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50 home remedies that work: these safe, fast, and effective fixes will relieve what ails you - Cover Story Natural Health , August, 2003 by Maria Noel Mandile EMAIL PRINT 1 Bad Breath No other natural remedy freshens bad breath as well as parsley, says David Orlarsh, N.D., a naturopath in Plymouth, N.H. This herbal food garnish is rich in chlorophyll, a green plant compound that kills the bacteria that cause bad odor. Nibble on a sprig after eating raw onions or garlic or whenever your breath smells sour. 2 Blemishes To clear zits quickly, keep a small sealed jar of this natural topical remedy on hand (it keeps for a few months): Combine 2 tablespoons of green clay, 1 tablespoon of goldenseal powder (Hydratis canadensis), 2 to 3 drops of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), and enough water to form a paste. Apply the paste to your blemish at bedtime and leave it on all night. The clay dries up pore-clogging oil, and the goldenseal and tea tree oil kill the bacteria that cause infection. 3 Blisters Don't pop your blister, no matter how tempting it is. Doing so increases the chance of infection. Instead, dab a cotton ball dipped in plain old drugstore witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) on the area at least four times a day, says Brad Bongiovanni, N.D., a naturopath in Atlanta, Ga. Witch hazel contains astringent tannins that dry up the fluidfilled skin and relieve pain by increasing circulation. It also contains alcohol, which is drying. 4 Body Odor If your body odor persists despite good hygiene, your problem may be clogged pores. When your skin can't properly eliminate body wastes, bad body odor can result. Gently dry-brushing your skin just before every shower exfoliates the dead skin that traps those odor-causing wastes. You'll find body brushes in most drugstores. If you brush with long, gentle strokes moving toward your heart, you'll also improve circulation, which will help your body detoxify more efficiently. (This won't eliminate your need for deodorant, but you may be able to use less of it.) 5 Bruises Experts say the popular muscle soreness remedy Arnica is also your best bet for minimizing bruises and healing them fast. As soon as you bump your knee or other body part or notice a swelling or discoloration, gently rub a dollop of this homeopathic cream on it. Arnica shrinks inflammation and increases circulation to flush away the stagnant blood that turns your skin black and blue.
You may know lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) best for its soothing scent, but you can also use it to take the sting out of a first-degree burn (the kind you might get by touching a hot pan). Not only does this oil speed the healing process and prevent scarring, Bongiovanni says, but it also fights bacteria on vulnerable new skin. Gently clean the burn with soap and water first. Then combine one part pure lavender essential oil and three parts carrier oil, like almond or olive oil, and apply the mixture liberally to the burn at least three times a day, leaving the wound uncovered. 7 Canker Sores You can once again eat spicy foods in comfort if you douse painful canker sores with raspberry leaf tea (Rubus idaeus). Steep 2 tablespoons of dried raspberry leaves in 1 cup boiling hot water until it cools. Strain the tea, and then swish a few mouthfuls for about one minute each three times a day. The tannins in this tea (which tastes a little like black tea) reduce the swelling and clean the sore so it can heal faster, explains Andrea Candee, a South Salem, N.Y.-based herbalist. 8 Chapped Lips First, chuck your Chapstick. Conventional lip balms contain petroleum and sometimes alcohol, both of which dry the sensitive skin on your lips. Instead, moisturize and protect your parched, peeling lips with castor oil. Carry a small squeeze bottle of the oil and apply it with your finger often throughout the day. If you plan to be out in the sun, use a natural petroleum- and alcohol-free balm with an SPF of 15 a few minutes after rubbing in the castor oil. 9 Chest Congestion The sweetness of your breath may suffer, but eating a plate of curried, sauteed onions on rice can really loosen congestion in your chest. Lightly saute two onions, sliced, and at least 1 teaspoon of curry powder in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until the onions are soft. Onions contain quercetin and sulfur, two plant compounds that break up mucus and increase circulation, explains Orlarsch. Curry also loosens phlegm. And for that breath? See remedy 1, page 48. 10 Constipation If you don't like prunes, you have another option for constipation relief. Dried figs work just as well as prunes. They contain soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which flush out your intestines. In fact, five figs supply at least 20 percent of your daily fiber requirement, more than almost any other fruit. Nibble on four or five at the first sign of constipation and drink at least one glass of water. If you don't get results within three hours, eat a couple more every three hours until you do. 11 Corns Soften this thick, callused skin with a little castor oil, recommends Bongiovanni. Apply a drop of oil to the corn with your finger first thing in the morning, as soon as you get home from work, and right before bed. Cover the corn with a Band-Aid before putting on socks and shoes. You should see slow and steady improvement over several weeks.