Ethnomedicine/Disease Prevention Practices/Disease Prevention Practices G-J

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Garlic and Mustard Seed[edit]

Back in the day, it was common to wear garlic and mustard seed (with a few other spices) around one's neck as a method of preventing colds. It is true that those with more garlic in their diets tend to contract fewer colds, only now the garlic is incorporated into the everyday diet. However, back in the early to mid 1900s, it was more common to see people wearing little bags around their necks as a means of preventing colds.


Drinking two glasses of Gatorade will cure headache pain almost immediately, especially heachaches resulting from dehydration or fatigue. It is also said that sniffing peppermint in combination with drinking Gatorade will have an even better effect. This combination is said to balance electrolytes and reduce inflammation of the meninges due to dehydration. A headache due to imbalanced blood sugar levels may also be reduced through drinking gatorade. This practice is associated with American culture and is well known among non-convention medical practitioners.

Ginger Root[edit]

Ginger Root is used to cure nausea and stomach cramps. It is also good for preventing ulcers. When humans get stressed or are not receiving enough calcium in their diets, the mucus membrane in the stomach erodes away. When the stomach's mucus lining has been eroded the harsh acids in the stomach slowly burn through the tissues of the stomach wall. To prevent this from happening, small pieces of ginger root are eaten after every meal. Eating of the ginger root after a meal not only helps digestion but helps protect the mucus membrane of the stomach walls. Western society uses this root as a prevention against ulcers as an alternative to prescription medicines.


Ginseng roots in a market in Korea.

Ginseng is used in the traditional medicine of Chinese Culture to keep the immune system alive and improve blood circulation. This aids the body in preventing disease and illness, as well as keeping the skin looking smooth and youthful. A common way of digesting ginseng is to make it into soup. Using a medium to large sized pot, boil 3 oz of ginseng, 1 lb of lean pork, and 36 oz of water for 2 hours. For best results, drink 1 full rice bowl of the soup (about 1 ½ cups) twice a month. This soup is also a good remedy to curing a sore throat.

Glass of Red Wine[edit]

Drinking a glass of red wine every day or drinking red wine in moderate consumption may help to protect against certain cancers, heart disease, and can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Most of the pathogens that threaten humans are inhibited or killed off by the acids and alcohol in wine. Wine is a mild natural tranquilizer, serving to reduce anxiety and tension. As part of a normal diet, wine provides the body with energy, with substances that aid digestion, and with small amounts of minerals and vitamins. It can also stimulate the appetite. In addition, wine serves to restore nutritional balance, relieve tension, sedate and act as a mild euphoric agent to the convalescent and especially the aged. This method of disease prevention should only used if one is the age of 21 and older.


Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is commoly derived from shellfish. It is a precursor for glycosaminoglycans, which make up a major part of cartilage in joints. Glucosamine is usually used for the treatment of osteoarthritis because it helps to rebuild cartilage and treats arthritis. It can also be taken as a preventative precaution.

Glucosamine appears safe, even though it is often derived from shellfish. It is not, however, made from the flesh of the shellfish, but rather the shell itself where the allergen is not carried.

Green Tea[edit]

The use of Green Tea can help prevent cancer and heart disease, it can also help increase fat oxidation and raise metabolism. If taken daily, it is thought that a person’s overall well-being can be improved as well. Both green and black tea have been shown to increase the body’s antioxidant activity by up to 45 percent. Some studies have shown that drinking green tea is linked to preventing cancer because it contains EGCG which interferes with the enzyme that is related to spreading cells through the body. This can help prevent any further growth of a tumor. In addition, green tea may help burn fat and lower the body’s cholesterol. It may also help break down plaque on artery walls as well as improve blood flow. All of these factors can help prevent heart disease. Asians tend to favor green tea. Although the origin is not known, the brewing of green tea can be traced back to over 4000 years ago in China. It is produced from steamed and dried leaves. Green tea is a wonderful way to enhance a person’s health, and consuming it daily can have many health benefits with minimal negative side effects. The only known negative side effect is that green tea contains large amounts of caffeine, consuming too much caffeine can lead to nausea, frequent urination, and insomnia.

Not only can you drink Green Tea for health benefits, but in the Western society tea bags are also used to help prevent dark circles and wrinkles under ones eye. All one needs to do is brew two tea bags, let them cool and then use them as a compress for ten minutes on each eye. Using caffeinated tea bags can also help prevent puffiness under the eyes.

Hand Washing[edit]

Hand Washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of disease and infection. In a single day a person is likely to touch hundreds of different people and objects which may or may not be contaminated with various germs (germs are microbes such as viruses and bacteria). If any of these people or objects are contaminated with germs, the person who touched them will become contaminated with these same germs. The contaminated person will then become highly susceptible to disease.

A good way to prevent this from happening is through the practice of regular hand washing. The best times for hand washing are before the eating or touching of food, after using the bathroom, after blowing the nose or coughing, after touching pets and other animals, after completing outdoor activities, and after being in contact with a sick person. There are other times when hand washing is necessary and appropriate; however, these few are the most important to remember.

Good hand washing practices include using warm water and soap, creating a lather that covers the hands from the fingertips to the wrists, rinsing again with warm water, and drying with a clean towel. A person only need wash their hands for about fifteens seconds (about the time it takes to sing the ABC's) in order to take full advantage of the benefits. Following are a few risks that are associated with hand washing. Excessive hand washing may lead to the drying and cracking of the skin. Excessively heated or cooled water could cause burns, frostbite, or other injury. And finally, the use of antibacterial soap as opposed to regular soap may lead to the development of soap resistant strains of disease and infection.

In general, hand washing is a safe way to stay healthy and avoid the contraction and/or spread of disease.

Hang over Prevention[edit]

Water, also known as H20 is a vital component of human life, and about 70% of the human body is composed of it. Most physicians will tell people to drink 8-10 glasses of water each day, which is equivalent to 2 liters of water. A common use of water in a college lifestyle is to make sure one is fully hydrated before going out and drinking. Another way water can prevent a hangover, is if the inebriated person drinks a few glasses of water before finally falling asleep. There are no risks associated with the preventative practice but neither are there any guaranties.

After a long night of drinking one may feel that they should "pass out" and go to bed. Going to bed drunk can be the cause of a bad hangover. Compared to while awake, your metabolism while sleeping is considerably slower. This means that your body is not processing the alcohol that is in your blood, this can cause you to wake up “hung-over.” As enticing your bed sounds after a night of hard drinking, it is in your best interest to stay up that extra amount of time to prevent a hangover.

Although it may be unappetizing to think about eating something when you are hungover, it is important to get something in your stomach if you can hold it down. The best case scenario would be to eat something before going to bed or after waking up. Your best bet is something like honey on a piece of toast. Simple sugars (honey) will increase the rate at which your body processes alcohol, and simple carbohydrates (bread) will lessen an overly acidic stomach.


Helmets are a great way to reduce the risk of head injury. The risk of head injury may be present in anyone who is mentally handicapped, experiencing severe dizziness or loss of balance, skateboarding, rollerblading, playing paintball, flying, doing construction, in law enforcement, in warfare, in outer space, performing stunts, skydiving, bobsledding, sports, or anyone on a moving vehicle.

Helmets are often specialized for the activity in which they are being used, but generally they have a hard outer-shell, a soft padding below the hard shell to reduce the force of impact, and a strap to help secure the helmet to the head.

Helmets can also come equipped with a wired mask such as in football or a hard screen as in hockey, to protect the face from injury as well.

Herbs and plants[edit]

Used throughout India to help cure diseases and to help prevent these diseases. Over 200 varieties herbs and plants are currently used in Indian culture and it is a huge part of their ethnomedicine practices. Indian Culture

Himalayan Goji Juice[edit]

Himalayan Goji Berry Juice: The goji berry grows from the plant Lycium Barbarum, which can be found in parts of China, Tibet and Mongolia. It started in the Himalayan’s, and this knowledge was taught to the Chinese The goji berry has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and it is just recently that scientist found what is so effective about the goji berry. First, the goji berry has 4 types of polysaccharides, 19 different amino acids which are the building blocks of protein, more vitamin c than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots as well as many other appealing characteristics. With all that the berry has to offer, it has been shown to prevent different types of cancer, osteoporosis, to lower blood pressure as well as many other things. It is also known for its anti ageing effects.

It is recommended to drink about 2 ounces of goji berry juice a day, and there have been no known side effects of drinking more than that. The price of the juice is a bit much though.


Humidifiers can be used to treat the common cold but they can also be used to prevent them. Putting the humidifier on daily will moisturize the air making more humidity lessening the dryness of the house. Dryness may cause dry skin and dry throats. Humidifiers are most effective during the winter when the climate is dry and the humidity is exceptionally low. Low humidity can make the temperature feel lower than it actually is causing colds. There are no risks with humidifiers being daily and is most popular in western societies.


Handmade soap used for hands and body.

General hygiene is a very popular form of disease prevention in Western Culture. Basic hygiene has become an engrained part of the daily routine of most Western societies. The basic practices of teeth brushing, hand washing showering and washing your face are among the many practices that Western cultures practice. These help prevent a variety of illnesses such as tooth aches, tooth discoloration, acne, the spreading of viruses and illnesses such as the common cold. Hygiene has even become a social norm, with various products aimed at personal hygiene such as deodorant and anti-presperant, perfumes and colognes, and many variants of soaps and fragranted goods to help cover foul bodily smells or prevent them from occurring.

Immune System Training[edit]

Immune System Training is a practice useful in protecting oneself against many common contagious diseases. The basic premise is the same as that of athletic training. When we want our bodies to perform well we don't simply let them lie idle, we prepare by simulating the activity desired. Why not do the same for the immune system? We can't expect our immune system to cope with germs if we are constantly avoiding them or adverse physical conditions if we are constantly in comfort. The human bodies ability to adapt is amazing, so use it. Eat off of that dirty fork, don't wash your hands all of the time, get a little bit of hypothermia, and don't tend to every little malidy as if it were life threatening. The minor negative effects in the present are a small price to pay for your bodies ability to handle similar conditions in the future. It is a system of prevention that is most effective when used constantly throughout life. Dosing is a personal preference- we are the best judges of what our body can handle and moderation should be used at all times. Origins of this theory are obscure, but this method has been subscribed to by such intellectual greats as gold prospectors, cowboys, mountain-men, and George Carlin.



An aromatic substance which is obtained from certain resinous trees in Eastern and tropical countries, especially from those of the terebinth family. It is largely employed for purposes of religious worship. When sprinkled upon a glowing coal inside a censer or thurible, it burns freely and emits an abundant white smoke of very fragrant odor. The odor helps calm the body from stress and overstimulation. Two things that can be extremely detrimental to a person's health and well being. Various spices are sometimes mixed with the resin to increase its fragrance.