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Home Remedies for Holiday Accidents & Health Problems

Between now and New Year’s is a dangerous time of the year. Think about it for a moment. On Thursday, there are likely to be too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone wants to be helpful on Thanksgiving day, but with all the hustle and bustle there are inevitable accidents. Over the next several weeks there will be family gatherings, parties and lots of opportunities for accidents or health problems. Here are just a few:

KITCHEN CUTS: When we’re in a hurry trying to get everything prepared just right there are likely to be slips of the knife. What do you do when faced with a cut? Our favorite remedy is black pepper. Here’s just one anecdote of how effective it can be:

“While washing some glasses, one broke. I had a deep cut on my hand. I couldn’t stop the bleeding with pressure. I remembered the black pepper hint from The People’s Pharmacy. It worked immediately and stopped the bleeding. Healed perfectly with no sutures.

“I now keep a large can of black pepper in my kitchen just in case. I shared the black pepper and the soap for leg cramps hints with friends. Both work for me!

“Thanks for all the great information.” Maggi from Texas

KITCHEN BURNS: It is almost impossible to avoid minor household burns at this time of year. A few years ago Joe was taking the turkey out of the oven and in the process touched the hot metal shelf. Even though he got the burn under cold water immediately, his fingers hurt like heck every time he removed them from the water.

The turkey was being served and everyone was waiting while Joe stood at the kitchen sink with his hand in a bowl of ice water. Then Terry remembered the soy sauce remedy. Voila! Within seconds the pain was gone and everyone was enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. Others tell us that cold yellow mustard also works wonders against kitchen burns. Here’s one such story:

“I started to pick up a hot cast iron fry pan by placing 3 fingers on the handle! I pulled back immediately. I remembered the soy sauce, but all I had was low sodium. I soaked the fingers in a bowlful while I ate supper.

“When I removed my burnt fingers from the soy sauce they started hurting, so I slathered them with yellow mustard, wrapped them for the night, and by the next morning, there was no blistering, just sort of a scaly film of skin under the mustard.

“That skin flaked off over the next few days. I’m hooked on this cure. I did purchase regular soy sauce to have on hand just in case. I found these remedies in your book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy!” Roper

HEARTBURN & INDIGESTION: What do you do when Aunt Martha’s special stuffing causes heartburn? Or perhaps that second helping of pecan pie doesn’t sit so well. No matter how hard we try to be prudent at Thanksgiving, it is hard not to overeat. Here are some simple solutions: Almonds, fennel, ginger or chewing gum. And although it seems crazy, lots of visitors to this website maintain that vinegar or yellow mustard work wonders:

“Plain yellow mustard works as well as anything I have tried for indigestion. It sounds counterintuitive to take something spicy for heartburn, but it works. A lady at work told me about it, and whenever I have a problem at work and don’t have any Rolaids, I just go to the lunchroom and get a packet of mustard from the condiments bin.” Tex

“I am extremely skeptical of alternative medicine and home remedies, perhaps because I taught human physiology for 25 years at the college level.  Nevertheless, after not having much success with acid suppressing drugs, I tried apple cider vinegar (ACV) for acid reflux.  I’ve been using it now for about 10 days and it has been much more effective than any of the standard medications.  I’m really astounded.  I use 1 oz of ACV in 2 oz water to dilute it a bit.” Anonymous to protect myself from scientific skeptics like myself

CONSTIPATION: We don’t know about you, but when we travel, constipation is a frequent companion. We have never figured out why, but we do have several solutions. Our favorite is sugarless gum. Here’s a story:

“I have been plagued with constipation all of my life. One year ago after surgery my doctor put me on a daily dose of sorbitol. This has pretty much resolved that problem. (This is the ingredient in sugarless gum that helps others with this problem.)” Martha

You will find lots of other solutions to the constipation conundrum in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies including flaxseed oil, honey and vinegar, blackstrap molasses, magnesium and most valuable of all, the recipe for “power pudding.”

DRY SKIN: There are going to be a lot of pots and pans to wash over the next several weeks and that means dry skin. Remember, a good guest always pitches in to wash the dishes!

