Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Natural Ways to Get Rid of a Headache

The headache is something that everyone gets at least once in awhile. It's a strange pain that can come on for any number of reasons. And the cure for most people is to pop an aspirin, Tylenol or Ibuprofen and be done with it. Others don't want to pop pills to take care of their headaches so they just suffer through them. After all, unless you suffer from migraines, it won't take too long for the headache to go away on its own. But do you really want to live with that throbbing in your head if you don't have to?
People who want an alternative cure for headaches, one that is natural and not chemical, will be happy to find out that there are numerous natural ways to get rid of a headache. Here are some of those ways:

• Cayenne pepper can help clear your sinuses. If you suffer from sinus headaches, this type of home remedy can be a natural headache cure.

• Drink decaf. If you're a coffee, tea or soda drinker then you might be bringing on your headaches because of caffeine. If you fail to get that caffeine, you might get a withdrawal headache. You can either get a caffeinated drink when that happens or start curbing the caffeine out of your diet altogether.

• Drink water. Oftentimes, people get a headache because they are dehydrated. Getting some water in to your system can get rid of that headache. Drinking room temperature water is your best bet since water that is too cold can give temporarily give you even more of a headache.

• Eat right. If you get headaches on a regular basis, it could be due to a food allergy or a vitamin that is missing from your diet. Eat healthy and pay attention to what you eat and how you feel afterwards so that you can prevent the headache from happening in the first place. Also, if you get a headache, ask yourself if it's because you haven't eaten. Sometimes skipping meals can cause headaches so all you need to do is get some food in your system.

• Fresh air. Breathing deeply can do wonders for a headache in general; it'll be even more effective as a natural headache cure if you do it out in the fresh air.

• Lemons. Lemon juice added to water or tea can be a natural cure for a headache. You can also take the peel of a lemon and grind it up to make a paste. Applied to the face and forehead, this may be a headache cure as well because of the aromatherapy properties it has.

• Mint. Mint is soothing, especially in teas. And it can be a great natural way to get rid of your headache. Peppermint water will work as well.

• Take a nap. You might have a headache because you need some rest. This is especially true if your lack of sleep is causing you to strain your eyes during the day, resulting in a headache. If you can get away and take a nap when the headache comes on, you might wake up to find that it's gone.

Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
80, Chowringhee Road
Calcutta ( Kolkata ) - 700020

10 Ways to Calm Down When Anxiety Strikes

Anxiety is a terrible feeling. Your heart races. Your mind races even faster. You feel like all of the problems that have been hovering at the back of your mind suddenly need to be dealt with all at once. You imagine terrible things happening even though there's no good reason to think that they are. You panic.

How can you deal with this awful feeling when it creeps up on you. Here are ten ways to help yourself calm down when you're feeling anxious:

1. Identify the true cause of your anxiety. Most of the time, there's something that we're worried about that lies beneath the thing that we think is causing us to be anxious. If you are skilled at figuring yourself out then you might be able to determine what's really going on. For example, you're sitting by the phone waiting for your boyfriend to call and you're feeling completely anxious and you're sure that something horrible has happened to him or he's out on a date with someone else or ... that's what you think is causing the anxiety but what is really causing the anxiety could be that you've been feeling unsafe in this relationship and you're not sure where it's going. Although there's still a problem to be dealt with, you are able to recognize that it needs to be dealt with in a different way and that it's not the phone call that you're anxious about. This can reduce the immediate feeling of anxiety.

2. Exercise. Sometimes we can't talk ourselves down from that feeling of anxiety. It's just too strong. We can't think clearly. All of the emotions are coming at us. We feel like those surface problems are the real problems. Now what? Exercising is a good way to get out of your head and into your body for awhile. Do something that gets your heart pumping. Do something that's physically challenging so that you can focus on your muscles and your lungs instead of whatever it is that is making you feel crazy.

3. Breathe. There are going to be times when you feel anxious and you need to get out of your head but you can't just go for a run. You might be at work or at school or in a courtroom and you need to sit still. You can still get focused on your body by focusing on your breath. Take deep breaths, inhaling to a count of ten and exhaling to a count of ten. Or inhale give, exhale six, inhale six, exhale seven, etc. until you can't go any higher. Focus on how your breath feels in your chest and your nose. This will help get your mind off whatever is making you anxious so that your body can calm down a little bit.

