But, Jenn! You seem so…high-functioning! Yes, ’tis true, my friends. Because I’m not a crack junkie or anything, but I’m pretty sure I might be a vitamin/supplement/all-natural/homeopathic treatment junkie. Yeah…I’m addicted to Mother Nature’s remedies. I know because I had to get one of those 7-day-a-week pill things to make life easier (see picture at right) because, you know, I had so many pills to take each day. And that’s how you know you’re a junkie, y’all.
In fact, as I write this, my face is on fire and my arms are all itchy because I’m in the midst of a Niacin flush–don’t worry–that’s how I know it’s working.
Another reason not to worry: most of these supplements have been recommended by my Primary Care Physician (who hates Big Pharm and therefore always recommends something natural first). For example, on the far left of the picture, you can see Horse Chestnut Seed Extract. My PCP recently gave me a “prescription” (he actually does print it up on an official prescription form and sign it–even though it’s just for me) for 400 mg 2x daily. Apparently, this will help with my “swampy leg syndrome” (lest you start to doubt my doctor, that’s just what I’ve taken to calling it now–he used a lot of big words I cannot remember).
Time-out: Swampy leg syndrome
So for the past 9 months I’ve suffered from an intermittent rash on both legs–same spot flares up on a regular basis. And it gets all scaly gross and super itchy. It goes away for a while and doesn’t bother me, so I forget about it. And then it comes back with a vengeance. Eventually, I cave and go to the doctor, who puts his hand on each spot and feels the heat coming off them. Then he lays it on me: You have varicose veins.
Um…say what? I have a rash. Eczema, I think. What’s this “varicose vein” nonsense? That’s for little old ladies. Just give me a cream!
Turns out that varicose veins (even if you can’t see them) can cause eczema rashes. My doctor explains this (the rash is just a symptom of the underlying problem, blah, blah, blah), but I don’t really believe him at first. So he lays this analogy on me: you know how when you have a body of flowing water, like a river or a creek? Everything flows along smoothly, all nice and clear. Unless something starts clogging up the flow. And then you get a swamp–everything’s just sort of stagnant. And if the water can’t flow–things get sort of icky–like in the swamp and there are all sorts of bacteria…(he continued his explanation, but I was now just visualizing the swamp in my leg). So basically, the blood in my veins in my legs doesn’t flow free and clear–there’s a swamp forming under the surface of each leg, causing the eczema.
I go home, and Trent asks me what the doctor said. My answer: I’ve got swampy legs! And thus, my self-diagnosis of “swampy legs” stuck.
Back to the Point
I’d rather give Mother Nature a shot whenever possible…I trust her more than those pharmaceutical companies. I figure what She’s got to offer is far better than any of the chemicals peddled by Big Pharm reps. I get a lot of my
stuff vitamins and supplements (like Spirulina, Niacin, Fish Oil, Horse Chestnut Seed extract) online from Swanson (also recommended by my PCP).
I also have this fabulous book: Grandmother’s Kitchen Wisdom (10th anniversary edition). It’s full of useful information–including home remedies for common ailments. Just today, one of my Facebook friends (lovely gal from high school) was seeking feedback about natural remedies for heartburn (she’s pregnant and trying to find something safe). I jumped all over that one because I have heartburn like none other. I do have an actual prescription for generic Zantac, but there are other options, too. A very popular one that many people in the thread pointed out was to mix some apple cider vinegar into water and drink it to reduce the burn. This is listed in
Grandmother’s Dr. Myles H. Bader’s book, which I promptly flipped open. It also lists (amongst others) the following: a) 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water and b) Puree a few iceberg lettuce leaves and 3/4 cup of cold water in blender, drink. Further, “Grandma” advises chewing (like chewing gum or oats) to reduce heartburn.
I love this book because it’s not just about home remedies, but it also includes all sorts of handy around-the-house tips and tricks:
- Adding apple cider vinegar to the rinse water when washing your hair will give it more shine.
- If you put an apple in a bag of potatoes, the potatoes won’t sprout. (Who knew?)
- A pinch of baking soda in milk will increase shelf life by 2-3 days.
- Salad won’t be soggy if you place a saucer upside-down in the bottom of the salad bowl (the water will collect under the saucer keeping the salad dry)
- 2 antacid tablets in a toilet bowl will give the bowl a clean shine.
“Grandma” also has a whole section called “penny pinchers” and one on her “cooking secrets.” She even taught me the origin of the phrase “Mind your Ps and Qs.” I’m sure a lot of these tidbits are things other people’s actual grandmothers (or mothers) may have passed down to them. But since I had no such women passing on wisdom to me, I love this book.
Do you have any natural remedies you stand by? Any tried-and-true tricks passed down to you from grandma/grandpa?
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