Benjamin Franklin holds a unique place of special honor in American history in that the most notable historical figures were Presidents of the republic, but he never had such aspirations. As President of Pennsylvania – before America declared its independence as a nation – he was present for and added verbiage to the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers, but nothing more. And yet, for all that, no American is unaware of Mr. Franklin’s place in forging this nation. Indeed, he has such a place of high honor that his face adorns the hundred dollar bill, evoking feelings of joy in many at the sight of him. Noted for his timeless aphorisms, Ben Franklin authored, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, providing us, some two hundred and twenty years later, with a perfect subject line. Thank you, sir.
The medical community has been and continues to be so involved with treating illnesses and their manifestations that little time or energy has been given to preventative care until recently. With skyrocketing medical costs, preventative care is the new catchphrase in the health community, placing things like colonoscopies, breast cancer screenings, and blood pressure monitoring in the limelight. Still, medical science completely ignores other treatments that optimize health because their consequences are less debilitating than cancer or aneurisms. They’re called home remedies, and while data is insufficient to actually gauge their effectiveness, they’ve been doing wonders for generations. They’re the ounces of prevention which, if practiced, save not pounds, but tons of cure.
A great many home remedies are don’ts: don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol to excess, and, to quote Mr. Franklin yet again, eat to live, don’t live to eat, etc., but others are actual steps people can take to curb the frequency of illnesses. A great many people scoff at such remedies precisely because the medical community considers them too simplistic, but that doesn’t affect their true effectiveness. As an example, a popular home remedy is fresh lemon squeezed in water. Using warm temperature water, the acid content of the lemon, when swished around the mouth and spit out, helps destroy bacteria build-up, particularly in the morning after a night’s sleep. It has been used for years as a general prophylactic against the onset of bacteriological illnesses. Drinking room temperature water with fresh-squeezed lemon has met with great success in alleviating heartburn, bloating, and gas, and many claim that it promotes regularity. Lemons are high in potassium, making it a great weapon in maintaining heart health, as well as vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
No home remedy list would be complete without the inclusion of chicken soup. For centuries, this remedy has helped alleviate colds and flu, often credited with shortening the duration of these illnesses. The chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine that, released when cooking the soup, thins mucus in the body which helps with the expectoration of the virus from the system. While this amino acid is available with other forms of cooked chicken, chicken soup has been the prevalent serving method because appetites are generally suppressed during illness and chicken soup is well tolerated. Additionally, fresh vegetables added to the soup can help the body boost its immune system during its weakened state when combating this malady. Lest it be left unmentioned, the warmth of the soup alleviates sore throat pain, and pain relief is always welcome.
Not much need be said about the next subject of our list: aloe vera. Aloe vera has been used as an extremely effective home remedy to treat burns, scrapes, insect bites, and rashes. More recently, however, drinking aloe vera juice has grown in popularity. It purportedly helps reduce blood sugar levels by lowering triglycerides. Additionally, it has been shown to alkalize the body, helping to balance the overall acidity level of today’s diets and promote well-being. It is rich in electrolytes, replenishing the body when facing illnesses associated with dehydration and diarrhea.
Less popular but equally effective home remedies include:
- Ginger – Fresh ginger infused in tea has been effective in alleviating arthritis pain
- Turmeric – Used to treat ulcers, the curcumin in turmeric helps protect the stomach lining
- Cranberries – a natural prophylactic against urinary tract infections and proper kidney function if consumed regularly
- Pineapple – helps alleviate inflammation of joints
The Internet is replete with information concerning the benefits of some home remedies. Again, be aware that much of the information available is of a self-serving nature, and so it is best to be prudent when incorporating these remedies into your daily life. It is best to get independent confirmation of the information you read, or better yet, ask a health care professional.