When you think about alternative medicine and home remedies, you may have lots of questions: Are these treatments effective? How do they work? "Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine and Home Remedies" aims to answer them. It explains how to treat common health problems at home and when to use certain remedies. You’ll also find information on how to tell if your symptoms are a sign of a medical emergency and when it’s time to get your doctor involved.
While you may have heard that gargling with apple cider vinegar has a similar effect, you should probably steer clear of this tactic for now, says Dr. Comer. “There is little doubt that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and possibly antifungal properties in lab studies, but whether or not this translates into helping viral or bacterial sore throats is unknown,” he explains. “Additionally, there are potential significant issues to extended use of vinegar with the tooth enamel—vinegar is acidic, and repeated use can damage tooth enamel.”
Silica and zinc are key for beautiful, shiny hair, and are found in so many foods. “For hair growth, silica is key,” Sepel explained, recommending we “include lots of green leafy vegetables, cucumber, zucchini, mango, and beans. Zinc is equally important and can be found in things like eggs, pecans, Brazil nuts, and fresh oysters. Oily fish is another must for shiny hair.”
Dry air can irritate a sore throat, prolonging your recovery time. Taking a steamy shower or using a humidifier can bring moisture back into the air, thus relieving any discomfort. “The mucus membranes of the nose and throat love moisture,” Dr. Abramowitz says. “Steam provides moisture and warmth, which helps the vocal cords calm down and decrease in swelling.” The moisture in your nose can also help clear out mucus and gunk, which can be part of the problem, he adds.
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Acid reflux—which occurs when acids produced by your stomach make their way into the throat—is a common cause of a sore throat, Dr. Comer says. That means anything you do to stoke acid reflux could prolong or worsen a sore throat. For that reason, Dr. Comer recommends avoiding soda, fried foods, and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Also, skip food altogether for an hour before bed. Eating before you lie down can promote reflux and heartburn.

Bathe in your breakfast. Although oatmeal is a centuries-old skin soother, researchers only recently recognized the avenanthramides in oats as the key compounds that calm inflamed, itchy skin. Put whole oats in a clean, dry sock. Seal the open end with a rubber band, and then drop the sock into a warm or hot bath. Soak yourself for 15 to 20 minutes. (Winterize your skin care routine with our best cold-weather tips.)


Sip a faux hot toddy. Cut a vitamin C–rich lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half into a cup. Studies show that vitamin C taken before the onset of a cold shortens its duration and severity. Drop the lemon half shell into the cup. Add boiling water and a teaspoon of organic raw honey, an immunity booster that also coats painful throat tissues. Breathe in the healing vapor to open sinuses, and sip a cupful two or three times daily to fight the bug. (To make a traditional hot toddy, add a half shot of brandy.)
To calm a nagging cough that keeps you awake at night, take 2 teaspoons of honey (1 to 2 teaspoons for kids; don't give to children younger than 1), along with 500 mg of Ester C 30 minutes before bed. The vitamin C (nonacidic Ester type won't upset stomachs) boosts the immune system in the early stages of your cough. Research shows that honey works better than either a cough suppressant or no treatment at all for relieving children's nocturnal cough and promoting sleep. 

“Low fat and fat-free foods are loaded with sugar, and the body stores extra sugar as fat. Don’t be afraid of good fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds–they give you an energy boost and keep you full longer. And learn to love veggies –they’re loaded with fiber and B-vitamins, which help purify your system. A clean body is a lean body,” she said.
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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