Science backs some home remedies
By Barbara Quinn
Knight Ridder News Service
By Barbara Quinn
When I was a kid, my dad used Vicks VapoRub, a medicated mixture of camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil, for whatever ailed him — colds, coughs, ingrown toenails, you name it. We thought he was funny.
Years later, I learn this common product does have medicinal effects beyond its ability to soothe coughs and colds. It works as a topical analgesic and may even have some antibacterial properties for conditions such as ... ingrown toenails.
Some home remedies really do work when put to the test. Here are a few in the nutrition realm:
In the first, healthy volunteers were fed a yummy breakfast of white bread soaked with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Compared with volunteers who had bread with no vinegar, the study group had lower increases in blood sugar levels and less hunger.
In the American study, healthy young volunteers had a bagel with orange juice for breakfast topped off with a drink containing about 1 tablespoon of vinegar. An hour later, the volunteers who drank the vinegar had lower blood sugars than the volunteers who did not. And interestingly, the vinegar group ate about 300 fewer calories per day during the study period than the nonvinegar group.
A recent survey of Japanese men and women over the age of 70 found those with a higher daily intake of green tea (four to six cups a week) scored higher on a test of mental function than those with lower intakes. Again, scientists credit antioxidants, which protect the brain and other body cells from damage caused by wayward oxygen molecules called free radicals.
Home remedies can affect the action of prescription medications. Tell your doctor about any remedies you try at home.