Friday, January 14, 2011

Frugal Health Remedies

As you may be able to glean from the title, I'm coming down with a cold/the flu. I'm right miffed about it too, because I managed to stay healthy in the weeks leading up to Christmas when everyone else around me was sick. *grumble*

I for one am not a fan of over the counter cold remedies. For the most part I find them to be mostly slick marketing. Do you have bottles of both Tylenol Cold and Tylenol Flu in your cupboard? Look at the active ingredients, you'll notice they're identical. The cold and the flu are both viruses that evolve over time; the products don't target the virus, they help with the symptoms. Kudos to whoever came up with that marketing scheme. Ditto with NeoCitran. Make a cup of honey lemon tea, then take a tylenol (or generic equivalent) and an antihistamine. NeoCitran is the same thing, only weaker. Look at the back of the box and see for yourself!

My mom used several home remedies when I was younger, mostly because they worked well, but also because they were cheaper/safer than over the counter medications. I had some gallbladder issues as a kid (tmi?), and the doctor wanted to put me on some heavy duty steroids for it. My mom took me home and gave me Watkin's strawberry extract, the same thing she was giving our goats, and it cleared right up. I'm not saying you should never listen to the doctor, or that all medications are bad, it's just this was a more frugal option that would cause far fewer serious complications. It worked well.

On that note, I'm going to throw a few of my usual cold remedies out there. Mom, if you're reading this, let me know if I've missed anything. If you have any of your own, PLEASE put them down in the comments section. I want to kick this thing as quickly as possible!

For Sore Throats:
Thinly slice an onion, and put it in a pot over low heat with a couple tablespoons of water. Cook the onion down until you have lots of light brown liquid. Stir in some lemon juice and a tablespoon of either brown sugar or honey, then drink the liquid.

I'm not entirely sure why this works as well as it does. I know the sulfuric compounds in onions and garlic are great for tackling bugs, but I was under the understanding that they were fragile compounds that broke down when heated. That and they're neutralized by citric acid as well. It may just be the sulfur in it, I don't know, all I know is that it works. The dose of vitamin C helps too.

For Throat Congestion and Sore Throats:
This is kind of a no brainer. Put the kettle on to boil and pour yourself a mug of hot water. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and sweeten to taste with honey. Drink it as hot as you can stand it. Repeat.

The fluids help flush mucous and irritants out of your throat, and the heat helps kill off bugs. The lemon hits you with a decent dose of vitamin C, and also helps kill off bugs. The honey has anti-viral/anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties, and makes it a little more palatable/easier on the throat. The less processed the honey, the better.

For Upset Stomach:
Same as above, just reduce the lemon and add sliced or grated fresh ginger. Ginger is well known to naturally calm nausea. Church & Dwight (parent company that makes tonnes of well known products) actually uses it to make a natural version of Gravol.

For Sinus Congestion:
I have some pretty wicked seasonal allergies, and I picked up this trick from a coworker while I was in university. You need some Vicks Vapour Rub. Rather than putting it on your chest or back, rub it under your nose and across your cheek bones under your eyes. Your eyes will be watery for a bit, but shortly after you'll feel a popping sensation as the pressure in your sinuses is relieved. You'll want a tissue, as your nose will likely start running after. For some reason putting it on top of the sinuses works better than just putting it under your nose. I have no idea why.

*Additional Tip: One of my friend's suggested putting it on the bottom of my feet. WOW does that work well! I don't know if it stimulates the nerves like refexology does or what, but it works*

Anyway, hopefully that will help someone else out there. Please help me and post your own home remedies?

400-ct Acetaminophen Extra Strength (500 Mg), Rapid Release Gelcaps / Compare to Extra Strength Tylenol Rapid Release Gelcaps
Celestial Seasonings Herb Tea, Lemon Zinger, 20-Count Tea Bags (Pack of 6)
Handy Solutions Vicks VapoRub, .45oz. Packages (Pack of 8)


Daisy said...

Wow, good tips! Oil of oregano is good too, but not frugal - it costs about $12-15 for a bottle, but its strong stuff and lasts forever. If you feel yourself getting sick, you just put some under your tounge and voila! Not sick anymore. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I love new visitors & comments :)

Cassie said...

Thank you for stopping by Daisy! I completely forgot I have a bottle of oil of oregano in my bathroom cupboard! I'm going to go take some now, lol.

youngandthrifty said...

Great tips!

I remember when I saw Gravol market and sell GINGER in tablets I was completely surprised. C'mon...

I agree with Daisy- Oil or Oregano really saves the day. It's not cheap but it lasts a long time. I just use 3 drops when I start getting a sore throat and then it's gone :)

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