Ethnomedicine/Home Remedies/D - F

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Dancing[edit]

Dance can be done individually or with company

Dance Therapy can be very soothing and realigning you with your emotions. This is one of the greatest ways to relieve Stress or even lose weight. There are Dance Therapists you could go to, but there is no need. You put on some fun music with a beat and let your body move. How long you dance depends on you. If you are really down, you could dance for like thirty to forty minutes. Sometimes just a quick ten minute break is all that is needed. It doesn't matter if you are good or bad. The movement is just to be a break from this busy world. You bodies movements tell you mind how your body is feeling. Like jumping up and down tells your mind it is happy. If you do not express your emotions, you could become even more stressed. To make this even more fun, you could invite a couple friends. One problem is if you have any health problems with moving such as arthritis that putting too much stress on joints would effect, you may want to consult your doctor. Dancing was also commonly used in African society by the medicine men and some Native American societies.

Dandelion[edit]

Dandelion

The term dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) comes from the French term meaning "tooth of a lion," referring to the shape of the flowers lobes. Native Americans use dandelion tonics as a means for maintaining an all-around healthy state. These tonics are made by steeping a small handful of leaves into one cup of hot water. Half the tonic is to be drank in the morning and the remaining half in the evening. Depending on the desired effects, tonics can be made milder by using young dried leaves, or stronger by using young, green leaves. Depending on the strength, these dandelion teas can be used as a stimulant, diuretic, or a means to relieve stomach cramps. Dandelion leaves also serve as a good source of vitamin A.

Dandruff[edit]

Dandruff is the excessive shedding of your head's skin cells. It can happen to anyone at any age but mostly occurs between the ages of 12 and 80. There are internal and external causes of dandruff. The internal causes are hormonal imbalance, poor health, poor hygiene, allergic hypersensitive, lack of rest, emotional stress, excessive consumption of sugar, fat and starch, improper nutrition and hereditary predisposition. External causes are excessive uses of hairspray or gels, improper use of hair coloring products or excessive use of hot curlers or curling irons, cold weather and dry indoor heating, stress and anxiety, and infrequent shampooing of hair or inadequate rinsing of scalp and hair.

With all of those causes there must be something you can do. Dandruff shampoo is the answer. There is no right or wrong when it comes to dandruff shampoo, if it works for you, then it works. When using a product it is recommended that it is used continually. When the shampoo is not used the dandruff will return. Thorough cleansing and rinsing of the scalp and hair will keep flakes at bay for up to three days. It takes the scalp three days to make a new batch of flakes. Continued use of a dandruff shampoo that works for you will keep the flakes away.

Dark Chocolate[edit]

Dark chocolate helps to prevent and also improves iron levels in the blood. This is especially beneficial for people that are anemic. Dark Chocolate should only be consumed in moderate amounts such as roughly an ounce of dark chocolate a day. The iron in this will help keep the iron levels high in one's blood stream and also doesn't taste bad like iron pills. Depending on the severity of the disease, dark chocolate alone cannot cure the disease but is meant to assist. Remember to take into account not to eat the chocolate in excess because of over indulgence and also keep in mind that other supplements such as iron pills work more efficiently. Traditionally this is used by the Western Society.


Distilled Spirits[edit]

Though the used of hard liquor as a remedy may be frowned upon by some traditionalists or puritans, there are many who will swear by its advantageous properties. Alcohol has a history of use for both pain relief and the sterilization of medical instruments. Although it may only be a temporary solution, there are few remedies that will alleviate a hangover better than alcohol itself. Another use, though not as widely known is the combination of alcohol and spicy food to "sweat out" a fever.Alcohol is used for these purposes as well as many others world wide, but traditionally it has seen the most use in Western cultures.

Doc Leaves (Rumex obtusifolia)[edit]

The best cure for being stung by stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) is to find a 'Doc' leaf which when rubbed against the affected area eases the pain caused by the stinging nettle. The nettle releases acid onto your skin which swells the surface and causes pain and itching. The amount of 'Doc' leaves needed to stop the pain and swelling is dependent on the area that has been stung but on average one large leaf should be enough. The 'Doc' leaf should work almost straight away. There are no risks associated with this and even without a 'Doc' leaf the effects of the nettle should subside on their own. This remedy for stinging nettles is used mainly in Western cultures, this is because it is most commonly found in Western cultures. Doc leaves usually grow near stinging nettles, this accounts for the natural antidote to one of its neighboring weeds.

