herb and food remedies

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4 Medicinal Plants Growing Like Weeds Right Now

Wild garlic (pictured) has hollow leaves; wild onion has flat ones. There are similar plants that are harmful to eat. These two edible ones smell like garlic or onion when you cut them. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH I’m baaack. I’ve been moving and have taken some time off blogging. But now I’m ready to go. My new home is out in the Southern countryside, way outside a city, and I’ve just started exploring the property. What I’m finding is a virtual pharmacy of medicinal plants. Some I can use now. Others, maybe if I had no access to anything better. […]

By | April 6th, 2016|General|14 Comments

Experts’ 10 Best Home Remedies—Using Stuff Around Your House

Editor’s note: A version of this article was published in My Family Doctor magazine.* When you’re in a pinch, try these top, expert-suggested remedies—using things you already have around the house! […]

3 Lesser-Known Colic Home Remedies

by Kari Kassir, M.D.* Q. My baby has colic. I’ve tried everything my doctor suggested, but it’s not working. Do you have any tips? A. Several home remedies may help with colic, above and beyond the usual calming strategies. […]

By | October 13th, 2015|Children|6 Comments

Can Cayenne Pepper Really Stop a Heart Attack?

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH A couple of weeks ago I wrote about deciding what to do if you have chest pain far away from expert help. As usual my readers contributed some thought provoking comments. Two suggestions in particular inspired me to write additional posts. Last week I discussed so-called cough CPR. This week, it’s cayenne pepper. The claim that cayenne pepper can stop a heart attack in its tracks is found far and wide on the Internet. So I decided to check out, as best I could, whether there’s any truth behind the headlines. […]

By | March 23rd, 2015|General|7 Comments

Why You Need to Start Allergy Treatment Early

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Sneezing You have to admit, the commercials are convincing: Your allergies are keeping you inside, virtually blocked from the outdoors. Otherwise you’re sneezing, have watery eyes, just miserable. You take a pill, and whammo, you can do what you wish. Want to roll in the grass, sniff a little ragweed? No worries. Pet a cat even if they usually make you break out in hives? No problem. Whatever you were allergic to before, you’re not anymore, as long as you take the pill. But do these allergy medicines actually work? If so, how well? And what about home remedies for allergies? Have they gone the way of the iron lung? Here’s my take. […]

By | March 24th, 2014|General|16 Comments

The Top-8 Medical Uses for Vodka

Previously the top-7 medical uses! by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Thursday, the U.S. government banned liquids, including gels, in carry-ons to Russia. That means hand sanitizers. That means hand sanitizers that reporters and visitors on their way to Sochi for the Olympics probably packed because of tales of contaminated water. What to do? Even if you didn’t put sanitizer in your checked bag and Russia’s all sold out when you get there, remember, this country just so happens to be famous for … its vodka. Vodka is about 40 percent alcohol. Alcohol kills germs. So in a pinch, vodka = medical supply. […]

By | February 10th, 2014|Cuts, Infectious Disease, Skin|25 Comments

Tom Hanks Has Diabetes: Could His “Cast Away” Character Have Survived?

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Reading that Tom Hanks now has type 2 diabetes made me think: What if his character in Cast Away had the same disease? You know, the movie where his plane goes down and he spends four years stranded alone on an island? In such a scenario, could he survive type 2 diabetes? What do you think? […]

By | October 16th, 2013|General|13 Comments

The Downside of Taking Aspirin: When Bleeding Won’t Stop

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH I’m constantly amazed by the effect even the lowest dose of aspirin has on bleeding. I’ll be putting pressure on a cut, and the bleeding will just not be stopping. The person with the cut will have already told me they have no known bleeding disorders and haven’t taken any aspirin, and I’ll ask again. “Well, I did take something a few days ago. It may have had aspirin in it.” Or, “Oh, I do take a baby aspirin.” Voila. I have my answer. I’ll just have to apply pressure for ten minutes instead of five, Or twenty minutes instead of ten. Aspirin doesn’t stay in the system that long, but its effect on bleeding does. Here’s how. […]

By | March 12th, 2013|Cuts, Skin|15 Comments

10 Home Treatments for Cold Sores

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Okay, maybe a cold sore, also called a fever blister, isn’t the worst thing you can have when you can’t get to a doctor, but it can be downright irritating. And I’ve seen my share of cold sores that had become bad enough to affect proper eating and increase the risk of dehydration. Also, if a secondary infection develops, it could turn into something potentially dangerous. So, in this post I’ll delve a little into prevention and home treatments for cold sores—and what makes some of us prone to get them while other people never do. […]

By | February 21st, 2013|Infectious Disease, Skin|128 Comments

Preventing Gout Flare-ups With or Without Medicine

“The Gout,” by James Gillray, published May 1799. In a 2005 article in London’s “The Independent” newspaper, art critic Tom Lubbock calls this “perhaps the first close-up” and says “this framing reflects how, for the sufferer, the gouty foot looms large and separate, the centre of attention.” Gout was a much talked-about ailment in the 18th century—to people then “what melancholy was to the high Renaissance, or stomach ulcers were to the 1950s,” says an article in the April 14, 2012, issue of “The Lancet.” Alcohol-based “bitters” was one purported remedy. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Several readers have asked me what to do for gout. Do natural remedies help? What’s a “gout foods to avoid list?” No one needs a gout flair-up during a disaster. For those who don’t know, a gout attack usually consists of an extremely painful, red, swollen single joint. The most common is at the base of a big toe, but it can happen to any joint. If someone comes in and tells me they can’t even let a bedsheet touch the joint area because of the pain, I’m pretty sure it’s gout. […]

By | December 13th, 2012|Bones|90 Comments