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Ready or Not #16: Homemade Remedies

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

I have a friend that works out in the hot sun every day, so he makes sure that he drinks lots, and lots of water. The problem is, because he is hot and because he drinks lots of water, he doesn’t feel like eating a lot and that can cause problems, like loose bowels – or diarrhea. I know, unpleasant subject, but real life. The good thing is that he doesn’t need to go running to the medicine cabinet for relief. After making sure that his electrolytes are good, he can head for the fridge and make himself a sandwich. Yep, that’s right, a sandwich, but more specifically a blackberry jam (without seeds) sandwich and it will take care of his immediate problem.

Using blackberry jam to stop diarrhea is an old time remedy that really works. I have tried it firsthand, and so has my family, and they love it. Not only that, but blackberry jam tastes so much better than any over-the-counter remedies that I have ever tried.

The more I talk to people the more I realize that we need some of these simple, yet effective, homemade remedies. Instead of running to the store and paying a lot of money for something that may cause side effects, you could just go to your spice cabinet instead. Now, I’m not an “all or nothing” person. I am a big believer in doctors and prescription medications. I also think that holistic medicine (acupuncture and massage therapy) has their place. You, as an individual, need to learn what is best for your body and what is the least of these things you can use before heading for the “hard stuff” (i.e., over-the-counter (OTC) or prescriptions). Please take what I am saying in context. I am not a medical professional, just a mom that has found what works for her family – like blackberry jam.

When my son was three years old, he got a really sore throat on a Sunday. I didn’t have any throat lozenges (he would have just chewed them up and not sucked on them anyway) or numbing throat spray. I looked in one of my books and it suggested that I make sage tea. Take ¼ tsp. rubbed sage and steep it in 1 cup of hot water. Strain, sweeten with honey (for older children and adults) or sugar (for younger children). This does two things: 1) the sage numbs the throat (who knew) and 2) it helps your child to not get dehydrated because it hurts to swallow. This would also be good to use after a tonsillectomy, so the patient doesn’t get dehydrated (a really bad thing). My son is now 15 years old, and he still loves sage tea. I now make it with 1 teaspoon of sage to 4 cups of water, and after straining it, I store it in the fridge in a glass jar and it is there for anybody to use and they can sweeten it to their taste.

If you are coughing a lot, but you have already had too much cough medicine or too many cough drops, suck on Jolly Ranchers, or any hard tack candy instead. It is not always the medicine that is fixing the problem. Sometimes it is the saliva that is soothing your throat instead. My mother, who has a mechanical cough from chronic bronchitis, got this tip from her doctor. And it works!

Ginger. Ginger is a wonderful thing, especially when your stomach is queasy, or you are nauseous. If you will either sip on some ginger tea, ginger ale, or nibble on some gingersnaps, or candied ginger, your nauseousness will go away. This is good when you are flying, pregnant, or taking medications that make you nauseous. Also, peppermint tea is good for a sick tummy.

I used to have horrendous sinus headaches, sinus pressure and a stuffy nose all the time. My doctor, who was a good doctor, would give me prescription drugs that would help dry me up and would seem to alleviate the problem, but only for a while. It was a vicious cycle.

One day I was reading in Prevention Magazine© and it was describing me, or at least my symptoms. It said that by using decongestants that I was not allowing the body to flush out the yucky bacteria and that I would just dry them up and they would come back to haunt me again, and again. Their solution was to eat spicy food with hot peppers in it so that it would loosen up the yucky stuff in my nose and sinuses, and encourage my nose to run and get everything out. It worked like a charm. I have not had a sinus infection, or sinus congestion problems, for several decades now.

The science behind it is the capsaicin, found in hot peppers, which is a colorless, pungent, crystalline compound that is a strong irritant to skin and mucous membranes. It encourages the nose and eyes to water more, and with more fluid, it helps to break up the “stuff” in your nose and allows it to flush the bad stuff out. Also drinking hot drinks and hot soups will help (it’s the warmth and steam that helps). I also add cayenne pepper to my soups. Whenever I feel that I might be congested, I just bring out the cayenne pepper or the Sriracha sauce and use it liberally on my food. A little Sriracha sauce in my tomato juice works every time. Yum!


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