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7 Home Remedies From Around the World

Every culture has its own special folk medicines that are passed down through the generations, and recent medical studies have confirmed that many of the herbs used in these home remedies are effective.

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Spicy Cold Remedy

In southern India a spicy, watery soup is thought to help relieve cold symptoms. It’s thought all those hot spices speeds up the metabolism and jump-starts the immune system.


– 5 mL (1 tsp.) of light olive oil
– A pinch of mustard seeds 
– A few curry leaves
– Lightly sauté with three cloves of minced garlic
– 5 mL of ground cumin
– 5 mL of ground black pepper
– Three fresh tomatoes, blanched and peeled
– 500 mL (2 cups) water and a pinch of salt
– Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for five minutes 

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Pungent Cough Remedy

For coughs that accompany colds, says a Ukrainian tradition, stock up on garlic. Ukrainians add garlic to many dishes and believe it keeps you healthy. Modern research confirms its ability to fight viral infections and strep throat.

Garlic acts like a mild antifungal and antibiotic through the release of aromatic chemicals, including allicin, in the body. Raw garlic is the most effective, but it can cause gastrointestinal upset. If so, try garlic supplements, available at most pharmacies and health-food stores.

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Regular Rhubarb

The ingredients in Chinese rhubarb are natural laxatives that also boost the digestive system. This Asian prescription for constipation has been popular for years.


– Purée 3 stalks of Chinese rhubarb (not to be confused with garden rhubarb)
– Add 250 mL (1 cup) apple juice, 1 L (4 cups) of water, 1/4 peeled lemon and 15 mL (1 tbsp) honey
– Bring it to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes 

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Sweet Balm

In Zimbabwe golden honey goes into the medicine chest to be used for cuts and scraps. Because honey absorbs the water on skin that bacteria need to grow, it has antibacterial properties. Apply raw unprocessed honey on small cuts. The vitamins, minerals and enzymes in the honey will help heal the wound.

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Herbal Antacids

Trinidadians grow ginger instead of buying antacids. Fresh or dried ginger can be added to food or made into a tea. Add 5 mL (1 tsp) ginger to your favourite tea blend. It’s also recommended for nausea and ulcer pain, ginger reduces stomach irritation and helps produce digestive juices.

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After a meal of East Indian food, be sure to visit those dainty bowls filled with fennel. This herb is excellent for helping digestion and decreasing flatulence.

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Amazon Pain Solution

Dr. Bud Rickhi, a Trinidadian-born associate professor of medicine at the University of Calgary and director of the Research Centre for Alternative Medicine, says devil’s claw, a herb with claw-shaped leaves that grows in the Amazon, fends off joint pain. “Village healers know how powerful it is,” he says.

Recent British and German studies show the herb reduces pain and inflammation in the joints. But don’t take it if you’re pregnant: It may stimulate the uterine muscles during pregnancy. You can buy devil’s claw teas or ointments at most health-food stores.