8 Home Remedies That Actually Work

Reposted from womansday.com by Brynn Mannino

8 Home Remedies That Actually Work

Nobody is nay saying the wonders of modern medicine—what would we do without a medication like penicillin to treat infections? But, as it turns out, everyday items have secret curing powers, too. Next time you don’t want to fork over money to get a common wart removed, consider using duct tape. Already popped two aspirin but can’t get rid of the headache? A pencil could do the trick. Below, get medical explanations behind a few bizarre—albeit brilliant—MacGyver-esque home remedies.

Duct Tape to Remove Warts

In 2002, a group of doctors compared duct tape’s effectiveness with liquid nitrogen in removing warts. After two months of wearing duct tape on a daily basis and using a pumice stone about once a week to exfoliate the dead skin, 85 percent of patients’ warts were gone, whereas freezing only removed 60 percent. “The question is whether there is something in the chemical adhesive itself, or if the occlusion (suffocation) causes the destruction of the wart,” says New York City–based dermatologist, Robin Blum, MD. “The other thinking is that the duct tape causes irritation, which stimulates our body’s immune cells to attack the wart.” Photo: Thinkstock

Vapor Rub to Cure Nail Fungus

While there are no studies to prove coating infected toenails with vapor rub once or twice a day is an effective treatment for nail fungus, a basic Internet search results in a number of personal testaments to the medicinal ointment’s fungus-killing powers. “I’ve heard many patients say that vapor rub does help, but I’m not exactly sure why,” Dr. Blum admits. While some argue it’s the menthol in the balm that kills the fungus and others say it’s the smothering effect of the thick gel, if used consistently, vapor rub has been shown to get rid of not just the fungus, but the infected toenail, too, which will turn black and eventually fall off. When the new nail grows in, it should be fungus-free. Photo: Thinkstock

Oatmeal to Soothe Eczema

“This is absolutely true, as oats have anti-inflammatory properties,” Dr. Blum says. Whether it’s used as a paste or poured into a bath, most experts recommend choosing colloidal (finely ground) oatmeal and soaking the affected area for at least 15 minutes. In addition to reducing inflammation, oats are thought to have an antihistamine effect, Dr. Blum says. By lowering levels of histamine, which triggers inflammation as part of the immune system’s recovery response, she explains, oats prevent or reduce the redness. Photo: Thinkstock

Yogurt to Cure Bad Breath

Bad breath comes from a number of places, the two most common being the mouth and the stomach. The neutralizing powers of yogurt and other probiotics treat the latter cause. “Yogurt shouldn’t have any effect at all on the bacteria that live on the tongue because it’s not there long enough,” says Robert Meltzer, MD, a New York City–based gastroenterologist and attending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital. However, it likely has a neutralizing effect on the acid that resides anywhere between the mouth and the stomach, including the back of the throat and the esophagus, he explains. “I think almost any milk product or food that contains live cultures would have the same effect.” While yogurt can get rid of bad breath that results from gastrological conditions, like acid reflux, it won’t have any real effect on bad breath that is the product of gum, liver or lung disease, says Ohio-based dentist Matthew Messina, DDS. Photo: Thinkstock

A Spoonful of Sugar to Cure Hiccups

In 1971, Edgar Engelman, MD, conducted a study to find out if a spoonful of sugar really is an effective cure for hiccups. He assembled a group of 20 patients who had been experiencing intractable hiccups for more than six hours, eight of whom had had them anywhere from a full day to six weeks. Each of the test subjects was given one teaspoon of white granulated sugar to swallow dry, and for 19 of the 20 hiccup patients, the cure was immediate. André Dubois, MD, a gastroenterologist in Bethesda, Maryland, noted in The Doctors Book of Home Remedies that “the sugar is probably acting in the mouth to modify the nervous impulses that would otherwise tell the muscles in the diaphragm to contract spasmodically.” Photo: iStockphoto

Bite a Pencil to Cure a Headache

While doctors aren’t sure why we do it, clenching our teeth is a common side effect of stress. According to Fred Sheftell, MD, director of the New England Center for Headache in Stamford, Connecticut, when we clench up, we strain the muscle that connects the jaw to the temples, which can trigger a tension headache. By placing a pencil between our teeth—but not biting down—we relax our jaw muscles, which eradicates tension and reduces pain. Just remember, the remedy really only applies to tension headaches—not migraines or headaches caused by sinus pressure, etc. Photo: Thinkstock

