Who uses home remedies?and do they work as well as something you can get from your doctor or the drugstore? While use of home remedies is common among people 65 and older, Blacks and Native Americans tend to make much greater use of them than Whites. A common mother’s home remedy for a tummy ache or nausea has long been a glass of ginger ale. It turns out mom was right.

The difference in who uses home remedies is NOT due to income or access to health care. Psychologist Joseph G. Grzywacz says, “Ethnic [and cutural] differences?may explain why black and Native American elders are more likely to use home remedies.”

He discovered that Blacks view conventional medical treatments “less favorably” than Whites and believe that home remedies are a viable form of treatment for minor ailments.

We?ve all heard about using chicken soup to treat a cold (which DOES help, because the steam from the hot soup opens the nasal passages), but what about ginger ale to help a tummy ache? Researcher Suzanna Zick says, “Ginger does appear to have several medicinal qualities.” Zick is researching whether ginger can be used to prevent nausea from chemotherapy. Ginger has also been shown to warm the body, settle the digestive tract and relieve some types of arthritis. It causes the blood vessels to dilate, explaining its warming effect.

Its main constituent is a substance called gingerol, a cancer-fighting antioxidant which DOES reduce nausea. It also blocks the serotonin receptors in the stomach that cause nausea. “What it actually does is blocks those receptors so serotonin can?t go into them and cause more nausea,” Zick says.

Fresh ginger root appears to have the most medicinal qualities. Zick recommends buying fresh ginger at the supermarket and grinding or chopping it to add to foods. The dried form of ginger may work well too. Ginger is available in capsule form, or you can get benefit from ginger tea, ginger ale and even things like ginger snap cookies, as long as they are made with real ginger.

Zick says, “People really need to be aware that there are a lot of products, especially ginger ales these days, that put in a synthetic form of ginger or hardly any real ginger. So if you really wanted the medicinal effect, you would have to make sure that that brand had actual ginger in it.”

Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk

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