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Most of us grew up with a home remedy or two – flat cola for an upset stomach, or tobacco on a bee sting. Home remedies have become increasingly popular, in part because people don’t always want to take over-the-counter products, and because home remedies are economical and handy. Try these simple, natural solutions to warding off some common winter ailments. (While all of these home remedies are considered safe and effective by doctors, always remember that if you are really feeling ill, do see your doctor.)

Colds:

In the winter, people are more susceptible to colds – they may be run down or stressed out. The immune system is not up to speed. Also, the constant barrage of holiday parties and gatherings means that you come in contact with more people, and more germs.

To fight a cold, drink juices rich in vitamin C – orange, tomato, grapefruit – at least 5 glasses a day. You need to take about 500 milligrams of vitamin C to reduce sneezes and coughs.

Chicken soup is also great for colds – hot liquid helps cut through congestion. Chicken soup is comforting, and is a protein-rich food that provides the nutrients you may not feel up to eating. Another way to help clear up congestion is to have some spicy foods – things with horseradish, hot mustard, or curry.

Indulge in some garlic – garlic has been shown to have anti-viral and anti-fungal activities. Also, try some Echinacea, a remedy available at most health food stores. It’s natural, and comes in pill form, and in tea bags.

Fever:

To take care of the typical fever that can come with a cold or the flu, try take a warm bath, and remember to drink plenty of fluids.

Stuffy Nose:

Believe it or not, try sniffing a freshly cut onion! The irritation will stimulate your nose and un-block the stuffiness.

Sore Throat – Coughing:

Try lozenges with eucalyptus, an essential oil that soothes and can help reduce swelling. Also, a cough may be related to nasal irritation, so try taking a hot shower, or inhaling steam from a boiling pot of water, with eucalyptus sprigs if possible.

Remember, you should see a doctor if your symptoms seem unusual – for instance:

  • If after a week, your cold is still with you.
  • If you are short of breath, or cough up any blood.
  • If you have a lasting fever, particularly if it is at 101 degrees or above.
  • When it comes to children or the elderly, be extra cautious.

Headaches – Migraines:

Headaches can be tricky, since so many different things can cause them. Also – different people have different reactions to things.

A good remedy is to take ice, place it in a ziploc-type sandwich bag, and place on the area where the head is aching. Ice will help constrict the blood vessels, and lessen the pain. If you don’t have any ice, even a bag of frozen vegetables will do the trick!

If your headache comes from neck pain, or stiff muscles, try a heating pad. When the muscles tighten due to stress, the flow of blood to the brain is reduced. Heat soothes the muscles, and increases blood supply.

Migraines are twice as likely to strike women as men. For migraines, sleep is really the best solution, but doctors also recommend eating foods rich in magnesium. For example, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fruits. Magnesium is a muscle relaxer.

Cholesterol Control

Eat a healthy breakfast – when you do this, you will tend to eat fewer bad snacks during the day. A great snack is grapes – not only are they healthy and low calorie, but there is a cholesterol-lowering compound in the skins of grapes. Garlic, also, is a cholesterol-lowering food, “nature’s little pill in a bulb.” And, if you don’t want to eat a lot of fresh garlic in your food, you can take garlic pills, available at the health food store. They are just as effective.


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