Honey is a traditional treatment for infected wounds. It even has antibiotic properties and can be used to treat antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. It is so effective, in fact, that wound care specialists in the UK will routinely use honey dressings. Dioscorides in 50 AD described the use of honey as “good for all rotten and hollow ulcers.” It clears infection from a wound, draws fluid out and promotes the production of new skin.

Salt in Your Sock

Dr Lillian Beard gave this excellent talk on her book “Salt in Your Sock and Other Tried-and-True Home Remedies.”

Beard, an associate clinical professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and the medical contributor on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning Washington,” compiled hundreds of family recipes for wellness from her patients and colleagues during a 30-year period of practicing medicine.

According to Beard, as long as there have been grandmothers, tight budgets and sniffles, there have been home remedies. Beyond chicken soup, the kitchen can be a gold mine for products that alleviate many common ailments.

The book is also a cracking read.

For example:

  • For cold sores, apply cool, wet teabags (Earl Grey preferred).
  • For nosebleeds, have your child sniff a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • For earaches, fill a sock with salt warmed in a frying pan, then hold the sock against the affected ear.

Kew Gardens: The top 20 plant remedies

Kew Gardens, Britain’s most famous botanical gardens and one of the world’s most prestigious plant research centres, is the home of the ethnomedica project, the purpose of which is:

To collect and preserve a fast disappearing aspect of our British heritage – its medicinal plant traditions.

The people who remember using plants as a primary health resource are fast dying out. It is a matter of urgency to collect their information for the benefit of future generations – for its intrinsic interest and for its medical potential.

Ethnomedica is dedicated to preserving this knowledge and making it freely accessible to everyone.

Preliminary results, from survey cards received since 2003, reveal the top 20 plants and their principal uses: