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.

If you are interested in learning more about herbal medicines and natural remedies—either to grow and harvest your own herbs or solely to further your knowledge—we’ve put together a curated list of our favorite books currently on the market. Some include recipes, others contain information about identifying herbs in their natural environment, but they all are comprehensive, straight-forward, and written by experts in the field. 
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.)

“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.
Take two enteric-coated peppermint capsules (500 mg each) three times daily. Peppermint kills bacteria that cause bloating and relaxes gastrointestinal muscles for smoother, spasm-free digestion. The enteric coating prevents capsules from opening in the stomach and increasing discomfort by causing heartburn and indigestion. The peppermint releases and goes to work lower in the gastrointestinal tract, where gas-plagued people need it most. (See what your gas is trying to tell you.)
Sip linden flower tea, which works in two ways: It stimulates the hypothalamus to better control your temperature, and it dilates blood vessels, inducing sweating. Steep 1 tablespoon of dried herb (available in health food stores) in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, then sip. Drink three to four cups a day. If you still run hot after a day of sipping tea, seek medical attention. 
National Institutes of Health: “Home remedies to control head lice: assessment of home remedies to control the human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae),” “Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review,” “Current Issues Regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in the United States.”
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