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In the old days, when you had a sore throat your first reaction was probably not to call out the doctor but to head for the kitchen cabinet. There you would find the honey jar, spoon a liberal portion into some boiling water, add the juice and rind of two or three lemons and sip the warming concoction slowly. Honey and lemon is one of the best known and best loved home remedies and is still used today as a basis for many of the most famous over-thecounter medicines and throat sweets.
Nowadays, however, new technology and increasingly sophisticated medical advances have all but banished the old-fashioned home remedy to the archives of history. Most are dismissed as 'old wives' tales' and yet many of these ancient remedies have been the subject of rigorous clinical trials. The humble garlic, for example, has probably been the subject of more scientific studies than any other herb. We now know it is excellent for thinning blood, lowering cholesterol levels and even curing the common cold, It is marketed as the new cure-all for myriad complaints.
Modern drugs can be life savers but they often have too many side effects to warrant their use for every little sniffle or tummy upset. Herbal remedies tend to heal without suppressing symptoms, and used in the correct dosage are perfectly safe and have no side effects, Herbs are easy to find and can be used in cooking or in salads. Some, which you can grow in your garden, can be ground up and used as inhalants or to perfume a bath. Others - which are more likely to be in your kitchen cupboard - can be added to cooking or made up into poultices and muscle rubs.
As the methods of testing the compounds contained in many natural remedies become more sophisticated, many cynics are beginning to sit up and take notice. And as more and more of our so-called 'wonder drugs' prove only to suppress symptoms rather than get to the root cause, it is little wonder that more and more people are now looking for a healthier option for everyday complaints. The beauty of home remedies is that they are accessible and easy to prepare. Many of the remedies contained in this section have been passed down through the generations by word of mouth - others have surpassed all expectations in clinical trials. Some you will remember from the old nursery rhymes. Remember when Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill fixed it with vinegar and brown paper? It may have sounded a strange remedy for a bad head, but in fact this used to be a remedy for headaches and migraine!
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