Olives for Motion Sickness

According to the National Library of Medicine, there are a number of symptoms that present themselves as a result of motion sickness, including increased salivation, which is the body’s way of protecting the teeth from the high doses of acid accompanied by vomit. Enter olives, which contain tannins that, when released in the mouth, work to dry saliva—first eliminating the symptom and then the body’s instinct to follow suit. However, the treatment is only effective during the early stages of nausea, when the salivation changes first appear. Photo: Thinkstock

Gargle Salt Water for a Sore Throat

When you were a kid and had a sore throat, your mom likely made you gargle warm water with salt in it…and she was definitely on to something. According to Douglas Hoffman MD, PhD, author of the website The Medical Consumer’s Advocate, a sore throat is an inflammatory response of the infected tissues, and the salt helps draw out the excess fluid to temporarily decrease swelling and the pain it causes. Most remedies call for a ratio of 1 tablespoon salt to 8 ounces of water, but it’s always better to opt for more salt rather than less. Just keep in mind that you are treating the symptoms—not the illness. As Dr. Hoffman notes on his website: “The relief is very real, but also tends to be short-lived, since the gargle has done nothing to remove the cause of the sore throat.” Photo: Thinkstock

Read more: Health Tips – Home Remedies That Work at WomansDay.com – Woman’s Day

Foods That Look Like Body Parts They’re Good For

Reposted from Womansday.com

Foods That Look Like Body Parts They’re Good For

Learn how you can stay healthy by noshing on 10 anatomically shaped eats

By Amanda Greene

Every child has heard the healthy-eating mantra “You are what you eat.” But there may be a closer resemblance between good-for-you grub and your body than you thought. We found 10 foods that mirror the body parts they provide nutrients for—for example, brain-boosting walnuts actually look like a brain. Coincidence? Maybe. Though these healthy foods are beneficial to the whole body, the list below is a fun reminder of what to eat to target specific areas.
1. Carrot: Eye

Slice a carrot in half crosswise and it’s easy to see that the veggie resembles an eye—look closely and you’ll even notice a pattern of radiating lines that mimic the pupil and iris. And the old wives’ tale is true: Munching on carrots will actually promote healthy eyes. “Carrots are filled with vitamins and antioxidants, like beta-carotene, that decrease the chance of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in older people,” says Sasson Moulavi, MD, medical director of Smart for Life Weight Management Centers in Boca Raton, Florida. Photos by iStockphoto

2. Walnut: Brain

The folds and wrinkles of a walnut bring to mind another human organ: the brain. The shape of the nut even approximates the body part, looking like it has left and right hemispheres. And it’s no surprise walnuts are nicknamed “brain food”—according to Lisa Avellino, dietitian for Focus28 Diet, “they have a very high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which help support brain function.” Photos by iStockphoto

3. Celery: Bone

Long, lean stalks of celery look just like bones—and they’re good for them, too. “Celery is a great source of silicon, which is part of the molecular structure that gives bones their strength,” says Dr. Moulavi. Another funny bone coincidence: “Bones are 23 percent sodium, and so is celery,” reports Avellino. Photos by iStockphoto

4. Avocados: Uterus

The lightbulb shape of an avocado looks like a uterus, and it supports reproductive health as well. “Avocados are a good source of folic acid,” says Elizabeth Somer, registered dietician and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness. “Folate has been found to reduce the risk for cervical dysplasia, which is a precancerous condition.” Photos by iStockphoto and Shutterstock

5. Clams: Testicles

Studies have offered evidence that clams, which bear a resemblance to testicles, are actually good for the male sex organs. “Research from the Netherlands has suggested that supplementing your diet with folic acid and zinc—both of which clams are high in––can have a significant effect on improving semen quality in men,” says Dr. Moulavi. Photos by Shutterstock and 3D Clinic

6. Grapefruit: Breast

The similarity between round citrus fruits––like lemons and grapefruit––and breasts may be more than coincidental. “Grapefruit contains substances called limonoids, which have been shown to inhibit the development of cancer in lab animals and in human breast cells,” says Dr. Moulavi. Photos by iStockphoto and 3D4Medical.com

7. Tomato: Heart

Slice open a tomato and you’ll notice the red veggie has multiple chambers that resemble the structure of a heart. “Studies have found that because of the lycopene in tomatoes, there is a reduced risk for heart disease in men and women who eat them,” says Somer. And, she adds, if you mix them with a little fat, like olive oil or avocado, it will boost your body’s lycopene absorption nearly tenfold. Photos by iStockphoto and 3D Clinic

