Home remedies can be helpful Consumer Concerns
By Eileen Cox
Stabroek News
February 16, 2003

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Dr Walter Chin's recent article on herbal remedies prompts me to speak of some remedies that have been used by friends or family and have not proved to be dangerous.

Incontinence: The white of an egg with a spoonful or two of milk and little sugar taken every morning for seven days in succession has been known to relieve incontinence in children and adults.

Fever: 'Quashie bitters' or 'quassia cup' has been known for 200 years as febrifuge. The Compleat Herbal by Charles Harris tells us:

"Quassia gained prominence about 200 years ago when a Surinam slave, named Quassi, disclosed that his secret and highly successful remedy for malignant fevers was based on the wood of the tree. Since then it has been equally commended in other situations."

Quassia cup, or 'Quashie' cup, is still sold in our markets. Water is soaked in it overnight and is drunk the next day. I have heard of no ill effects.

Spurs: Why wait until the spur on your heel has to be removed by a surgeon? Soak a small section of a face towel in hot water and apply to the affected part. Dry and rub with Iodex or similar ointment. Repeat until the spur disappears.

This can also be done when bunions cause you discomfort.

Arthritis: Recently a carpenter developed arthritis in one knee. Each night he tied the knee with a noni leaf on which a ripe noni fruit had been sieved and a little coconut oil and nutmeg added. In three weeks the pain and swelling disappeared.

Consumers who find difficulty in curing haemorrhoids (piles) should be careful not to sit on hot seats. Bicycle and motor cycle seats, left in the sun for hours, can be excessively hot. So are car seats in our increasingly hot weather. Keep a cover for the cycle seats and a small cushion in the car. It is said that cold seats can also aggravate piles.

A consumer fell and dislocated her elbow. Treatment was received at the public hospital. The elbow, however, was not functioning normally and she was told that she would have to break it again. She refused and resorted to hot water treatment. Each day she repeatedly placed her elbow in water as hot as she could bear it and then rubbed the elbow with belladonna. It was not totally successful but she was able to comb her hair without difficulty.

Speaking of belladonna, do you know that belladonna plaster is sold and can be applied to various parts of the body as a pain reliever? Be careful that there are no hairs growing on the spot where the plaster is applied or you will be undergoing unnecessary pain when removing it.

A Chinese patch is also used as a pain reliever. This works within minutes in some cases but not in all.

For the common cold, my neighbour treated her children with a tea brewed from leaves of the Suriname cherry tree. He also used leaves of the cotton tree to treat thrush in an infant.

Lemon grass is the most widely used herb. It is known as 'fever grass.' As Dr Chin advised, care should be exercised in using these herbal teas. A friend of mine specialized in herbal teas but died at an early age because of liver failure.

Perhaps I can be pardoned for mentioning three manufactured products which have proven useful for common ailments. Whitfield's ointment was used successfully for treatment of a whitlow when other remedies failed. Witch Hazel has relieved swelling caused by a sprain. Mycota is very successful for athlete's foot.

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