Drinking Backwards[edit]

A great cure for hiccups that is used is drinking water from a cup backwards. In other words, drink from the opposite edge of the cup, instead of the closest edge. This involves bending forward funny, but has been found to discontinue hiccups. It is only necessary to use while you have the hiccups, but occasionally more than one time is necessary. Just be careful, it can get messy the first time, but if you have hiccups often, you will become experienced at this, and it is not as complicated as the water-pencil trick. A possible medical explanation may have to do with its qualities of distraction.

Drinking Water Upside-Down[edit]

Another effective cure for curing hiccups is drinking water upside-down. If you get a mouth full of water, then get into a hand stand position, then drink the water while you are upside down it is a good way to get rid of hiccups. Generally after one time the hiccups should be cured, but one downfall of this method is that sometimes the water goes down wrong and you may start to choke. This remedy is effective because it distracts you from the hiccups and when you are thinking about something else, it causes them to go away.

Drinking Water With Nose and Ears Plugged[edit]

An effective way to cure the hiccups is through drinking water like most ways but with a twist. While drinking you should plug your nose and your ears. It's a mix between holding your breath and drinking water and can be very tricky. A tip is to plug your ears with your thumbs, plug your nose with your pointer fingers and use the rest of your fingers to balance the glass. Drink as much as you can until you are out of breath. This usually works with the first use but may need to be repeated.

Dryer Sheets[edit]

Dryer sheets don't just remove static from clothes but they can also remove static cling from hair. When having a bad hair day rub the dryer sheet over the part of your hair you want fix and it should remove friz fast and effectively.

Duct Tape[edit]

Duct tape has many uses, one of which is for removing warts. Many people simply cut a small square of all purpose duct tape and leave in place for a week. It falls off from time to time so just re-apply as many times as are necessary. After the end of the week the tape is removed, then soaked in water and scrubbed with an emery board or pumice stone. Leave the tape off for the night and then repeat this cycle as many times as are needed. This can take up to two months although it is usually finished after the first month. There may be slight irritation on the skin but is nothing serious and will go away when the treatment is complete.


This is a nice home remedy because much outside help is not needed and it quickly takes care of your warts. By using the simple steps described above you can get rid of a wart in a matter of a few weeks or days, rather than years. Since a wart is an infection that thrives on wetness, another good way to speed of the process of removal is to change the tape often and make sure it stays as dry as possible. Duct tape is a good way to take care of warts because warts are usually in easy access tape areas such as feet or hands.

Cling duct tape.jpg

Ear Candling[edit]

A candle.

Ear candling, also known as ear coning, is a therapeutic technique developed to help cleanse the ear canal and clear congestion. It began about 3,000 years ago with the Egyptians who would coat reeds with wax to purify themselves before ceremonies and rites of passage. This practice has moved into the American Indian and South American cultures but have some differences between them all due to availability of materials. In the United States an 11-inch long hollow beeswax and cotton candle is used by placing the larger cone-like end on the outside of the patients ear. After lighting the candle, it is said that the heat creates a vacuum which extracts toxins and excess earwax (cerumen) from the ear canal that otherwise could have clogged the ear, sinus, and throat areas. The process usually takes about ten minutes per candle and the practitioner will know the time is up when the candle is about two inches tall. A full treatment will take around 45 minutes because sometimes up to two candles are used per ear. Some say that after an ear candling procedure has been performed you can cut the candle in half and actually see the toxins in powder form and the wax that was released from the ear. A lot of controversy surrounds this practice because there have not been significant medical tests that prove the benefits claimed by some manufacturers and patients. Many people swear by this technique and claim they feel a huge positive change in themselves after having it done. Western medicine generally does not support ear candling and instead focuses primarily on the risks involved. The dangers are all fairly similar to each other: ash from the burning candle falling into the ear, hot wax dripping onto the outer ear, or worse, hot wax falling onto the ear drum. Any of these risks can lead to immense pain, infection, an ear clogged with candle wax, or in rare cases, hearing loss due to hot wax dripping onto the ear drum. To minimize your risks, you should always see a licensed practitioner who is fully trained in ear candling.