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) may be best known as a candy, but as a tea it can lick a lingering cough. Steep a licorice root tea bag or 1 teaspoon of the loose dried root in 1 cup boiling hot water for five minutes, and drink up to three mugs of it throughout the day. Your cough should improve right away, but you can continue to drink three cups a day for up to three days. Licorice can raise your blood pressure, so don't drink it if you have hypertension or diabetes. 13 Cuts The antioxidant power that makes vitamin E so good for your heart also speeds the healing of minor cuts. Simply prick a vitamin E capsule with a sterile needle and squeeze the oil onto your cut at least three times a day. Cover it with a Band-Aid if it's a serious wound. Be sure to choose natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol), Orlarsch says. Research shows that it has more antioxidant power than synthetic vitamin E. 14 Dandruff To clear up dandruff you need to counter the cause of the problem: your scalp's acidic pH level. To restore your scalp's natural alkaline pH level, first wash and condition your hair. Then, while still in the shower or bath, pour a cup of apple cider vinegar on your head and rinse with water. 15 Diarrhea It may seem counterintuitive, but to clear up diarrhea you may need more bacteria-good bacteria, that is. Diarrhea can be a sign of an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your intestines. Taking probiotic supplements corrects that imbalance, Bongiovanni says. Look for a brand that contains six to eight strains of live organisms, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacter. Bongiovanni recommends taking enough supplements to get 20 billion live organisms a day (this may be a large number of capsules). You should see improvement in one or two days; if you don't, see a doctor. 16 Dizziness A common kitchen spice can stop a case of the spins. Simply drop a pinch of cayenne into a glass of warm water and sip. The warmth of the water and the heat of the cayenne cause your body to pump more blood and oxygen to your brain, which makes you feel clearheaded and steady. If you continue to experience bouts of dizziness, see your doctor. 17 Dry Eyes You'll need to shed a few tears to remedy a case of dry eyes. And the easiest way to stimulate your tearing action is to apply moist heat to your eyelids. Dip a small towel or washcloth in warm water, wring it out, lie down, close your eyes, and put the cloth over your lids for 15 minutes. Do this two or three times a day or as needed.
18 Dry Skin
Almond and grapeseed oil are the quickest fixes for dry skin. They soak into your skin faster than creamy moisturizers. If your skin is extra dry and rough, opt for thicker oils like castor and avocado. If you're prone to breakouts, try filtered jojoba oil. Spread a thin coat of whichever oil you choose to the dry areas twice a day. 19 Earache Ease the pain and pressure of an ear infection with a store-bought blend of mullein (Verbascum densiflorum) and garlic (Allium sativum) infused oils, advises Tukwila, Wash.-based naturopath Eric Yarnell, N.D. These oils kill pain and fight bacteria. Before bed, warm the drops. One way to do that is by placing the bottle in your armpit for 45 seconds. Tilt your head and squeeze 5 drops into the infected ear and then place a cotton ball in your ear for a few minutes to keep the drops from running out. You should experience immediate relief. 20 Eye Strain To revitalize tired eyes, treat yourself to a soothing chamomile (Matricaria recutita) compress twice a day. The chamomile soaks through your eyelids, soothing eye tissue and reducing swelling in the capillaries, Candee explains. Make the compress by steeping 1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers or 1 chamomile tea bag in 1 cup boiling hot water for 20 minutes. Strain. Allow the tea to cool, soak a washcloth in it, wring it out, lie down, and place it over your closed eyes for 15 to 20 minutes. 21 Fatigue Sleep is what you need if you're overtired. But for a quick pick-me-up, drink a mug of mate (Ilex paraguariensis). This tea contains caffeine, but in lower doses than coffee. It also contains theobromine, an energizing compound. Steep a mate tea bag or 1 teaspoon dried mate in boiling hot water for 5 to 10 minutes, strain, and drink. This earthy-tasting tea is good black or with milk and sugar. 22 Fever Maintaining your fever, rather than breaking it right away, can fight the virus that's making you sick. If you have a mild fever (up to 100 degrees), wrap yourself in a blanket and drink a cup of yarrow tea (Achillea millefolium). Make the tea by steeping 2 yarrow tea bags or 2 teaspoons dried yarrow in 1 cup boiling hot water for 15 minutes. Reheat it until it's piping hot, and sip it slowly. Your temperature may rise or fall a degree as you start to sweat. If your starting temperature is 101 to 103, drink the tea but skip the blanket. Check your temperature every 30 minutes throughout this process. Eventually your temperature will drop. If your starting temperature is 104 or more, or if the teadrinking brings your temperature to 104 or more, call your doctor. Don't do this with babies or children, or if you're pregnant; consult your doctor instead. 23 Foot Odor Chlorophyll, the same plant compound that gives plants their green color, can also sweeten your feet. Pour 2 to 3 teaspoons liquid chlorophyll into a bucket filled with a gallon of warm water, and soak your feet for 15 minutes. Dry your feet completely afterward, and wear cotton socks which let your feet breathe. 24 Gas
