Home remedies: What works and what doesn't

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- If every home remedy you’ve heard worked you wouldn’t need to ever see a doctor. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but some do help.

Sore throat: Honey contains anti-bacterial properties that fight off germs; its texture coats your throat so you can swallow without pain.

Warts: Skin warts are common and treatments are plentiful. You can rub warts with garlic, or apply a paste made of baking powder and castor oil, or soak warts in pineapple juice. However, covering a wart with duct tape, for six days actually works. Repeat it several times for a month. Over-the-counter wart treatments contain salicylic acid and have a success rate of about 50 percent, but take at least six weeks.

Insect bites and stings: Home remedies may help to relieve the pain of an insect bite. You can apply calamine lotion, underarm deodorant, or witch hazel to the bite or soak the bite site in Epsom salt and water. Toothpaste applied to mosquito bites can relieve the itching.

Heartburn: It is common and unpleasant. Natural heartburn remedies and lifestyle changes may be another way to get some much-needed relief. A “natural” heartburn remedy is calcium. However, herbal remedies for heartburn include angelica, German chamomile, lemon balm, licorice, milk thistle and peppermint. A few simple strategies can also soothe heartburn, such as avoiding specific foods that trigger heartburn that includes peppermint, caffeine, sodas, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices and tomatoes. Also stop smoking.

Sinusitis: Allergies are a fairly common reason for sinus problems. A humid indoor environment encourages the growth of mold, which can cause sinus problems. Neti pots are a way to irrigate your nasal cavities. To use the pot, typically you mix about a pint of lukewarm distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water with a teaspoon of salt.

Queasiness: Try ginger. Can calm nausea from pregnancy, motion sickness, and the after effects of surgery. Take 250-milligram ginger-root capsules four times daily for relief.

Blood pressure: Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure, due to antioxidants, called flavonoids, which help the lining of the blood vessels to expand and improve blood flow. 1 ounce of dark chocolate (about a third of a bar) a day.

Menstrual cramps: Heat can relieve cramps (the old hot-water-bottle routine actually works) possibly by relaxing uterine activity. Adhesive warming patches, work for at least eight hours, and can be as effective as ibuprofen.

Stress: Basil contains floral-scented compounds called linalool, which can lower the level of stress-induced immune cells in the bloodstream and reduce the activity of genes. Take a whiff of fresh basil when you’re feeling stressed.

Rheumatoid arthritis: Studies have shown that compounds in green tea reduce inflammation and joint damage. Drink three to four cups daily.

Reduce cholesterol: Eat more fatty fish, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon and anchovies, help lower total cholesterol levels as well as boost your HDL (good) cholesterol. Eat fatty fish twice a week.

Natural cold remedies, like echinacea, vitamin C and zinc, have not been well supported in the scientific literature to prevent or treat colds or flu.

Dr. Art Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to www.drartmollen.com.