Earache[edit]

Earaches are incredibly painful and can be caused by mild infection or a change in altitude. The most common symptoms are ear pain and fever. They usually last for 1-2 weeks, but may last longer and become chronic. There are a few ways to seek relief from the pain of an earache. One solution is to sooth the ear with warm air from a hairdryer (make sure it is on the warm setting, not the hot setting). Another solution is to puncture a piece of garlic and put the juice into the ear. This helps the pain because garlic has a natural antibiotic. If the earache is a result of altitude change you should chew gum or yawn to relieve pain. Swimming may also be the cause of an earache. If this is the case, put some mineral oil in the ear before going in the water.

Warm Oil[edit]

Another way to sooth the ear is to poor warmed oil baby oil into the ear. This sooths the pain.

You can also use Ear Oils

Egg Yolk[edit]

Yellow Egg Yolk

Teenagers and adults alike suffer from acne. The surface of one’s skin contains millions of pores. These pores have the potential to be filled with dirt, oils or bacteria. As bacteria builds up, such forms of acne as blackheads or zits are formed. Acne can be both painful, socially unattractive and can leave behind heavy scarring to the face and body. Doctors have gone through great lengths to find a way to both prevent and heal existing acne. However, these treatments can take an extended amount of time to see results and can be quite costly.

If time and money does not allow, a simple at home remedy can be preformed to heal an outbreak of acne on the face. The origin of this remedy is unknown; however it has been practiced in the US for several generations. Before going to bed for the night, one should wash their face with a facial soap and water. Next, one should crack open an egg and separate the white egg yolk from the yellow egg yolk. The yellow yolk should then be applied to the surface of the face, excluding the eyes and mouth. Contact to such areas could be potentially harmful, so be sure to rinse well with water if such contact does occur. One should allow the yolk to dry on the skin until it becomes tight and crinkly. This will take between ten to fifteen minutes. Do not be alarmed. The skin will feel very tight and itchy. After the yolk is dried, one should rinse the egg yolk from the face with water and dab the face dry with a towel. In the morning, one should wash the face with soap to take off any remaining residue. Within two to three days of this procedure, one will notice an improved complexion. Preform treatment however, long needed. If face becomes red or irritated, don't use as frequently.

Eggplant[edit]

Closely allied to the potato, eggplant requires a warm climate to be grown in and is seen in eastern and southern Asia, as well as the United States. It is a fair source of potassium, iron, and protein, but the main benefit of eggplant is its high fiber content. The high amount of fiber helps digestive function and lowers the risk of coronary heart disease. Eggplant has also been seen beneficial in treating uterine tumors. Although it is not common for eggplant to be eaten routinely, its effects are positive to any diet.

Emergen-C[edit]

Emergen-C is a “Flavored fizzy drink mix” that includes 32 mineral complexes and 7 mineral ascorbates that help boost energy and prevent illnesses such as the common cold. It is to be taken two to four times a day mixed in a glass with four to six ounces of water. The group that this supplement is prevalent in would be people who are concerned about their health or people who get sick a lot and want to prevent another illness. Emergen-C also serves as an antioxidant, helps prevent heart disease, works as a natural antihistamine, and is thought to help protect smokers or people who have been exposed to second hand smoke. Not to mention it is said to cure hang overs! ...It's perfect for college students. Emergency has recently become a popular supplement in Western society.


Emu Oil[edit]

Emu oil is useful as a topical remedy. When applied to a sprain shortly after it is acquired, emu oil will greatly reduce the amount of swelling and bruising that occurs. Used to treat insect bites, it calms the burning/itching sensation. It has also been shown to ease the pain of arthritis. This is because it has anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been used to reduce skin wrinkles, moisturize dry skin, and have applications as a scalp treatment for dandruff. It is very apt to enter the skin, so many other products for skin care are mixed with it to capitalize on this property.

