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  • 1 Post By shen7

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  #1  
March 3rd, 2013, 06:00 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Are there any home remedies you swear by?

Our top one is Valerian Root as a sleep aid. We don't use it often, only when we REALLY need it, and we don't even use the full dose (and I wouldn't use it pregnant), but man, that stuff will knock me out and make me sleep like a rock. Same for my husband, who "doesn't believe in natural remedies". We haven't used it in ages (because we don't need help sleeping these days LOL) but it's one rememdy I can say definitely works.
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  #2  
March 3rd, 2013, 06:30 AM
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I took Valerian Root for anxiety issues for awhile and It was a huge struggle to stay up with the kids, I'd take it right at the start of the bedtime routine, and I occasionally wouldn't make it all the way through. Hubby would have to finish getting the kids to sleep, and occasionally help me get to bed

Peppermint for nausea is the only big one I can think of. I use a lot of home remedies, I prefer to only go to the hospital if I absolutely have to.
And breastmilk seems to help everything. The stuff's like magic.
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  #3  
March 3rd, 2013, 06:42 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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We have used the Valerian Root in emergency to calm down my son (during an autistic outburst, which can be pretty severe). It doesn't put him to sleep, though. But for me, I take half a dose, even if I am WIDE awake, and within minutes I'm like . . . wow, I feel sleepy. It's a struggle to get to the bed! Then I literally pass out and sleep in that exact position, until morning, without moving. It's pretty serious stuff for being an herb! People look at me like "yeah, right, an herb to help me sleep?" when I suggest it, but I just shrug and say, it works. Just try it.

I agree. Breastmilk IS magic! I haven't tried peppermint for nausea, but I should have tried that this pregnancy. I had TONS of nausea!
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  #4  
March 3rd, 2013, 07:41 AM
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I used to be way into herbal remedies and anti mainstream medicine. Then I went to grad school, starting working as a scientist, did some work on drug safety, learned more about toxicology and risk assessment for various natural and artificial substances. And then I had my ectopic and I knew I for sure would be dead without modern medicine. Some combination of these experiences led to me now just being very skeptical of everything. I prefer to minimize my and my family's intake of ANY substance that has strong effects on the body... if I do use something, I want it to be well studied and with clear safety data and dosing instructions... so in general I am wary of herbs. They *are* often *very* effective, but the vast majority are not well studied and the side effects and safe doses are not known. Some like kava kava have been found to be rather harmful after becoming popular.

I am all about FREE common sense home remedies. Honey (after age 1) for coughs (which has actually been studied and found effective), hot showers or humidifiers to clear congestion, relaxing nighttime rituals and no screens to aid sleep. But I would never take valerian root, cramp bark, passionflower, and those types of remedies, to help sleep. I might take a 25mg Benadryl if I also had congestion and was not BFing, but I would not give it to a small child just for sleep. I gave it to M once upon her ped's advice, a small dose after she had a bee sting so she wouldn't swell so bad, but that is it. Same with melatonin, as an adult I might take it for jet lag but would not give it to a developing child with a developing endocrine system. I do respect herbals as potentially powerful drugs and I just wish more of them were well studied and regulated as to safe dosing, side effects, etc.
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  #5  
March 3rd, 2013, 07:48 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Great information, Shen! I personally think too many "studied and approved drugs" have very scary side effects (often I think the side effects are worse than what is being treated), so I prefer natural remedies, but I always research them really well first. I know that's not the same as a scientific study, but there is a lot of information out there that helps you understand potential risks of certain things. For example, before using Valerian Root I researched it and found out it is NOT recommended for frequent of long term use. I forget the reason why, but I remembered the important part: don't take it all the time or for extended periods. I never take anything without looking into it first. I think we all make decisions based on person experiences. I've had bad effects from at least 95% of all "approved and prescribed" medicines I have taken. I can't think of one I haven't had a bad effect from, but I'm sure there's at least one lol. But with natural remedies, I'd never had a bad side effect, so naturally that shapes my decision. I don't really believe in the medical community after all my experiences, though I do think they are a great help for some things that natural medicine cannot help with.
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  #6  
March 3rd, 2013, 09:00 AM
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They are starting to develop some new methods in toxicology and developing more detailed physiological models that will possibly allow substances to be tested much, much more quickly and cheaply. And with less animal cruelty as well Like the metabolic pathways by which a substance will affect the organs and physical function, are becoming more well known, and they can do straight up chemical tests to see whether the drug/substance activates the enzymes of specific pathways or not, which is sort of a screening test for potential toxicity. Anyway the science is actively progressing and I do have hope that in the future, we can have much better knowledge and information about all sorts of chemicals and substances.
For nerds who are interested: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytochrome_P450

I do know that you can read a lot about how herbs have been traditionally used. But because I am aware of some of the cautionary tales (mercury paste used to be a great teething remedy and was highly effective!) I simply don't see the traditional beliefs as very trustworthy. More as possible hypotheses that would be good to test. Because of the cognitive biases humans are all subject to, I trust controlled blinded studies far and away over traditional beliefs. Not to mention that modern marketed herbal preparations can vary significantly from traditional preparations- part of the plant used, time harvested, how it is processed, etc has a huge effect on concentrations of whatever active chemicals are in the plants. So what you buy at the store may or may not be the same as what is described in some book or website... you have to be very careful.

