Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why we need Sun Protection: Home Remedies and Natural Treatments for Sun Damage Skin

As per a paper published in 2005 in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology,  approximately one-third of american adults suffer from sun burn each year and yet only one in every three practices sun protection guidelines. Further, sunburn is also linked with skin damage increasing the risk of premature aging and skin cancers.While using sunscreen and avoiding the sun are best recommended tips, there are certain home remedies and natural treatments that can help reduce the implications of post exposure damage.
Red, Inflamed, Sunburn Skin
Why do we need sun protection?

Sunburn is skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiations from the sun. In absence of melanin (a hormone providing protection against ultraviolet radiations), the high energy photons can trigger disruption of DNA bonds and result in damage to the DNA. However, melanin acts as a ‘photoprotectant’  and absorbs UV light preventing this direct DNA damage. However, free radicals are generated by these high energy photons which indirectly damage the DNA molecules.

The damage of the DNA molecules not only speeds up the process of aging, but also increases your risk of developing skin cancer.Experts say sunlight that is reflected off water, snow or sand; even on an overcast day can be as harmful as direct sunlight. The extent of sun damage depends up on one’s skin pigmentation, season, geographic location and the time of the day.
Sunburn is seen as reddening and inflammation of the skin due to overexposure to the sun. Sun related damage may be:
  1. Mild, with only redness and burning; 
  2. Moderate, with fluid-filled blisters; 
  3. Severe, with a deep red skin and blisters. In addition other systemic symptoms like fever, nausea and giddiness may also be present.  

Home Remedies for Sunburn Relief

Here are some simple home remedies that can be considered useful in the management of sun burn and protect the skin from sun damage, 
Aloe Vera Soothes
Sun related damage
  1. Aloe Vera gel: Aloe Vera is the best home remedy for sunburns; it soothes an inflamed and irritated skin, heals blisters and accelerates healing.
  2.  Flax seed oil: Flax seeds are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for a healthy, damage-free skin. Applying flax seed oil reduces inflammation and swelling and reverses the sun damage appreciably.
  3.  Lavender oil: blend lavender essential oil with a carrier oil such as almond oil or avocado oil, and apply generously over the affected area. Lavender essential oil is calming, soothing and relaxing; it heals sunburns with incredible and speedy effectiveness.
Supplements cannot prevent sun related damage, but when taken orally, they can help reduce the discomfort and damage and hasten repair of the skin. 
  • Vitamin A: is a ‘skin vitamin’. It speeds up healing of the damaged skin and thwarts the appearance of wrinkles associated with sun exposure. Have 25000 I.U. daily for a fortnight.
  • Vitamin C: is another powerful ‘skin vitamin’ and a potent oxidant. Sun exposure releases free radicals that damage your skin, vitamin C fights free radical damage effectively. Have 1000 mg thrice daily for a week.
  •  Vitamin E: is a potent antioxidant as well, working as a free radical scavenger and destroyer. Have 400 I.U daily for a fortnight.
How to Treat Sunburn Naturally? 

Here are some simple tips that can help treat and protect the skin from sun damage,  
  • Use sun block daily. Your sunscreen must have at least SPF 15. Cover up with shades, scarves and hats, for added protection.
  • Also, it would be prudent to not step out between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is strongest
  • For severe pain and burning, soak cotton napkins in cold milk and place over the affected area. It is soothing and quickly relieves the pain and discomfort.
  • Ground oatmeal with a little honey should be applied immediately over the sunburn area. Leave on for half an hour; then rinse with cold water. It will relieve the burning and itching successfully.
How To Reverse Sun related damage?
An effective tried and tested remedy is yogurt and lime. Mix 3 spoons of yogurt with a few drops of lime. The moment you get home, apply this blend all over your body (especially, the sun exposed parts) and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse off. This therapy helps get rid of day-to-day sun damage effectively and efficiently fights of the ravages of aging.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Manage Psoriasis at Home: Remedies and Natural Treatment

As per a paper published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the prevelence of psoriasis is poorly understood and ranges from less than 1% to 8.5% among adults. The condition is extremely painful and results in significant disfiguration of the skin. It is a persistent skin ailment; and regular flare ups and subsides is an important symptom of psoriasis. There is no known cure for the disorder; nevertheless, certain home remedies for psoriasis can help reduce the intensity and frequency of flare ups appreciably.

What is Psoriasis?

Red, Inflamed
and Scaly Skin in
It is a skin condition which is characterized by the following set of symptoms. These set of symptoms are used to identify the condition,
  1. Patches of inflamed, raised, red skin; along with white flaking scales.
  2. Itching
  3. Nails become discolored and loose
  4. The skin may get cracked and blistered with occassional bleeding
  5. If neglected and untreated, pain and stiffness in the joints may develop. This condition is refered to as psoriatic arthritis.