Chew on a small handful of anise, dill, or fennel seeds when you feel bloated. The compounds in these seeds relax the muscles in your digestive tract, which allows trapped gas to pass. You can buy the seeds in the spice aisle of grocery stores or the bulk section of natural food stores. Bonus: They freshen your breath, too. 25 Headache Dull a tension headache by massaging a few drops of peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) into your temples. Peppermint works as well as 1,000 mg of acetaminophen, the main ingredient in aspirin, according to one German study. Herb experts don't know exactly how it works, says Yarnell, but the peppermint appears to prevent your body from sending pain signals to your central nervous system. 26 Heartburn You'll need to find a carpeted area for this heartburn remedy called a heel drop. This sounds strange, but it works, says Yarnell. Roll up onto your toes as high as you can, and then allow your heels to quickly drop down onto the ground. Repeat this 20 to 30 times, holding onto the back of a chair for balance if you need to. The downward motion pulls the acid that causes heartburn back into your stomach. 27 Hemorrhoids The tannins in witch hazel tighten the weak veins that trigger painful hemorrhoids. Apply witch hazel cream (be sure to buy the cream and not the clear liquid) three times daily, says Yarnell. 28 Hiccups Think you've tried every hiccup remedy in the book? Candee swears by this one: Put a straw in a 6-ounce glass of water, press the tips of your index fingers into the indentations behind your earlobes where your neck and jawbone meet, and drink through the straw. Drink as much as you can while keeping pressure on those points. When the glass is empty, your hiccups should be gone. 29 Hives The moment you feel yourself start to break out in hives, take 1,000 mg of vitamin C and 500 mg of pantothenic acid, advises Orlarsch. The combination of these supplements helps your body produce antihistamines, which fight hives, he explains. If the hives don't disappear after the first dose, take another dose every 10 minutes, up to three doses. The high vitamin C dose may cause diarrhea. Reduce your dose if this occurs. 30 Indigestion If your tummy's in turmoil, drink a mug of chamomile tea (Matricaria recutita). The essential oils in this herb ease muscle spasms in your gastrointestinal tract and may also decrease your body's production of pepsin, a digestive enzyme that exacerbates indigestion. Brew your tea using loose chamomile flowers rather than the less-potent tea bags. Steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried flowers in boiling hot water for 20 minutes, strain, and sip slowly. 31 Inflamed Gums
When your gums feel tender, mix a dropperful of myrrh liquid extract (Commiphora myrrha) in 14 cup of water, swish it around in your mouth, and spit it out, instructs Rosemary Gladstar, an herbalist in East Barre, Vt. Myrrh soothes sore, swollen gums. Do this twice a day. 32 Insect Bites Relieve the itch from bug bites with an onion. The sulfur in onions neutralizes the chemicals that cause the itch, explains Candee. Simply slice a yellow onion in half and rub one of the cut sides on the bite. The itching should stop immediately. Refrigerate the onion in a sealed container to use again if the itching resumes. Make a fresh slice before reapplying it. 33 Insomnia On nights when you can't get to sleep, a gentle herbal extract can do the trick. Take 2 teaspoons of valerian liquid extract (Valeriana officinalis) mixed in 14 cup warm water. As you wait for the herb to take effect, read a book. You can safely take two more doses of valerian throughout the night if you wake up again. Be aware that valerian makes some people jittery. If you have that reaction, try skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) or passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) instead. 34 Joint Pain Capsaicin ointment, made from fiery cayenne peppers, can make your joints feel as good as new by interrupting pain signals. Rub the ointment into your joints every few hours. You may feel a mild burning sensation in your skin when you first apply it, but any discomfort will subside in a few minutes. Be sure to keep your hands away from your eyes until you've washed them thoroughly. 35 Menstrual Cramps It should be no surprise that an herb named cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) would work wonders for menstrual pain. It contains at least six compounds that relax muscles, as well as salicin, the pain-relieving compound from which aspirin is derived. Take 1 teaspoon of the liquid extract every hour until your cramps subside. If they don't ease within 48 hours, stop taking cramp bark. 36 Muscle Strain The tried and true Epsom salt bath works magic on sore or strained muscles. Epsom salts contain magnesium, a mineral which relaxes muscles when absorbed through your skin, explains Bongiovanni. The salts also soothe pain and kickstart your body's muscle repair process. Dump 2 cups of Epsom salts into a tub filled with warm water and soak for 20 minutes.
