10 Home Remedies That Doctors Still Recommend

By:    Published: July 20, 2012

a a a

Most allopathic doctors today have become dependent upon prescription medications, and while these medications have certainly helped many people, there are some old "tried and true" home remedies that are quite effective.

As many people struggle with the high costs associated with health care, more and more of them are looking for these very remedies to keep themselves and their families healthy without breaking the bank. While it is important to always seek professional medical attention, here are a few home remedies that can help for minor injuries or ailments.

Lemon Balm

This wonderfully fragrant herb has been used since antiquity to treat anxiety and depression as well as viruses. Also known as Melissa, modern research backs up its ancient use. Several studies have shown it to be effective in treating anxiety and depression as well as mildly inhibiting thyroid function, making it useful for treating hyperthyroidism. It can be used in aromatherapy, or prepared as a tea.

Plantain

Plantain has been used since the middle ages in Europe for skin conditions. This plant should not be confused with the banana-like tropical fruit that bears the same name. Plantain, or Plantago Major, as it is also known, was discovered in China in 206 B.C., and is used for treating burns, stings and bites, and also as a laxative. The seeds of the plantago major plant are the main ingredient in many over-the-counter laxatives.

Hawthorn

This powerful little berry, as well as its flowers and leaves, are often called "food for the heart" by herbalists. This remedy has been used since the first century A.D. to treat a number of heart ailments and there is modern research to back it up. The compounds in hawthorn berries help to strengthen the heart muscle itself, while the flowering tops and leaves help blood pressure and circulation. Hawthorn is particularly effective in the early stages of heart disease and can eliminate or delay the need for prescription medications if started early enough; however, this should be discussed with a doctor beforehand, especially if a person is already on heart medications.

Onions

A favorite in nearly every cuisine around the world, onions have a number of beneficial properties and a mountain of research to support their use. The sulfur compounds in onions (the same compounds that make people cry when cutting them) are effective at reducing diabetes symptoms and helping to avoid heart disease. It also has powerful antibiotic properties as well as antioxidant properties that have been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. The more colorful the onions, the better and these beneficial compounds are destroyed with high heat, so it's best to consume onions raw or only slightly cooked.

Parsley

Parsley has been used since at least the 17th century to treat urinary tract ailments, and research supports this. Prevention magazine reports that Yarnell's 2002 World Journal of Urology discovered parsley did increase urine output, which is helpful in relieving urinary tract problems, but this isn't where parsley's benefits end. It is also rich in phytoestrogens and vitamin C, making it an excellent for relieving menopause symptoms. It also is useful in treating digestive upset and nothing takes away the smell of eating all those onions like parsley. It also works to freshen breath when eaten after meals.

Salt

That's right, simple table salt is useful for more than just flavoring dinner. When salt is mixed with water in a concentration greater than what is found in the human body, it can draw fluid out of tissues. This is particularly useful when dealing with sinus congestion or sore, swollen throats. Tap water is perfectly safe for gargling with, but for those who are going to flush there sinuses with salt water (as is commonly done with a neti pot) only distilled water or water that has been boiled and cooled should be used. Tap water should not be used for nasal irrigation because of the risk of infection from dangerous microbes.

(For more information on nasal irrigation, see Nasal Irrigation For Relief From Sinus Problems.)

Meat Tenderizer

Meat tenderizer contains an enzyme that breaks down proteins. So it's not only effective at tenderizing a steak, it can also draw out the toxins from insect bites and stings and non-poisonous spider bites that cause itching and discomfort. Mix a paste of unseasoned meat tenderizer and a few drops of water and apply to the site of the bite or sting. Leave on for 15 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Be sure to watch for signs of a severe allergic reaction, as these types of bites can often cause anaphylaxis in people who are allergic.

Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne peppers are responsible for the "heat" in many dishes, but the substance that makes them hot is the same substance that makes them great at relieving pain. Capsaicin is the substance in all peppers that makes them hot. It has been widely studied and found to be an effective pain reliever. In fact, it is used as the active ingredient in many over-the-counter pain relieving creams because it stops the chemical messengers that send pain signals to the brain. When combined with salt, and gargled, it is extremely effective at relieving the sore throat and congestion that is associated with colds, often after just one use.

Peppermint

This member of the mint family has been used for stomach upsets for centuries. The oil in the peppermint relaxes the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, allowing food and gas to pass more easily. The one stomach ailment that peppermint tea won't help, and could actually make worse, is acid reflux. Peppermint tea will relax the esophageal sphincter, causing acid to back up into the esophagus. Peppermint tea is also useful in treating morning sickness and relieving congestion associated with cold symptoms. To learn more, be sure to check out 10 Refreshing Health Benefits Of Peppermint.

Honey

Honey is often highly effective at relieving coughs and soothing scratchy throats, but not many people know that it's also effective at healing wounds. According to Dutch researchers, honey, which has been used for thousands of years for wounds, contains a protein called Defensin-1, which gives it its antibacterial properties.

Sometimes old wives' tales and folk remedies really are effective. These are just 10 of the home remedies that doctors still recommend that research has validated. There are many more out there. A simple Internet search will turn up hundreds, but caution should always be used. When in doubt, consult a doctor. And remember, these remedies are in no way meant to substitute proper medical treatment from a trained physician or healthcare specialist.

Sources:

  • Prevention magazine
  • Health magazine
  • Webb, Marcus A. and Craze, Richard. The Herb and Spice Companion. Sterling, 2004.
  • Chavallier, Andrew with Keifer, David. Visual Reference Guides: Herbal Remedies. Sterling, 2010.
More in Health A-Z
New on SymptomFind
a a a  
RELATED ARTICLES
NEED ANSWERS?