Applied directly, 2-3 times a day in a moderate amount, one should see positive results when using it as an anti-inflammatory, such as less pain, reduction in swelling, and faster healing time for bruises. About a drop of emu oil will cover an area the size of the back of a hand, so generally one doesn't need a lot to serve the purpose. It can also be applied in a bath, by adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon to the water and soaking for as long as is desired. When used for cosmetic skin care, it is usually found in other products, but would only need to be applied once daily if using pure emu oil to treat wrinkles.

Use of emu oil originated with Australian Aborigines. It contains linolenic acid, which is know to ease joint pain, and oleic acid, which works as a local anti-inflammatory on the skin.

English Breakfast Tea[edit]

English Breakfast Tea made from Eucalyptus leaves is readily available at any grocery store. It has many natural antioxidants but I have found it is extremely effective at soothing a sore throat. Prepared hot with milk and honey it is a good tasting drink perfect for helping out the common cold.


Epsom Salt Bath[edit]

Epsom salt bath is a home remedy for soars, blisters and splinters, and other open wounds. To prepare this remedy, just fill a large container up with warm water and Epsom salts and soak a wound in it. This should feel relaxing and relieve some pain. Soaking these sorts of wounds in Epsom salts can help to fight infection, and also soften up any foreign bodies inhabiting the wound. Epsom salt can also help out your immune system in fighting any bacteria or disease that may have infected you. If you soak an open wound at least once a day for at least 15 minutes, wounds heal faster, look better and seem to get less infected. There is really no downside to doing this too much, other than waterlogged appendages, and wasting time, both of which are non serious conditions. This remedy was learned by my mother studding at Bastyr Naturopathic University, and has been long practices in alternative medicine.

Epsom salt baths are also used to relax sore muscles. Simply pour two cups of epsom salts into a warm bath and soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Soaking in Epsom Salts is one of the best ways to restore Magnesium to the body. One of the most abundant and important minerals in the body is Magnesium. It relaxes the muscles and restores them after physical activity, regulates all 237 hormones and fuels all electrical processes. Suggested is a hot bath with 4 lbs. Epsom Salts for 20-30 minutes weekly.

Eucalyptus[edit]

Eucalyptus flowers

Eucalyptus is a tree native to all parts of Australia, the leaves of which are used to make Eucalyptus Oils. Eucalyptus has been used as a mouthwash, tick repellent, headache alleviator and most commonly as a decongestant. Eucalyptus Oil is often an ingredient in nonprescription cold medicines, but should never be taken orally by itself. Instead of ingesting eucalyptus, the most effective way to reap its benefits is using eucalyptus oils in the form of aromatherapy. In this use, the mere scent of eucalyptus opens sinuses, making breathing much smoother. Breathing eucalyptus clears the entire head almost immediately and is said to induce a feeling of calm or relaxation. Aromatherapy use of eucalyptus provides temporary relief of decongestion, but is not a cure and should not be treated as one. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate the use of herbs, so one should be careful of how much Eucalyptus they use and watch very carefully for side effects. Negative effects include skin rash, worsening of asthma and a lowering of blood sugar levels. Eucalyptus should never be ingested orally because it can lead to nausea, internal bleeding, seizures and even death. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid contact with eucalyptus because of its toxicity.

Evening Primrose Oil to prevent PMS[edit]

Evening primrose is an attractive herb that grows in mild climate of North American and Europe as well as many other areas of the world with similar climates. Evening primrose oil contains substantial amounts of polysaturated omega-6 fatty acids, essential fatty acids (EFA’s) which are needed by the body to regulate a number of activities including insulin utilization, heart function, and mood. Since the body does not produce EFA’s, they must be ingested through proper diet or supplementation. Evening primrose oil may help to relieve pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), symptoms of menopause, and breast pain due to hormonal changes during menstruation. Supplementary GLA, such as is supplied by evening primrose oil, appears to relieve some PMS symptoms. However to relieve PMS symptoms Evening Primrose Oil must be taken daily at least three weeks prior to menstrual cycle, and must be taken daily until you wish to quit taking this supplement. Most experts have recommended 3000 to 6000 mg of Evening Primrose Oil per day.