In psoriasis, the patches of inflamed, red skin occur because the cells of the skin multiply a lot faster than it would normally. Under normal conditions, the cells of the skin originate within the deep layers of the skin; and take approximately twenty eight days to reach the surface, and then get sloughed off. In case of psoriasis, this process takes only eight days.The new skin cells accumulate very quickly, consequently, they do not mature and shed. As a result, the skin gets inflamed, raised and red. Eventually, scaly, silvery-white patches develop.

Causes of Psoriasis

The exact cause for this accelerated skin growth is not known; however, genetics is an important contributing factor. There are some other caustive factors that have been identified which include,
  1. Mental or psychological Stress
  2. Exterme cold temperatures with exposures to drafts of dry air
  3. Injury at a particular site can trigger psoriasis 
  4. Some experts sugest that the condition is an autoimmune disorder which is characterized by body's natural immunity attacking healthy cells.

Natural Psoriasis Treatment at Home

Prompt and timely treatment of psoriasis is essential to prevent aggravation of the condition. Home remedies, herbal cures and supplements help to control flare ups and exacerbations; and most people experience improvement in about a month.
  1. Keep your skin well moisturized. Prevent dryness of skin that will in turn prevent itching.
  2. Use a humidifier in winters and dry weather conditions.
  3. Quit smoking; also, do not be exposed to second hand smoke. People who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from psoriasis as against non smokers.
Here are some supplements and nutrients that are beneficial in treatment of psoriasis,
  1. Vitamin A: Vitamin A is dubbed ‘the skin vitamin’; it promises you a healthy skin and speeds up healing. Take 25000 IU every day for 15 days, and then reduce to alternate days. Furthermore, do consult your physician before embarking on to long term supplementation.
  2. Vitamin E: vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cellular damage. Typically 400 IU per day is prescribed to manage this skin ailment. Excellent food sources include: wheat germ, avocadoes, seeds and nuts.
  3. Omega 3 fatty acids: Take a supplement of this essential fatty acids daily; it is known to have a favorable effect on psoriasis by reducing inflammation. Natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids include cold water fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon.

Psoriasis Home Remedies: Natural Treatment for Psoriasis

Here are some home remedies that have been found to be very beneficial in the management and treatment of this skin condition,  
Flax Seeds are Excellent
to Manage Psoriasis
  1. Flax seeds: Flax seeds are packed with omega 3 fatty acids; consuming 3 spoons of roasted flax seeds daily is advised to manage psoriasis exacerbations.
  2. Grape seed extract: grape seed is a potent antioxidant that wards off damage t the skin cells successfully. Taking 100 mg daily is recommended.
  3. Aloe Vera: apply aloe vera gel over the affected areas, 2 to 3 times every day; aloe vera soothes the inflamed and red areas of the skin, decreases itching and prevents the skin from drying out.

In addition to the host of home remedies there are certain herbal teas that are considered to be of high value in the management and treatment of this condition. Herbal teas have immense medicinal value. Make a decoction of mint, lemongrass, holy basil and ginger. Let these herbs steep in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes. Add juice of one lime and consume this twice daily. 

A multidisciplinary approach in the management and treatment is considered to be very effective.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sore Throat (Throat Infection) Home Remedies: Treat Throat Pain Naturally

As per reports, approximately 2.4 million ER visits in United States are attributed to throat related complaints, with sore throat being the most common. Sore throat can be extremely unpleasant, however, it responds really well to home remedies that not only allay sore throat pain, but also treat throat inflammation.

Inflamed and
Sore Throat
What are the causes of Sore Throat and Throat Pain?

Throat infection is a scratchy, itchy and burning sensation that begins at the back of the mouth and extends to the middle of the throat. When the throat gets infected, the body responds by sending more blood to the area, along with WBCs to combat the infectious agents; this causes swelling, redness and pain.
  • Allergies, bacterial infection and viral infection are the commonest causes for soreness of the throat. In 80% of the cases viral infection results in sore throat.
  • Certain environmental triggers such as smoke, dust, dryness and low humidity are significant causes as well.
  • Trauma or injury can also result in sore throat, typically caused by overuse of the vocal cords.
Soreness due to viral infection develops rather slowly, and is milder, as compared to bacterial infection. Draining of excess fluid from the nose and sinuses causes the throat to get sore. On the other hand, bacterial infection, such as strep throat, strikes suddenly, causing severe pain and fever.

