Natural Cures That Work: Separating Fact from Fiction
When we succumb to illness, or struggle through a painful sinus headache, some of us may depend on natural cures to ease some of our body’s most stressful aches and woes.
Some natural cures have been around for centuries, but not all of them have proven to be effective at curing their specified condition.
So, the question is: do these cures really work, or can they actually do your body more harm than good? We asked some of our very own experts for their professional opinion.
The Claim: Black Cohosh Eases Hot Flashes
This is actually one claim you can mark in your book of remedies as "true".
Black cohosh is a tall perennial plant that grows in eastern and central areas of the United States. For centuries, the plant was used by Native Americans to help women’s health conditions including menstrual cramps, arthritis, muscle pain, sore throat, cough, indigestion, and hot flashes.
“Certain studies suggest that black cohosh may indeed reduce hot flashes,” says Tessa Prior-Pullins, one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD. “These studies were released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists, and the conclusions were that black cohosh appears to have an anti-inflammatory effect."
This natural cure for hot flashes is actually prescribed in Europe for a number of different conditions, including severe migraines.
Although black cohosh is a natural cure that appears to work for easing hot flashes, it hasn’t been conclusively proven that the herb completely cures these symptoms.
“Even though black cohosh hasn’t been conclusively proven to work at easing hot flashes, it doesn’t hurt to try it as a remedy,” says Tessa. “It is important, though, that you consult with your physician before trying this cure. Seeing your physician will ensure that you are given the appropriate dosage.”
When it comes to cohosh, it’s also important that you avoid blue cohosh, which can potentially be harmful.
The Claim: Steam Clears Up Sinus Headaches
So, can steam really clear up a painful sinus headache? All signs point to “yes” when it comes to this natural cure.
“This ‘old-school’ treatment actually works,” says Tessa. “Inhaling steam can actually flush out your nasal passages, which will help relieve the sinus pressure that can often cause sinus headaches.”
If you feel like trying this natural cure the next time you feel a sinus headache coming on, adding a drop of peppermint or eucalyptus oil can make this solution more potent.
“When we smell more potent things like this, this can actually cause a tingling sensation in our nasal membrane, which acts as a decongestant,” says Tessa. “Another alternative would be to add small dabs of Vick’s VapoRub to the bottom of your nostrils. These strong aromas can also be an effective decongestant.”
The Claim: Drinking Cranberry Juice Helps Prevent, and Treat, UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections)
This natural cure may sound like an old wives’ tale, but this cure may actually work.
Your mother may offer you cranberry juice as remedy for your symptoms, but so would the National Institutes of Health.
“Cranberry juice is great because it contains proanthocyanidins,” says Tessa. “Also commonly known as OPC’s, these oligomeric flavonoids actually prevent E. coli from attaching to the bladder wall, causing infection.”
If you have a history of UTI’s, you can utilize this natural cure by drinking one to two glasses of cranberry juice every day. If you already have the infection, drinking cranberry juice will also help ease symptoms, like the constant need to pee, or the burning sensation when you do.
“When selecting your cranberry juice of choice, the purer the juice, the better,” says Tessa. “Watch out for juice that is high in sugar, and make sure the juice is at least 20% pure cranberry. If you don’t like cranberry juice, you can also take supplements.”
If this natural cure still doesn’t work, visit your doctor immediately, especially if you have a high fever or chills. This could mean something more serious, which a natural home remedy won’t be able to cure.