natural remedies

Grandmother’s Natural Remedies

Lately, there has been a renewed interest in natural remedies. Natural remedies have been around since man first discovered that many natural substances could treat illness. Remember the days of old, when Grandmother strapped a warm mustard pack to our congested chests when we had a cold? Or used a warmed tea bag to get rid of pink eye, a clove of garlic to stop an earache, or prepared a mixture of chaparral and olive oil as a cure for itchy skin? It seems many people have forgotten about natural remedies as we have come to rely on pharmaceutical treatments.

In the past, distances between townships, limited funds, and the lack of readily available medical professionals and facilities all dictated that a woman had to be not only a wife, mother, and housekeeper, but the family doctor as well. Folklore healing practices, curative uses of herbs, and other medicinal “family secrets” were stealthily guarded and passed down from one generation to the next. Generations of women passed down the knowledge of natural remedies from mother to daughter.

Of course, some of yesteryear’s touted cures were not truly curing anything at all. Superstition and myth “remedies,” without any practical application, crept into the mix. Little by little through the years, suspicion as to the validity of any natural, herbal remedy began to take root.

For instance, witch doctor-type practices such as hanging herbs that resembled tears around a child’s neck to help him cut teeth. “Reading” tea leaves to foretell future love interests, and assertions like placing certain spices under the pillow could improve memory, prejudiced many away from the genuine curative uses of herbs.

That is why some modern-day practitioners regard the medicinal use of herbs as “quackery”. They believe the use of natural remedies is nothing more than old wives’ tales. There are, however, a growing number of otherwise conventional medical professionals who acknowledge what Grandmother knew all along. Natural, herbal remedies as a means to maintain good health and cure certain diseases are valid. Nature’s drug store is making a comeback.

And that should not be surprising at all. After all, we like plants that are organic. It is the synthetic drugs used today that were formulated to mimic their natural counterparts and not the other way around. In days of old, there was no other way to treat illness and discomfort, help heal wounds, or cure bodily dysfunctions other than with natural remedies.

Early man lived in tune with nature. People studied wildlife and learned of the medicinal “powers” of herbs. Animals bitten by a poisonous snake survived after chewing snakeroot. A wounded bear rolled in mud to better heal and escape infection. Old deer eased their misery and made joints more limber by resting under the therapeutic rays of the sun. Animals have made use of natural remedies for hundreds of thousands of years, even millions of years.

Nature’s well-worked out plan for good health and freedom from disease is observed in animals. It is people who have strayed from nature’s medicine chest to create man-made remedies. Many of these man-made remedies are less effective, much more costly, and can cause severe and negative side effects.

By working with nature, we increase our chance of a more healthy life, while decreasing our risk of disease and premature bodily limitations and dysfunctions.

A wealth of healing resources is just outside our doors for the taking. We only need to open our eyes to the possibilities available all around us to find a wealth of natural remedies available free of charge.

To highlight this fact, let’s take a look at the multiple medicinal uses of just one herb among many that is commonly regarded as an unwanted weed.

Medicinal Uses of Common Burdock

Sometimes found invading fields of corn and wheat in the Midwestern United States, common burdock grows wild in many areas of the US. Though routinely looked down upon as a weed, it has the potential to improve health and ease skin afflictions when harvested for its root.

Many herbalists know that burdock is unsurpassed as a blood purifier. It is also the “king” of herbs in treating chronic skin problems such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, boils, syphilitic sores, and canker sores.

You can create a medicinal tea of burdock root by bringing 1 quart of water to a boil. Reduce heat. Add 4 teaspoons cut, dried burdock root. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 2 hours. Drink a minimum of 2 cups a day on an empty stomach, or more if the problem persists. This concoction can also be made in a larger quantity and used topically to wash areas of skin affected by the skin issues mentioned above, as needed.

Mixed with catnip and brewed into a tea, burdock root is effective in clearing up stubborn kidney stones and gallstones. To make this tea bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped or cut fresh or dried burdock root. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 3 teaspoons chopped fresh or dried catnip leaf, and let steep for 1 hour, then strain. For each cup, add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or blackstrap molasses (to sweeten). Drink slowly. Follow with 1 tablespoon of pure virgin olive oil 10 minutes later.

Drink this tea 3 times a day. The tea helps to soothe irritated tissues and helps break up or partially dissolve the stones. Olive oil acts as a lubricant to expel them from the body more easily. Important to the success of this remedy is to digest no greasy, fried foods, soft drinks, refined carbohydrates (such as white flour or white sugar products), red meat, or poultry during the course of this treatment.

Burdock root ground to a powder, when combined with dried red clover and dandelion root, and packed in gel capsules, can help clear up acne and blemishes. Take two a day — morning and evening.

Besides being an aid in clearing problem skin when combined with burdock, red clover is also famous as an alternative cancer treatment and is a natural blood thinner. Dandelion root was hailed as a miracle cure for warts and liver spot removal by the late Will Greer, who portrayed Grandpa Walton on “The Waltons”. In addition, Britain’s licensed medical herbalist, Dr. David Potterton noted that the high inulin content in dandelion root makes it a good sugar substitute for persons who suffer from diabetes.

Other Natural Remedies

Many herbs contain naturally produced chemicals within them that have medicinal properties. An infusion made from elder-flower and water makes a mild astringent, and can safely be used for eye baths. Chamomile is excellent to use for eye compresses to treat inflammation of the eyelids. Garlic is an excellent natural antibiotic, and immune system builder. Cayenne is beneficial for circulation and stomach ailments. In fact, many of the herbs used for culinary purposes are not only great flavor enhancers but medicinal natural remedies as well.

Besides herbs, many vegetables, and fruits, especially organic, yield health and medicinal benefits. Celery juice is a natural diuretic and is useful for people with rheumatism or for those who want to lose weight. Cabbage has been shown to be effective in the fight against duodenal ulcers and is a good source of calcium for those who must avoid dairy products. Radish is helpful for gall-bladder and liver ailments, and spinach improves the hemoglobin of the blood due to its high content of iron. Beets are excellent for certain conditions of the liver, and for improving blood hemoglobin as well.

While undeniably health-enhancing, natural or herbal remedies should never be used alongside synthetic or prescription drugs without the prescribing doctor’s knowledge. While grapefruit by itself can be effective in reducing high levels of cholesterol, for instance, it isn’t recommended in combination with certain prescribed medications also meant to lower cholesterol. In fact, many cholesterol-reducing medications warn not to consume grapefruit while taking the medication. This is only one example of possible drug interactions that may occur if you attempt to use herbal remedies alongside prescription drugs. When in doubt, always ask your doctor before combining natural remedies with prescription drugs.

Because many of nature’s offerings do have potent medical and health-enhancing properties you should become knowledgeable about the benefits and cautions of each. Like any medication, increasing concentrations, doses, or mixing one with another for medicinal purposes could be harmful instead of helpful. And mixing natural/herbal remedies with synthetic/prescription medications is not recommended unless prescribed by a doctor as an enhancement.

Instead of rebelling against nature, we can become more in tune with the gifts endowed by the natural world. The same health laws that apply to the animal kingdom also apply to man. We have something valuable to relearn from our wild counterparts. By joining hands with nature and embracing the natural world, we can possibly enhance our health and increase our longevity.

Disclaimer- The information presented in this article should not be considered medical advice. Always consult your personal physician before you begin using any natural remedy. If you are taking any prescription medication, be sure you consult your doctor, pharmacist, or a trusted herbalist before using any natural herbal remedy.

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