Sore Throat Symptoms

Throat infection may be accompanied by certain other features such as:
  • Burning in the throat, soreness and occasionally excruciating pain.
  • Pain in the ears
  • Difficulty while swallowing
  • Lump like swelling in the throat
  • Altered timber of voice
  • Lymph nodes under the jaw swell.
     Home Remedies to Treat Throat Infections

Here are some simple remedies that can help treat throat infections,

  1. Vitamin C: vitamin C is a powerful immune system booster. It helps fight upper respiratory tract infections that cause soreness of the throat. What’s more, vitamin C is invaluable for people who suffer from frequent and seasonal allergies. Have a supplement daily for about 5 days; alternatively step up your intake of vitamin C rich foods such as limes, sweet limes, oranges, apples, etc.
  2.  Turmeric: curcumin present in the herb is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and an infection fighter. Add a spoon of turmeric to boiled milk or water and consume thrice daily for speedy cure. Also, turmeric boiled in water can be used as an effective gargle.
  3.  Echinacea: has strong anti viral and anti bacterial properties that fight infections. Start an Echinacea supplement the moment you feel you are going to develop a sore throat.
  4. Experts advise having herbal teas to manage sore throat effectively and quickly. Steep about 5 leaves of holy basil, 5 leaves of mint, a cinnamon stick, and a few cloves, in hot water for 15 minutes. Consume this decoction twice daily. It will afford rapid relief from the pain and inflammation. Holy basil boosts the immune mechanism and helps fight infections; clove allays pain rapidly, cinnamon has a warming and comforting effect and battles fever; while mint soothes irritation and inflammation.
  5. Zinc: zinc lozenges have proved to be successful in the management of sore throat. Zinc shortens the duration of cold and reduces irritation and inflammation quickly.
  6. Garlic is a Powerful
    Infection Fighter
  7. Garlic: Garlic is another decidedly powerful anti bacterial and anti viral herb that helps treat infections and inflammations. Grate a flake of garlic and add 2 spoons of honey to it. Consume this twice daily. It affords relief within a couple of hours.
Treat Throat Pain Naturally

Here are some tips to help cure throat pain,
  • Use a humidifier to keep the throat lubricated; this is especially important if you live in a dry area.
  • Steadily avoid triggers such as smoke, dust, pollen, etc.
  • Stay well hydrated; have at least 12 glasses of fluids daily. Soups and herbals teas are recommended.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Home Remedies to Treat Nausea: Nausea Natural Cures

There are a host of home remedies for nausea and vomiting; herbal remedies for nausea depend upon what causes nausea, and will help allay the queasiness and uncomfortable sensation quickly.This article provides insight into the natural cures its appropriate treatment
What is Nausea?
Nausea is an uncomfortable, sick sensation that is associated with vomiting, exhaustion, excessive salivation and loss of appetite. Nausea without vomiting may occur; or there may be one or more episodes of throwing up. The muscles of the stomach relax, and the normal contractions that push the food downwards in to the small intestine, shift in to reverse and the stomach contents regurgitate through the esophagus in to the mouth and out of the body.
Regurgitation of
Stomach Contents
Common causes of nausea and vomiting are:

  • Food poisoning: spoilt food or foods that contain bacteria are the commonest cause for GI upsets which trigger nausea and vomiting to get rid of the toxic matter.
  • Alcohol abuse: excessive intake of alcohol has been associated with episodes of throwing up.
  • Pregnancy: pregnancy is almost always lined to morning sickness. This occurs due to high levels of hormones released during pregnancy. Also, during pregnancy oscillations occur in the blood sugar level and this too sets off nausea and queasiness.
  • PMS: premenstrual syndrome is associated with nausea as well; nausea occurs due to elevated levels of hormones in the week preceding the menstrual period.
  • Certain drugs and medicines: some medications are responsible for nausea and vomiting, such as chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment.
  • Over eating: especially, greasy oily and rich food is a significant cause
  • Certain smells: strong smells and odors like perfumes, or smoke may make you nauseous
  • Motion sickness: occasionally some people feel queasy and nauseous when travelling, particularly on winding roads.
  • Stress: Stress, anguish, apprehension and anxiety  result in an unsettled stomach and queasiness
Home Remedies to Treat Nausea

Home remedies provide immense relief in case of nausea related to pregnancy, motion sickness and stress. If you have eaten something foul, it would be better to not fight the vomit reflex, since vomiting will help eject the noxious matter that you have ingested.

