How To Prepare For Obamacare: Create Your Own Natural Medicine Chest
by Bill Sardi
Recently by Bill Sardi: How To Prepare For Obamacare: PracticeSelf-Care
This article provides a list of proven home remedies and self-help strategies that readers can begin utilizing today to maintain health while avoiding costly medical care.
While I have written articles in the past at LR that have addressed heart disease, cancer and other maladies, I hadn’t yet addressed every-day and emergent health problems that cause Americans to run to the doctor.
Americans can begin to stock their home medicine chest with items that will avert or forestall a visit to the doctor. Many of the most common reasons to visit a doctor, stomach pains, chest pains, fever, cough, headaches, sore throats, infections, toothaches, back aches, can be handled with low-cost remedies at home. Here are some proven home remedies:
Pepto Bismol for diarrhea: hundreds of thousands of Americans visit the hospital emergency room every year due to food poisoning. The food chain is contaminated and animal waste runoff is a huge problem that poisons water and food. The bacteria count in meat and dairy products has increased 100-fold in recent decades as domesticated animals are fed grain instead of grass which alkalinizes their digestive tract. Stomach acid is the primary defense against incoming germs found in food and water.
- Prevent food poisoning before it occurs: Hundreds of thousands of Americans rush to hospital emergency rooms each year due to food poisoning. There are simple ways to prevent food poisoning.
Cloves or clove oil for toothache: maybe you can find a doc-in-the-box or emergency room that is open in the wee hours of night, but a throbbing toothache will not likely be quelled till your dentist’s office opens the next morning. Cloves and clove oil, applied topically, are well known to quell a toothache. In a head-to-head test, clove oil was found to provide anesthesia equal to benzocaine, the numbing medicine dentists use.
Hydrogen peroxide and therapeutic oils for middle ear infection: Hydrogen peroxide can be safely instilled into the ear canal at the first sign of an ear infection. After peroxide bubbles for a short while it will turn from H2O2 to H2O — totally non-toxic water. Not to worry — it is safe. Begin instilling hydrogen peroxide in the ear canal of children at the first sign of a cold as the infection may gravitate to the ear canal days later. In an animal study, oil of basil cured or healed 56—75% of experimental cases of middle ear infection. While home treatment is encouraged, don’t let ear infections in children linger without seeing a doctor, or this may result in permanent hearing loss.
For sore throat, gargle with salt water or baking soda: the mouth is full of acid-forming bacteria (primarily streptococcus). A raw throat that is not coated with mucus will permit bacteria will dig in and within hours you have a sore (strep) throat. At the very first sign (a tickle in the back of your throat), begin gargling with something alkaline like warm salt water or baking soda water, which will kill off the acid-forming bacteria.
- Sulfur (NAC) for bronchitis. Bronchitis, usually caused by a viral infection, is a common reason to obtain care from a doctor. Bronchitis is experienced as a chronic cough or clearing of the throat, and it emanates from mucus accumulating in the windpipe or deeper in the lungs. Millions of Americans suffer with chronic every-day bronchitis or smoker’s cough.
Vitamin D for colds and flu or any other types of infection. Only recently have infectious disease investigators learned that vitamin D creates an antibiotic peptide (cathelicidin). This discovery opens a whole new era in the control and prevention of infectious disease — in particular, influenza and the common cold.
- Natural remedies for pain and inflammation. Pain is a major reason for visits to the doctor’s office. Common over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen are fraught with side effects and it is sad to realize thousands of Americans have died needlessly from side effects produced by prescription or non-prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. There is no safe prescription or over-the-counter pain pill.
- Natural remedies for headache. Unbearable headache is another common reason for doctors’ office visits. There are many causes of headache so it may be difficult to pinpoint a cause and match it with a home remedy. However, migraine headaches are usually caused by a spasm within blood vessels around the eyes and forehead.
Indigestion and intestinal gas are common. Activated charcoal has been shown to be effective in relieving intestinal gas, which is a commonly reported problem. Activated charcoal can be found in drug and health food stores. Fennel seed is often provided in east Indian restaurants as a traditional digestive aid and it is known to adsorb intestinal gas. As an aside, fennel was convincingly shown to relieve menstrual-related discomfort better than a commonly-prescribe drug. Fennel seed is available as a spice or dietary supplement capsule.
Heartburn (reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus) is a most common reason to rush to the doctor to obtain a prescription antacid. Most of these heartburn medications induce nutrient deficiencies via reduction of stomach acid and are also intentionally designed to create rebound heartburn if a patient stops taking the drug.
- Low back pain is another common reason to pay an expensive visit to the emergency room. Supplemental magnesium may be helpful for this condition. In Germany, an extract obtained from Devil’s claw (botanical name Harpagophytum procumbens), providing 50 milligrams of the active ingredient harpagoside, has been shown to be as effective as prescription pain relievers with fewer side effects.
Seasonal and chronic allergies force many people to seek emergency care. Antihistamine drugs often cause drowsiness. Quercetin, a natural antihistamine, is often useful during allergy season and does not induce drowsiness.
Chronic sinusitis (sinus infection) is a very common and poorly treated problem. It usually emanates from fungal infection of the sinus cavities and is very chronic in nature. People continually exposed to contaminated water, like surfers and water skiers, often complain of this problem. Oil of oregano taken orally, 3 times a day, is often helpful in quelling this agonizing condition.
