Posts tagged: home remedies

Top 8 Home Remedies for Dandruff

Top 8 Home Remedies for Dandruff
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Dandruff is a common scalp condition wherein the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp happens in an unusually large amount. Those people with dandruff experience skin cell shedding on the scalp every 2-7 days (skin cells are supposed to mature and be shed around a month). [1]

Although it is rarely harmful, dandruff is a nuisance and can be embarrassing. Itchiness may occur too. However, dandruff can be controlled. More than shampooing, a wide array of effective home remedies exist to help you eliminate the dandruff problem:

1. Water And Fluids: One of the most common causes of dandruff is simply a dry skin or scalp. Suchdryness may come, for instance, from winter or an overly warm area. Drink plenty of water and fluids to rehydrate your skin. Fruit juices are noteworthy since they provide not only water for replenishing but also vitamins such as vitamins A and C that promote skin health.

2. Lemon, Orange, Mandarin, And Grapefruit: All of these citrus fruits are effective against dandruffbecause of their antifungal activities. The juice from these citrus fruits can also moisturize the scalp to help prevent further flaking. The essential oils of lemon, orange, mandarin, and grapefruit have been established as well to exert antifungal activities against certain kinds of fungi. [2] Slice citrus fruits into slim pieces, squeeze out the juice, and massage the juice on the scalp. Let the juice stay on the scalp for half an hour before washing. Do this once or twice a week. One can also mix some drops of diluted essential oils of lemon, orange, mandarin, and grapefruit with some mild shampoo.

3. Lemongrass: Lemongrass is a perennial grass that doesn’t find difficulty in getting a place in the kitchen or Asian dish, especially in soups and curries. Its subtle citrusy flavor provides a nice touch to tropical cuisines with poultry, fish, beef, or seafood. But lemongrass doesn’t just stay useful in cooking. It is also utilized as a traditional medicine. A 2011 study from Mahidol University, Thailand, found that lemongrass oil may help reduce dandruff: It showed significant antifungal action against Malassezia furfur, which is an opportunistic yeast associated with dandruff formation. Even at 2%, lemongrass oil is regarded as effective against dandruff. [3]

4. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is largely employed medically for its antibacterial and antifungal therapeutic properties. In a study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, tea tree oil was evidenced to inhibit the growth of all clinical fungal isolates evaluated. These included 26 strains of diverse dermatophyte species and 54 yeasts. [4] Incorporating tea tree oil inshampoo has been demonstrated to be effective against dandruff. In a randomized, single-blind Australian study that involved 126 patients, 5% tea tree oil alleviated the scaliness, itchiness, and greasiness associated with dandruff per patient’s self-assessments. In addition, 5% tea tree oil was well tolerated and provided no adverse effects. [5]

Add tea tree oil to your shampoo. For every eight ounces of the shampoo, add around ten dropsof tea tree oil in the bottle. Shake the shampoo bottle in order to evenly distribute the tea tree oil. Use this shampoo plus tea tree oil mixture during your shower. For better results, allow the tea tree oil shampoo to be on the hair for three to five minutes to let the tea tree oil do its thing on the scalp

5. Black Pepper: Black pepper contains a rich amount of zinc and selenium, two minerals that are known to control dandruff. Black peppers are commonly mixed with some yogurt and are massaged thoroughly on the scalp. The black peppers aid in pulling the loose dandruff, while theyogurt keeps the flakiness in reduced quantity. The black pepper and yogurt mixture is to be kept on the scalp for an hour or more before washing the hair with a mild shampoo.

6. Neem: Neem is a tropical tree widely grown for its medicinal properties. Both the aqueous extract derived from the different parts of neem and neem oil pressed from the fruits and seeds have been studied for their antifungal activities. The leaves of neem can be crushed to form a paste; apply this paste directly on the scalp for half an hour to treat dandruff and then rinse off with water afterwards. Another means to use neem leaves is to mix two handfuls of neem leaves with four or five cups of water. Let the mixture stand overnight, strain the liquid the next morning, and then use the neem liquid to rinse the hair.

7. Aloe Vera: Aloe vera possesses antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent and remedy dandruff. The gel that comes from the central core of A. vera leaves has a moisturizing effect on the scalp too, which will reduce the flakiness associated with dandruff. It can also minimize the irritation that sometimes happens with dandruff and help repair the damaged skin.

Cut some A. vera leaves and obtain the gel from the leaves. One can use a spoon to scoop the gel from the leaves. Apply the gel generously on the scalp and let it stay for about 15 minutes. Alternatively, cut the leaves crosswise and directly rub the gel on the scalp.

