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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.
If part of the reason you’re breathing through your mouth is because your nose is clogged, use an over-the-counter medicated decongestant nasal spray or drops to open up airways, such as Afrin or Vicks. “Nasal decongestants work well at eliminating congestion in your nose and drying mucus out,” Dr. Abramowitz says. “This can help you feel better and also decrease postnasal drip.”
Eastern and Western medicine come from two very different schools of thought. When used together, they can offer even more benefits. In "The New Chinese Medicine Handbook," Dr. Misha Ruth Cohen, a doctor of Chinese medicine and licensed acupuncturist, outlines how Chinese medicine can be used alongside modern medicine to treat a variety of conditions. Learn how to combine Chinese dietary guidelines with Western ones. Dr. Cohen also outlines how to practice healing therapies, like acupuncture, qi gong, and Chinese herbal therapy.
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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.)
Just be sure to clean your humidifier before turning it on. Left neglected, a humidifier’s water tank can breed bacteria and fungi, which then get pumped into the air, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSP) safety alert. While this may not make your throat feel any worse, it could cause flu-like symptoms or exacerbate allergies or asthma.
“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.
To the elderly, who are suffering cardiovascular disease, liver cirrhosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, constipation is even more dangerous as a straining and difficult bowel movement can increase blood pressure, a risk of cerebral embolism, shortness of breath and so on, which may cause sudden death. The stagnation of stool in the colon for long days also cause intestinal obstruction or facilitate the development of harmful bacteria, promoting the risk of other diseases and infections.
ANNE KENNEDY is a writer who specializes in a wide variety of natural health, gardening, and sustainability topics. She has written several books on essential oils and herbal medicine, including The Portable Essential Oils (2016), Essential Oils Natural Remedies (2015), and Essential Oils for Beginners (2013). Self-sufficiency, an active outdoor lifestyle, and a strong focus on the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit serve as her inspiration and her cornerstone for healthy living. Anne lives and works from her home on a small organic farm in the mountains of West Virginia. Her favorite essential oil is frankincense.
Eastern and Western medicine come from two very different schools of thought. When used together, they can offer even more benefits. In "The New Chinese Medicine Handbook," Dr. Misha Ruth Cohen, a doctor of Chinese medicine and licensed acupuncturist, outlines how Chinese medicine can be used alongside modern medicine to treat a variety of conditions. Learn how to combine Chinese dietary guidelines with Western ones. Dr. Cohen also outlines how to practice healing therapies, like acupuncture, qi gong, and Chinese herbal therapy.
If you’re super stressed and worn out, your body’s immune system will have a harder time with the recovery process—so get some rest! Time in bed or away from life’s usual stressors—like work, taking care of the kids, and cleaning up the house—can help recharge your immune system, Dr. Finkelston says. Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
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.)
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.
If you suffer from anxiety, it could pay off to try meditation before you start popping pills–here’s how. Chronic stress has been linked to people with increased risk of Heart Disease, weight gain, sleep problems, and memory and concentration impairment. In studies, daily meditation has also been proven to help manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, depression, heart disease, and cancer. Translation: Meditation actually works, so you should try it.
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