37 Nasal Congestion
Nothing works faster to clear clogged sinuses than horseradish, Gladstar says. The oils in this plant boost circulation in your nasal passages, which then loosens mucus. Mix a teaspoon of grated fresh horseradish with a little apple cider vinegar or honey, and eat it on toast (the vinegar and honey take the edge off the potent horseradish taste). Inhale deeply as you grate the horseradish; the fumes alone will start breaking up your congestion. 38 Nosebleeds Halt a mild nosebleed in minutes with this simple, albeit strange trick. Tear a piece of brown paper from a grocery bag, place it inside your mouth between your top lip and your gum, and leave it there until your nose stops bleeding, says Candee. No one knows why it works, but Candee says her patients have used this trick successfully for 30 years. 39 Poison Ivy Stop the itch of a poison ivy rash and prevent it from spreading with the following homemade paste: Mix 1 tablespoon of salt and 18 teaspoon of peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) with 12 cup green clay, and add enough water to form a paste. Apply the paste liberally to the rash and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes. Store leftover paste in a tightly sealed jar and reapply as needed. The remedy soothes the itch by absorbing the irritating plant oils and drying the rash. It also works for poison oak. 40 Puffy Eyes If your eyes are puffy in the morning, go straight for a cube of ice. Wrap it in a paper towel and hold it over each eyelid for a few minutes. The cold will reduce the swelling. 41 Razor Burn A razor burn victim himself, Yarnell recommends slathering aloe gel (Aloe vera) on your skin when you're done shaving. You can buy aloe gel in drugstores, but look for a product that has few additives and is made with 100 percent aloe. 42 Sore Throat Most people know that echinacea (Echinaceae spp) can help you fight off a cold. But it also acts as a mild local anesthetic when taken in liquid extract form, says Yarnell. Mix 12 teaspoon of the liquid extract with about 14 cup water, gargle, and swallow. Do this every hour for up to 48 hours or until the soreness disappears. 43 Sties The warm compress that most doctors recommend to heal sties can be made more effective if you soak the compress in a solution containing the herb eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis). Steep 1 teaspoon dried eyebright in 1 cup boiling hot water for 10 minutes and strain. Soak a washcloth in the solution, gently wring it, and apply it to the stye for 15 minutes two or three times a day.
Your afternoon snack can also soothe your sunburn. Smearing yogurt on your skin as soon as it turns pink cools your skin and reestablishes its pH balance so it heals faster. Use plain, full-fat yogurt that contains few additives. Let it sit on your skin until it warms up and then rinse it off with tepid water. Apply as often as needed. 45 Toothache Numb a throbbing tooth with clove essential oil (Syzygium aromaticum). The aromatic chemical in clove called eugenol anesthetizes pain and kills bacteria. To apply it, soak a cotton ball or swab with the oil and use it to wipe your sore gums and tooth. Repeat this four to five times a day until you can see your dentist. 46 Urinary Tract Infections Drink cranberry or blueberry juice when you feel a urinary tract infection coming on. Both contain compounds that fight the infection by preventing troublesome bacteria from adhering to the walls of your urinary tract, explains Bongiovanni. Down one to two 8ounce glasses of 100 percent cranberry or blueberry juice daily until the infection disappears. If you buy cranberry juice cocktail, drink four glasses a day. Or take 2.5 g of cranberry extract capsules (Vaccinium macrocarpum) twice a day with meals. If you still have symptoms after two days or if your symptoms worsen, see your doctor. 47 Vaginal Dryness Vaginal dryness is triggered by a hormone imbalance. Vitamin E oil combined with the herb black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) restores vaginal moisture and tips your hormones back into balance, explains Yarnell. Simply squeeze the oil from six vitamin E capsules into a small cup, add about 5 teaspoons of black cohosh cream, and stir. Apply the mixture to the inside and outside of your vagina two or three times a day until you find relief. 48 Varicose Veins Putting your feet up and applying a compress made with sage tea (Salvia officinalis) can minimize the swelling of your varicose veins. Rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, sage reduces swelling by shrinking vein walls, Candee explains. Steep 6 teaspoons dried sage in 3 cups boiling hot water for 30 minutes (double the recipe if you're treating both legs) and strain. Dunk a medium-size hand towel in the tea and gently wring it out. Sit in a spot where you can put your feet up above your heart and wrap the towel snugly around your problem leg. 49 Warts This wart remedy may sound wacky, but Yarnell swears by it. Gently rub the wart with your finger for 15 seconds at the same time each day. Rubbing the wart stimulates blood flow to the area and prompts your immune system to fight the wart virus. Doing this at the same time every day trains your immune system to kick in on its own.