8. Red Wine: Blood

Red wine, which is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, including powerful resveratrol, looks like blood. “When you drink it, you’re really loading up on the healthy stuff that protects against destructive things in the blood, like LDL cholesterol, which can cause heart disease,” says Somer. “There’s also a blood-thinning compound in red wine, so it reduces blood clots, which are associated with stroke and heart disease.” Photos by iStockphoto

9. Ginger: Stomach

Anyone who’s ever reached for a glass of ginger ale when they’ve had a stomachache knows about the antinausea effects of ginger. So it’s fitting that the herb somewhat resembles the digestive organ. According to Dr. Moulavi, “gingerol, which is the ingredient responsible for ginger’s pungent scent and taste, is listed in the USDA database of phytochemicals as having the ability to prevent nausea and vomiting.” Photos by iStockphoto

10. Sweet Potatoes: Pancreas

The oblong sweet potato bears a strong resemblance to the pancreas, and also promotes healthy function in the organ. “Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant that protects all tissues of the body, including the pancreas, from damage associated with cancer or aging,” says Somer. Photos by Shutterstock

Read more: Food Nutrition Facts – Healthy Living Tips at WomansDay.com – Woman’s Day

Employer-Sponsored Workouts Boost Workers’ Health

Reposted from Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter, a Regular Service of Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).  Originally published by http://www.health.gov.

Healthy workers are also happy and productive.

Employer-Sponsored Workouts Boost Workers’ Health
Encouraging your workers to work out works! Home Depot employees who participated in a companysponsored program to support workers in setting exercise goals notably increased their levels of moderate or vigorous physical activity. For 3 months, 1,442 participants set weekly personal and team physical activity goals and reaped incentives for meeting them. After 6 weeks, slightly more than half of the participants did at least five 30-minute moderate exercise sessions or two 20-minute vigorous exercise sessions weekly—up from about 30% at the study’s start. Meanwhile, only 25% of those in a control group of nonparticipants logged similar exercise sessions.
Throughout the study, the participants maintained their increased levels of activity, and few people dropped out. “The biggest pleasant surprise was the steady and sustained progress. That can probably be explained by the social incentives and support from personal goals and achievements that had direct impact on team success,” says study lead author Rod Dishman. Key to the program’s success may have been the use of group and organizational goal-setting along with individual goals, because they provide vital peer encouragement, says Katherine Alaimo, a professor at the University of Georgia. “Personal and team goals work best when they are self-set, specific about how much activity and when, realistic but attainable and easily assessed, such as by weekly logs or pedometer steps,” says Dishman.

Natural Home Remedies for Oily Skin

Reposted from Discovery Fit and Health


Natural Home Remedies for Oily Skin

Although you can’t change your genes, there are plenty of home remedies to combat oily skin using kitchen ingredients.

Home Remedies from the Cupboard

Almonds and honey. The luscious combination of succulent almonds and sweet honey works well as a gentle facial scrub for removing oils and dead skin cells. Mix a small amount of ground almonds with honey to make a paste. Gently massage the paste into your skin with a comfortably hot washcloth. Rinse with cool water.

Baking soda. Be abrasive, but in a mild way. Liquid soap users can add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda into the mixture. Rub gently onto oily areas such as the nose and chin. This gentle abrasive works well in getting rid of blackheads as well as oil. Rinse with cool water.

Cornstarch. Cornstarch dries up oily patches. Mix 1 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch with enough warm water to make a paste. Rub on your face, let dry, and then shower or rinse off with lukewarm water in the sink. Try this once a day for best results.

Salt. This gift from the sea is nature’s best desiccant. Place tepid water into a small spray bottle and add 1 teaspoon salt. Close your eyes, and pretend you’re at the seashore. Then squirt some of this salt spray on your face once during the day. Blot dry.

Vinegar. A good way to exfoliate the skin is with white or apple cider vinegar. Apply using a cotton ball before bedtime. Leave it on for five to ten minutes and then rinse with cool water. You’ll need to use this remedy for three weeks to see improvements. If your skin is super-sensitive, dilute the vinegar with four parts water. For a summertime treat, chill the vinegar or freeze it into ice cubes and apply as a cooling facial.

Home Remedies from the Refrigerator

Apples. If you’re willing to do some creative cooking, your effort will be rewarded with this homemade, oil-ridding facial. Mix 1/2 cup mashed apple, 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, 1 slightly beaten egg white, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice into a smooth paste. Apply to your face for 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water.

