Kitchen Remedies For A-Z Ailments


Question: We have all, especially in traditional families, heard about and also used several kitchen, or natural, remedies for common ailments, without knowing how to take them, including their actual application and benefits. It would be great if you’d sum up their ‘A-Z’ for us and your other readers.

— JC, Kolkata

A: This is an interesting question, but infrequently asked. Here goes —

Acne: Grated Cucumber

Cucumber tones the skin and also prevents pimples and blackheads. Apply grated cucumber on the face, eyes, and neck, for 20 minutes. Rinse with water.

Allergies: Carrot Juice

Carrot juice [with beet and cucumber juice] is effective for allergies. Mix 300ml of carrot juice with 100ml [each] of beet and cucumber juice. This makes 500ml of mixed juice. Take the concoction, once daily.

Anaemia: Beet Juice

Beet is most useful in anaemia. Beet juice contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulphur, iodine, copper, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins B1, B2, B6, etc., Beet is also rich in iron. It helps in the formation of red blood cells.

Arthritis: Garlic

Garlic eases arthritic, or joint, pain — thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects. It can be taken raw, or cooked.

Asthma: Indian Gooseberry

Indian gooseberry [amla] is useful in asthma. Take 5gm, mixed with one tablespoon of honey, every morning.

Bad Breath: Fenugreek Tea

Fenugreek [methi] tea made from the seeds taken regularly is effective for bad breath [halitosis]. Add 2 teaspoons of methi seeds in half-a-litre of water. Allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes over a low flame. Strain, and drink the liquid. 

Backache: Raw Potato

An ancient home remedy, raw potato, in the form of a poultice, is an excellent remedy to combat back pain.

Boils: Garlic Juice

Apply garlic, or onion, juice/extract externally on boils. It will help ripen them, break them, and also drain the pus. Eat 2-3 pods of garlic — or, take a garlic capsule — during meals.

Bronchitis: Turmeric Powder

Take half tablespoon of turmeric powder with one glass of milk, 2-3 times daily. This home remedy is best taken on an empty stomach.

Chicken Pox: Brown Vinegar

Add half a cup of brown vinegar to warm bath water. The medicated bath helps relieve the skin irritation, a common symptom of chicken pox.

Common Cold: Ginger

Boil 10gm of ginger slices in water. Strain, and take two cups daily.

Conjunctivitis: Dried Coriander

Prepare a decoction of dried coriander in 60ml of water. This makes an excellent eye-wash for conjunctivitis. Use as and when required, but sparingly.

Constipation: Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is an excellent home remedy for treating constipation. It promotes good bowel movement.

Corns: Chalk Powder

Chalk powder is excellent in the treatment of corns. Take a small piece of chalk, add water and ground to paste. Apply over the affected area.

Cough: Grapes

Grapes act as an expectorant; they relieve simple colds and coughs. You may take a cup of grape juice mixed with a teaspoon of honey for quick cough relief too.

Dandruff: Fresh Lime Juice

A teaspoon of concentrated fresh lime juice/extract applied for the last rinse, while washing the hair, prevents dandruff. It also removes tackiness and makes the hair glow.

Depression: Apple

Apple makes a great home remedy for depression. Take an apple, or two, with milk and honey. Apple is also a good nerve tonic.

Diabetes: Fenugreek

The seeds of fenugreek are useful in diabetes. Fenugreek seeds [25gm-100gm] taken daily, reduces the levels of glucose. It also controls serum cholesterol and triglycerides.

Diarrhoea: Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are useful in diarrhoea. Take one teaspoon of the seeds boiled and fried in butter with a cup of buttermilk, 2-3 times a day.

Gastritis: Potato Juice

Potato juice relieves gastritis, or acidity. Take half a cup of the juice, half-an-hour before food, 2-3 times, daily.

Grey Hair: Curry Leaves

Curry leaves provide vitality and strength to hair roots, especially in premature greying of hair. Boil the leaves in coconut oil, and apply as hair tonic.

Gout: French Beans

The juice of French beans is good for gout. Take 150ml of the juice once daily.

Hair Loss: Oil From Indian Gooseberry

Oil, prepared by boiling dry pieces of amla [Indian gooseberry], in coconut oil, is a useful hair tonic. It promotes hair growth. You can also prepare a mixture of an equal quantity of fresh amla juice and lime juice to make your own home-made shampoo — to stimulate hair growth and also prevent hair loss.

Headache: Henna Flowers

The flowers of henna have been found to be useful in managing headaches caused by the hot Sun. Stroke the flowers in vinegar and apply over the forehead. You will get quick relief.

High Blood Pressure: Watermelon

Watermelon has been found to be useful in high blood pressure. Watermelon dilates the blood vessels, and this is said to reduce blood pressure. Eat watermelon seeds, dried or roasted, generously.

