Article:Home remedies for common health problems

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Home remedies for common health problems

By: Dr. Daya Tilwe. Published: September 13, 2011

Dr. Tilwe is the Head of the Department of Botany at ICLES College, Vashi, Navi Mumbai. She is interested in documentation of local health practices and has conducted interesting research on ethnic biodiversity-related practices in several villages around Navi Mumbai. Find more articles by clicking this link.

Editor's Note: The remedies listed here are for documentation purposes only. Please consult your physician before using them as treatment. Project Brahma or the author is not responsible for any damages caused.

People have lived in India for the last 4000 years in perfect harmony with nature. This rich history of our civilization is reflected in the diverse array of home-made treatments and remedies for commonly occurring health problems. The Ayurvedic system of alternative medicine probes almost scientifically into questions of human health. However, several local folk practices have also arisen over the past thousands of years which are equally effective. Some such practices for the treatment of common health problems are documented here.


Pain in Joints due to thinning of cartilage around the joints.

Keep bandages of alum water (तुरटी) on joints.
Massage with citronella oil and Karela (Bitter gourd) juice.
Rub Powder of mustard (मोहरी पूड) on joints.
Drink 2-3 tsp (3 times a day) juice of grapefruit (पपनस). It dissolves toxins accumulated in joints.
1 tsp Amla powder + ½ tsp jaggery + little ginger – Eat the mixture twice a day.
Take cold pack with Ice for 15-20 min. It reduces the swelling.
When swelling is not seen but pain is present, take hot (3 minutes) & cold (1 minute) fomentation alternately for 3 times after light massage with til oil.


Decoction of Tulsi leaves can help in Asthma

Wheezing, Coughing, Shortness of breath & chest tightness, exhaling is longer than inhaling.

Drink warm decoction of 5-10 Tulsi leaves, little dry ginger & cinnamon.
Mix ¼ tsp Methi powder in warm water / milk & drink. Methi reduces phlegm.
Try to identify the chemical causing allergic asthma like deodorant, perfume, face powder, hair oil, aerosol etc. As far as possible stop using them immediately.
Take hot foot bath.


Finger Millet (Nachni) is an excellent source of Iron and Calcium

Feeling overly tired, dizzy or breathless, whitish tongue, constipation etc. Iron requirement per day is 28 IU. Adult male, 30 IU. Adult Female, 38 IU – Pregnant lady and 12 IU – child.

Eat protein rich diet every day like 1-2 eggs, 1 cup beans, chicken, dal etc. Fish & shellfish are good source of B12. Eat green vegetables daily like spinach, broccoli, Methi (folate rich).
Avoid tea – hot or cold – as tannic acid inhibits iron absorption.
Increase intake of Rajgira, Dates (खजूर), Millets (नाचणी), Halim (हळीव), Drumstick (शेंगा) – richest source of Iron.
Eat Lemon, orange, apple, mango, guava, Amla etc. as Vit. C stimulates Iron absorption.

Back pain

Pain especially in low back area is due to poor muscle tone, improper movement, wrong posture and mainly due to degeneration of spinal chord.

Avoid heavy physical activities but remain mobile by going for walk or stroll even when in pain.
Daily gentle exercise or gentle stretches will increase flexibility.
One should never bend in back. Bend hips & knees, keeping the back straight. Do not lift heavy articles. Never bend & twist. Instead turn the entire body.
Sleeping or sitting for long time aggravate back pain.
When standing for long time, keep changing the position.
2 tsp juice of AaMbaTcauka + 1 tsp jaggery – 2/day.
Gentle oil massage & hot fomentation.
Hot & Cold spinal bath.
Only hot spinal bath.
Mud pack.

Bad breath

Indian Gooseberry (Amla) contains ascorbic acid which kills bacteria in the mouth. Amla is an ingredient in Triphala Churna

Very bad, foul smell of the mouth in morning or through the day. Bacteria survive on the food remnants in the mouth, stagnant saliva or dead epithelial cells. Sulphur compound are given out which on drying emit foul smell.

Clean the tongue (White layer) properly.
Gargle with home made mouth wash – Add salt in warm water. Add lemon juice to water, Soak Triphala Churna in glass full of water at night gargle with this water without warming.
Brushing twice a day, or even after every meal.
Soak denture, every night in mild antiseptic solution.
Drink plenty of orange juices (No Soda)
Eat plenty of grapes when available in season, During off season, drink dilute Drakshasava 1 tsp + 1 tsp. Water thrice a day.
Keep small piece of nutmeg (जायफळ) in mouth.
Treat yourself for constipation.