Exfoliation[edit]

Exfoliation is a form of skin treatment that helps remove dull, dead skin cells, polishes the skin and promotes the penetration of other skin products such as lotion. Exfoliation helps treat dull or dry skin by using the fingers or an applicator to use physical friction and pressure to slough off dead skin cells. An exfoliating ingredient such as crushed oyster shells, apricot pits or even cornmeal is used. Exfoliation should not be used on acne or fragile skin-types, as it may lead to irritation. Exfoliation should also not be used too often as it can cause the skin to callous; 2-3 times a week is the general rule. Exfoliation has been used all over the world for centuries to treat dull skin.

Eye Cup[edit]

One would use an eye cup to get rid of any unwanted bacteria buildup within the eyelid. Sty are common throughout the world. It is an infection or inflammation of the secretory glands of the eyelids. This common infection or inflammation results from blocked glands within the eyelid. When the gland is blocked, the oil produced by the gland occasionally gets backed up and forms a lump, which can be red and painful. The eye cup can be used to clean out the eye and wash out the glands. The idea is to use the cup 3-4 times daily with warm (NOT HOT) water mixed with a little bit of sulphur. Blink as many times as possible for about 45 seconds. This remedy is very common within Hispanic culture.

Fennel[edit]

Fennel, its formal name is Foeniculum Vulgare. Fennel is native to southern Europe, namely the Mediterranean. Fennel is used for infants and small children in order to cure colic, croup or gas. It is also used for congestion, bronchitis, and asthma. It can be commonly found as an ingredient in cold medicines. For a woman who is nursing it can be used to increase the flow of breast milk, for woman in general it can be used to increase breast size. Also, commonly used for better breath. Much cheaper than breath mints and has many more health benefits.--Rotter 00750682 3/10

Fenugreek[edit]

Fenugreek, its formal name being Trigonella foenum-graecum, which translates to three angled Greek hay. Fenugreek is native to the Europe and Asia areas and was commonly used by the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. It is now commonly cultivated in India, Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and a little in England. This seed could easily be considered a cure-all due to the multitude of ills that it can prevent or cure whether externally or internally. Externally the paste of fenugreek seed, which is made by mixing 1oz of fenugreek with 1 pint of water, can be used to treat abscesses, boils, carbuncles, and other skin issues of that ilk. Internally fenugreek seed has been known to treat bronchitis, fevers, sore throats, swollen glands, diabetes, ulcers, and even cancer. One will see fenugreek more commonly used as a digestive aid, as a way to promote lactation, and as an aphrodisiac. It has also been found to lower blood glucose levels in lab tests done with animals. Fenugreek can easily be taken through out the day due to the fact that the crushed seed has a maple-like flavor that can be slipped into one’s favorite cookie recipe or the jelly of their peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But be careful how much is consumed. Fenugreek is used as a laxative in some cases and shouldn’t be taken in too large of amounts right away. So, when using fenugreek seed one should start with a small amount and logically progress from there until they find the amount that is right for their body’s comfort level. Rotter 00750682 3/11

Ferns[edit]

Fern the Remedy

A plant common to the US and Europe, and more specifically the Pacific Northwest is the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica). It is a green, weed-like plant. It has a slender stem, with thin leaves and in the summer time it buds flowers. It generally grows to be about 2 to 4 feet in height and its leaves and stem are covered in tiny hairs. At first glance these plants may seem harmless, but anyone who has ever brushed up against one knows the pain and discomfort that follows. Upon touching the plant, one receives a sharp sting; equivalent to a bee sting. When human skin makes contact with the nettle, tiny hollow hairs break off of the plant, releasing formic acid and histamine. These irritating chemicals are what causes the little white itchy bumps, or stings on the skin. There can be multiple stings, depending on how much contact was made with the plant. Without treatment, this pain can last several hours to days. However there is a very accessible cure for stinging nettle.

Patch of Stinging Nettles

If one does not have access to creams, there is a quick and natural remedy that can be obtained with ferns, such as the Western Sword Fern and the Deer fern. They have been used for several years to ease the pain of stinging nettle bumps. Conveniently these ferns are also native to the Pacific Northwest. To stop the nettle irritation simply break off a fern leaf and rub the underside of it directly on the stinging area. The fern spores will neutralize the sting and relief the pain. This treatment can be repeated every so often until the sting subsides. However, a fresh leaf must be used with every application. Another method, that can be applied using the Western Sword Fern, is to detach one stem from the base of fern. The inside of the stem contains a juicy substance. This substance should be rubbed over the whole infected area. A quick soothing sensation will soon settle in, contrasting to the burning effects of a nettle sting. The origins of both these fern remedies are unknown, but can be used in places where the Stinging Nettle and specific fern type grow in the same environment.