Another interesting thing I have considered a lot is the placebo effect. I think the role of the mind in healing is vastly underappreciated in modern medicine and that is a big gap filled by alternative medicine. But quackery and pseudoscience are rampant in alt med too. That is why I am big on common sense home remedies. I tell myself "I will feel a lot better after a hot shower" and I do! Or "I just need a nap to help me fight off this bug." It works really often. BUT the huge thing for me is: NO potential side effects, and I am not wasting money.
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  #7  
March 3rd, 2013, 09:17 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Hi, Shen

when I look into herbs, I don't just look at how they were used. I search and search and search for the reactions people have had to them and how frequent those reactions are and any warnings/cautions about them I feel I should know. Of course there will be times we use things we think are safe and later find out they aren't. Same is true with medications "approved" by the scientific community. We can only make the best informed decisions for ourselves based on the knowledge available to us. I am sure that you can understand why I chose what I do. I nearly, if not downright always, have a bad reaction to "approved" medications. and I'm not the only one. My oldest son and my husband are the same way. Yet none of us have problems with natural methods, which we don't need to use often

I agree about the placebo effect, but don't think that is the case with me, as when I do give herbs to my kids it's snuck into their food or drink, so they don't know that I've given them anything to feel better, and yet they soon feel better That said, a lot of what we do first and foremost have more to do with diet and relaxation and getting more fluids. I would say we use natural remedies at most 4 times a year. Some of these "natural remedies" are even things like eating high doses of garlic when we're sick. Like when we get a cold, I make garlic chicken soup (tastes good, actually) and garlic bread with extra garlic in it. We make sure during that time to be diligent with our probiotics, drink lots of fluids, and get our daily dose (or more) of veggies. It works for us, and much better and with much less severe side effects as "approved drugs". You have to understand though that I've undergone MULTIPLE hospitalizations due to side effects from modern medicine (to which the treatment WAS NOT to give more modern medicines, thankfully lol). My son had a severe reaction to a vaccine and was after that autistic, and it was confirmed that in his case he had a reaction to the vaccine (though it's impossible to say if the reaction caused the autism or if he coincidentally just got autism at the same time). It didn't matter to me either way. The point is that he DID have a reaction and we feel it's our responsibility to prevent a reaction. Meanwhile, I had a friend who continued to vaccinate her child who was having reactions, and her daughter had seizures after every vaccination for about 2 years before her mom would admit the vaccines might be a culprit. she stopped vaccinating and the seizures went away.

I think the reality is that all of our bodies have different chemical make ups, so you can't all take the same things and everyone be okay with it. Some people are better when they take something, some people are worse. My family sticks to the things that help us and stay away from the things that hospitalize us. I'd be wary of (and frankly disturbed by) any "medical professional" who knows our history and would recommend us to do something else. I'm also aware that correlation does not equal causation, HOWEVER, I think it's common sense that if EVERY time you do something, you get a bad reaction, and those reactions ONLY happen when you do something, then YOU personally should probably not be doing that. Likewise, if you get good results EVERY time you do something, but don't get those results otherwise, it makes sense to do those things. When it comes to medicine, I think what is true for the whole is not necessary true for the individual. I treat everyone in my family based on their individual needs.

We're also very careful about which herbs we buy and from where, and when we look into natural remedies, we do look at sites that let us know what to look out for, exactly what to use (many will warn you against what you need to avoid), and how to use it. I think it's all about using the right resources and doing what is right for your individual needs.
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  #8  
March 3rd, 2013, 10:22 AM
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I looooove garlicky chicken soup for colds I make mine sort of spicy too. I think the heat helps clear the congestion, and capsaicin in the hot pepper is super high in vitamin C! I make sure I have the chicken bones in there for a long time so the marrow comes out. I almost always cook chicken on the bone because I think there is a lot of good stuff in the bones.

I hope I didn't come off like I am judging you, I am totally not. I am sure you are very careful and minimal about your use of strong herbs, research everything a lot, and it is working for your family so that's great. If you have a family history of serious vaccine reactions, by all means, avoid/select/delay/whatever any and all vaccines. The rest of us will hopefully provide herd immunity! And same with drug side effects. There are wide interindividual variations in responses to substances and genetics may be a main reason. I know I handle antibiotics badly, I avoid them all I can, and I know I have unusual reactions to psychoactive substances so I will never again try to take SSRI antidepressants and I am wary of any meds that are meant to reduce anxiety or whatever. But I would rather take naproxen or ibuprofen for afterbirth pains than crampbark, because I feel it is safer, and I know my only main side effect will be some tummy upset, and I can minimize that by taking it with food. KWIM? I don't want to imply that I embrace all drugs that a doctor might suggest, I certainly don't and I research those too. I just have a much easier time finding info and adverse reactions and so on in the well studied drugs than with herbs so I am less likely to take most herbs. There are big exceptions like Cranactin cranberry pills, which have been shown to prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls, so I take that to avoid UTIs and it works great for me. So it does go both ways. And like I said, I do wish more herbs were well studied, and I hope future technology will make it easy to do many more tests and tell us more!
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  #9  
March 3rd, 2013, 10:50 AM
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I am not huge on herbs. They make me nervous, since they aren't regulated and I see that as something I am not willing to take the risk on. But, thankfully, we don't need a whole lot of natural remedies.