4. Ask yourself what's the worst that could happen ... and how you'd handle it. Often we end up anxious about something because we are scared of it. If we can identify exactly what the worst thing about it would be and come up with some sort of action plan about how we would handle it then the anxiety may ease up. For example, you're anxious about an upcoming test. What's the worst that could happen? Even if you fail out of school and end up in a totally different career path, you're still going to be alive. Try to focus on the worst thing that could realistically happen. Pay attention to how this makes you feel, though. Some people go off the deep end into their fears and this exercise makes them feel worse instead of better.

5. Stop and smile. You can make yourself feel better just by acting like you feel better. Smile. Attend a laughing yoga class. Have someone tickle you. As the muscles in your face act happy, your body's limbic system will actually respond and you will feel a little bit happier. You'll feel calmer. Some of the anxiety will ease.

6. Analyze the extent of your anxiety. Ask yourself what your anxiety feels like. Don't focus on your thoughts. Focus on how tight your chest feels or how fast your heartbeat is. Try to rate your anxious feeling on a scale of one to ten. Simply taking at a look at your anxiety and recognizing it for what it is can sometimes help to reduce its impact.

7. Read a soothing book. Your brain needs to be taken away from whatever is causing it so much stress. A soothing book can be a great way to get away for a little while. Some people read the Bible, others read books of affirmations, others read uplifting quotations. Read something inspiring and lighthearted. If your mind is still racing with anxiety, try reading aloud.

8. Write a list of everything that is okay about your life right now. We are usually okay in the moment even though our anxiety would have us think we aren't. Making a list of all of the things that are going right and that feel safe can help us to realize that. Your health might be good, your sister might be in town, your clothes might fit great ... whatever is right in any way should go on your list. Don't think about the "buts"; just count your blessings.

9. Talk about what's going on. Talking about what's happening and what you're anxious about can sometimes make the feeling go away. The trick is to make sure that you talk to someone who isn't going to exacerbate your feelings or dismiss them. Choose someone who is a good listener. Let them know in advance that you just need to vent and you don't need advice. Or if you're looking for someone else to give you a little bit of perspective about how realistic your fears are then ask for that. You might consider talking to a friend who you trust but who isn't enmeshed in your every day life. Alternatively you might consider talking to a mentor or older family member. You might even think about talking to a counselor depending upon the extent of your anxiety and how long it's been happening.

10. Take medication. For many people, anxiety isn't just a passing thing that can be controlled with breathing and positive thoughts. Many people have real medical issues with anxiety that they need help with and medication can provide that help. If you can't get a grip on your anxiety on your own then you might want to consider speaking to a psychiatrist. These other tricks will still work for you once the medication has brought things down to a more manageable level.

Indian Board of Alternative Medicines
80, Chowringhee Road
Calcutta ( Kolkata ) - 700020

Herbal Remedies off the Kitchen Shelf

Spice Up Your Life

The Indian method of cooking adds a number of powdered spices to each dish. This is not just to complicate the cooking, but to get all the health benefits associated with each of these herbs and spices. Yes this method of cooking is in practice since the Vedic times and each and every component that goes into cooking a dish makes it that much more healthy.

In this post, we will give you a peek into the traditional Indian "Masala Box" without which no Indian woman can cook. We will also explain the health benefits associated with each of the elements that are in the masala box. These powders and herbs greatly enhance the taste of any dish that you may wish to cook, but they also pack a healthy punch. So let's take a look at these spices and herbs which double up as healers.

Top Ten Spices and Herbs

There are a number of herbs and spices used in Indian cooking, and try as we will we can not cover them all in one post. So here are the basics and the essentials. These are the ones that will always be used.

Indian name: Haldi
Turmeric is a root which is first dried and then roasted before it it ground and used as a powdered spice in the food. It is of redish yellow color. It also gives the food its distinctly yellow color.

Its health benefits are many. It is an antiseptic and is used both in food and externally. If you have a cold, you are advised to drink a warm glass of milk with half a spoon of roasted turmeric powder added to it.
If you have acne, you are asked to mix turmeric powder with gram flour and make a paste with lemon juice before you apply it to the face. Wash off after ten minutes and see that acne dries up.

Indian name: Jeera
Cumin is used in its seed form as tempering for a number of dishes. It is also used as a powdered spice. The seeds are lightly roasted and then ground once they cool down. The taste of cumin can get a bit bitter if you overdo it.
It is a good source of iron and if you need to build up your hemoglobin levels you should use it liberally in your food. It is also great for producing heat in the body to speed up your metabolic levels. Want to lose weight? Eat cumin.
Cumin is also good for indigestion and flatulence. It is also antiseptic in nature and said to relive the stuffy feeling that comes with the common cold.

Indian name: Dhania
This is a versatile plant and you can use the seeds whole, or powdered to cook your curries. It is also possible to use the leaves of the plant as fresh herb garnishing for your curries. It is essential to the green chutney that is often used as an accompaniment with food.
It is a good source of iron and magnesium. Also rich in vitamins A,B and C. It helps in lowering blood sugar in diabetics. It is also good for digestion and flatulence troubles. Its anti-inflammatory properties help fight against urinary tract infections and reduce arthritic pains.
A teaspoon of coriander juice mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder and applied on the face will help reduce black heads and acne. It also moistens dry skin. Apply this mix on a washed face before you go to bed and wash the next morning.

Indian name : Elaichi
Cardamon is found in two forms. The smaller green pods and the larger brown pods. While the sweeter dishes tend to favor the green variety the savories generally use the brown one. The pods can be used whole or their seeds may be extracted and powdered for use.
Cardamon has detoxifying properties and is also anti inflamatory. It is supposed to help cure stomach cramps that come about from indigestion. It is also said to improve blood circulation to the lungs and so is good for those suffering from bronchial conditions and asthma.
The green pods are eaten whole as a mouth freshener. They are also supposed to speed up healing of mouth ulcers. Supposed to provide relief from nausea as well, so those who tend to get road sick will keep a pod in their mouth while traveling.

Indian name:Lavang
Used in both its powdered and naturally occurring form as a dried flower bud, cloves are a very versatile spice. It is supposed to have antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac and stimulating properties.
The medicinal benefits of cloves have been well documented. It is good for tooth ache and you can keep one in the mouth for the essential oil to seep out and act as a painkiller. Great for blood circulation and digestion, cloves should be eaten in small quantities daily to benefit from their properties.
If you chose to use clove oil, be careful as the concentrated effect can pack quite a punch. It is great for de-stressing, blood purification and cure of infections.

Indian name: Dal Chini
Bark of a tree curled into sticks or powdered and used while cooking, the smell of cinnamon is as amazing as its unique taste and great health benefits. Good source of magnesium, clacium, iron and fiber.
What do arthritis, balding and kidney stones have in common? They all benefit from a daily dose of cinnamon. Has an anti clotting effect on blood and also kills bacteria in food. Said to help lower LDL cholestrol and be an efficient cure against yeast infections.
Regulates blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. Boosts memory skills and cognitive functioning. Highly effective against E.Coli bacteria.

Bay Leaf
Indian name:Tej Patta
It is the dried leaf of the Bay Laurel tree and is also known as sweet laurel for that reason. When added to a dish they provide vitamin A and C, also iron and manganese. Great for handling infections and skin diseases.
Antibacterial and anti-fungal properties make it a good cure for dandruff, cold and urinary infections. Bay leaf oil is also good for massages to de-stress and enhance blood circulation.
Keep a few bay leaves around the home to reduce insects in the surrounding area.

Curry Leaf
Indian name: Curry Patta
A standard part of the tempering in almost all Indian curries it adds that special taste and aroma. It is also good for the stomach and is used for dysentery, diarrhea and piles.
To stop premature greying of hair, heat oil and add a fistfull of curry leaves to it. Let them turn black. Strain the leaves out of the oil and use cooled oil to massage hair roots.
Mix lemon juice and honey with juice of curry leaves and drink as an antidote to nausea and vomiting.

Indian name: Lasun
The garlic pod is used whole in tempering, added as a paste to curries or crushed and sprinkled over vegetable dishes. It is also eaten sprouted and raw to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and purify the blood.
Its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties make it a very popular herbal remedy for a number of diseases. It is used in everything from allergies, cold and coughs, diabetes, hypertension and a number of other things.
Its pungent effect on your breath may put you off, but believe me the health benefits far out weight the bad breath caused by garlic.

Indian name: Adrak
The ginger root is used in many ways. You can slice, dice, julienne, or crush it into your food. The dried and powdered form is called "saunth" in Hindi.
From cancer to morning sickness ginger is a highly effective herb in many medical conditions such as migraines, motion sickness and heartburn.
As a remedy for flatuenece and painful gas you can add ginger juice to some lemon and honey and drink it a spoon at a time.