There are some surprising topical solutions, from vinegar or olive oil to barnyard beauty aids! Our favorite is Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 with 20% urea. You will find a handy 2 oz. pocket book size at our website or the large economy size 8 oz tub. We can’t think of a better moisturizer or a nicer gift for the family hosting the get-together. It will remind them that you helped clean up after the party and saved their skin in the process.

BLOOD SUGAR ELEVATION: Even if you don’t have diabetes, too many carbohydrates (stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie) will drive blood sugar up along with insulin. Vinegar (such as a vinaigrette salad dressing) or cinnamon can help control blood sugar elevations.

LEG CRAMPS & PLANTAR FASCIITIS: If you stand around helping out in the kitchen or socializing in the living room, you may pay a price that night or the next morning. Leg cramps or plantar fasciitis can be excruciating. You will find lots of remedies for both in The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies: Q&As for Your Common Ailments. Learn about turmeric (found in yellow mustard), cherry juice, magnesium and soap under the bottom sheet. Here are just a few of the hundreds of stories we have collected over the years:

“I put a bar of soap under my husband’s sheets without his knowledge.  It worked.  So this proves that it is not all psychosomatic. When he saw the soap he couldn’t believe it and it probably wouldn’t have worked if he had known it. Thanks!” SRB

“I suffered from calf muscle cramps (charley horses) at night for years. I read what you wrote about the soap trick. Since I come from Denver, home of Soapy Smith, a great con man who had a very profitable soap trick, I thought what the heck! 

 “I put several motel soap bars under the sheets. A couple of weeks later I suddenly realized I had not had any charley horses for quite a while. So I just made sure the soap stayed there.

“When I changed the bed, I would take the soap pieces (I broke those little bars up into six or more pieces and scattered them around) and put them in a cup while I washed and dried the sheets (I have only one set). 

“Well, about two weeks ago I started having those damned cramps again. I figured, Well, that soap stuff is all just suds. Had cramps for several nights. Then, when moving something, I uncovered the cup with the soap pieces. I had forgotten to put them back in the bed. So back they went, pronto–and voila! I have not had a cramp since. 

“If it’s psychosomatic, so be it, as long as I don’t have those charley horses any more (mine were extremely painful; if I tried to fight them by forcing my leg out straight, or flexing my foot, the pain was almost unbearable). Sure appreciate the simple solution.” RN in Denver

No matter what your holiday complaint, from a kitchen burn or bursitis to hiccups or flatulence, we have a remedy for you in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. It will help get you through the holidays. It would also make a fabulous gift for friends or relatives. You might also find our Bed Soap and Leg Soap a fun gift. People will smile at such a unique present.

Perhaps you have already tried one of our remedies and found it helpful. Why not share some of the hundreds of solutions you will find in this collection with those you care about? Share your own favorite home remedies or tell your story about treating holiday cuts, burns, hiccups, leg cramps or heartburn below in the comment section.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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The soy sauce has definitely worked for me on multiple burns. But I have been unsuccessful at stopping bleeding with black pepper. Maybe I didn’t use enough of it. One time it seemed to help, but not at other times. I intend to keep trying though.

I have suffered from burnt tongue and geographic tongue for years. I have tried a number of things to help but with no success! I get distraught having to tolerate this pain when I eat and drink. I have stopped eating acidic rich foods. Is there any cure or help out there? Please help!

I had just burned my hand on a hot oven rack and thought i had reached in the fridge for the aloe vera. I realized afterwards that by mistake i had taken out organic apple cider vinegar and poured it on the burn. it worked. no pain. only a rosy area on my hand.

Re treatment for dry skin, may I humbly suggest wearing rubber gloves?

Dear Joe & Terry
I’m so glad I accidentally heard your radio show years ago. Listen every chance I get, have one of your books and get your emails each week. I have something to add about minor burns in the kitchen. Several years ago I immediately stuck my finger in my mouth and continued to rub it with my tongue. I have found there is something in saliva that is healing. Continue to put the saliva on the burn until it stops burning. It will not blister or leave a scar. It works for me.

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