I'm the sort of person who only goes to the doctor when I am on my deathbed, which turns out to be maybe once or twice a decade... not prudent I know, but welcome to the life of a lowly retail employee who can't afford to give up over 1/3 of his check for health insurance and would be paying for a doctor's visit for a dang long time. Yeah yeah, story of half the workforce in this country, certainly not unique. As we know, necessity is the mother of invention, and over the years necessity has lead me to craft a number of inexpensive home remedies for various ailments. Some of these ideas or parts of them are directly stolen from someone else, but I'll write some of them down here anyway for the sake of whoever might benefit from them. I will stress that I am NOT a medical professional of any sort, I am merely stating recipes and/or methods which have worked for me.
As some of you may know, over the Holidays I contracted conjunctivitis from my dear little brother. It is a little-known fact that most cases of conjunctivitis will clear themselves up within a week, without the need for the expensive antibiotic eye drops that many health care practitioners prescribe. Here is the recipe for some wonderful compresses which I used for my own issue. They soothed the irritation and cleared me up very quickly.
1 tblsp. loose-leaf black tea leaves (or sub the contents of 2 black tea bags)
1 tblsp. eyebright herb
2 tblsp. rolled oats (uncooked oatmeal)
1 tsp. mint leaves
1 tblsp. dried chamomile flowers. (or sub. the contents of 1 chamomile tea bag)
1/4 cup witch hazel
1/2 cup water
Heat the water in a mug or small bowl to just below boiling, add black tea, eyebright, mint leaves, and chamomile, stir thoroughly and allow to steep for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the witch hazel and the oats into the water, stir again and wait 5 minutes. While it is still warm, pack a couple heaping tablespoons of this mixture into a compress composed of a coffee filter gathered up around the edges and tied off with a piece of string. Hold the compress on the afflicted eye for 10-20 minutes then gently wipe the eye with a clean washcloth from the inner canthus (corner closest to the nose) toward the outer canthus (corner closest to the ear). One may leave the compresses on their eye(s) overnight while sleeping by using a snug-fitting knitted winter cap pulled down over the eye area to keep the compress(es) in place.
Some things for speeding up cold/flu recovery:
We all know the traditional wisdom which states that one should get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, take vitamin C and/or zinc, and protect from a chilly environment, but if you want to speed up recovery time (and you are DESPERATE) this is what to use:
2 fresh, uncooked cloves of garlic, peeled, crushed, diced, and swallowed like a handful of pills with water. Yeah, it tastes horrible and your household cohabitators will likely avoid you like a powerfully garlic-scented plague, but garlic has long been known as one of the best things to take in order to bolster immunity. Take in the evening before bedtime so the potent effects will be minimized by morning.
Drink LOTS of green tea... a powerful detoxifier and rich source of antioxidants. It helps to tune up your immune system to work more efficiently. (I've found it also helps to nullify some of the garlic odor if you try that method in addition to this).
Horseradish, used heavily as a garnish on some sort of food, or if you're just plain suicidal, take it directly by the spoonful. Another immune system enhancer and it clears sinuses rather effectively.
Heavily curried foods.
Licorice Root tea - I had severe strep throat about 5 years ago and this was recommended to me by an excellent nurse practitioner who had a heavy focus on holistic & herbal medicine. I was surprised how well it worked.
Chamomile tea with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of honey in it.
I used to have severe seasonal allergies which kept me miserable from mid April until late October and I was on antihistamines for about 2/3 of this time (which usually left me spacey, tired, and irritable). Now I take them very rarely and usually only if I am traveling far from home. This method was recommended to me a few years ago by a knowledgeable friend, and I thought it was crazy-talk at first, but I decided to try it any way and I can honestly say that it worked: locally-raised, raw, unfiltered honey, a teaspoon a day. It does not have to be taken straight either, you can mix it in with your tea, coffee, oatmeal, cereal, or spread it on your toast.
Let me first explain that it is very important to obtain honey which is collected within 50 miles of where you live, the closer the better, and it MUST be unfiltered/raw and this is why: raw honey contains a wide assortment of various pollens and other plant-based debris which are the most common causes of seasonal allergies (filtered honey contains almost none of these allergens and will not serve any purpose in this capacity). When one takes a teaspoon of it faithfully, every day, they are ingesting micro-doses of the allergens which commonly cause their allergic reactions. This is not usually enough to trigger any sort of noticeable allergy symptoms, yet it is enough to start building up a resistance to said allergens, much in the same fashion that allergy shots do for many folks. It is important to buy raw honey locally because honey produced by bees visiting plants a long distance away contains pollens which are genetically unique enough that they may not build up a resistance to your local plant allergens. It typically takes at least 3-6 months to notice a lessening in seasonal allergy symptoms and almost a full year before the full effect is realized, but trust me, it is totally worth it and honey costs much less than allergy shots or meds.
Now if only there were such a thing as honeybees who lived on household dust, then ALL of my allergies would be in check. More home remedies to be posted as I remember them.