We perceive home remedies as natural, and most of them actually are. However, natural does not always mean safe, even though for many people the two terms are equal. It is easy to find out the dangers associated with the use of medications; they are written on the accompanying leaflet. You have an idea of what to expect and what to do in case you feel unwell because of the treatment. This is not the case with home remedies. We rely on the fact that they have been used for ages and they have not shown any serious side effect. But are home remedies completely safe?
You cannot put all home remedies in one group. With the easier access to information and to various goods coming from different countries, the number of treatments used at home has grown significantly. With the advance of science, new medicinal properties of different herbs, plants and minerals and their products are constantly being discovered. In turn, they easily pass as safe home remedies just because they are natural.
In reality no one knows whether they are dangerous or not since they have not been fully studied yet. For instance, some evidence has been found recently that saw palmetto, a native North American plant, can be effective for treating hair loss. However, scientists believe that it might have some dangerous side effects that have not been confirmed yet.
The situation with the traditional home remedies is slightly different. In many cases fruits and vegetables and their by-products, such as juices, are used for the treatment of certain conditions, usually gastrointestinal ones. Usually the sufferer has to consume more of these to get the desired results. These home remedies are completely safe. The same applies to the increased consumption of certain foods that can be used for direct relief or as natural sources of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that aid healing.
The use of other home ingredients for home remedies, such as salt, baking soda and vinegar, is also known to be safe. In general, there are no negative effects on the body when these are used in slightly larger quantities than traditionally for a short period of time. Still, the effectiveness of such active ingredients for some conditions has been debated. For instance, a water solution of baking soda is known to be effective for quick heartburn relief. However, its frequent intake might actually stimulate acid reflux. That is why you should be careful when, how and for how long to use home remedies.
The situation with herbs and spices is somewhat difference. Most traditional ingredients that we use are perfectly safe. Some notable examples include chamomile, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon and ginger. You use these to make teas or in dishes every day, so taking slightly more of them and in different forms cannot cause you any harm.
However, not all herbal home remedies are perfectly safe to use. Some are known to produce side effects in people with certain allergies and specific medical conditions. It is also possible for herbal chemical compounds to interact with certain medications and cause trouble. The long intake of some herbs or their products in large amounts can also have a negative effect on the body. This is because the different herbs and plants contain various chemical compounds. Some of them are dangerous, but not when taken in small amounts. When these chemicals build up in the body, they can affect different organs and tissue and cause discomfort and/or damage.
There are also cases in which perfectly safe home products can turn into dangerous substances when used as medicines. One notable yet surprising example is the use of butter for treatment of burns. It has a cooling effect on the skin, but it is not sterile. In turn, the use of butter can actually lead to the burn becoming infected. This can lead to serious complications that require medical treatment. Still, this is a very rare case rather than the norm.
In general, you cannot judge all home remedies as a whole. Each should be assessed on its own merits. It is essential for you to find out more about the use of a certain home remedy. In this way, you will know how it can help you and whether there are side effects associated with it.