- When you came down with a cold your mother
probably made you some chicken soup claiming it would help. As you grew
up, you probably started to think there wasn't much science or medicine
behind that chicken soup theory, but you used it anyway. If you've got
asthma, your cup of coffee can give you more than just a morning pick-me-up.
- As it turns out chicken soup has been
proven to be beneficial to helping get rid of a cold. This is only one
of a number of old wives' tales that have been tested and researched for
their medical benefits and have proven to actually work. Jodi Applegate
talked about these cures with Donna Behan, health editor of Woman's Day.
- CHICKEN SOUP FOR COLDS
- Doctors have long believed that drinking
any hot liquid helps to ease cold symptoms, but research has proven that
hot chicken soup is especially beneficial. In one study, doctors at Miami's
Mount Sinai medical center compared sipping chicken soup, hot water and
cold water to clear up nasal mucus. The soup was the most effective. Doctors
are not sure why, but they say chicken soup does work.
- COFFEE FOR ASTHMA
- If you,ve got asthma, your cup of coffee
can give you more than just a morning pick-me-up. In one study in the journal
Chest, asthmatics were able to breathe easier after they drank three cups
of caffeinated coffee, as compared to drinking decaf. Mount Sinai's Doctor
Krieger says that coffee acts as a mild bronchodilator and that coffee
can prevent a mild asthma attack from getting worse.
- SUGAR FOR HICCUPS
- A small spoonful of sugar can do more
than just help the medicine go down. If you swallow it quickly, before
the crystals have a chance to dissolve, it's also a great cure for hiccups,
says Dr. Fugh-Berman from the National Women's Health Network, "We're
not really sure how it works, but some researchers theorize that sugar
stimulates the diaphragm's phrenic nerve, which stops spasms."
- PINEAPPLE FOR OVEREATING
- When you are feeling over-stuffed the
last thing you want to do is eat something. But a little bit of canned
or fresh pineapple can make you feel better. The reason is that pineapple
is loaded with enzymes that help you digest food. Pineapple can also reduce
inflammation because it contains the enzyme bromelain.
- YOGURT FOR YEAST INFECTIONS
- Eating yogurt every day isn't just a
great way to meet your calcium needs. If you're prone to frequent yeast
infections, it can help reduce the recurrences, according to a study in
the Annals of Internal Medicine. The lactobacillus acidophilus cultures
in yogurt help create a more normal bacterial environment in the vagina.
Dr. Mari-Kim Bunnell, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Brigham and Women's
Hospital in Boston, recommends eating a cup of yogurt every day. Make sure
it says, 'contains live acidophilus cultures' on the label.
- CRANBERRY JUICE FOR BLADDER
- Doctors often recommend drinking lots
of fluids to help prevent painful bladder infections, because fluid dilutes
the urine and flushes out the bacteria. but there's something about cranberry
juice that makes it even more effective. Dr. Bunnell says that cranberry
juice works because it prevents the bacteria that cause the infection from
sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. The Journal of the American
Medical Association recommends drinking more than 8 ounces of cranberry
juice every day if you are prone to these infections. In some women the
juice's high acid content can cause irritation. If this happens to you,
dilute the juice with water.
- BAKING SODA FOR BEE STINGS
- That orange box of baking soda comes
in handy outside the kitchen as well. Dr. Lenore Kakita, a dermatologist
at UCLA medical center, says that to soothe a bee sting, make a paste of
baking soda and water, and apply it to the sting. Baking soda can also
calm a skin rash, by sprinkling baking soda into a tub of tepid water.
It is also effective to keep your smile bright. It is a good mild abrasive
for teeth because it polishes off stains without damaging tooth enamel.
You can make the paste yourself by mixing baking soda with water, although
it is now available in many toothpastes (which tend to taste a bit better).
- GINGER FOR NAUSEA
- In a Danish study of 30 women with morning
sickness, most of them felt less nauseated after taking ginger capsules
(available in health food stores). Another study, published in the medical
journal Anesthesia, found that ginger was as effective as prescription
medicine in preventing nausea and vomiting following surgery. Ginger may
also help prevent motion sickness. Dr. Fugh-Berman recommends drinking
a cup of ginger tea 30 minutes before a trip. To make the tea, just take
a piece of fresh ginger about the size of your knuckle, skin and dice it,
and put it in a mug with a little brown sugar. Pour boiling water over
the mixture and steep for five minutes. If you can,t find fresh ginger,
powdered will work too. Dr. Fugh-Berman warns that, unfortunately, ginger
ale will not work because the ginger content is too low.
- OATMEAL FOR ITCHY SKIN
- Soaking in an oatmeal bath can be great
for soothing a myriad of skin irritations, including the itch of poison
ivy and poison oak, bee stings, hives, insect bites and sunburn. You can
fill you tub with tepid water and two cups of oatmeal. It will stop the
itching and feel very soothing on the skin. It can also relieve irritated
dry skin. Oatmeal soaps and washes are available in most drug stores, made
- MEAT TENDERIZER FOR INSECT
- A little dab of meat tenderizer on mosquito
or other insect bites helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation. This
is because of the active ingredient, papaya enzyme papain.
- HOT BATH FOR INSOMNIA
- A hot soak before bedtime can be very
relaxing, but that's not the only reason it helps you sleep better. As
the evening progresses your body temperature drops which makes you feel
sleepy. When you take a hot bath it raises your core body temperature so
that following the bath your body temperature cools down and the substantial
drop in temperature is associated with deeper sleep. In one study done
at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., a group of nine women with insomnia
took a hot bath one and a half hours before bedtimes for two nights in
a row. The next week, the same group took a lukewarm bath. The women experienced
deeper, more restful sleep after taking the hot bath than the lukewarm
one. (Hot baths can also ease migraine pain and relieve menstrual cramps.)