The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 931: How to Stay Healthy at Home with Simple Herbal Remedies (Archive)

Learn how to make simple herbal remedies to treat colds, digestive difficulties and other common conditions and stay health at home.
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How to Stay Healthy at Home with Simple Herbal Remedies (Archive)

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If you have ever wondered whether there is a good way to take fewer prescription medicines and treat more of your everyday ailments with natural approaches, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog has good news for you. She reviews the evidence on herbal and botanical remedies and reassures us that many common health complaints are best treated at home.


Making Your Own Simple Herbal Remedies:

Learn how to treat colds, coughs and fevers in children and adults–and how to tell if a fever is serious enough to call for medical attention. Dr. Low Dog also reviews simple treatments for tummy troubles and other problems. Don’t miss her sensible, down-to-earth advice on simple herbal remedies for staying healthy at home.

This Week’s Guest:

Tieraona Low Dog, MD, was Director of Fellowship for the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona at the time of this interview. She has served as Chair of the United States Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplements–Botanicals Expert Committee. Her book is Healthy at Home: Get Well and Stay Well without Prescriptions, from National Geographic.

Her website is

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Hi. I loved the show! But maybe I didn’t listen carefully enough. I am a 73 year old women. 3 years ago, In the month before I moved across country, I came down with what I thought was a virus — low fever — 99 or,100 or less–a cough, severe fatigue. I thought it was a virus and that I should just wait it out. I had enough energy to make my own chicken soup. And make my bed. Friends offered more but,I basically told them to stay away so,they wouldn’t get sick. I didn’t get better. I didn’t get worse. After 3 weeks, a friend read me the riot act and told me to get to my MD. Turned out I had pneumonia in three different places:-(( It also set off? Emphysema which I am now told is “moderate to severe”. I do yoga 3 x a week and walk at least two miles a day BUT I haven’t regained my old energy. Onviously I should have gone to the doctor sooner! Maybe it is best to check things out

I would love to have a print-out of this talk.

does anyone know what “bitters” are?? she talks about bitters to help digestion but i don’t know what they are?? thanks

Go to a liquor store. She also mentions some greens

Bitters are herbal concoctions usually added to cocktails to enhance flavor. You can find bitters at any good liquor store. Sometimes bartenders will make their own bitters if they are into creating fine “craft” cocktails.

Mom’s “go to” home remedy for colds: Hot lemonade with honey and a teaspoon of bourbon. Cover up and sweat it out!!!

I have successfully used the essential oil of eucalyptus for any type of congestion. I simply sprinkle a few drops of the oil on a washcloth and place it under the pillowcase.

Comments about use in children AND adults of:
netipot with XYLITOL?
BUCKWHEAT honey used (age > 1) in the study cited? Buckwheat honey and its self-administration on a strawberry by a child with asthma
anti-viral activity, anti-inflammatory, anti-bronchospasm activity of Pine Bark Extracts?
Honeybush tea and anti-viral interleukin stimulation?
Rooibos tea anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and antiseptic activities?
Curcumin anti-inflammatory, anti-pain activity given in a form that can be readily absorbed – curcumin phytosome?
Benfotiamine for its anti-nuclear factor kappa beta activation properties?
Slow, prolonged respiration for autonomic nervous system modulation?
Enteric coated peppermint oil for intestine motility stabilization and anti-constipation effects?
Use of bitters in people with pancreas divisum and low caliber pancreatic ducts – potential for harm?
Probiotics for some chronic skin conditions including acne and eczema?
Lemonbalm tincture AND Pycnogenol (French Maritime Pine Bark Extract) for performance anxiety and test performance enhancement?
Yellow mustard for its stomach microvascular vasodilitation activity and resultant anti-nausea / anti-gastroparesis activities?

Tieraona is amazing. Amazing Woman. I could listen to her for hours. Because of I attended several seminars that had Dr. Low Dog as the sole speaker, I am taking an herbal course of study..

Dr. Low Dog is absolutely my favorite guest on your show. I wish she could be on more often!

I caught exactly 6 minutes of the show by chance and heard the section on bloating and gas. Having just seen and mystified a gastroenterologist and having had a recurring and embarrassing problem for two years, the dandelion root tea before and kefir after solved my problem the first time I tried it. And continues to. Great show!

