New London Hospital - Discover Health - Latest health news to help you stay well

Also in this issue

Helpful Home Remedies

A home remedy is certainly convenient, but will it actually work? The following guide can help you determine which home remedies are actually worth a try—and which ones to avoid.

Healthy Helpers
Salt-water gargle for a sore throat. If the flu or frequent throat or mouth infections have left your throat sore, you might try warm salt-water gargles or rinses to feel better and help prevent another bout. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in a large glass of water, gargle, and spit.

Peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For people who suffer from IBS, a condition that can cause constipation and diarrhea, peppermint oil may provide some relief. However, it can worsen some symptoms, such as heartburn. You can find the herb in capsule or liquid form.

Lutein supplements for vision. The nutrient lutein is a powerful antioxidant concentrated in the eye. It’s been shown to improve eye health, including reducing the risk for cataracts and age-related macular degeneration—a leading cause of blindness in older adults. You can up your intake of lutein with a daily 10 mg supplement or munch on more green, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and spinach.

Baking soda as a mouth rinse. Baking soda mixed with salt has been recommended as a mouth rinse to help reduce mouth infections, especially for people whose immune systems are compromised. For this, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 quart of warm water and rinse several times a day.

Cucumber slices for puffy eyes. One reason this idea works is that most people keep cucumbers in the refrigerator. That means they’re cold, and cold reduces swelling. When sliced, they also cover your eyes close to perfectly. Other people swear by cold tea bags as eye compresses, and that works for the same reason.

More Harmful Than Helpful
Milk for ulcers. That cold glass of milk looks like just the thing to calm your ulcer pain. But though milk might help you feel better briefly, it doesn’t actually help heal an ulcer, which is a small sore in the lining of the digestive tract. It’s also possible that, in the long run, drinking large amounts of milk could make ulcers worse by increasing the acid in your stomach, irritating those tiny sores.

Aspirin on a tooth for pain. Swallowing an aspirin or other over-the-counter painkiller can ease a toothache, but some people try to make a painful tooth feel better by putting the aspirin directly on the enamel. That’s not a good idea. This approach could cause a chemical burn to surrounding tissues, ultimately making pain worse and risking infection. Instead, try swallowing the aspirin and using a cold water rinse to manage the pain. And plan to see your dentist as soon as you can.

Drinking alcohol for pain. Alcohol can relax you, and some people may drink because they have chronic pain. But regularly drinking alcohol to avoid pain can be bad for your health and can cause unpleasant interactions with other pain-relieving medications you might be taking.

Last reviewed: July 2012

Don't Miss

Contact Us

The health information presented in this e-mail newsletter is intended for information purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. This information should not be used to treat or diagnose a health condition. Always seek advice from a trained healthcare provider. To subscribe, click here to visit our newsletter sign-up page.

Privacy Policy.

To unsubscribe, click here. You will be taken off the list immediately. Thank you!

© Krames StayWell 2012.