Indian Board of Alternative Medicines
80, Chowringhee Road
Kolkata - 700020

Family Health through Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a safe and effective system of medicine, which can be used with confidence for treating the whole family. It is simple to use, has no taste or smell and has no side effects. Every home should have a simple, readily accessible first aid box containing sticking plasters, cotton wool and bandages.

The addition of a few homeopathic medicines, available from most high street chemists and health food shops, means you can deal quickly and effectively with any accidents in the home as well as common ailments such as the sudden onset of cold symptoms or exam nerves.

Every accident, whether great or small, is accompanied by some degree of shock. Keeping the person warm is vital.

1) Arnica 30 will also help. It is especially useful when the person pushes help away, insisting that they'll be all right in a minute, but it's also useful for panic. Arnica will help bruises and sprains. It is useful for tired, aching, over-worked muscles after too much gardening or unaccustomed exercise. You can also take Arnica after dental treatment when there is bruising. Whether it is a fall, an accident or surgery, Arnica is the first remedy to think of to reduce bruising and speed up the body's own healing process. Gentle massage with Arnica cream relieves swellings but do not use it if the skin is broken.

2) Calendula tincture made into a lotion (1 teaspoon to a pint of cooled boiled water) should be used to bathe and clean an open wound. It inhibits the proliferation of germs so sepsis will not form in a wound properly cleaned with Calendula. Don't forget to give Arnica internally for shock and bruising while the wound is being cleaned and dressed.

3) Ledum 30 is invaluable for puncture wounds, from nails or barbed wire for instance. It will quickly reduce the shooting and pricking pains.

Use Ledum internally every 4 hours and clean and dress the wound with Calendula. Typically, a wound requiring Ledum feels numb, is cold to the touch but better for cold applications.

Some injuries are especially painful. Nerve-rich tissues such as the spine, fingers and toes will benefit from

4) Hypericum 30. It's the remedy to think of for fingers crushed in a car door, a heavy block falling on toes, or a fall affecting the spine or coccyx. It will also soothe pain in the coccyx after giving birth. Apply Hypericum tincture to bites and stings and wherever there is pain shooting up the limb from the site of a wound.

One of the most common injuries is a sprain - usually the wrist or ankle. Usually the joint remains functional but there will be pain and swelling. Rest is important and a support bandage will help to reduce the swelling. To bandage an ankle, start the bandage under the foot and wind it in a figure of eight pattern around the ankle and back around the foot, overlapping the bandage on each turn. Give Arnica for shock and bruising.

After that give

5) Rhus. Tox 30 - a wonderful remedy for stiffness. Use it also for rheumatism, especially where the joint is stiff to begin with and gradually improves with movement.

Burns and scalds are amongst the most common and the most painful of home injuries. Of course, if the burns are extensive, you will need to take the patient straight to your nearest Accident and Emergency unit, but give Arnica first for the shock. For simple burns that can be treated at home give the patient frequent sips of water to alleviate shock and to prevent fluid loss. Treat first with Arnica 30 (up to 3 doses) for the shock and bathe the burned area of skin with a Calendula lotion (one teaspoon to a pint of boiled water) to soothe the pain. It is useful to keep an Aloe Vera plant in your kitchen for small burns from the iron or oven. The leaves contain a cooling gel, which can be very soothing and healing to burned skin. It also relieves the pain by shutting out the air. Recovery from burns can be assisted by taking extra Vitamin C.

6) Pulsatilla is a great remedy to have in your first aid box: it's useful for the family's coughs and colds, for painful periods and for teething infants. A good clue for prescribing Pulsatilla is that the person can seem a bit weepy or clingy but always feels better for being out in the fresh air. Pulsatilla can help in gastric disturbances especially if the cause is pork, pastry or bad fish or meat. There will be nausea, a bad taste in the mouth and dryness, together with bloating of the stomach and colicky pains. The patient is without thirst, restless and better for having the windows open.

7) Nux Vomica 30 is also a splendid remedy for poor digestion, especially when the cause is over-indulgence. It's a marvellous hangover remedy.

Quick treatment when a cold threatens can save the whole family a great deal of misery.