Egg yolk. A fast fix for removing oil shine requires one of the simplest foods: the egg. An egg yolk mask dries out the skin. Apply the egg yolk with a cotton ball to oily spots. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water.

Lemons. Mix equal parts lemon juice and water, pat on face, and let dry. Rinse first with warm water followed by cool water for a refreshing treat.

Limes and cucumbers. Citrus fruits and some vegetables not only refresh the skin but also help reduce oils. Try mixing 1/2 teaspoon lime juice with an equal amount of cucumber juice. Apply to skin a few minutes before showering.

Home Remedies from the Windowsill

Aloe vera. Aloe vera, the wonder plant of the household, works well at absorbing skin oils. Slice open a leaf and smear the gel onto the face up to three times a day. Let dry. (Keep a small amount of gel in the refrigerator during summer months for a refreshing face-lift!)

For more information about oily skin and how improve your complexion, try the following links:


Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, includingReader’s Digest, PreventionMen’s Health, Better Homes and GardensThe New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.

Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such asShape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women’s health.

Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.

Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers andSouthern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.


Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, includingThe Common Symptom Answer GuideBoston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. (McGraw-Hill, 2004), and has written for publications including the

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at PennsylvaniaState University’s College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore. This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Infographic of the Day: What Health Supplements Are B.S.?

health supplements


BY CLIFF KUANG | 02-25-2010 | 10:29 AM

The scientific consensus on everything from vitamin C to ginko biloba.

We’re drowning in neutraceuticals, which are unregulated and often make ridiculous health claims–which is probably the key reason why they’ve become a $23 billion industry.

Which ones actually work? This interactive infographic by the tireless David McCandless lays it all out. Here’s a screen-cap of just the top of the chart:

The bubbles show a given supplement, and the health benefit in confers. The higher the bubble on the chart, the more evidence there is for its effectiveness. Some supplements appear more than once–for example, omega 3–because they might have multiple effects. And each of those has varying amounts of scientific back-up.

See the full-size still image here, and the interactive version here.


New Health App from United Healthcare

There is a new downloadable app for those who have United Healthcare called Health4Me.  Here is some information provided to the members of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) here in Arizona run by Tom Boone and Andrea Billings.  They are offering this free app to all their members at no additional costs.  Depending on your plan, if you are with UHC, you may also be able to use this handy tool.

UHC Advertisement”

Your family’s health,in your hands.

UnitedHealthcare Health4Me™ provides instant access to your family’s critical health information — anytime/anywhere. Whether you want to find a physician near you, check the status of a claim or speak directly Health4Me with a health care professional, Health4Me is your go-to resource.

Use the location search feature to find a physician or facility near you. Whether you need a specialist or general practice, the largest selection of network doctors is at your command.

It goes where you go.

The Easy Connect service lets us know of anything you may need help with. A representative will get back to you with information about claims, benefits and more without having to wait on hold.  It’s responsive.  Add your most commonly used  contacts to the “Favorites” tab.

Now searching for your child’s pediatrician or your dad’s physician is simply a touch away.  It simplies.  From emailing your health plan ID card information to checking on medical
spending accounts, Health4Me is the resource that is designed to work for you. And you can rest assured that your information is absolutely confidential.

It’s personal.  Your family’s health, in your hands.
UnitedHealthcare Health4Me™ provides instant access to your family’s critical health information — anytime/anywhere. Whether you want to find a physician near you, check the status of a claim or speak directly Health4Me with a health care professional, Health4Me is your go-to resource.

Key features include*

Search for Physicians or Facilities by location or specialty

Store favorite Physicians and Facilities View Claims

Have an Easy Connect Representative contact you to answer any questions

View and Share health plan ID card information

Contact an experienced registered nurse 24/7

Choose to view plan members independently or the plan as a whole

Check health related financial account balances

Locate Urgent Care facilities and ER’s

Check status of deductible and out-of-pocket spending

Complete confidentiality

*Some features may not be available for all employer plans. Insurance coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or its affiliates. Administrative services provided by United HealthCare Services, Inc. or their affiliates. Insurance coverage provided by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or its affiliates. Health plan coverage provided by UnitedHealthcare of California, UnitedHealthcare of Colorado, Inc., UnitedHealthcare of Oregon, Inc., and UnitedHealthcare of Washington, Inc. or other affiliates. Administrative services provided by United HealthCare Services, Inc. or its affiliates. For informational purposes only. NurseLineSM nurses cannot diagnose problems or recommend specific treatment and are not a substitute for your doctor’s care. NurseLine services are not an insurance program and may be discontinued at any time.