Peppermint is a Quick A
cting and Effective Remedy
  • Ginger: ginger tea is the most effective e home remedy for nausea. The volatile oils and gingerols in ginger soothe the GI tract, tone the muscles of the stomach and put an end to queasiness almost immediately. Having ginger tea after you have overeaten and feel nausea helps stimulate the liver to produce bile to digest the fats better. For pregnancy, you can safely take ginger, but in small quantities. In case of motion sickness, have ginger tea about 2 hours before travelling; it will prevent nausea from occurring. 
  • Peppermint: peppermint may be taken in the form of tea or a pill. You can also use peppermint essential oil to quell nausea. Gently massage the abdomen with the essential oil; it is exceedingly beneficial. Peppermint allays intestinal cramps and acts like a GI tonic.
  • Goldenseal: a supplement of goldenseal helps increase digestive secretions and soothes the stomach and liver. However, it is not recommended during pregnancy.
  • Clove: clove is a wonderful herbal remedy for nausea. Steep 4 to 5 cloves in hot water; strain and drink. Clove has been found to be the most effective and fastest acting reedy for nausea.
Natural treatment and cures for Nausea

The following measures will aid in decreasing the sensation of nausea and queasiness quickly:
  1.  Lie down with a cold cloth over your forehead.
  2. Focus on your breathing; breathe gently and slowly. Try to not think about feeling nauseous.
  3. Know your triggers and steer clear of them, such as strong smells, odors, smoke, perfumes, etc.
  4.  Do not eat for 2 to3 hours after an episode of vomiting.
  5. Stay well hydrated though; drink little water frequently. Suck on ice chips.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Treat Osteoporosis Naturally with Home Remedies: Treatment Guidelines and Screening

Osteoporosis or loss of bone density results in thousands of bone fractures every year. Consequently, it is very essential to have regular screening , understand the various causes and treatment guidelines in order to prevent the disorder. There are natural treatment guidelines including dietary and lifestyle modifications that reduce the chances of avoiding pain and fractures later on.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis means ‘porous bones’; it is a condition wherein there occurs a reduction in the mineral content of bones and weakening of their structure, making them vulnerable to fractures.
Osteoporotic Bones

The condition is associated with certain risk factors,
  • It is more frequently seen in women; older men experience it as well, however, their bones are denser and consequently, the bone loss is less severe.
  • After menopause there occurs a sharp decline in the level of the hormone estrogen, and this is relate to osteoporosis in women. Estrogen helps the body absorb calcium and keeps the bones healthy and strong.
  • A lack of weight bearing exercise poses as a risk factor for the occurrence of osteoporosis.
  • A diet that lacks calcium is another significant risk factor too.
  • Under weight people and small-boned people are at a higher risk too.
  • A family history of the disorder increases your chances of developing the condition.
  • Those who have taken anti epileptic drugs or anti-convulsants or steroids for prolonged periods are prone as well

Symptoms and Screening for Osteoporosis

Some of the common symptoms associated with the condition include,
  • Gradual loss of height accompanied by the development of a stooped posture.
  • Severe backache
  • Fracture of the spine or hip or wrist.
  • Dental X rays detect bone loss in the jaw.
.There are certain tests that are performed which help in early diagnosis of the condition, 
  1. A bone density study conducted or a DEXA (dual energy X ray Absorptiometry) can help in understanding the bone mass concentration
  2. In case of bone or joint pain and discomfort X ray of the spine or feet or hips is advised.

Home Remedies for Osteoporosis

Some home remedies and dietary suggestions to treat osteoporosis include,
  • Calcium: step up your intake of milk, yogurt, cheese, fish, broccoli and almonds. These are packed with calcium; and support bone health and augment bone strength. Supplementation is also a must, 500 mg daily.
  • Vitamin D: a supplement of 200 I.U. is prescribed. Vitamin D promotes strong bones and reduces the risk of fractures. It ensures that calcium is well absorbed by the body.
  • Magnesium: eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and legumes; they are loaded with the mineral. This mineral makes sure that the calcium stays in the bones.
  • Boron: boron helps decrease bone loss and is also known to increase the effect of estrogen as well as vitamin D. Incorporate lots of almonds, raisins, peanuts, prunes, bananas and broccoli in to your diet.
Weight bearing Exercises
to fight Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis Treatment Guidelines and Excercises

The following tips will help you prevent the occurrence of osteoporosis and also help manage the condition in those who have developed it:

  • Regular exercise, at least thrice  a week is a must
  • Quit smoking.
  • Restrict your consumption of alcohol.
  • When you take supplements, do ensure that you have consulted your physician; when it comes to supplements, more is not always better. Doubling your dose of calcium supplement tends to interfere with the benefits of magnesium and zinc; so don’t go overboard.

Experts recommend exercising on a daily basis; if that is not possible, you ought to exercise at least 3 times in a week. Weight bearing exercises are advocated; these are walking and lifting weights. In these exercises the legs as well as other parts of the body meet resistance.

However, get a trained instructor and do not be over zealous; begin with small sessions and gradually build up o the intensity and duration.