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Home remediesMany people do not go straight to the doctor with a slight cold, but first resort to tried and tested methods that were already known to our grandmothers.

By Kerstin Eva Zeter

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Calf compress, hop cushion and Co

Home remedies are not only self-prepared medicines to take, but also various easy-to-use methods. Among the best known methods are calf, neck or chest compresses. Also baths, steam baths, bags or editions belong to it.

Remedies are primarily made from medicinal plants. Countless plants have a phytomedicinal effect. Effective remedies can be made from one or more ingredients. Thyme, for example, has an expectorant effect, chamomile an anti-inflammatory effect.

But it is not only medicinal plants that carry soothing active ingredients. For example, hops can also heal. In the form of beer – even non-alcoholic beer – the grain supports antibiotic therapy.

And the cones of hops make you tired. They help to fall asleep. Packed into a small pillow, the cones are said to bring a restful sleep.

Many other foods can be used as home remedies as well. For example, potatoes, curd, onions, garlic, yogurt or honey. The latter helps very well in wound healing.

A look into the history

The knowledge of the effect of herbal substances dates back to the Middle Ages. Besides monasteries, it was mainly herbalists who worked with them and passed on their knowledge from generation to generation.

The monastery knowledge has its origin in the ancient Greek pharmacology. The writings of ancient physicians were copied and cataloged by monks. The religious studied the knowledge. Passed it on to subsequent generations.

A great personality in herbal medicine was Hildegard von Bingen in the late Middle Ages. She resisted the common belief that illness was a punishment from God, and preached the relief of disease as an act of mercy.

End of the 19. At the end of the 19th century, the priest Sebastian Kneipp revived herbal medicine, which had meanwhile fallen into oblivion. He also created hydrotherapy, a healing method that relies entirely on the power of water for acute and chronic ailments.

To this day, not all the secrets of medieval medicine have been unraveled. At the University of Wurzburg, the Monastery Medicine Research Group is studying centuries-old healing methods in order to test them scientifically and make them useful for modern medicine.

Benedictine nuns know about medicinal herbs

Where grandma was wrong

However, grandma's home remedies are not as harmless as generally believed. Many medicinal plants have interactions with other remedies or can cause allergies. Therefore, everyone should inform himself in advance exactly before he uses a medicinal plant.

One example is St. John's wort, which is often used for depression or menopausal symptoms. In high dosage it can react very strongly to sunlight or limit the effect of other medicines. Arnica can also cause allergies. Is therefore to be used only externally. Mostly used as a tincture and applied to bruises, blunt injuries, varicose veins, phlebitis or nail bed inflammation.

Many old books say about arnica that it strengthens the heart. But the opposite is true: it can even cause heart problems.

Some misconceptions are even counterproductive, such as the tip to sprinkle flour on open wounds. The flour does not bring any relief, but can stick to the wound and cause inflammation.

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