50 Yeast Infections Ease the maddening itch of a yeast infection with a suppository made with boric acid. Although its name sounds harsh, boric acid acts as a mild antiseptic and has antiviral and antifungal properties. Insert one suppository every night as long as needed. Do not exceed 14 days. If you don't find the suppositories in your natural food store, ask your pharmacist to make them. Home Remedies The following home remedies are based on the traditional oriental medicine of China and Japan. These remedies have been used for thousands of years to alleviate various imbalances caused by faulty diet or unhealthy lifestyle activities. They should be followed only after complete understanding of their uses. If there is any doubt as to whether one should use these remedies, please seek out an experienced macrobiotic counselor for proper education. Bancha Stem Tea Use for strengthening the metabolism in all sicknesses. Use 1 tablespoon of tea to 1 quart of water, bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 4–5 minutes. Brown Rice Cream Used in cases when a person in a weakened condition needs to be nourished and energized or when the digestive system is impaired. Dry-roast brown rice evenly until all the grains turn a yellowish color. To one part rice, add a small amount of sea salt and 3– 6 parts water, then pressure cook for at least 2 hours. Squeeze out the creamy part of the cooked rice gruel through a sanitized cheesecloth. Eat with a small volume of condiment, such as umeboshi plum, gomasio (sesame salt), tekka, kelp, or other seaweed powder. Brown Rice Plaster When the swelling of a boil or infection is not opened by a taro plaster, a rice plaster can be used to help reduce the fever around the infected area. Hand grind 70% cooked brown rice, 20% raw green leafy vegetables, and raw nori in a suribachi — the more grinding, the better. (If the mixture is very sticky, add water.) Apply the paste to the affected area. If the plaster begins to burn, remove it, since it is no longer effective. To remove, rinse with warm water to remove direct paste. Buckwheat Plaster Draws retained water and excess fluid from swollen areas of the body. Mix buckwheat flour with enough hot water to form a hard, stiff dough. Apply in a 12inch layer to the affected area; tie in place with a bandage or piece of cotton linen, and leave in place for up to 4 hours. Special considerations for cancer cases: A buckwheat plaster should be applied in cases where a patient develops a swollen abdomen due to retention of fluid. If this fluid is surgically removed, the patient may feel better temporarily but may suddenly become much worse after several days. It is better to avoid such a drastic procedure. This plaster can be applied anywhere on the body. In cases where a breast has been removed, for example, the surrounding lymph nodes, the neck, or, in some cases, the arm often become swollen after several months. To relieve this condition, apply ginger compresses to the swollen area for about 5 minutes, then apply a buckwheat plaster;
replace every 4 hours. After removing the plaster, you may notice that fluid is coming out through the skin or that the swelling is starting to go down. A buckwheat plaster will usually eliminate the swelling after only several applications, or at most after two or three days. Burdock Tea (dried root) Use for strengthening vitality. To 1 portion of fresh burdock shavings, add 10 times the amount of water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer for 10 minutes. Carp Plaster Reduces high fever, as in the case of pneumonia. Crush and mash a whole, live carp and mix with a small amount of whole-wheat flour. Spread this mixture onto oiled paper and apply to the chest. When treating pneumonia, drink 1 or 2 teaspoons of carp blood, only in the case where the carp has just been killed. Take the body temperature every half hour, and immediately remove the carp plaster when the temperature reaches normal. Carrot-Daikon Drink To eliminate excessive fats and help dissolve hardening accumulation in the intestines. Grate 1 tablespoon of raw daikon and carrot. Cook in 2 cups of water for 5–8 minutes with a pinch of sea salt or 7–10 drops of tamari soy sauce. Daikon Radish Drink Drink No. 1: May reduce a fever by inducing sweating. Mix 12 cup grated fresh daikon with 1 tablespoon of tamari soy sauce and 14teaspoon grated ginger. Pour hot bancha tea over this mixture, stir, and drink while hot. Daikon Drink No. 2: To induce urination. Use a piece of cheesecloth to squeeze the juice from the grated daikon. Mix 2 tablespoons