Saw palmetto extract

American Indians used saw palmetto fruit for food and to treat various conditions, including urinary and reproductive system problems. It’s widely used in alternative medicine today for urogenital problems, especially benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Given its history, is there any evidence to support this usage? Unfortunately, no. While writers in the 19th century made, or […]



Milk of Magnesia or Calamine for Poison Ivy

Can milk of magnesia or Calamine Lotion be used to treat poison ivy? Poison ivy is a wicked plant. Just brushing against it can leave a hapless gardener or innocent passer by with itching and rash. The plant produces urushiol, a clear liquid compound found in the sap that binds to the skin on contact. […]



Dandelion sap for warts

John Wesley was an 18th Century Anglican priest who foundedMethodism in England, Ireland and North America. He was a leader in the issues of social justice, and took a keen interest in the health of the poor. This interest led to him publishing a book of inexpensive and traditional remedies. It is from this book […]



Peppermint oil and irritable bowel syndrome

Peppermint oil has long been well regarded for its stomach soothing properties. So much so that In 1833, oil of peppermint was even thought be “a more or less advantageous remedy for cholera.” An enormous quantity, some 700 pounds of it, was imported to Germany from France in just one month alone (1). But it […]



ADD / ADHD: Where the country is the remedy

ADHD is a funny diagnosis. There is a lot of agreement on the symptoms, as used in, for example, the DSM-IV and ICD-10 diagnostic criteria. The causes of the condition, however, are not a matter of agreement. Wikipedia has a good overview of the competing theories. Whether you agree with the use of stimulant medications […]



Preventing a cold

The idea that cold weather, and exposure to cold weather, has been around for centuries. Celsus, in the 1st Century AD, wrote: “Winter provokes headache, coughs, and all the affections which attack the throat, and the sides of the chest and lungs.” We all know to wrap up warm before going outside in the cold, […]