BUT, I totally admit that a couple months ago when I had this pregnancy UTI and nothing was touching it (I can't take cranberry pills because of the blood thinners I am on)...I totally drank Apple cider vinegar to try and clear it out. And I can't say for unsure that IT was what worked, since I was also on my fourth round of antibiotics. But, it hasn't been back since...so I'll say it seemed to be the trick. I had a friend suggest it to me, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try. It wasn't too tasty, but taking antibiotics for the rest of pregnancy (as was the next step, even though they weren't clearing the infection) didn't seem any more appealing.

But I have done honey for coughs and vaporizers for congestion, etc. Steam showers for a bad cough, going out in the cool air, etc. Just not a lot of herbs. Honestly, around here, I wouldn't even find them locally, I bet. It's not really a big "natural remedies" place.
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  #10  
March 3rd, 2013, 11:06 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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We made ours spicy, too, same reason Cayenne pepper (just a little) is usually what I need

I don't think you are judging me. Obviously your experiences have been different than mine and so you see things differently. I certainly don't think you are wrong for only using mainstream medicine. No, it doesn't work for me, and has led to many hospitalizations for me, but I realize it works great for other people. Those it works for often think it's safer--and it is FOR THEM. Just not for me

There IS more info out there for mainstream medicines, of course, but personally I find it easier to find information on natural products. For me, I find it very hard to find studies that aren't slanted in order to sell a product. With natural remedies, I can get my information not only from sources that aren't profiting, but also from hearing from other people who have used them. (For me, hearing tons of first hand experiences means way more to me than "studies" because I know how studies work).

We do have the technology to test herbs now, but we don't because they don't want to sell herbs. They want to sell man-made chemicals. more profit that way But the information is still there for anyone who wants to find it.

Cranberry pills is another natural remedy I love, and even just pure cranberry juice. I use them when I start to get UTIs, and then work GREAT. I've never had a UTI that cranberry couldn't fix. I know everyone is different, though, but it'd certainly be my first line of defense if my kids got a UTI.
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  #11  
March 3rd, 2013, 11:17 AM
alittlelost's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashj_1218 View Post
I am not huge on herbs. They make me nervous, since they aren't regulated and I see that as something I am not willing to take the risk on. But, thankfully, we don't need a whole lot of natural remedies.

BUT, I totally admit that a couple months ago when I had this pregnancy UTI and nothing was touching it (I can't take cranberry pills because of the blood thinners I am on)...I totally drank Apple cider vinegar to try and clear it out. And I can't say for unsure that IT was what worked, since I was also on my fourth round of antibiotics. But, it hasn't been back since...so I'll say it seemed to be the trick. I had a friend suggest it to me, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try. It wasn't too tasty, but taking antibiotics for the rest of pregnancy (as was the next step, even though they weren't clearing the infection) didn't seem any more appealing.

But I have done honey for coughs and vaporizers for congestion, etc. Steam showers for a bad cough, going out in the cool air, etc. Just not a lot of herbs. Honestly, around here, I wouldn't even find them locally, I bet. It's not really a big "natural remedies" place.
Lots of great natural suggestions here! Home remedies aren't all about herbs, that's for sure, and I definitely wouldn't recommend someone take them willy nilly. Carelessly taking herbs would be just as bad as carelessly taking over the counter/prescribed medications. I know my husband generally thinks herbs are no big deal (and won't work) but they are serious. With knowledge, they can be effective; without knowledge, they can be dangerous.

My midwives used herbs with me during labor because my water had broken and I was 7cm but I wasn't moving into transition (in fact, I wasn't having ANY contractions AT ALL no matter what I did--I'd gotten to 7cm and my water had broke because I have an incompetent cervix (so it was all the weight of the baby, not contractions, that dilated me and broke my water). Anyway, they gave me some mix of herbs and that started my labor. They say you take the herb, then again 10 minutes later, then 15 minutes, then 10 minutes, or something like that, but labor started for me (if I remember correctly) after the second dose.

Any HERB that can work like that, well, I wouldn't recommend the average person just mess around with that. And it gets dangerous when they have information about those things on the web and people don't really know what they are getting themselves into. You can't just look up "herb to cure headache" and then ingest the first thing you see on a whim.

for our family, herbs are used when all other efforts have been tried and all that is left is modern medicine, because I know we are more likely to have a bad reaction to those medicines than the herbs I have put a lot of research into. Also, I don't think we've EVER user the recommended dose with herbs. We always use 1/2 or a 1/4 and still have great results. I always say less is more. I like the body to fight things off as much on their own as possible
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