Natural Remedies for Hypotension and Gas-Free Bowels
This is the first part of a review of the German Reader's Digest book Großmutters Hausmittel neu entdecked (© 2001, 2000 Reader's Digest, Verlag Das Beste GmbH, Stuttgart, Zürich, Wien) in its Romanian version.
The book title translates in English as Grandma's Secrets Rediscovered.
Grandma's Secrets Rediscovered is chock-full of good advice on how to care for our health, our bodies, and our homes, on how to make wonders in our kitchens and keep happy gardens.
The first part of my review will deal with Health Tips (Prevention and Healing) and Care Tips for the Body (Part 1).
Cabbage for headaches
And ginger to help with sinusitis (sinus infection)
Some of the remedies are more difficult to put together, for we might not have easy access to the plants needed, but others are rather simple. To give you an example, for headaches this Reader's Digest book recommends four homemade remedies. The first one involves white willow, common silverweed, and pot marigold, while the second is simply a cabbage decoction (a quarter of a cabbage head to 1-2 liters of water). You inhale the steam of the latter under a large towel. Who knew cabbage could help relieve headaches?
Similarly, ginger can help with sinus trouble by stimulating blood flow. Grate some ginger (2-3 tbsp) in a little water, place it in a small cheesecloth, and squeeze the juice out. Mix in some more water, heat the solution, and apply to nose and forehead, waiting till it cools down. Repeat several times, and if your face gets a little red don't worry: it's a sign the remedy is working.
Grate some ginger when your sinuses clog up
Image source: Pixabay
Common comfrey to treat sprains and contusions
One of Hildegard von Bingen 's natural remedies
Some of the remedies, like inhalation of vapors from camomile tea, lavages with salt water solution for sinus inflammation, or egg-based shampoo are more widely known, but the great thing about this book is that the vast majority of remedies are retrieved from the darkness of time. Some of them date back to the time of Hildegard von Bingen in the 12th century, like the following treatment recipe based on common comfrey (Symphytum officinale) used to treat ankle sprains or muscle sprains and contusions. You need 100 grams of common comfrey root, 1 liter of water and several pieces of cheesecloth. You boil the root for 10-15 minutes, and then strain the mixture. You impregnate the cheesecloth with the decoction and apply it where you need to.
Rosemary and white wine for low blood pressure
And lavender, arnica, and apple vinegar for acne
As you see, the great thing about this book is that many of its remedies are easy to prepare. To give another example, rosemary (20 grams of leaves) and white wine (3/4 liters) can be used to make a concoction that will help fight hypotension. Just pour the wine over the leaves and let it sit for five days. Strain and drink a small glass for lunch and dinner.
As with everything on this page, this is not intended as medical advice. Consult with your doctor before trying any new remedy.
A lot of people are struggling with acne. There's a remedy for acne in this book as well. You need 20 grams of lavender flowers, 10 grams of arnica flowers and ¾ liters of apple vinegar. You mix the flowers with the apple vinegar and leave it to macerate in a bottle. Make sure the bottle stays in the sun. Also, shake it often. After two weeks, strain the mixture and apply it with a cotton disc.
Cumin, fennel seeds, and star anise for gas-free bowels
Often cumin soup will fight stomach gas on its own, too
If you're bloated and gassy, try crushed cumin and fennel seeds, mixed with crushed star anise (15 grams of each). Scald them with boiling water (1/4 liter), leave to infuse for 10 minutes, strain and drink up. It doesn't say how much. Note that you can also make cumin soup as a first course if you're thinking of serving beans next. Unfortunately this book doesn't give this kind of "soft" remedies, only hard remedies that involve all sorts of decoctions, infusions, and macerations, some of them with plants you will only find if you live in the country.
Spices, with cumin in the middle of the image
Image source: Pixabay
Lavender for insomnia, and linden and chamomile tea for mucus
Also try carrot juice to fight bronchitis
Still, there are enough fun remedies in the book as well. For instance, if you're struggling with insomnia, you can sew a pillow with fragrant herbs such as lavender inside. The aromatherapy will help give you restful sleep.
If you have a cold with a sore throat and persistent mucus, you can try some linden and chamomile tea, sweetened with honey. It will relieve the inflammation and help dissolve the mucus.
If you have a cough or bronchitis, you can try boiling ¼ liter of freshly-squeezed carrot juice with 3 tbsp of honey and a little water, and then taking 3-4 tbsp of the resulting syrup daily. I struggled with a persistent cough one year and tried many natural remedies as well as standard cough medicine, but didn't think to try carrot juice.
Linden tree in bloom
Natural treatments for fragile thinning hair
Quince seeds, beer and eggs, rosemary oil, and more
If your peeve is thin hair that keeps falling out, there are several remedies for it in this book as well. One of them involves 6 tbsp of peppermint leaves, 6 tbsp of common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and 300 ml soybean oil (or olive oil); another, just 300 ml of beer and 1 egg. A third one, 1 tbsp of quince seeds and ¼ liter of water. There's definitely something to tickle everyone's fancy. That's part of the beauty of this book: it offers a whole range of remedies. One shortcoming, however, is that is doesn't always explain why a certain plant or remedy would help a certain condition. For instance, we learn that rosemary oil (part of yet another hair remedy) stimulates hair growth, but we aren't told how the given remedies for dandruff actually work, other than the fact that common yarrow (part of a rinsing solution offered in the book) reduces sebum production and helps calm down scalp inflammation.
Common yarrow and orange blossom water for a happy face
And peppermint and sage for a fresh breath
If you have an oily complexion with clogged-up pores, you can make a lotion at home with common yarrow and orange blossom water. You can also do a steam facial with 2-3 handfuls of peppermint or sage leaves and 5 liters of water. Peppermint and sage kill bacteria, which is why before there was Listerine people used peppermint mouthwash to freshen their breath, or simply chewed mint or sage leaves (sage leaves work for a sore throat as well if you run out of lozenges).
Grandma's Secrets Rediscovered offers a wealth of remedies besides the afore-mentioned ones. It also teaches you how to make your own apple vinegar, wax-based face lotion, and much more. It's all a pleasant and fun journey.
Read more about this book
This was Part 1: Health Tips (Prevention and Healing) and Care Tips for the Body (Part 1)
Here are the next installments
Part 2: Care Tips for the Body (Part 2), and Tips for the Home (Part 1)
Part 3: Tips for the Home (Part 2) and Tips for the Kitchen
Part 4: Gardening
I don't know if an English version of this book was ever published. I tried searching for one but couldn't find anything. I did find, however, the German version on Amazon.de -- here it is.