11 Foods That Can help Cure Common Illnesses

Why take pills if you can eat these 11 everyday foods that can help cure most common illnesses?

See what kind of foods you can eat to cure these illnesses:


The Solution: Tart cherries—one cup, or two glasses of juice, daily, before and during exercise

The Science: Contains the same anti-inflammatory enzymes as ibuprofen, without the potential kidney and stomach-related side effects.

#2 MEMORY LOSS The Solution: Sunflower seeds—a quarter cup daily

The Science: These vitamin E-loaded seeds will protect the neurons in your brain from oxidative stress, which means you keep your memory longer.


The Solution: Apples—one daily

The Science: Leave the peel on—it’s full of ursolic acid, which fuels the production of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1) and insulin, two hormones important in building muscle.


The Solution: Eggs—one daily

The Science: Eggs are packed with choline, a nutrient that boosts the brain’s ability to relay commands to the rest of your body while also maintaining the structure of your brain’s cell membranes.


The Solution: Oranges—one daily, or six ounces of juice

The Science: Vitamin C helps your body make collagen, the protein that keeps skin elastic.


The Solution: Brown rice—one cup of cooked rice daily

The Science: Carbs help regulate the production of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in controlling mood and suppressing anxiety. A complex carb like brown rice will give you the best high-carb-low-cal combo.


The Solution: Chicken—four ounces daily

The Science: Tryptophan is often associated with turkey, but chicken contains more of the amino acid that helps the body produce the sleep-friendly hormone melatonin.


The Solution: Green tea—one cup daily, after a meal

The Science: The puffiness that creates dark circles under your eyes is often caused by fluid retention. Green tea is a diuretic that’ll reduce unwanted swelling all over your body.


The Solution: Peppermints—one or two after dinner

The Science: Peppermint has long been associated with aiding digestion and has also been shown to soothe inflammatory pain in the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint tea also works.


The Solution: Bananas—one daily

The Science: The potassium-packed fruit is also a great source of magnesium, a key element in producing and storing energy.


The Solution: Peanuts—a quarter cup daily

The Science: If you’re not producing enough gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), your brain is more prone to let anxiety run wild. Peanuts are one of the best (and tastiest) sources of glutamine, the amino acid needed to make GABA.

…more at: http://health.msn.com/mens-health/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=100289418&imageindex=1

Preventive Care – How to Talk to Your Doctor

Progressive employers have been offering “preventive” care for “free” to their employees for a long time.  Under the new national healthcare law, “preventive care” will also be included for free.  Unfortunately, I put “preventive care” in quotes because it has hundreds of different definitions, and they vary wildly by plan and employer.  The definition for national health care reform has not even been developed.

Here are some examples of the problems patients face:  1)  they go in for a mammogram, which they are told is free, but it is not if they have been diagnosed with breast cancer; 2) they go for a check up with their doctor, which they are told is free, but the doctor does other things and they get charged with an office visit; 3) they go for a colonoscopy, which is free, but during the exam, the doctor removes polyps and they wake up with a bill for hundreds or even thousands of dollars; 4) they take birth control pills to “prevent” pregnancy, but that is not considered pregnancy; and 5) they take anti-cholesterol drugs to “prevent” heart attack and stroke, but they get billed that they are “treatment” for high cholesterol.

These issues cost patients thousands of dollars, stress and unhappiness.  Doctors get less than half as much money under most plans for “preventive” visits as for “office visits” so they tend to bill the office visit unless you specifically tell them you ONLY want preventive care.  Even then, the doctor makes notes in your file, a nurse interprets those, and then a professional coder translates it into a billing form for the two dozen or more plans that doctor participates in.  The doctor might me in Medicaid (called AHCCCS in Arizona), Medicare, KidsCare, Schip, VA, workers’ compensation, United Healthcare, Cigna, Blue Cross, Aetna, Healthnet, PPOs, HMOs, HSAs, and on and on.  Getting your bill right for your plan is very difficult.

The following is a two page guide developed by United Healthcare and the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) a local purchasing cooperative for their members ran by Tom Boone and Andrea Billings.  The advice might not apply to everyone, but it can give you better ideas for how to handle this important issue when talking to your doctor.  Thanks to them for letting me reprint this advice here.  It is in Adobe format.  You can download the reader for free if you don’t already have it.

100-10173 UHC Talking with Dr FINAL 11-10

If you have any difficulty reading this, please feel free to comment on this page with your email, and I will send you a copy.