I am a huge fan of folk remedies. Passing down family cures from one generation to another was how the vast majority of medical knowledge was transferred before the days of hospitals, cars, and the Internet. Folk remedies are valuable to look at because if they weren’t effective, then they wouldn’t make the cut and get passed down. I am also a big fan of folk remedies because usually they involve a trip to the kitchen over a trip to the doctor’s office.

 

Here are three easy, home remedies you can employ during this holiday season, and beyond, to help nip a cold in the bud, ease your premenstrual cramps, and relieve you of that hangover nausea.

 

Remedy #1 - Scallions and Your Cold

 

scallions, onions, cold, cold season, cold remedies, runny noseTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes when you have a “cold," the attacking pathogen is actually stuck in the outer layers of your body. This is why all of the symptoms you feel are also on the outer areas of your body – your runny nose, your achy neck, your cough and sore throat are all happening externally as opposed to deep inside of you. In order to release the pathogens from your body, TCM needs to open up your pores and let the evil out! To do this we use a number of diaphoretic, or sweat-inducing, herbs and food products.

 

An easy fix as soon as you feel the symptoms of a cold coming on is to gather two stalks of scallions and some hot water. Cut the green end of the scallions up into small pieces (an 1/8th of an inch long) and put them in the bottom of a bowl. Pour in two cups of piping hot water and let the mix steep for 10 minutes.

 

Drink this mixture down, wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, and break out the last season of Desperate Housewives on Netflix – you’ve now taken the first step towards thwarting that pesky bug.

 

Remedy #2 - A Spoonful of Cinnamon Makes the Cramps Go Away

 

PMS, cramps, pre-menstrual, menstrual, cinnamonAlthough I’ve never experienced the joyful physical effects of PMS personally, I have successfully treated hundreds of woman with PMS symptoms through acupuncture and herbs. TCM views the cramping and pain caused by premenstrual tension to be due primarily to an attack of “coldness” on the uterus. We have to give the ancient healers a little bit of leeway here, as they didn’t have the same imaging equipment and hormonal testing that we do now. All they needed to know, however, was that applying heat to the lower abdomen of a woman in pain was far more effective than applying an ice pack.  Seeing my significant other doubled over on the couch with a hot water bottle and a blanket every 28 days is all the confirmation I need.

 

An easy home remedy for the cramping and pain of PMS is a spoonful of cinnamon added to hot water, hot milk, or hot almond milk. The warming effect of cinnamon is said to enter into the meridians of our body relieve the cold that’s trapped within them.

 

Add a spoonful to your warm morning beverage next time you’re feeling the monthly tension.

 

Remedy #3 - Ginger for Nausea

 

ginger, nausea, motion sickness, hangover, drinking remedyA holiday season without a hangover is like a tree without presents under it – something’s amiss! When you wake up after the big office party and try to sort out exactly what was said to whom, worry not about the upcoming wave of queasiness and nausea that’s surely on its way. Cutting up a piece of fresh ginger, no bigger than your thumbnail, and adding that into a cup of steaming hot water will help immensely in keeping your breakfast where it belongs.

 

Ginger is a fantastic remedy for a number of ailments, ranging from the prevention of food poisoning for its antiparasitic effects (ever wonder why it often accompanies pieces of raw seafood?) to clearing up a phlegmy cough in children. Its harmonizing effects on the stomach have long made it a favorite of pregnant woman and the hung-over men who got them there.

 

Give any of the above three home remedies a try next time something ails you and see for yourself why they’ve survived the test of time.

 

 

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