

Exercise two
With this exercise you need to find an empty corner in the house.
1. Stand about two feet out from the corner with your nose pointing directly into the corner.
2. Now place your hands, with your palms flat, against the wall on each side of you (it is very important to always have the fingers pointing toward the corner!).
3. Keep your body as straight as you can (like a board), and slowly lean into the corner.
4. As you lean toward the corner, you should feel a definite stretch and burning between the shoulders as well as some stretching in the front part of the chest.
5. Hold yourself in this stretching position for a count of five, then return to the starting position and count to five before starting another repetition. Start with five repetitions twice a day and work up to about 20 repetitions twice a day.


A Fruity Way for Safe Sun Exposure

Sunlight is necessary for life. It stimulates the immune system and aids the production of vitamin D. Studies show that people with high vitamin D intake have high bone density levels. Enjoy it, but do so in moderation. Don’t bake your skin, let it dry out or burn.

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is a delicious way to minimize this effect because a diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to have protective effects against skin damage. Taking a good supplement program including Vitamin E, C and trace minerals such as selenium is also recommended.


Six Steps To Healthy Sleep

Along with good nutrition, regular exercise, getting plenty of clean water and fresh air, sound, restful sleep is a basic requirement for overall good health. As the demands of modern life contribute to increasing levels of stress, going to sleep isn’t always as easy as closing your eyes anymore. If you’re tired of counting sheep and not getting the proper amount of sleep you need each night, try these simple steps.
1. Arrange your sleeping quarters so that you have as close to complete darkness as possible.
This may require heavier curtains in the bedroom or even changing bedrooms in the house. Wearing a sleeping mask can help, but it is not the total answer.

Some studies showed that body temperature and melatonin levels were altered when light was shined on the back of the knee. Researchers found that when they exposed the back of the knee to light before dawn, the body’s clock (circadian clock) would reset, or advance itself.

This seemingly inconsequential light exposure had the very same effect as shining the light in the eye. (Science 98; 279(5349):333-4,396-9.)

In other words, the day following the nighttime light exposure, the release of melatonin and the drop in body temperature, which trigger the need for sleep, occurred earlier in the day. This one seemingly harmless disruption can start a vicious cycle of fatigue and insomnia.

2. After you’ve made your sleeping area as dark as possible, there should be a rule in the house that nobody turns on a light in the room while someone is sleeping. Even though it might not wake the sleeping person, it shuts down their production of melatonin.

3. Also, if you have to go to the bathroom during the night, it would be best not to turn on the light. Turning on the light even for just a second shuts down melatonin production and can contribute to fatigue, insomnia, and all of the other problems.

4. If you have trouble falling asleep, you might want to try a hot bath just before bedtime.

While our normal body temperature will vary throughout the day, it generally stays within 1 degree above or below the norm of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

About an hour before we feel the need to sleep, our body temperature begins to drop about 1 degree. This is one of the key signals from the brain to slow down and start the sleep process.
Unfortunately, many of us continually override this signal by forcing our minds and bodies to keep going. Fortunately, you can easily reinstate this body temperature signal by taking a hot bath about an hour before you want to sleep. Your body will naturally start to lower its core temperature in an effort to cool itself off. This temperature drop will start the same physiological processes that naturally brings on the desire for sleep.

5. If a hot bath still isn’t enough to promote sleep, then the best suggestion I have for you is to start a regular exercise program.

Study after study has shown that regular exercise enhances sleep in almost everyone with sleep disturbances. Something as simple as regular walking can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep — not to mention the dozens of other positive changes it will bring about. (Sleep 97;20(3):203-214.)

6. Finally, as soon as you wake up in the morning, either turn on the lights or open the blinds and let the sunlight in.

Opening the window is preferred, as it imprints on the brain the many sights, sounds and smells associated with awakening. This is the proper way to reset your body clock, and will ensure that your melatonin levels will stay set on “awake” until that evening.


Stretching Exercises for Relaxing Neck Muscles

There are several causes of stiff necks, including everything from a misaligned vertebra to muscle strain.

The following three exercises, if done regularly, will strengthen and help relax your neck muscles. The exercises can also help maintain the normal range of motion in your neck.

Do each three or four times slowly and deliberately, relaxing as you do them, twice a day. (If you have circulatory, bone, muscle or neck problems, check with your doctor first.)

Around the clock

Start this exercise by first tilting the head forward, and slowly stretch the muscles of the back of the neck. Relax and then tilt the head back and slowly stretch the muscles at the front of the neck. Now, by tilting the head slowly to either side, all of the muscles of the neck have been stretched.

Don’t rotate the head in a circular motion. Also be sure to keep looking straight ahead when tilting the head to one side or the other (sometimes it is easier to watch yourself in front of a mirror until you are sure you are doing it right).

The shrug

Draw your shoulders up toward your ears slowly. Breathe deeply and return to the original position. Relax and repeat. A slight variation of this exercise would be to slowly rotate your shoulders forward and backward.

The trapezius stretch

While standing with a straight back, lock your hands behind your head.

Slowly bring your elbows together in front of your face. Reverse the exercise by again locking your hands behind your head and slowly pulling your elbows back. Then repeat.

Towel tip

One additional tip that helps relieve neck stiffness from muscle tension is to roll up a small hand towel firmly until it’s about four to five inches in diameter.

While lying on your back, place the towel directly under the neck. If the towel is placed right, it should increase the natural curve of the neck and the neck will be tilted slightly backward.

Getting in this position and relaxing for a few minutes will not only relax the neck, but many times it will stop those tension headaches that seem to start in that area.


A Difficult Pill to Swallow?

Often a good multivitamin program requires that you take a number of capsules and pills throughout the day. For some people, though, swallowing pills can be a real problem that makes such programs difficult to follow.

Fortunately, there are many easy methods you can try if swallowing pills poses a problem for you (I wish I would have known all of this when I was kid and my mother was trying to make me swallow a pill or capsule).

Trouble Swallowing? Head in the Right Direction

Swallowing capsules can sometimes be difficult since they have a tendency to float. Most of us tilt our heads back when trying to swallow one, but this allows it to “float” to the top, which is at the front of your mouth. This makes the capsule even more difficult to get down your throat.

Next time, after placing a capsule in your mouth and taking a small sip of water, try tilting your head slightly forward and then swallow.

If a Pill Gets Stuck, Go Bananas

For those pesky pills that get caught in your throat, eat a banana. Bananas have just the right mushy, smooth consistency to dislodge and carry it into the stomach.

When a Gag Isn’t Funny

Pill swallowing problems usually stem from an over-sensitive gag reflex. There is one way to “fool” the reflex.

Next time you take your vitamins, try drinking the water you wash them down with from a soda bottle. Keeping your lips in contact with the bottle, use a sucking action to drink from the bottle. The swallowing reflex is triggered automatically by pursing the lips and sucking. Distilled water works fine, but carbonated water works even better.

By the way, this is a good way to get children to swallow pills also.

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