8. Minimize The Use Of Some Styling Products: Dandruff may arise as an allergic response to some chemicals that few hair gels, sprays, shampoos, and hair oils contain. Furthermore, hair sprays, styling gels, and hair waxes tend to build up and accumulate on the hair and scalp. Theseproducts can thus only make the scalp oilier and the dandruff worse.

References:

[1] Dandruff. Wikipedia. Retrieved 27 July 2013 from [1] Dandruff. Wikipedia. Retrieved 27 July 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandruff

[2] Viuda-Martos M., Ruiz-Navajas Y., Fern·ndez-LÛpez J., & PÈrez-¡lvarez J. (2008). Antifungal activity of lemon (Citrus lemon L.), mandarin (Citrus reticulate L.), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi L.) and orange (Citrus sinensis L.) essential oils. Food Control, 19(12): 1130-1138. Retrieved 27 July 2013 from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713507002629

[3] Wuthi-Udomlert M., Chotipatoomwan P., Panyadee S., & Gritsanapan W. (2011). Inhibitory effect of formulated lemongrass shampoo on Malassezia furfur: a yeast associated with dandruff. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 42(2): 363-369. Retrieved 27 July 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21710859

[4] Nenoff P., Haustein U. F., & Brandt W. (1996). Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) against pathogenic fungi in vitro. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 9(6): 388-394. Retrieved 27 July 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9055360

[5] Satchell A. C., Saurajen A., Bell C., & Barnetson R. S. (2002). Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 47(6): 852-855. Retrieved 27 July 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12451368

Top 7 Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Top 7 Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that afflicts any structure of the urinary tract, a system consisting of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra responsible for producing, storing, and eventually eliminating urine – one of the body’s waste products. The patient suffers from pain in the pelvic area in women and in the rectal area in men. Painful urination accompanied with a burning sensation and a persistent urge to urinate are symptoms as well. Urine is passed frequently in small amounts and appears cloudy. Pain can be particularly severe or grave when infection is limited to the bladder. When infection has reached the kidneys, serious consequences can result. [1]

Escherichia coli and its strains are inhabitants of the colon and are in fact a normal part of the gut flora. Most of these bacteria come from fecal matter and can be unintentionally transferred to one’s bladder through certain lapses in hygiene. When they have traveled up to the urethra to the bladder, they can be the most common and primary cause of urinary tract infection. Other bacteria, viruses, or fungi can be rare causal agents too. Because of such, treatment is chiefly geared towards eliminating bacteria or other pathogens responsible for the infection. Antibiotics are hence the typical remedy. Nonetheless, there are a wide range of home remedies one can employ to help kill the bacteria, alleviate pain and bring comfort, and hasten the recovery. If one does not experience any relief or if symptoms become worse one or two days even after home remedies were tried, immediate medical care should be sought.

1. Fluids – Adequate hydration is associated with a reduction in urinary tract infection and may improve the results of antimicrobial therapy in UTI. [2] Drinking plenty of water can flush the UTI problem away. It aids in keeping the urine diluted and in flushing the bacteria out of the urinary tract. Washing out the pathogenic organisms would make it difficult for them to adhere to healthy cells. Fruit juices are noteworthy flavorful alternatives since they contain a number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are known to promote recovery of tissues and boost the immune system to get rid of the infection. “Bladder irritants” should be avoided however because they appear to only worsen the frequent urination that commonly comes with UTI. These include coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks.

2. Cranberry juice – A glass of unsweetened cranberry juice daily can bring a stop to your UTI problems. Cranberry juice has long been regarded as an effective preventive and treatment option for UTI. Cranberry products can be in different formulations, and extensive evaluation has been carried out to evidence the role of cranberry products in the management of UTI. As pointed out by two good-quality randomized clinical trials, cranberry products can reduce the incidence of symptomatic UTI at 12 months versus placebo in women. [3]

Now how does drinking cranberry juice help eliminate your UTI problem? It was once thought by scientists that cranberries protect the urinary tract against infection by making and maintaining the urine acidic. After all, cranberries are acidic in nature because of the diverse acidic compounds they contain, such as benzoic acid, citric acid, malic acid, and quinic acid. Such acidity of the urine makes the urinary tract a hostile environment for bad bacteria to dwell in and propagate. Recent studies now reveal that cranberries have antibacterial compounds called proanthocyanidins that prevent bacteria from sticking to the cells lining the urethra and bladder. These substances hence impair the ability of infection-causing bacteria to colonize and spread. [4]

3. Blueberries – Blueberries work in almost the same way as cranberries do with respect to UTI. Blueberries contain compounds that inhibit the adherence of bacteria to the tissues lining the urinary tract. They are also rich in antioxidants that boost the immune system. Take several sips of blueberry juice, or dash shredded blueberries over your morning oatmeal, or eat fresh blueberries.

