Home Remedies – Facts or Quacks?

In a previous article we looked at several possible definitions of a home remedy, and patched together a definition that met our mental image of such a remedy. If you missed it, here’s the definition we derived.

A home remedy is an experience-based or even accidental remedy or cure prepared from herbs, plants, or other available ingredients by common folk when modern medical help was unavailable (or hadn’t been devised yet).

But Home Remedies Are From The Dark Ages, Right?

Not so fast! Countless myths, legends, and superstitions have survived for centuries, so why not home remedies too? Think about it: we bless someone after sneezing to ward off evil spirits, throw a pinch of spilled salt over the shoulder to prevent bad luck, say that breaking a mirror brings bad luck, and we knock on wood or find four-leaf clovers to bring luck.

How Many Times Have You Used These Folk Remedies?

Home remedies from The Dark Ages are all around us. Quick: name three ways to cure hiccups. No doubt you immediately thought of scaring the victim, holding your breath while drinking a glass of water, and breathing through a paper bag. I’m sure some of you even thought of others.

At some time, these procedures must have worked well enough to stop hiccups that others began using them. I’m sure you’ve already noticed that each cure mentioned above changes the victim’s breathing rhythm, which may be why they sometimes stop annoying hiccups.

Look Past The Obvious

The hiccup example demonstrates the assertion that home cures and folk remedies have at least a grain of truth in them. Think about that the next time you rub aloe vera juice on a burn, starve a cold (or feed a fever), or hear of a mother who puts her child with chicken pox together with her healthy children so they all catch it now rather than later.

Are home remedies things of the past? I don’t think so!

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