of this juice with 6 tablespoons of hot water to which a pinch of sea salt has been added. Boil this mixture and drink only once a day. Do not use this preparation more than three consecutive days without proper supervision, and never use it without first boiling. Drink No. 3: To help dissolve fat and mucus. In a teacup, place 1 tablespoon fresh grated daikon and a few drops of tamari soy sauce . Pour hot bancha tea over mixture and drink. It is most effective when taken just before sleeping. Do not use this drink longer than one week unless otherwise advised by an experienced macrobiotic counselor. Dandelion Root Tea Strengthens the heart and small intestine function and increases vitality. One tablespoon of root to 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 10 minutes. Denti e Helps to prevent tooth problems, promotes a healthy condition in the mouth, and stops bleeding anywhere in the body by contracting expanded blood capillaries. Bake an eggplant, particularly the calix, or cap, until black. Crush into a powder and mix with 30– 50% roasted sea salt. Use daily as a tooth powder or apply to any bleeding area (even inside the nostrils in case of nosebleed, by inserting squeezed, wet tissue dipped in dentie into the nostril). Dried Daikon
Leaves Used to warm the body and treat various disorders of the skin and female sex organs. Also helpful in drawing odors and excessive oils from the body. Dry fresh daikon leaves in the shade, away from direct sunlight, until they turn brown and brittle. (If daikon leaves are unavailable, turnip greens may be substituted.) Boil 4–5 bunches of the leaves in 4–5 quarts water until the water turns brown. Stir in a handful of sea salt and use in one of the following ways: 1. 2. Dip cotton linen into the hot liquid and wring lightly. Apply to the affected area repeatedly, until the skin becomes completely red. Women experiencing problems in their sexual organs should sit in a hot bath to which the daikon leaves liquid described above with the addition of 1 handful of sea salt has been added. The water should come to waist level, with the upper portion of the body covered with a towel. Remain in the water until the whole body becomes warm and sweating begins. This generally takes about 10 minutes. Repeat as needed, up to ten days. Following the bath, douche with warm bancha tea, a very small pinch of salt, and juice of half a lemon.
Ginger Compress Stimulates blood and body fluid circulation; helps loosen and dissolve stagnated toxic matter, cysts, tumors, etc. Place a handful of grated ginger in a cheesecloth and squeeze out the ginger juice into a pot containing 1 gallon of hot water kept just below the boiling point, if you boil, you will lose the power of theginger. Dip a towel into the ginger water (preferably a 100% cotton towel), wring it out tightly, and apply, very hot, directly to the area to be treated. A second, dry towel can be placed on top to reduce heat loss. Apply a fresh hot towel every 2–3 minutes until the skin becomes red. Ginger compress Special considerations for cancer cases: The ginger compress should be prepared in the usual manner. However, it should be applied for only a short time (3–5 minutes maximum), to activate circulation in the affected area, and should be followed immediately by a taro potato or potato plaster. If a ginger compress is applied repeatedly over an extended period, it may accelerate the growth of the cancer, particularly if it is a more yin variety. The ginger compress should be considered only as preparation for the taro plaster in cancer cases, not as an independent treatment, and applied for several minutes only. Please seek more specific recommendations from a qualified macrobiotic advisor. Ginger Sesame Oil Activates the function of the capillaries, circulation, and nerve reactions. Also relieves aches and pains. Mix the juice of grated fresh ginger with an equal amount of sesame oil. Dip cotton linen into this mixture and rub briskly into the skin of the affected area. This is also helpful for headache, dandruff, and hair growth. Grated Daikon A digestive aid, especially for fatty, oily, heavy foods and animal food. Grate fresh daikon (red radish or turnip may be used if daikon is not available). Sprinkle with tamari soy sauce and eat about 1 tablespoon. You may also use a pinch of grated ginger. Green Magma Tea Young barley-grass powder. Good for reducing and melting fats, cysts and tumors arising from animal foods. Pour hot water over 1–2 teaspoons and drink. Consult a qualified macrobiotic counselor for length of time to use.
