An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t decide just where I stand with regard to natural remedies. I tend to lean toward trusted medical treatments and medicines, I think because of the peace of mind it provides. These drugs have been tested and approved, therefore in my mind they are reliable. If other home remedy methods had truly been vetted, why isn’t the medical community utilizing them? I find myself thinking about this a lot when someone is suggesting their “tried and true” solution.

I guess truthfully, though, it really depends on how desperate I am in any given situation, as well as how far-fetched the remedy sounds to me. When my husband or I have a sore throat, I will make a cup of hot chamomile tea with honey and lemon juice. And I have been known to put peppermint oil on my forehead to try and relieve a headache. When my fourth baby was born and suffered a somewhat extreme case of colic, I resorted to something I had read about in several parenting magazines called GripeWater. It’s a natural remedy that can be found at your local pharmacy for around $12/4 oz bottle. I don’t believe it actually did anything, but I was so sleep-deprived that I was willing to give just about anything a shot. I think that he stopped crying when I gave it to him, but only because it was sweet and for a moment he was distracted by the tasty treat. Minutes later he would return to his fussiness.

That is about where my adventurous spirit ends in the realm of home remedies. I just have always had a hangup about things that aren’t “approved.” I know some of the time this just isn’t logical. For example, I can’t bring myself to eat wild game hunted by someone I know. Even though I realize that the chances are whatever animal is in question has likely never been exposed to growth hormones and the various other unseemly living conditions of their farm-bred and raised counterparts. But I can’t get past the fact that no authorized department has inspected and approved the piece of meat I am consuming. Yes, I am aware that this piece of meat has therefore not been subject to the processing plant and its list of unimaginable allowances (i.e. a certain amount of rat feces found in the food is considered acceptable, as long as it doesn’t exceed that amount kinda-thing) and is probably in the long run a much better choice for me. But the fact that it doesn’t have an official stamp of approval makes it a little too risky for my taste. This is how I’ve felt about all things medicinal, as well. I just can’t wrap my mind around giving something a try, even if the people suggesting it are close friends or family whose judgement I trust.

Last week, a friend posted this as her Facebook status, and it made me giggle as I was already thinking through things I wanted to include in this post. “So far today at work, I have learned that warm rabbit urine is good for earaches and that raisins cure boils.” What really gets me is that someone has apparently given these a try! Warm rabbit urine?!? Does that mean they collected urine from a rabbit and used it while it was fresh, or that they saved it and reheated it when they were ready to use it? And were they actually putting it inside their ear canal???? Speaking of ears, I have another friend who loves a good alternative therapy, and decided to give ear candling a go. This is a method using a lighted hollow candle whose unlit end goes in the ear canal to remove ear wax and other residue and thereby improve one’s general health. She felt it was a positive experience until a few days later when she started having all manner of ear problems she had never experienced before. This is exactly the sort of thing that makes it difficult for me to accept other quite possibly legitimate natural remedies. Although widely popular, the medical community concludes that ear candling is dangerous and ineffective. There is no evidence which supports the idea that any wax or residue is actually removed from the ear canal, and in fact, the nasty gunk that results from the experience has been proven to be actual residue from the candle itself. No thanks.

A girl from my high school missed an entire year of school because her family doctor (who happened to be an herbalist chiropractor, and not a medical doctor at all) diagnosed her with a flipped-over brain and urged her to avoid crowds and cheese. This made me skeptical about chiropractors. Although 2 years ago when I suffered 2 herniated disks and no amount of physical therapy exercises seemed to be relieving the pain, I made several trips to a chiropractor in a short time in hopes of better results. I think they helped a little, but the real help came in the form of the epidural nerve block I received at the hospital.

But that doesn’t mean that some of these alternative treatments don’t actually work. I have heard so many stories of this next remedy working for people I consider to be sane and trustworthy. It is yet another cure for ear problems. Have you every heard of putting garlic-infused olive oil in your child’s ear to cure an ear infection? I am not making this up! Several people have suggested this to me, and they seem to have tried it and found it to be effective. I haven’t gotten desperate enough yet to do this, but I’m keeping it on the back burner should I find myself without other options. So far amoxicillin has been very effective, and I am comforted by the fact that it is a drug approved by the FDA.

Although I don’t sound like an advocate for home remedies, I assure you that I could never make a blanket statement against them, either. People are very serious about the cures they’ve tried and believe in, and who am I to tell someone that what they are trying doesn’t work? If they’ve found success, more power to them!

What about you? Where do you stand on the matter? Also, what is the craziest remedy you’ve heard of or tried and did it work?? I want to know!!

Categories: Family, Parenting, Types of Therapy | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away?

  1. Misty

    This is also very interesting to me, especially since I live in a far far away land, away from all the ease of finding medicine at any corner, and doctors I trust and also now I am exposed to much more in this country. I have not ventured out much though in this arena. My son had a terrible cough two weeks ago and the ONLY thing that worked was a spoon full of honey. We used mucinex, benadryl, dimatap….nothing worked. After 4 nights of no sleep, I did a spoon full of honey and we all slept beautifully. The next day the cough was bad again and a spoon full of honey worked again. When Kyle was in the Papuan jungle he got a huge bug in his ear and was in terrible pain and they poured oil down his ear and got it out. Also after having lots of female issues after my second child, after going to the doctor over and over, in desperation I stopped at a health food store. After following the lady’s regimen of flaxseed oil and a few other things I was rid of all problems in 2 weeks…..I have never been so grateful for natural remedies. When I felt mastitis coming on, I loaded up on echinacia and it went away every time, and when I had thrush, acidophillis (sp?) did the trick and cleared that up. For Josiah, he had thrush and after Nystatin did nothing, I went and bought gentian violet, and it was gone quickly. I also love Eden Salve for almost anything. So, as I sit here writing all this out I realize I have tried a lot with a lot of success. I love hearing about things that really work though.

  2. I love to hear your perspective from far off lands, Misty! And it sounds like youve found some very effective natural remedies! Thanks!

  3. whimsygirl

    For generations Native Americans have used Bitter Root tea as a natural remedy with some success. It is still sold at pow wows to this day.

    I always get nervous about performing at Christmastime because it seems that I will invariably develop some type of cold that effects my voice. I used to buy “Throat Coat” as a “naturalist” solution until I realized it was just some manufactured product trying its best to replicate the chamomile + lemon + honey trick. 😉

  4. rocknrollmomma06

    i don’t do many home remedies aside from honey and lemon mixed together for a cough. i rarely even take cold meds when i’m sick, and i don’t give cold meds to my kids since they aren’t very well-tested on children. but there is one herbal remedy i’ve tried and had GREAT success with! my grandma once told me about uva ursi for bladder infections and it totally works!!! saves a trip to the doctor and the pharmacy and it’s FAST! it’s especially great for those lousy times when an infection strikes on the weekend, meaning you’d have to visit a clinic or something to get seen by a dr.

    i’ve had my ears candled a couple times and i regret it, majorly. my ears bother me on a daily basis and i cringe to think that i put all that candle crap IN my ears.

    i’ve heard about the garlic oil for earaches and i wouldn’t be opposed to that because it’s food that is safe for the body. i know that too much antibiotics makes the body more and more resistant to their effectiveness, so i’m willing to do something natural if it sounds reasonable and safe if it means i can keep my kids off meds. ryann got pukey when she was on meds for an ear infection, and that was NO fun!

    i tend to be wary of natural remedy recommendations from those people who think that doctors are out to destroy us all. but let me tell you, my grandma drinks a glass of wine a day and it’s brought her cholesterol down. so gals, if you like wine, you have no excuse not to drink a little on a daily basis 😉

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