What a wonderful & timely show. I had need to try a remedy for a raging sore throat that awoke me in the middle of the night just after hearing this. Had no sage, just some sad old thyme that had a wee bit of aroma remaining. Steeped it, added honey, and a couple doses erased the pain and the tonsil-swelling that was starting. I’m now just left with a runny nose instead of the prolonged crud that’s been going around!
This book will make a great addition to any reference library. Thank-you all, Joe, Terry & Dr. Low Dog! *****

This show answered an old health issue for me. It is very difficult to remedy chronic eczema on my leg (after using many natural remedies, along with some steroid use). I think Dr. Low Dog’s comment about taking bitters that will help with protein assimilation. I plan to try her suggestion of taking dandelion tea 20 minutes before meals.
I already take homemade high count probiotic yogurt. It is interesting that she mentioned the problem of not digesting proteins in the large intestine creating problems in the small intestine and thus allergies creating skin problems. I have been researching a connection with the skin and this may be it.

I want to know more about bitters. Flatulence has become my middle name lately, and I NEED to know more about the proper use of bitters.

This was a fantastic show. I accidentally clicked 4 stars instead of 5, but it deserves 10. I am sharing the program with everyone I can think of who cares about their health. I’m particularly eager to share with young people I mentor so they and their young children will develop the good habits of taking care of themselves more, staying out of the ER and doctor’s office.
Would love to see this wisdom put into a course or presentation that could be taken to community centers around the country. I’d sign up to help!

Thank you for such a balanced show about using herbals to help with illnesses. I too believe in using these methods and leaving the “big guns” for illnesses that can’t be treated by natural means. I was introduced to herbs, “grandma’s recipes”, and spices as cures for various ailments when I lived in Turkey and continued to follow these when I returned to the States. Thanks again; love the show.

I have just received her book. Have enjoyed her interviews over the years. I always find her very interesting and most helpful.

Fantastic show! Looking forward to trying the remedies Dr. Low Dog suggested for digestion.

Another great show. Dr. Low Dog is the kind of strong woman who should run for Congress. I will need to listen to the show again to figure out if Thyme is delivered as a tea or tincture.

Both, it is available in capsules, tincture, fresh herbs in grocery stores and dried in jars. Go forth and plant some in a pot! Have fun.

We don’t get PP in our NPR listening area, so every time I can tune in I feel that I can’t do anything else until the show is over lest I miss something that could either A). keep me and my family healthier and live longer, or B). Change a habit that may have being doing more harm than good in favor of a newer revelation or discovery.
This episode exemplified both. I can’t wait to get that book and devour its contents. Dr. Low Dog’s (?!) presentation reflected the mark of a true authority i.e. she made it sound easy and uncomplicated. I don’t think I heard once the giveaway and oft repeated phrase of the frustrated professional, “…what a lot of people don’t realize is…” etc. etc.

Terrific show – so informative. Have already ordered Dr. Low Dog’s book. The western medicine explanation of why a certain “folk” remedy works really increased my understanding – and willingness – to try Dr. Low Dog’s recommendations.

Loved the show. Have shared the link on my FB page. Great information on working with your body and the natural world to maintain wellness.

For a long time, I have believed that a key to reforming what I see as an out-of-control pharmaceuticals-first approach in this world is to return to basics by applying natural health wisdom to common health issues. Dr. Low Dog provides an articulate, no-nonsense, and evidence-based discussion on herbal and botanical home remedies.
It really is so easy to just pick up that over-the-counter medicine instead. After hearing this particular program, though, I am going to purchase Dr. Low Dog’s book and trust what my instincts have told me for years: that the natural remedies my mom and grandma used when I was young DO work. Dr. Low Dog’s observation that many parents simply give their sick child some medicine like ibuprofen, tuck him/her in bed, and leave had a tremendous impact on me, because I remember with great fondness the love and care my mom showed when I was sick. She would put cool iceberg lettuce leaves on my forehead when I had a fever. She’d read me stories and stroke my arm to comfort me. It makes me sad to think children of today are missing out on this form of bonding and love because of a loss of natural health wisdom and a powerful pharmaceutical lobby.

Great show. Enjoyed hearing of ways to heal without using the over-the-counter meds. I am a member of my local herb society, and this would be a good topic to bring up at our next meeting. Thanks.

I love seeing people do shows like this. Everyone needs to know that there are plenty of things you can do to take care of your health without huge doctor bills. I’ll be sure to mention this to my subscribers.

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