When you buy your prescribed medication from the pharmacy and read the potential side effects, you start to wonder if it’s worth taking these pills.

In addition to this, prescribed medications sometimes make you feel worse or don’t have any effect on your condition.

It’s no wonder that natural home remedies have become so popular in recent years. However, you can’t but ask if these home remedies really work, or they are simply a hoax.

Well, keep on reading to find out.

What is a Home Remedy?

Let’s make something clear. There is a difference between home remedies and homeopathic ones. Often people consider them to be the same thing, but that is not true.

Home remedies are concoctions prepared at home with ingredients that are easy to obtain. Let’s take, for example, baking soda. You mix it with water, and you have a home remedy for indigestion. Or you can use it as a scrub to remove body odors.

Natural home remedies could also be herbal ones. In this case, they have an active ingredient, which is made of plant parts. The simplest example I could give you of an herbal remedy is peppermint tea or lavender.

Homeopathic medicine, on the other hand, relies on the principle that “like cures like.” It sounds confusing, I know. Homeopaths believe that something which can bring symptoms in a healthy individual can cure an illness with the same symptoms if it’s used in minimal amounts.

Do Home Remedies Really Work?

Before the evolution of modern medicine, herbs and plants were used to treat anything from mild fever to life-threatening wounds and infections. In fact, modern medicine still relies on herbs and their medicinal properties, and scientists still research plants for possible medical applications.

Home remedies have existed for centuries, and some of them have been passed on from one generation to another. That wouldn’t have happened if these cures were bogus.

To answer your question – yes. Home remedies can be useful for treating a certain condition. They can come in handy when you want to get rid of a cough, lower fever, reduce nausea, deal with skin and hair problems, indigestion, and constipation, and so on.

Some home remedies can even protect you from getting sick because a lot of them include ingredients with antioxidant properties. These ingredients contain substances that fight free radicals and the oxidative stress responsible for cell damage.

Furthermore, since they contain essential vitamins and minerals, home remedies can also boost immunity and strengthen your body’s natural defenses.

Chicken soup, for example, is a classical remedy for getting over a cold. And, as it turns out, our grandmothers were right to give us chicken soup when we were under the weather. Studies have shown that chicken soup can help with nasal congestion and soothe a sore throat.

Ginger has also been used for centuries as a cure for nausea and stomach discomfort. As studies have shown, ginger lives up to its reputation and can reduce nausea as well as any commercial drug.

That being said, you have to understand that the efficacy of home remedies against serious conditions such as cancer, heart conditions, or Alzheimer’s disease, is unclear. Studies have shown contradictory results when examining the possible disease-fighting properties of certain herbs and foods.

For example, some studies suggest that cinnamon has a positive effect on the blood sugar levels and that it could be useful for controlling diabetes. Other studies have shown no change in the glucose levels of people taking cinnamon.

Medicine still has much to learn and discover about the effect of many herbs, spices, and foods. But it’s impossible to deny that some natural home remedies are as effective as their prescribed counterparts.

Are Home Remedies Safe?

Most home remedies are safe and won’t cause unwanted side effects. Common ingredients in these remedies include apple cider vinegar, baking soda, honey, aloe vera, cinnamon, turmeric, lavender, essential oils, and so on. You can find most of these ingredients in any kitchen.

That being said, you should always proceed with caution. A lot of people think that “natural” equals “safe.” They forget that many natural things exist that can kill you.

For example, some home remedies suggest apricot kernels have anti-cancer properties. However, apricot kernels have a compound that turns into cyanide into the human body. Eat too many of these, and you might get poisoned or die.

In addition to this, some herbs are toxic to the human organism or can cause adverse effects. Usually, that would be a problem, but herbs and herbal remedies are not as strongly regulated as drugs, and the FDA doesn’t test their efficacy or safety.

As a result, it’s possible to buy a harmless herb or a spice contaminated with toxic elements. The risk is higher if you shop from sketchy online shops or order remedies by mails. You can’t ever be sure what you’ll get in these cases, especially if the ingredients are not listed on the packages.

Besides these concerns, herbs and plants always have some effect on the human body and can interact with medications you’re taking. That could lead to potentially life-threatening events.

For example, cardiologists do not recommend garlic when you’re taking blood-thinning drugs. That’s because garlic is a natural blood thinner and increases the risk of excess bleeding. The same goes for ginkgo and hawthorn.

Furthermore, two herbs can be completely harmless when taken separately. But when you combine them, you might experience adverse reactions or even poison yourself. The same goes if you take them one after the other.

Which Home Remedies could be Dangerous?

As I already said, most home remedies are safe, and if they don’t help you, they won’t cause you harm.

However, you shouldn’t trust blindly every home remedy recipe you find. Some could make your condition worse or poison you. Here are some examples:

  • Ear candling. It’s a dangerous procedure involving a lit candle in the ear. Do it wrong and you could lose your hearing.
  • Using whiskey to soothe a teething baby is another old wives’ remedy. However, whiskey doesn’t have any numbing properties, and babies should not consume any alcohol.
  • Colloidal silver is also considered a popular home remedy to cleanse the stomach. However, it has numerous side effects and can be fatal.
  • Putting butter on burns.
  • Rubbing petrol or kerosene on the head to get rid of lice.

You should also be extremely careful with any home remedies containing these herbs:

  • St. John's Wort. It interferes with medications like birth control pills and can cause nausea and dizziness.
  • Kava. It might cause liver damage.
  • Arnica. This herb can raise blood pressure and increase the heart rate.
  • Goldenseal. It can affect the heart rhythm and lower the blood pressure.
  • Stinging Nettle. It’s not suitable for people with heart problems because it makes you retain fluids.

In addition to this, if you’re going to purchase herbs or essential oils, make sure that they don’t have any added chemicals. You should buy pure ones from reliable merchants to avoid contaminated ones. 

Also, read the instruction carefully. Herbs and essential oils could be dangerous in large doses and cause unwanted side effects.

Moreover, while dietary supplements are an excellent way to boost your body’s immunity, they could be dangerous if you take more than the recommended dose. Remember that if you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet you get all the vitamins and minerals you need. 

Which People Should Avoid Home Remedies?

Just like drugs, home remedies have different effects on different people. For some, they might work, while for others they can cause troubles or have no effect at all.

However, some people should avoid or be extra careful when they take home remedies without a doctor’s permission: 

  • People with allergies. Some home remedies use ingredients which have allergenic properties. If you have any known allergies, you should always check the ingredients carefully to make sure that they won’t trigger your allergy.
  • Pregnant women. Although you could find a lot of effective home remedies for pregnancy nausea and discomfort, you shouldn’t use them if you have a difficult pregnancy or a history of miscarriage.
  • Breastfeeding women. Since what you eat and drink affects breast milk, you should avoid home remedies while breastfeeding. Babies are very delicate, and some of the ingredients in home remedies could be too much for their growing bodies.
  • Children and babies. While some home remedies could be suitable for a small child, you should always speak with your pediatrician first.
  • People with chronic kidney disease because their bodies don’t filter toxins well.

In addition to this, if you’re about to have surgery or do blood tests, you should mention to your doctor what home remedies you have been using. As I said, some are natural blood thinners and might increase your risk of excessive bleeding. 

Despite people’s suspicions, a lot of home remedies actually work because they use herbs and ingredients with potent antioxidant properties.

If you’re new to the home remedy world, I recommend that you take a look at the table below. It will help you find home remedies for a lot of ailments, including acne, headaches, nausea, and anxiety. 

What do you think? Do natural home remedies really work? Tell us your experience with home remedies in the comment section.

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