Salt water is a great home remedy for sore throat, as it can reduce swelling and calm inflammation and irritation. It may also help draw infections or irritants to the surface of your throat, where your body is better able to deal with them. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and gargle every hour or two, advises Mia Finkelston, MD, a Maryland-based family physician who also treats patients via LiveHealth Online.
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.)
What you put into your body can have a big impact on your health. We now know the connection between poor diet and chronic health conditions. "Healing with Whole Foods" focuses on changing your diet with guidance from Chinese medicine. Learn about nutrient-dense greens, like spirulina and blue-green algae. The book also offers over 300 nutritious recipes.
Gargle with a small cup of acidic lemon juice to kill odor-causing bacteria. Then eat a bit of plain unsweetened yogurt, which contains beneficial lactobacillus bacteria. These so-called probiotics compete with and replace the reeking bacteria. (They also make you prettier—check it out!) The lemon-yogurt combo instantly neutralizes odor and lasts 12 to 24 hours.
Airborne allergies, such as pollen, indoor molds, or dust mites, can cause chronic low-grade throat inflammation. “Allergies are a very common cause of postnasal drip which can lead to throat pain,” Dr. Abramowitz says. To start, try taking a non-drowsy over-the-counter allergy medication containing cetirizine hydrochloride, such as Zyrtec or Claritin. Even if that seems to help, “it’s a good idea to get your allergies checked so you know what you’re dealing with,” Dr. Abramowitz says.
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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.
For many generations, Eastern and Western medicines were at odds. Few practitioners used both. That’s not the case so much today, with many healers and doctors combining both approaches. "Between Heaven and Earth" is a guide to help you understand why ancient Chinese medicine can still be valuable today and how it can be used with more modern Western practices.
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.)
This natural sweetener may work just as well for a cough as over-the-counter medicines. That could be especially helpful for children who aren’t old enough to take those. But don’t give it to an infant or a toddler younger than 1. There’s a small risk of a rare but serious kind of food poisoning that could be dangerous for them. And while you may have heard that “local” honey can help with allergies, studies don’t back that up.