Hydrogen peroxide is just one of those things that I can’t have enough of in my house. It is cheap and highly versatile.
Besides using it to clean my cutting boards, disinfect toothbrushes and get my bathroom sparkly clean, I always have some on hand during cold and flu season.
Hydrogen peroxide has a very simple composition: just water and oxygen. However, its potency lies in its simplicity: it is a powerful antiseptic and can destroy a variety of pathogens through the process of oxidation.
While hydrogen peroxide is usually thought of as a disinfectant for minor cuts and scrapes, it can also be highly effective in halting colds and flu in their tracks. At the first sign of any distress (lethargy, coughing, sneezing, swollen glands, etc.), I fill the cap with peroxide and fill my ear canal.
After some slight bubbling, I let the peroxide sit for about ten minutes and drain what is left. You don’t need to purchase any special type of peroxide, the three-percent solution from your local drugstore can usually be found for around two dollars per bottle.
The key to success with this home remedy is the timing. You must get the peroxide in the ear canal at the very first sign of illness for it to be effective. Miss the window and you will most likely suffer the full bout of the virus.
The theory behind the peroxide protocol came from Richard Simmons M.D., who hypothesized that colds and flu viruses enter the body through the ear canal, not the nose and throat. Like most other non-patentable therapies, the medical community at large ignored the hypothesis and the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide.
In 1938 German researchers used hydrogen peroxide to treat colds and flu with much success but their research has also been all but ignored. However, even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide to kill influenza viruses.
I have raised my kids on this peroxide trick and now when anyone starts to feel themselves getting a little sick, the peroxide bottle becomes a very hot commodity!
In addition to the hydrogen peroxide trick, I have adapted numerous other “first response” type home remedies to common everyday problems. Sure, some of these remedies are lacking serious scientific, peer-reviewed studies to back them up, but most have enough anecdotal evidence to make them at least worth trying.
Onions for fever
I heard one of my teenage daughters talking to someone the other day about treating a fever, and she said, “Put some onions on your feet.” I couldn’t believe how bizarre that sounded. However, that is how I raised my kids. From as young as they can remember, I would initially treat a low-grade fever with white onions, putting a few slices on each foot and pulling on their socks.
Using onions for healing is nothing new. In Europe, onions were used to fight off sickness in the early 1900s, and ayurvedic medicine has been using a poultice for the chest or feet to treat coughs, flu and fevers for centuries. The Hutterites, a North American pacifist community similar to the Amish, place cut onions throughout their home during cold and flu season because they believe the onions keep the germs away.
Onions are rich in sulphur-containing compounds that are naturally detoxifying. In addition, onions are the richest dietary source of quercetin, a highly potent antioxidant that has been shown to thin the blood, combat asthma, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, infections, and has been linked to inhibiting certain cancers. Onions also have strong anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral properties. So, don’t forget to add plenty of onions to your diet to help protect you from even the nastiest of bugs.
Oatmeal for eczema, poison ivy, and sunburn
Besides being a dietary staple in our home, oatmeal comes in very handy for easing the pain and discomfort of some skin conditions, including eczema.
Oatmeal not only makes an excellent breakfast cereal, it is also a fabulous skin softener. Oatmeal is a skin protectant that provides a buffer against irritants and reduces the itchiness and pain associated with common skin conditions.
Known in folk medicine as a great way to ease the itch of poison ivy, an oatmeal bath can also help soften and moisturize dry skin and reduce the pain of sunburn.