Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review- 1,801 Home Remedies

I know, I know, I know....I'm really far behind. In my defense, I've been spending a lot of evenings trying to console a friend who's having a really rough go of things.

Anyway...1,801 Home Remedies needs to be given back to the library. I've renewed it too many times now. I would not say that it's a for fun read, but it is a decent resource publishd by Reader's Digest.

There are two main parts to the book: an alphabetical listing of common illnesses/complaints and an alphabetical listing of 20 of the top most household healers. The is an introduction to remedies and there is a section about side effects and who should not be using some of the herbs. The book is also careful to warn patients to consult their doctors especially if they suffer from a number of different health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

There are some things that my fact checking mind disagrees with. In the section on colic it says this " Some experts have surmised that crying is caused by the mother-to-baby transmission of cow's milk. If you nurse your baby and you've been drinking milk or eating milk products (such as cheese), try going without. If this doesn't solve the problem after a week, you can go back to your usual diet."

First of all, it doesn't explain that it's not transmission of cow's milk but rather the transmission of proteins found in cow's milk that is the usual culprit. Cheese and yogurt have low amounts of milk proteins compared to just the milk. But the wording doesn't give enough context. Secondly, pediatricians give varied number of weeks to stay off of milk. I've heard anywhere from two weeks to six weeks for the protein to be flushed out your body. I've never heard one week.

In the diaper rash section, there is no mention of using breastmilk as a way to eliminate diaper rash. The author points to air drying and using creams, but not breastmilk. To me this is strange especially since in one of the columns she says that babies who are breastfed get fewer diaper rashes. Breastmilk is full of good stuff that protect a baby's immune system so using it on a bum is a really good idea. Similarly breastmilk is good for conjunctivitis, but it's not mentioned there either.

While the book isn't entirely eco-friendly, the premise behind the book is self-healing or using less man-made products. A good rule of thumb for anyone in reading this book is to discuss these natural remedies with your doctor before trying them. Some of the herbal supplements such as fenugreek, for example, are not good for pregnant women to take because they have been known to cause pre-mature births. And some supplements will interfere with your medications. But as I said, it's a knowledge platform and you can take the ideas to your doctor to try an alternative that has perhaps less side-effects.

1 comment:

  1. I missed this earlier (found it looking for the other post). I saw an article in a baby mag last week on this subject and was thinking about why it didn't list breastmilk as a cure for anything. It had some other interesting things listed though... Like onion in the socks for fever and garlic oil for ear infections. Breastmilk works there too, but still. Was interesting. I love home remedies :-)


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