Debunking Grandma’s Home Remedies

cold and fluWe all like to think that Grandma knows best, but the reality is that some of her home remedies just don’t work. While well intentioned, in certain cases home remedies do us more harm than good.

One age-old home remedy for constipation is castor oil. Derived from the castor bean plant, it has always been suggested that taking it on a regular basis would make you, well…regular. According to the Mayo Clinic it is a powerful laxative, but if you use it regularly it can cause cramping and diarrhea or it can have the opposite impact and aggravate your constipation. It turns out that your body can become dependent on it in order for you to have a bowel movement.


The Immune System Impact

Doctors suggest that there are other preventative measures you can take so that you don’t experience constipation in the first place. Consuming a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber, fruits, vegetables, and water is the best approach.

Another old home remedy that you may have heard about is butter for burns. Whenever the Red Cross hears this they put up red flags. They say if you put butter on a burn it does nothing to sooth or heal the problem, in fact it can make it worse by causing infection. The Red Cross suggests simply treating burns with cool water, and if severe, seek medical attention.

The Most Guilty Offender – Cold and Flu “Remedies”

The most common ailment is the cold and flu. We have all experienced it when our immune system is run-down. While there are a number of natural preventative measures we can now take to protect ourselves, there are still going to be times when we get the cold and flu. If grandma or someone else tells you to “feed a cold and starve a fever”, you might want to re-consider. Doctors now say that this adage makes no sense. They insist that your body needs energy to fight off the illness. A lack of nutrients robs the body of energy and much needed vitamins and minerals to fight off impending infection. Many physicians say the problem is that you might not feel like eating.

Hot Toddies have been used by Americans for centuries as a form of relaxation and as a cold reliever. One of the original ingredients in the authentic hot toddy is lemon juice. People claimed it was the magic ingredient because it cut through mucus; however, there is no scientific evidence to support this theory.

Whenever you have been running a fever due to the cold and flu or some other type of illness, you may have been advised to take a cold bath. For years doctors and nurses would tell new mothers to give their teething babies a cool bath to help lower their fever. Now modern day practitioners believe it can cause a person to shiver, which can actually raise internal temperature and make the fever worse.

Acne is the most common skin disease in America. Sixty million people in the United States have it. Serious acne starts out as little pimples and for years people have been treating it with toothpaste. This home remedy is popular, but is could be hurting you. Certain toothpastes contain an antibacterial compound called triclosan. It is a common ingredient in acne treatment products, yet many types of toothpaste have other ingredients that irritate the skin and can cause more redness.

Do you have a toothache? Try biting down on a clove. That’s what many people do to fight the annoying pain. Unfortunately, this home remedy hasn’t really been proven. Some people say it doesn’t work at all, while others claim it gives them relief for a few minutes and then the pain returns. No studies have been conducted to support the idea that cloves curb toothaches.

Apple Cider Vinegar has been used since the beginning of recorded history for ailments, but if you’ve been told to swallow a few teaspoons of it to soothe heartburn, don’t bother. Physicians claim it doesn’t work.

There are many home remedies, both old and new that you will hear about, but until they have been scientifically proven or your doctor indicates they are safe, it is best not to experiment.


Related Reading:

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Don’t let your constipation land you in the ER