Bed sore

Starts as small red spot on skin when one sits or lie in single position for a long long time. Faulty or damaged blood circulation or blood flow causes blisters which break. If not treated in time, the tissue deteriorates deep inside through the fat and muscles finally exposing bone. Diabetic patients are most vulnerable for bed sores.

To avoid bed sores – keep the position changing.
Clean / treat even the slight spot or smallest blisters immediately.
Use air / water beds which distributes weight evenly.
Treat bed sore with bandages soaked in sesame (तीळ) oil.
Eat 6 – 11 servings of whole grain, 2-4 fresh fruits, 3-5 vegetables a day.
Use fish, canola, flaxseed oil (having omega – 3) which lowers blood cholesterol & support blood circulation.
Keep healthy skin absolutely dry.

Bone spurs

White sesame seeds

Calcareous projections formed in heels cause great pain. High heels, faulty sandles damage natural fat pads in sole of feet causing spurs.

During acute pain, apply ice 4-5/day. Keep ice tightly in contact with heel for 10 min.
Gently massage the heel with sesame/mustard oil daily at night. After massage rub the heels with bronze bowl for 15-20 min. Then put feet in lukewarm water for 10 min.
Use supportive, well padded shoes which will function as shock-absorbing pads.


Aloe vera extracts may be helpful in healing wounds

Minor burns can be treated at home. But for any serious (above 15-20%) burns doctor should be contacted immediately.

Immersed burned area in cool water for 5-10 min.
Apply honey on burned area. Honey is a soothing antiseptic.
Apply Aloe vera gel for fast healing process.
After 5-6 days when burned area starts healing, keep the area moist to reduce dryness, itching etc.
Put peel of boiled potatoes on burned area.

Common cold

Ajwain (Carom) seeds may help during cold

Runny nose during monsoon, winter.

Drink plenty of water even when not thirsty. It prevents dehydration.
Gargle with salt water 2-3 times a day.
Add half lemon juice to half or one cup tea add little honey for taste. Drink slowly.
2 black pepper powder to be added in ½ cup warm water, add khandsary – Drink twice a day.
Burn Ajwain (अज्वैन) (Carom seeds) on hot pan. Inhale the smoke for 10 min.
Boil 2 cups water till it reduces to ¼ th cup. Drink at night
½ tspoon salt + 1 tspoon ghee – lick it slowly.
Mix ¼ tspoon turmeric powder in ¼ tspoon jaggery. Eat slowly & then drink ½ cup warm water.


Rose petals reduce heat (pitta) in the body and help treat constipation

Improper & insufficient food intake, faulty life style (Lunch dinner timings, tension etc.) results into very hard stool formation or no stool formation for 2-3 days.

Increase intake of soluble fiber in food e.g. cabbage, spinach, seeds of Tulsi/Sabja (Tulsi seeds)-soaked for 2 hrs., fruits like banana guava etc.
Eat fruits with skin like chikku, Apple, Orange & Sweet lemon with inner thin, peppery skin.
Soak rose petals 2 tsp in 1 cup water. In the morning crush in the same water and eat with little sugar.
6-8 large glasses of water a day is must.
Exercise (lightly) every day like slow walking in the house or stroll in the garden.
Discipline oneself where eating habits & timings are concerned
Hot & cold split bath twice a week.
Light massage on stomach with warm sesame oil in circular motion.
Train your rectal muscles to simulate peristaltic movement. Do not force or pressurize to push out.


Calendula officinalis (Marigold) extracts are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties

Dry, hardened skin cells on the soles.

Rub corn by pumice stone after softening feet by putting in warm water for 10-15 min. After rubbing, dry the feet & massage good moisturizing cream or glycerin on it.
Add calendula tincture 1 tsp in ½ bucket water – soak feet in it for 20-25 min. Do it 1-2 times a week.
Clean the corn. Remove little skin below the corn by clean needle. Apply milky latex of Colotropis (रुई) leaf, twice daily. Corn falls down in 3-4 days.


Liquorice contains Glycyrrhizic acid which has been shown to have antiviral effect

Cough is not a disease but it is a symptom. It is a part of the body's response to infection.

Drink warm water every time.
¼ tsp turmeric powder to be boil in milk. Drink it warm twice a day.
Lick juice of Tulsi or Beetle leaf (विड्याचे पान), mixed in honey.
Add ½ tsp ghee, a pinch of salt in warm water. Drink it at bedtime.
Make decoction of 1 white large onion + little ginger in 2 cups water. Add little honey & drink warm.
Keep mouth wet by keeping Liquorice (ज्येष्ठमध), or clove (लवंग) in mouth.


Loose motions due to contaminated food, allergy etc.

Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) suggested by World Health Organization (WHO) must be started immediately – Water (boiled & cooled) 1 glass, Sugar/Jaggery – 2 tsp, A pinch of salt & baking soda – Drink it very slowly – 1 sip after every 10-15 min.
Eat bland carbohydrate diet such as rice, bread, boiled & mashed potatoes. Spicy, sour or very sweet food should be avoided for 1-2 days. Better fast for 2 days.
1 tsp lemon juice + 1 tsp ghee – Drink after every 3 hrs.
Drink 2 tsp juice of onion every 30 –45 min.
Roast nutmeg powder on fry pan. Add equal quantity of jaggery. Make small pills (pea shaped). Eat 1 after every 20 min.

Dry hands

Drink 6-8 large glasses of water through out the day.
Skip or avoid completely alcohol, sodas, carbonated drinks, tobacco, smoking, very sweet food.
Use good moisturizer on hands & skin after bathing or washing hands. Home made moisturizers – glycerine, ghee, petroleum jelly with rose water.

Ear aches

Interior of coconut fruit

Infection, accumulated, dried wax cause the pain.

Warm (slightly) juice of Tulsi leaves & put in affected ear.
Put 5-6 drops of coconut/mustard oil in affected ear daily
Don’t use cotton swab very often to clean ear from inside.
Hot water bag / heating pad should be used to increase the temperature of outer ear.
Don’t clean the nostrils forcefully.


Different types of skin out-breaks like red blisters, scaly, brownish, thickened, itchy skin on hands, face, neck, folds of elbows & knees etc.

Always keep the affected skin moisturized by any moisturizers.
Use medicated soap for bathing & cleaning.
Do not use very hot water for bathing.
Avoid artificial fragrance in perfumes, soaps etc.
Use whole milk (preferably raw) to clean hands & face
Massage with til oil, wash with warm water & then apply mud pack on affected area.
Massage affected hands with til oil. Put both the hands in warm water (3 min) & then in cold water (1 min) alternately for 3 times. Then apply mud pack.
Massage with krMja tola + camphor (a pinch)


Black pepper corns growing in Kerala

Indigestion, heaviness in stomach, burping etc.

Stop immediately drinking any carbonated drink and fermented food like idly, dosa, dhokla etc.
Avoid or stop temporarily drinking milk or eating milk products like cheese ice-creams etc. With the age production of enzyme lactase which breaks down or digest milk decreases.
Stop eating beans which have thick hard to digest coat or coverings like kDvao vaala
Mix 1 tsp Tulsi juice + little ghee – Drink twice a day.
Mix lemon juice, ginger juice & add rock salt – lick slowly after lunch / dinner.
Roast ajwain (Carom seeds) lightly on pan & chew a little, gulp with warm water.
Eat & drink slowly. When you eat or rink rapidly; you swallow air.
Roast asafoetida (हिंग) in ghee. Add little of it in warm water & drink slowly.
Cook black pepper in jaggery & eat.


Accumulation of uric acid in toes, thumb, fingers etc. causing great pain.

Stop completely drinking alcohol. Fermenting bacteria release urea & uric acid in digestive system.
Avoid eating, purine – rich food like organ meat e.g. chicken/mutton liver, Brain etc. shell fish like oysters, roast pork, sardines
1/4th tsp baking soda + little honey – three times a day.
Drink ½ cup juice of ripe tomato or ripe grape fruit (पपनस) at night daily.


High fibre foods with lots of grains and vegetables is good for hemorrhoids

Bleeding piles are due to swollen veins in & around anus & rectum. Prolonged sitting, constipation, hand & dry stool cause swelling.

Increase intake of dietary fiber in daily food such as fruits with skins – chikku, apple, guava etc., vegetables, such as cabbage, leafy vegetables, whole grain food like roti, भाकरी Avoid refined food like maida, bread etc.
Add 1 tsp Harde (हरिताकी, Myrobalan, Terminalia chebula) powder to 1 cup warm water or milk & drink at night.
Drink plenty of water & exercise lightly.
Take bath while sitting once or twice a day with warm water.
Avoid hot, spicy food completely.
Eat two bananas in the morning or orange thrice a day.
Apply sesame oil on hemorrhoid after washing.
Mix juice of ½ lemon in ½ cup milk & drink immediately.
Eat yam (रताळे) daily or dry thin slices of yam. Powder it. Mix 1 tsp powder in 1 cup cows milk, add sugar & drink.

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Title Home remedies for common health problems Article is on this general topic Indigenous practices Author Daya Tilwe
Specific location(s) where study was conducted Navi Mumbai General region where study was conducted Mumbai State where study was conducted Maharashtra
Institutional affiliation ICLES College Institution located at Navi Mumbai Institution based around Mumbai
Species Group Not noted User ID User:Not noted Page creation date 2011/09/04

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