Healing wonders

Nature's way of taking good care of our health: remedies for the most common aches, pains, and health problems. Our kitchen and vegetable garden are full of these healing wonders. A typical Filipino home has vegetable garden. In pots and pans, any container or directly planted, a Filipino home can't seen to exist without a vegetable garden.

Economic downtrend is affecting our health. Cost of medicine is becoming prohibitive. Doctors' fees going up. These has prevented many people from seeking professional medical help. They would rather ask people who experienced similar symptoms and would make wild guesses to their illness. They usually end up buying the wrong medicines and worse mismanage the whole thing. It is only when the worst has set in that they would go to the hospital. By this time, their health problem has become complicated and has spread to other members of their community.

Below are some natural remedies that could help alleviate common aches and health problems. It is advisable that if your symptoms continue to persist, you really have to see a doctor. You may avail the services of doctors at government hospitals. You may also ask help from the social services stationed in every hospital so you can get discounts from laboratory tests and hospital accommodation.

Now for first aid, we do not have to go panicky. The following remedies could help a lot. These are our old folks' natural remedies that prove to alleviate common illnesses that we have forgotten. These natural remedies are found in our kitchen, not in drugstores. Medicine from drugstores have made us forget nature's healing powers. It is my intention to remind us all about these healing powers that nature has made available.

1. For bleeding wounds/cuts/sores

Just sprinkle some powdered cayenne pepper. This will quickly stop the bleeding and actually relieve the pain.

For those not familiar with cayenne pepper, this comes from red hot chili pepper plant. Its fruit or stem are sundried then ground. Sometimes red hot chili peppers are called cayenne peppers. Well, of course, cayenne pepper is both a spice and a medicinal herb.

2. Toothache

Toothache? See a dentist if your gums have swollen that it sometimes distort you face. He'll surely prescribe an antibiotic. Follow his instruction. But for now, that shooting pain cannot be ignored. It's exploding in your brain while you're waiting for a dentist appointment. Meanwhile, you can reduce the swelling and pain by biting down on a piece of garlic. Garlic has antibacterial properties.

Inserting into tooth cavity a small piece of cotton soaked in whisky also works. It deadens the nerves I think. At least temporarily.

3. Rashes and Allergies

Green tea contains antihistamine properties. You need to drink 2-3 cups a day. You may try this for minor rashes and allergies.

My grandmother used to tell me that bamboo skin and leaves can prevent the occurrence of food allergy. Example, if you have allergy on chicken, you can cook your chicken with some bamboo leaves or skin. You scrape the skin of a young bamboo pole and add it to your chicken recipe. Or you may use bamboo leaves. I don't think bamboos as toxic considering it is the staple food of pandas. In the Philippines, young bamboo shoots are eaten. (photo from nelanah on flickr)

4. Athlete’s Foot

For that fungus-full and stinking feet, soak them in warm salty water with some vinegar. But first wash them thoroughly. don't be in a hurry. Fungus is difficult to eliminate. They tend to make a good come back. So do this routine for at least 3 times a day for several days. When they are convincingly gone, be sure to keep your feet clean and dry before putting on your socks. As for the socks, you need to change socks everyday. If economically possible, but new pairs. Fungus could be growing on your socks and ready to attach itself to your feet. (photo from curestoenailfungus.com)

5. Acne, pimples and Sensitive Skin

First of all, you really have to review and correct your eating lifestyle. Imbalances in your diet can show up in your skin particularly on your face. To minimize these skin problems, wash your face with lukewarm water and mild soap, and followed with an oatmeal facewash. Oatmeal is a gentle exfoliant and draws out oil and impurities. (photo: cksinfo.com)

Orange or lemon juice is also good in removing excess oil from you face.

6. Ear Infections

Never belittle this. This can lead to serious and cause permanent damage. But you may try putting a few drops of garlic oil or white vinegar into your ear canal. Bacteria do not thrive under this environment. Repeat this a few times a day. But you really have to see your doctor specially if symptoms persist.

photo: quidoo.com

7. Flatulence

Some food like beans and root crops can make us feel bloated, Flatulence is not exactly a problem unless you in a conference or in your office. You can use such digestive spices such as ginger, anise, peppermint, and coriander. You can  make a tea out of these spices. You can also use a small piece of ginger inserted into your navel. Apply some ginger juice/extract on your abdomen for faster relief.
(photo: atthemote.blogspot.com)

8. Dandruff and hair thinning (and burns)

Dandruff is not only unsightly. It can lead to massive hairfall. So, after shampoo, rub your scalp with aloe vera extract. Leave it on for a few minutes then rinse again. Actually aloe vera is also a good leave on conditioner.It softens and gives volume to your hair. Aloe vera do not only remove dandruff it also induces hair growth. You may wonder I included aloe vera as a "member" of my kitchen. Of course, I always have a pot of aloe vera in my kitchen. Not for cooking. I use aloe vera to ease the pain and hasten the healing of burns from spilt hot cooking oil. (photo: teatreewonders.com)

Another is from the kitchen, rinse your hair with natural vinegar. Do not use synthetically-made vinegar. Use the one made from fermentation of fruits or vegetables such as the apple cidar vinegar. As with using so called anti-dandruff shampoos, you cannot expect instant result.

9. Headache and Migraine

Rub peppermint or lavender oil on your temples, at the base of you neck. A small amount applied on the upper eye lead also help. Pour a few drops on the palm of your hand, rub both hands until they get warm. Sniff the warm oil from your cupped hands.

A cup of steaming tea with lemon extract can make you feel better. Ah, you can also try to massage you head using a comb or hairbrush.

10. Diabetes and obesity
Yacon tubers on sale at the market. Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/santos/68253396/sizes/o/in/photostream/


Have you ever tasted yacon, a crunchy tuber with a sweet apple and watermelon-like taste? Despite its sweetness, yacon is known for its low-calorie content. 

Yacon, however, is not just for weight-watchers. Research  by the group of Dr. Evelyn Rodriguez of UP Los BaƱos Institute of Chemistry shows that the tuber from yacon, a perennial crop closely related to the sunflower and grown in several areas in Northern Luzon and Mindanao, has more benefits than most people may know.

Through a grant given by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), various phytochemicals in yacon were isolated, identified, characterized and quantified by Rodriguez’s research group.

Phytochemicals are compounds naturally occurring in plants and are considered as health promoters. According to the study’s results, yacon being grown in the Philippines is very rich in phytosterols, phenolics and fructo-oligosaccharides.

Fructo-oligosaccharides are a type of carbohydrates produced in plants. They are sweet but not metabolized by the human body. This makes yacon a good alternative snack or dessert even for diabetics.

Several bioassays were also conducted to determine the potential contribution of these phytochemicals to health and wellness.

According to the study, the phytosterols of yacon tuber and leaf oils reduced blood serum cholesterol levels, indicating a potential for helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The study also shows that the phenolic compounds found in yacon leaves and tubers exhibit potent antioxidant, anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory activities.

These results suggest that, like quercetin, the phenolic compounds from yacon can help prevent carcinogenesis and other chronic diseases.

Rodriguez’s study solidifies yacon’s place in the map of “functional foods” which are highly considered for health and wellness not only because of their nutritive value but for their physiological benefits to the human body as well.

Yacon, according to the findings of Rodriguez’s research group, could form part of a person’s diet. In combination with other healthy and functional foods such as fruits and vegetables, it may also help reduce the risk, delay, or even prevent the occurrence of, chronic and degenerative diseases.   (from: http://www.up.edu.ph/upnewsletter.php)