¤ Ease The Mind If Not The Body
An honest answer, now. Would your boss be more concerned if you told him you’d discovered a computer virus in your office, or if you phoned to say you were fighting a bout with the flu ?
Yes, sometimes in this high-tech age it seems that technological woes get more attention than human ailments. Books dealing with herbal or natural remedies or with foods having healing qualities are selling well now.
Sceptics would argue that mud on a bee sting or cucumber slices on tired eyes should go the way of the dinosaurs, that home remedies can’t compete with more sophisticated medication.
¤ The Natural Remidies
Modern medicine and magic are not as incompatible as one might think. Western medicine continues to incorporate many irrational elements and doctors still include a certain amount of ‘magic’ in their treatment. In Middle Ages, the Church condemned magic as hocus-pocus but today, from the 40th floor, we still find the pull of the past fairly strong.
Some prescriptions may sound silly and absurd, but people are reverting to such medicine with great interest. There were many experts who doubted, for instance, that frog skin could be of any use for a weak heart. They began to see things in a different light, however, when scientists discovered in frogs a chemical similar to Ritalin, the drug used by doctors to stimulate the heart.
Earlier this century, doctors began using Chaulmoogra oil as the main ingredient in the treatment of leprosy. Chinese herbalists had been using the oil for the same purpose for the past 600 years.
Researchers have now started investigating into some such traditional claims. Are the tails of tow red spotted lizards (one male, one female) the best cure for pulmonary tuberculosis? Can the ashes of burnt elephant skin help close slow healing wounds? Is the flesh of a terrapin any good for veneral disease?
¤ Some Amusing and Adventurous Prescriptions
Some of the prescriptions are quite amusing and adventurous. They could be tried for the sake of fun, the famous ginseng root, for example, is supposed to be dug from the ground at midnight under a full moon, and it must be prepared only in a wooden container.
Its substitute locally available is Hydrocotyle Asiatica, it has an oleaginous substance, ‘Vellarin, ‘ having the odour and bitter persistent taste of fresh plant, but it is strongly recommended by herbalists and scientists.
But the home-medicine practitioner does need to exercise care. It’s not simply a matter of crushing herbs and flower petals at random. People also need to guard against using home remedies for more serious illnesses. Azaleas, for example, can be deadly, causing vomiting and convulsions, and interrupting breathing. People are turning to books for written verification of home remedies.
¤ Some Favourite Prescriptions
¤ Anxiety : Besides recommending exercise and breathing exercises, a mild tranquilliser is calming without being sedating. Passion flower is very much recommended. One dropful of the tincture in a little warm water or two capsules of the extract up to four times a day as needed.
¤ Athlete's Foot : Apply a light coating of tea plant oil (be sure it’s the pure variety) to the affected areas three or four times a day. Continue for two weeks after the infection disappears to be sure the fungus is gone. People, who are prone to frequent fungal infections, also might try adding one or two cloves of raw garlic to the diet to prevent infections because raw garlic is a strong anti-fungal agent.
¤ Skin Ailments : Green oil of maltas is a wonder cure for pimples. Incipient pimples can be suppressed almost overnight with the application of conchshell powder. Juice of basil leaf blended with Chandan paste will dry up the most stubborn eruptions. Worried about scars left behind by pimples? Try green coconut water or mehndi if you can tolerate the stain on the original mark for a couple of days. Another effective remedy for pimples and stains is the paste of ginger and salt.
Interested in improving your complexion? Try oatmeal beaten up with an egg white. The mixture should be spread over the face and left to dry. It is removed by washing with lukewarm water and the treatment should finish with a wash using very cold water. Another formula is milk mixed with turmeric and almond paste. Yet another combination is turmeric and cummin seed. If you are simply considering a fresh look, try podina leaves, allowing the extract to dry on your face and wash it off after 15 minutes. Similar effects can be obtained by applying the papaya pulp.