When food poisoning occurs, diarrhea and fever will come hours after exposure, sometimes at hours when doctors are not easily accessible. If you have a bottle of bismuth (Pepto-Bismol) handy, it will coat the lining of your digestive tract and the germs can’t continue to replicate and your symptoms will rapidly subside.
Chicken commonly harbors a bug called campylobacter. Beef harbors E. coli. Salmonella is commonly found in meat and dairy products.
Spices added to these foods kill any bacteria that may survive heat. A Cornell University study shows that garlic, onion, oregano and allspice kill off all food-borne germs. Save a trip to the doctor’s office and spice up your foods.
In the event of food-borne infection, natural antibiotic molecules in spices need to be given more consideration in an era when overuse of prescription antibiotics increases the risk for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Natural alternatives that don’t induce germ resistance are carvacrol, the active ingredient in oil of oregano, and allicin, the active ingredient provided when a clove of garlic is crushed. (See www.garlicbreakthrough.com )
Added note — some people with gum disease brush their teeth with diluted oil of oregano to kill off the acid-forming bacteria that causes gum inflammation and destroys dental enamel.
It’s amazing how many people forget to gargle at the first sign of a sore throat and later have to run to the doctor for antibiotics. Forget to gargle and you may end up with inflamed tonsils, bronchitis, and other upper respiratory symptoms.
Gargling is effective for winter-time respiratory tract infections. One study showed that gargling with green tea extract (catechin) during flu outbreaks would reduce flu infection from 10% to 1.3% among nursing home residents. Even simple water gargling is effective against respiratory tract infection. I want to urge people to place a small sign on their bathroom mirror which reads "don’t forget to gargle."
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a sulfur molecule is an underused remedy for bronchitis. It is available at health food stores. NAC inhibits lung inflammation during bouts of the flu. For chronic cough, theobromine, an extract from cocoa bean, has also been shown to be effective.
An elusive cause of a chronic tickling cough at the back of the throat is dry eye. When glands in the eyelids do not secrete a sufficient amount of oils and mucin onto the surface of the eyes, a water gland located above the brow is switched on, creating a stream of watery tears that flows into the nasal passages via a drain (punctum) in the eyelids, and then drips onto the epiglottis, which then causes a person to continually clear their throat. If your eyes are watery, red, burning, and your skin is dry and your nails are brittle, and you have a chronic tickling cough, these are indicators you need to supplement the diet with essential oils. A combination of flaxseed and borage oil will stimulate glands in the eyelids to secrete a sufficient amount of oil to coat the eyes and reduce evaporation of tears, and the water gland switches off, and no more tickling cough.
There is a growing recognition that upper respiratory and middle ear infections in infants and young children emanates from a lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D is even being suggested in place of vaccines. Middle ear infections are very common in children, comprising a major reason for doctors’ office visits, and low vitamin D levels have been linked with middle ear infections. Pediatricians now suggest vitamin D supplements for infants.
To prevent colds and flu, at least 2000 IU (international units) for children and 5000 IU for adults is recommended. Therapeutic doses range from 10,000 to 50,000 IU, with many adults reporting rapid disappearance of common cold symptoms (in minutes) at this dosage range.
While many Americans are unduly concerned about overdose of vitamin D, a full hour of midday summer sun will produce ~10,000 IU of natural vitamin D without side effects and for many years doctors have injected 250,000 IU vitamin D in a single day for wintertime protection without reported side effect. Ignore health authorities who warn against overdoses and have intentionally kept this remedy from the public for far too long.
Families with young children should have liquid and chewable vitamin D available. The Vitamin D Store has an online array of 50 products to choose from, including D for kids, high and low-dose D, and its famous 30-Minutes-Of-Sunshine pill. It also offers The Uncensored Family Guide To Vitamin D, by this author, free.
Nature does provide safe and effective anti-inflammatory agents such as tart cherry (as effective as ibuprofen or naproxen).
Another natural molecule with striking ability to reduce markers of inflammation (COX-2, C-reactive protein and TNF (tumor necrosis factor) is resveratrol, a red wine molecule. Resveratrol should be taken in modest doses (175—300 mg).
For wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis), ~1200 mg of SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) has been shown to be effective. One study showed SAMe to be as effective as Celebrex for joint pain. SAMe is available at both drug and health food stores.
Magnesium (as mag-citrate or malate or glycinate), 200—400 mg is worth trying. (Magnesium oxide is so poorly absorbed it is no better than a placebo.) Be aware, excessive magnesium can result in loose stool. Certainly menstrual migraines are often relieved or prevented with magnesium supplementation.
A New York Times survey published some time ago showed many headache sufferers found relief by taking supplemental coenzyme Q10, a remedy that is backed by good science.
Another common cause of headaches in young females is iron-deficiency. Ferronyl (carbonyl) is the only safe iron pill. If an iron pill isn’t handy, a piece of red meat will usually provide enough iron to quell a headache.
The avoidance of alcohol and strong coffee is often helpful for this condition. Prescription drugs often induce heartburn. When bedtime heartburn is experienced, prop your head up on a pillow to prevent backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.
Recently it has been shown that mastic gum capsules markedly reduce heartburn symptoms.
Many heartburn drugs are histamine blockers (histamine is required for stomach acid secretion). Quercetin, a natural histamine blocker found in red onions and red apple peel, is available as a dietary supplement and may reduce the severity of esophageal reflux.
Availability and use of these and other natural remedies should save thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket health care expenses and increase school and work productivity.