4. Pineapple – Indulging in some cupfuls of pineapple chunks or drinking pineapple juice may provide health-promoting benefits that fight off the infection. The fruit is a rich source of vitaminC, which increases the acidity of urine to minimize bacterial growth and supports the immune system. In addition, a proteolytic (“protein-digesting”) enzyme called bromelain can be acquired from pineapples. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve UTI symptoms.

What’s more interesting is that, according to a double-blind trial, bromelain makes antibiotics more effective against UTI among patients. In this trial, administration of antibiotics together with either of the enzymes bromelain or trypsin in combination (400 mg / day for two days) led to a resolution of infection among all those who had received the combination. [5]

5. Heat – Apply a warm compress to the lower abdomen right over the bladder to soothe the pain. The heat will help resolve the inflammation related to the infection. It will also promote blood flow to the area of infection and enhance healing. Note that heat should never be applied to broken and/or sensitive skin.

6. Baking Soda – Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, can serve as an inexpensive remedy for UTI. Many claim the effectiveness of consuming baking soda dissolved in water in improving the symptoms of UTI. The mechanisms however remain unclear. It is believe that baking soda reduces the pain or burning sensation associated with urination by making the urine more alkaline. When the urine becomes alkaline and hence less acidic, it does not irritate the already inflamed tissues as it is flushed through the urinary tract.

Add one teaspoon of baking soda to a cup or glass of water. Consume this solution once or twice daily. When one follows a low-sodium diet, especially for high blood pressure, it is best to consult first a physician prior to baking soda use. [6]

7. Vitamin C – Taking vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, increases the acidity of urine and consequently renders the urinary tract unsuitable for bacterial growth and multiplication. This is an equally effective alternative when cranberry juice or extract isn’t available. Natural sources of vitamin C include fruits such as cantaloupes, kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, and watermelon and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and green and red peppers.

References:

[1] Mayo Clinic. “Urinary tract infection (UTI).” Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/urinary-tract-infection/DS00286

[2] Popkin B. M., D’Anci K. E., & Rosenberg I. H. (2010).Water, hydration and health. Nutrition
Reviews
, 68(8): 439-458. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/

[3] Jepson R. G., Mihaljevic L., & Craig J. (2004). Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections.
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2: CD001321. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106157

[4] Guay D. R. (2009). Cranberry and urinary tract infections. Drugs, 69(7): 775-807. doi:
10.2165/00003495-200969070-00002. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19441868

[5] Bromelain. University of Michigan Health System. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2817009#hn-2817009-uses

[6] Hennessy R. (2011). Sodium bicarbonate for urinary tract infections. Retrieved 7 August 2013 from
http://www.livestrong.com/article/477393-sodium-bicarbonate-for-urinary-tract-infections/

Tea Ailment Cheat Sheet

Tea Ailment Cheat Sheet
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).

1. Green Tea: Green tea is at the top of the list of healthy drinks thanks to its antioxidant properties. Recently, its active constituent – catechin – has been shown to slightly boost metabolism, with many testimonials and study outcomes stating that those taking green tea lose more weight than those who did not.

2. Chamomile Tea: Considered as a mild tranquilizer and sleep inducer, chamomile tea has long been used as a way to treat inflammation and manage anxiety, and to treat insomnia. Its calming effect is attributed to apigenin – a potent anitoxidant. [1]

3. ElderFlower Tea: This beverage has quite a history in German medicine. It boasts of both antioxidant properties, a high vitamin C content, and antiviral effects. This makes the tea great for fighting the common cold, the flu virus, and accompanying symptoms.

4. Lemon Balm: Lemon balm leaves are dried to make lemon balm tea, but it is also sold as an extract and used in aromatherapy. The herb is used in stress relief and alleviating sleeplessness. It may also act as a mild sedative. [2]

5. Ginger Tea: Studies have shown that ginger – and by extension, ginger tea – is a natural way to alleviate nausea and vomiting. [3] It is as effective as anti-nausea meds, with very few of the side effects they tag along.

6. Peppermint Tea: Peppermint has long been used in traditional medicine in helping soothe digestive issues, including bloating. It relaxes the gut and reduces intestinal spasms, along with bloating. [4]

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] Srivastava, J. K. et al. 2010. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/.

[2] Yoo, D. Y., Choi, J. H. et al. 2011. Effects of Melissa officinalis L. (lemon balm) extract on neurogenesis associated with serum corticosterone and GABA in the mouse dentate gyrus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21076869.

[3] Lete, I., & Alluέ, J. 2016. The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818021/.

[4] McKay, D. L., & Blumberg, J. B. 2006. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16767798.