Kombu Tea Good for strengthening the blood. Drink No. 1: Use one 3-inch strip of kombu to 1 quart water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 10 minutes. Drink No. 2: Dry kombu in a 350° oven for 10–15 minutes or until crisp. Grate 12 teaspoon kombu into a cup and add hot water. Kuzu (Kudzu) Drink Strengthens digestion, increases vitality, and relieves general fatigue. Dissolve a heaping teaspoon of kuzu powder in 2 teaspoons water and add to 1 cup cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to the simmering point, and stir constantly, until the liquid becomes a transparent gelatin. Stir in 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce and drink while hot. Lotus Root Plaster Draws stagnated mucus from the sinuses, nose, throat, and bronchi. Mix grated fresh lotus root with 10–15% pastry flour and 5% grated fresh ginger. Spread a 12-inch layer onto cotton linen and apply the lotus root directly to the skin. Keep on for several hours or overnight and repeat daily for several days. A ginger compress can be applied before this application, to stimulate circulation and loosen mucu in the area being treated. Lotus Root Tea To aid in coughs and dissolving mucus. Grate 12 cup fresh lotus root, squeeze the juice into a pot, and add a small amount of water. Cook for 8–10 minutes. Add a pinch of sea salt and drink hot. If using dried lotus root, cook in 1 cup of water for 12–15 minutes, add a pinch of sea salt or tamari soy sauce, and drink hot. Mugwort Tea Good for ridding the body of worms and for jaundice. One tablespoon mugwort to 1 quart water. Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 5–10 minutes. Use carefully, so as not to create constipation. Mustard Plaster Stimulates blood and body fluid circulation and loosens stagnation. Add hot water to dry mustard powder and stir well. Spread this mixture onto a paper towel and sandwich between two thick cotton towels. Apply this “sandwich” to the skin area, leave on until the skin becomes red and warm, then remove. After removing, wipe off remaining mustard plaster from the skin with towels. Nachi Green Tea To help dissolve and discharge animal fats and reduce high cholesterol levels. Place 12 teaspoon tea into the serving kettle. Pour 1 cup hot water over the tea and steep for 3–5 minutes. Strain and drink 1 cup per day. Ranshio Used to strengthen the heart and stimulate heartbeat and blood circulation. Crush a raw egg and mix with 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce. Drink slowly. Use only once a day and for no more than three days. Raw Brown Rice and Seeds Will help eliminate worms of various types. Skip breakfast. Then, on an empty stomach, eat a handful of raw brown rice with half a handful of raw seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower, and another half handful of chopped raw onion, scallion, or garlic. Chew everything very well, and have your regular meal later in the day. Repeat for two to three days. Roasted Barley Tea Good for melting animal fat from the body. Roast barley in a skillet, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until a fragrant aroma is detected. To 1 portion barley, add 10 times the amount of water . Bring to a boil, reduce flame, and simmer 10 minutes. This is a very nice summer drink and may also aid in the reduction of fever. Roasted Rice Tea Good for all sicknesses. Prepare using the same method as for roasted barley tea. This is also a good tea for reducing fever.
