Reviews | “I love the simplicity of introducing herbs through food and cooking. Food should always be our first medicine…I like that [the recipes] are all very doable: no specialized equipment, no huge orders of exotic herbs and spices and no tricky culinary skills required. The author has done a remarkable job of making herbal support both legitimate to the doubtful and accessible to the open-minded.” – Sue Kusch, Amazon Review
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.

Crush a few fresh strawberries into a scrubbing pulp that you mix with a pinch of stain-removing baking soda and enough water to make a paste. Apply the mixture to a soft-bristled toothbrush and polish for a few minutes once every 3 or 4 months. (More often can erode tooth enamel.) The astringent malic acid in strawberries helps buff coffee and red-wine stains from teeth. (Here are 4 more foods that whiten teeth naturually.)


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Anyone who calls herbs hazardous is totally misinformed. Every year the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) compiles statistics on accidental deaths from drugs, herbs, vitamins, and other supplements. The AAPCC’s most recent report (2008) records 1,756 accidental poisoning deaths. How many were attributable to medicinal herbs? Zero. In every accidental death caused by a pharmacological agent, the culprit was a pharmaceutical. And it’s been that way for many years. Herbs are safer than drugs.
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In her recently released book, Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal, Registered Herbalist Rosalee De La Forêt has one mission: to teach readers how to transform everyday ingredients into natural remedies. More plainly put, she wants to show you how to heal your body with foods and ingredients you already have in your kitchen cupboard.

Believe it or not, your toothbrush may be perpetuating—or even causing—your sore throat. Bacteria collect on the bristles, and any injury to the gums during brushing injects these germs into your system. As soon as you start feeling ill, throw away your toothbrush. Often that’s enough to stop the illness in its tracks. “Changing your toothbrush is often recommended for patients with bacterial throat infections to eliminate the spread of infection,” Dr. Abramowitz says.
A stiff neck results from slowed circulation and lymph flow to muscle tissues. Use contrast hydrotherapy—a quick blast of hot, then cold water—to get the blood pumping again. In the shower, first run hot water over your neck for 20 seconds to increase blood flow, then switch to cold for 10 seconds to constrict blood flow. Alternate three times, always ending with cold. When you get out of the shower, your body will send the blood back out to the skin, which results in a final dilation of blood vessels and—voilà!—a looser neck. 
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Soak feet nightly in 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water to eliminate odoriferous bacteria. Or take a daily foot bath in strong black tea (let it cool first) for 30 minutes. Tea's tannins kill bacteria and close the pores in your feet, keeping feet dry longer; bacteria tend to thrive in moist environments. You'll see results in a few days to a week. One caution: Do the soak only when your feet are free of cuts.


The principles of Ayurveda can be applied in lots of different ways. In "Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life," Dr. Claudia Welch uses them to help women restore balance to hormones. She explains that high stress levels, lack of sleep, and an unhealthy diet can cause hormones to get off balance. Dr. Welch provides tools from the ancient medicine practice and explains how you can use them.
A stiff neck results from slowed circulation and lymph flow to muscle tissues. Use contrast hydrotherapy—a quick blast of hot, then cold water—to get the blood pumping again. In the shower, first run hot water over your neck for 20 seconds to increase blood flow, then switch to cold for 10 seconds to constrict blood flow. Alternate three times, always ending with cold. When you get out of the shower, your body will send the blood back out to the skin, which results in a final dilation of blood vessels and—voilà!—a looser neck. 
Two naturopathic doctors, Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, explain how natural therapies are used to treat common health conditions. In "The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," they provide tips for living a healthy lifestyle and using supplements and botanical medicines. The doctors give examples of how holistic medicine can be effective, using information from scientific studies.

It’s been used for thousands of years in Asian medicine to treat stomachaches, diarrhea, and nausea, and studies show that it works for nausea and vomiting. There’s some evidence that it might help with menstrual cramps, too. But it’s not necessarily good for everyone. Some people get tummy trouble, heartburn, diarrhea, and gas because of it, and it may affect how some medications work. So talk to your doctor, and use it with care.
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