Impotence: Asparagus Root

15gm of asparagus roots boiled in one cup of milk, taken twice daily, is useful in impotency and premature ejaculation.

Influenza: Garlic

Garlic is an excellent remedy for influenza. Take a pod, or two, of garlic, a few times a day.

Insomnia: Honey

Honey is useful in the treatment of insomnia. Take two teaspoons of honey mixed with water, half-an-hour before bed-time. Honey is also an excellent remedy for putting babies to sleep.

Jaundice: Green Leaves Of Radish

Pound green leaves of radish. Extract the juice through a cloth. Take 500ml of the juice everyday, for 10-15 days. In addition to treating jaundice, the juice also promotes a healthy appetite and stimulates bowel activity.

Kidney Stone: Pomegranate Seeds

A tablespoon of sour and sweet pomegranate seeds, ground into a fine paste, and taken along with a cup of horse gram [2-3 tablespoons] soup helps dissolve kidney stones.

Leucorrhoea: Lady’s Finger

A decoction of lady’s fingers [100gm] prepared by boiling the fresh vegetable, in half-a-litre of water for 20 minutes, given in doses of 60-90ml, a few times daily, is helpful.

Malaria: Cinnamon Powder

Cinnamon is a valuable remedy in malaria. Take one teaspoon of coarsely powdered cinnamon, boiled in a glass of water, along with a pinch of pepper and honey.

Measles: Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is effective in measles. Take 15-25ml of lemon juice, diluted with water, a few times daily.

Menstrual Problems: Unripe Papaya

Take unripe papaya to promote proper menstrual flow. The fruit is extremely helpful in suppression of menses caused by stress, anxiety, or fright, especially in young unmarried girls.

Migraine: Grapes

The juice of ripe grapes is an effective home remedy in migraine. Take the juice several times in small doses till you get relief.

Mumps: Asparagus Seeds

Asparagus seeds are useful in mumps. Combine and ground the seeds with equal proportion of fenugreek seeds. Make and apply the paste over the swelling.

Obesity: Finger Millet

Finger millet [ragi] is a wonderful ‘food-medicine’ for obesity. Ragi reduces the continual craving to eat. The big advantage is — ragi is rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B1 and B2. Hence, even with a lowered intake of food, ragi helps prevent malnutrition.

Piles: White Radish

White, grated radish, mixed with a teaspoon of honey, taken twice daily is an effective remedy in piles. You may also apply white radish, well ground into a paste in milk, over the inflamed area — to relieve pain.

Rheumatism: Walnut

Walnuts are useful in rheumatism. Eat 4-6 walnuts, daily.

Ringworm: Raw Papaya Seeds

A paste made from dried raw papaya seeds when applied on ringworm patches is most useful in treating the rather annoying, and difficult-to-treat, problem.

Skin Problems: Bitter Gourd Juice

A cup of fresh juice of bitter gourd, mixed with a teaspoon of lime juice, taken on an empty stomach daily, for 3-4 months, is effective in psoriasis. The home remedy is also equally useful in eczema and dermatitis.

Sinusitis: Fenugreek Tea

A tea prepared by boiling one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in 250ml of water is most useful in sinusitis. Take 3-4 four cups, daily, till you feel better.

Sore Throat: Holy Basil

Holy basil has been found to be effective in sore throat. Water boiled with holy basil leaves makes a good sore throat remedy, as does the gargle.

Stress: Holy Basil

Holy basil is excellent for stress. Chew 8-10 leaves of holy basil twice daily to prevent and reduce stress and anxiety. Or, take a capsule [500mg], once daily.

Tonsillitis: Lime

Lime is one of the most effective remedies in the treatment of acute tonsillitis. One fresh lemon squeezed in a glass of warm water, with four teaspoons of honey and a quarter teaspoon of common salt, should be sipped slowly for quick relief.

Toothache: Clove Oil

The application of clove oil to a cavity to relieve toothache is an age-old, effective practice.

Ulcer: Banana

Banana is most useful in the treatment of ulcers, especially peptic ulcer. The fruit neutralises excessive acid of the gastric juices and protects the inner lining of the stomach. Take two [elaichi] bananas, with a glass of milk, 3-4 times, a day.

Urticaria: Mint

10gm of mint boiled in some water and taken, 2-3 times a day, is said to relieve itching — a common symptom of the problem.

Vomiting: Honey Water

Sip a drink of honey water, or holy basil, to help calm a troubled stomach.

Warts: Fig Juice

Fresh fig juice applied on the ungainly eruptions, a few times daily, for two weeks, is effective in the treatment of warts.

Zits: Grated cucumber — as given under Acne.

Note: This list is only indicative, or representative. Please speak to your healthcare provider before taking any natural remedy, for any given ailment, cited in this piece.

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