8) Arsenicum 30 taken in half-hour doses at the very first sign of a cold may abort it altogether. Give Aconite instead (30 hourly for three doses) if the chill is due to waiting around in a cold wind for a late train or a bus. Nux Vomica colds also come on after exposure to cold winds with fluent coryza in the morning and blocked flow at night. The patient will be unable to get warm, irritable and impatient. Give Nux Vomica 30 every two hours. In young children, the early stages of colds or childhood illnesses may be accompanied by a fever for which a parent may think of using Calpol.

9) Belladonna 30 is a good substitute. The patient will be thirsty, the face will be flushed red and there may be a headache of a throbbing kind. Giving water with a little lemon juice to drink and gentle sponging with tepid water will also help to bring down a temperature.

10) Gelsemium 30 is useful for colds or early stages of flu' where the person is chilly with heavy, aching limbs. Keep Gelsemium handy for anticipatory anxiety and stage fright before exams, interviews or driving tests. The nervous Gelsemium patient will be shaking, and having to make frequent trips to the bathroom with diarrhoea and/or frequent urination. For people who lack confidence but usually perform well once they get into their stride.

11) Lycopodium is the remedy. They become nervous before making a speech or making a presentation, even though they do it well when the moment comes. They like sweet things and when they are nervous their desire for chocolate may run away with them, so it's a good thing that Lycopodium is also a good remedy for indigestion with flatulence and irritability.

All remedies should be stored in a clean cool, dry place away from light, heat, electrical interference and strong smells. Do not keep you homeopathic remedies in the same box as aromatherapy oils, for example, or with any strong-smelling substance. Carefully stored, homeopathic remedies will last a long, long time. To give a dose, avoid touching the tablets by tipping a tablet into a spoon and then into the patient's mouth. Let the tablets dissolve slowly under the tongue. Remedies can be taken at any time of day but, ideally, allow a gap of at least 20 minutes away from food, drink or toothpaste. Discontinue treatment when the symptoms have abated and only repeat remedies when and if pain or other symptoms return.

Homeopathy has remedies to treat all sorts of illnesses in the whole family from babyhood to old age. Home prescribing for the family can be very rewarding and usually your local professional Homeopath will be happy to give advice over the telephone if you are not sure which remedy to give but do visit a professional Homeopath when more serious or chronic conditions arise

The potency commonly used in FIRST AID work is the 30 (30 centesimal Hahnemannian).

1. Bumps and Bruises: Take Arnica. Apply Arnica ointment. In any case of accident take or give Arnica, frequent dosage in severe cases, say every 10—15 minutes for 4 doses, less often for lesser severity.

2. Bites and Stings: Take Aconite, Arnica. Apply Anti—bite tincture. Additional remedies, Ledum, Apis, Belladonna. Ledum for reaction to insect bites and stings. Apis more particularly for bee and wasp stings, but also- of value generally, if reaction severe with swelling and itching. Belladonna would be of use for heat and fiery redness with hard swelling and throbbing.

3. Burns, Sunburn: Take Aconite. Apply Urtica ointment. Serious burns must receive medical attention, but Arnica internally will counteract shock.

4. Colds and Chills: Take Aconite. If ‘flu-like, Gelsemiun. If hayfever-like, Arsen Alb. With gastric Symptoms, Nux Vomica. If there is a tendency for chestiness, have Bryonia with you *

5. Cramp, from swimming: Take Aconite for chilliness. Nux Vomica for spasm. Additional remedy, Cuprum Met.

6. Continental Tummy. Digestive Upset: Take Nux Vomica. Additional remedy Colocynth if there is much griping. For food poisoning Arsen Alb. If there is marked lethargy, Baptism.

7. Heatstroke: Take Aconite, Gelsemium if lethargic arid shaking. Additional remedies, Belladonna. Severe headache, Glonoine.

8. Fracture: Take Arnica. Additionally, Symphytun. Apply Arnica ointment.

9. Sprains and Strain. Over Exertion: Take Rhus Tox. Alternate with Arnica if severe

10. Exposure to cold and wet: Take Aconite.

11. Rescued from drowning: Take Aconite and Arnica.

12. Grazes and Guts: Apply Calendula/Hypericum ointment. In any case of accident, shock, bruising, shaken up, use Arnica internally.

13. Jet lag, Travel Sickness: Take Cocculus 30 twice a day for two days before day of flight, during flight and two days after.

Dosages: Follow the general rules for dosage. In First Aid work give doses often, hourly or two-hourly for six doses. In very severe cases every 10-15 minutes until better, usually for 3 - 4 doses.