Book Notes

April 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies

My grandmother was a whiz at home remedies. She knew how to treat everything from sunburn, poison ivy, and even the Yellowjacket stings that I suffered when I was 10.

For the stings, she washed the area with soap and water, gently applied a cold compress to reduce pain and swelling, and applied a paste of baking soda and water to the affected area on my legs several times during the day until the symptoms subsided. The baking soda paste was approximately a ratio of 3 teaspoons to 1 teaspoon of water.

Then grandmother reminded me that Yellowjacket nests can be hidden in leaf litter and finished her treatment with a kiss.  

Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies offers the same knowledge that wise grandmothers have shared through the ages with updated information of what to do for the most common health problems.  On page 113, you find the remedy for stings that are generally unpleasant, generally harmless, and easily treated at home.

Instead of using a focus group of grandmothers, the editors of Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies gleaned their information from Mayo Clinic doctors, nurses, health educators, and other health care providers.  They shared the questions and concerns that they heard most frequently from visitors to Mayo Clinic.

This book provides reliable, practical information on more than 120 of the most common health conditions and issues related to good health. With the rising cost of health care and growing concern over public health issues such as obesity, influenza, diabetes and other issues, we all face more responsibility to stay healthy and prevent illness.

However, things happen over which we may have little control — as I discovered running through the piles of leaves in Grandmother’s yard. We still catch colds, sprain ankles, trip over our little brother’s outstretched feet, and stay in the sun too long without sunscreen.  Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies can help you minimize your risks of disease and injury and take the necessary steps to relieve the symptoms of the most common health problems, even if you don’t cure the problem.

The treatment remedies may allow you to go about your daily life, or at least until you can get help from a doctor. Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies provides basic information such as medical supplies for your home to use in case of an accident or health problem. It lists emergency items that you may want to have on hand at home and while traveling, such as medical consent forms, medical history forms, and a small, waterproof flashlight and extra batteries.

Topics are arranged alphabetically with a summary including signs and symptoms, causes, and possible outcomes. The Medical Help segment advises you when to contact a doctor or health care provider and what kind of treatment you may expect. An Emergency Care section provides a quick referral in the event of an emergency, such as a stroke, heart attack, choking, poisoning, or bone fracture.

The 120 most common health conditions range from acne, airplane ear, and allergies to warts, watery eyes, and wrinkles. For those wrinkles, lines and creases in your skin, the home remedy measures may slow the process of aging skin. These include protecting your skin from the sun, using products with built-in sunscreen, avoiding harsh soaps and hot water, and reminding you not to smoke. If you’re still concerned, a dermatologist may recommend medical wrinkle treatments.

Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies offers solid advice for treating common health problems in your home. Even Grandmother would approve of the remedies and concur that it provides everything that she would do — except the kiss.

Debbie Fuehrer
Rochester Methodist Hospital
Patients’ Library

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