Salt Bancha Tea Used to loosen stagnation in the nasal cavity or to cleanse the vagina. Add enough salt to warm bancha tea (body temperature) to make it just a little less salty than sea water. Use the liquid to wash deep inside the nasal cavity through the nostrils or as a douche. Salt bancha tea can also be used as a wash for problems with the eyes, sore throat, and fatigue. Salt Pack Used to warm any part of the body. For the relief of diarrhea, for example, apply the pack to the abdominal region. Roast salt in a dry pan until hot, then wrap in a thick cotton linen pillowcase or towel. Apply to the troubled area and change when the pack begins to cool. Salt Water Cold salt water will contract the skin in the case of burns, while warm salt water can be used to clean the rectum, colon, and vagina. When the skin is damaged by fire, immediately soak the burned area in cold salt water until irritation disappears. Then apply vegetable oil to seal the wound from air. For constipation or mucus or fat accumulation in the rectum, colon, and vagina, use warm salt water (body temperature) as an enema or douche. Scallion, Onion, or Daikon Juice Neutralizes the poison of a bee sting or insect bite. Cut either a scallion or daikon or their greens and squeeze out the juice. (If you cannot obtain these vegetables, red radish can be used.) Rub the juice thoroughly into the wound. Sesame Oil Use to relieve stagnated bowels or to eliminate retained water. To induce the discharge of stagnated bowels, take 1–2 tablespoons raw sesame oil with 14 teaspoon ginger and tamari soy sauce on an empty stomach. To eliminate water retention in the eyes, put a drop or two of pure sesame oil (it is best to use dark sesame oil if available) in the eyes with an eyedropper, preferably before sleeping. Continue up to a week, until the eyes improve. Before using the sesame oil for this purpose, remove impurities by boiling it and then straining it through a sanitized cheesecloth. Shiitake Mushroom Tea Used to relax an overly tense, stressful condition and help dissolve excessive animal fat. Soak a dried black shiitake mushroom cut in quarters. Cook in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes with a pinch of sea salt. Drink only 12 cup at a time. Tamari Bancha Tea Neutralizes an acidic blood condition, promotes blood circulation, and relieves fatigue. Pour 1 cup hot bancha twig tea over 1–2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce. Stir and drink hot. Tofu Plaster More effective than an ice pack to draw out fever. Squeeze the water from the tofu, mash it, then add 10–20% pastry flour and 5% grated ginger. Mix the ingredients and apply directly to the skin. Change every 2–3 hours, or sooner if plaster becomes very hot. Taro Potato (Albi) Plaster Often used after a ginger compress to collect stagnated toxic matter and draw it out of the body. Peel off potato skin and grate the white interior. Mix with 5% grated fresh ginger. Spread this mixture in a 12- inch-thick layer onto fresh cotton linen and apply the taro sidedirectly to the skin. Change every 4 hours. Albi (taro) plaster Taro potato can usually be obtained in most major cities in the U.S. and Canada, from Chinese, Armenian, or Puerto Rican grocery stores or natural food stores. The skin of this vegetable is brown and covered with “hair.” The taro potato is grown in Hawaii as well as the Orient. Smaller taro potatoes are the most effective for use in this plaster. If taro is not available, a preparation using regular potato can be substituted. While not as effective as taro, it will still produce a beneficial result. Mix 50–60% grated potato with
40–50% grated green leafy vegetables, mixing them together in a suribachi. Add enough wheat flour to make a paste and add 5% grated ginger. Apply as above. Special considerations for cancer cases: The taro plaster has the effect of drawing cancerous toxins out of the body and is particularly effective in removing carbon and other minerals often contained in tumors. If, when the plaster is removed, the lightcolored mixture has become dark or brown, or if the skin where the plaster was applied also takes on a dark color, this change indicates that excessive carbon and other elements are being discharged through the skin. This treatment will gradually reduce the size of the tumor. If the patient feels chilly from the coolness of the plaster, a hot ginger compress, applied for 5 minutes while changing plasters, will help relieve this. If chill persists, roast sea salt in a skillet, wrap it in a towel, and place it on top of the plaster. Be careful not to let the patient become too hot from this salt application. Ume Extract Good for neutralizing an acid or nauseous condition and diarrhea in the stomach. Pour hot water or bancha tea over 14 teaspoon of ume extract. Umeboshi Plum Neutralizes an acidic condition and relieves intestinal problems, including those caused by microorganisms. Take 12–1 umeboshi plum with 1 cup bancha tea. Or you may bake the whole plums. If you are using powder, add a tablespoon to 1 cup hot water. Ume-Sho-Bancha Strengthens the blood and circulation through the regulation of digestion. Pour 1 cup bancha tea over the meat of 12–1 umeboshi plum and 1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce. Stir and drink hot. Ume-Sho-Bancha with Ginger Increases blood circulation. Same as above, but add 14 teaspoon grated ginger juice and pour 1 cup hot bancha tea over, stir, and drink. Ume-Sho-Kuzu (Kudzu) Drink Strengthens digestion, revitalizes energy, and regulates the intestinal condition. Prepare the kuzu drink according to the instructions for Kuzu Drink and add the meat of 12–1 umeboshi plum. One-eighth teaspoon fresh grated ginger may also be added.
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