Feverfew[edit]

Feverfew...

Feverfew is beneficial in the treatment of migraine headaches. Should be taken regularly (every 4-6 hours) by chewing the leaves. There are precautions to take when using feverfew. Feverfew should not be used during pregnancy because of the stimulant action on the womb. The fresh leaves may cause mouth ulcers in sensitive people. It can be found growing on rocky slopes, walls, waste places and a weed of gardens. It is native to south-Eastern Europe and Asia.

Foods to Prevent Hangovers[edit]

A hangover is a nasty consequence of too much alcohol. It has been suggested/recommended that after a long night of over indulgence to eat something sweet (such as a cookie, donut, ice cream, etc.) right before bed. In the morning, you shouldn't experience the terrible symptoms (headache, nausea) associated with a hangover. The amount you consume depends on the person and how you are feeling. This method works for some people but is not guaranteed for everyone, considering that everyone experiences hangovers quite differently or not at all. This home remedy is usually used by a wide variety of ages--from college students to middle aged adults. This method was passed down to the writer from their family.

There are some other easy remedies for hangovers. One thing to do before going to sleep is to drink a lot of water. One of the main reasons of a hang over is the dehydration from lack of water. Drinking water can take away a lot of the nausea and the headache away in the morning. Another way to eliminate the sickness is to eat a lot of bread before drinking. The bread will absorb some of the alcohol making is less hard for the body. Not only does this eliminate the hangover a lot of the time, but it is a good prevention of alcohol poisoning which could kill you.

Foot Soaks[edit]

Foot Soaks are used within Western societies to cure ingrown toenails. You are supposed to soak your foot for 15 minutes, this will soften the skin around your nail.

Four in One[edit]

Many people are aware of the benefits of tea: it contains herbs and natural stimulus that are helpful and it can help with sore throats or congestion. There are four main ways tea can be used to heal all using the same cup of tea. The first is that the vapors can be used by being breathed in to break up congestion in the nose and chest. The vapors make the nose drain so that the bacteria are forced to come out instead of staying in the body.This is effectively used by having the sick person sitting so that their head is over the tea cup and can sometimes be used by draping a towel over the head so that the vapors are not allowed to escape as easily. The person should breathe in the vapors for 5-10 minutes. The second is that the hot cup can be applied to the chest giving a warm compress and allowing the chest to break up the mucus as well. Be sure that the cup is not too hot before applying it to the skin. If it is, try wrapping in a towel. The third is that the tea can be drank helping sore throats and also providing caffeine to help with headache. Finally, the tea bags themselves can be applied to inflamed lymph nodes on the face or throat to help with the swelling and the help in the breakup of mucus as well.They should be applied for 5-10 minutes. This method works best with a tea such as black, earl gray, or peppermint. Also, honey can be added to the tea (be sure to remove the tea bags first) to add to the medicinal healing of the tea. This home remedy is used in many parts of the country and all over the world owing to the fact that tea is readily available around the globe and has been used as a healing substance for thousands of years. The sick person can use this method as much as they like, until the congestion and sore throat subside.

Frozen Spoon[edit]

Somehow hickey’s seem to appear when they are least wanted, including activities such as prom pictures, dinner out with the parents or even church. Hickey’s can be hard to cover up with make-up, but by applying a frozen spoon to the hickey you can reduce and size and visibility of it. Place a spoon in the freezer for 12 minutes, remove and apply to the hickey for five minutes and then off for five minutes. Repeat this for 30 minutes or until the spoon warms up again. I would recommend doing this once a day for two days. There are no risks associated with using a frozen spoon to reduce the visibility and size of a hickey. Using a frozen spoon as a remedy against hickeys can be used on anyone, any age suffering from an embarrassing hickey. This remedy is most known in the western culture.