Health at Home
Cultural Variations of Natural Remedies

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Home remedies use natural products to help cure various health ailments. Many are backed by science; others are backed by your grandmother. From different cultures represented in Southeast Minnesota come varying home remedies for health.


Superfood from Islam

In Muslim Somali communities, black seed oil is used for colds and flu, as well as rashes. Black seed oil—also known as black cumin, coming from the nigella sativa plant—has been the go-to home remedy for many Muslims for centuries. Prophet Muhammad—the founder of Islam—once stated, “The black seed can heal every disease, except death.” 

Clinical studies have proven that black seed reduces inflammation and relaxes muscles, as well as helps prevent gastrointestinal disorders. You can find both black seeds and black seed oil in health stores and online. 

Eat your garden weeds, I dare you.

Did you know that a dandelion salad is a great restorative for your belly? Dandelion flowers have antioxidant properties. Herbalists use dandelion root to detoxify the liver and gallbladder and dandelion leaves to help kidney function. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw or cooked and are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. Research has found that dandelion—Taraxacum officinale—shows both antiviral and antibacterial properties, limiting the growth of hepatitis B.

Yes, it is safe to eat dandelions growing in your yard, but there are some safety rules you should follow. Never harvest and eat plants in a yard that has been sprayed with pesticides or from a yard close to a road that spreads fuel emissions.

Are soft drinks medicinal?

Many people will reach for room-temperature Sprite, 7UP or ginger ale when they have an upset stomach. The warm carbonation is believed to alleviate gastric problems and prevent dehydration. However, studies have shown that such drinks may not provide adequate electrolyte replenishment. Still, soft drinks remain popular remedies.

Ginger root, however, has been used for 2,000 years to soothe troubled stomachs. It is effective against nausea and prompts more efficient digestion. Various clinical studies also support ginger’s helpful properties. So next time you’re feeling nauseated, try ginger tea to help comfort your stomach.

Is marshmallow a plant? 

The fluffy white in hot chocolate and s’mores evolved from marshmallow root—Althaea officinalis. Marshmallow root is particularly effective for dry coughs. With its strong anti-inflammatory properties, it can help restore the digestive tract for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, relieve eczema and appease irritation of the urinary tract.

Ancient Egyptians used marshmallow root to make chewy candies for Pharaohs. The process was so laborious, that today’s marshmallow is made out of gelatin instead. You can still obtain marshmallow roots in the form of extracts, tinctures, capsules, ointments and cough syrups.

What does “Harry Potter” have to do with health?

What is the most powerful wand in “Harry Potter”? The Elder Wand. Elder trees grow throughout the world including in North America, Asia and Europe. Elderberry syrup is known as a powerful cold preventative and remedy. High in vitamin C, dietary fiber and antioxidants, elderberries help prevent heart disease and cancer. You can find various elderberry products for the treatment of colds in the form of syrups, capsules, lozenges and gummies.

So, there you have it. Home remedies can readily be found right here in Rochester. Whether in your local garden, at your neighbor’s natural pharmacy or online, you can have access to the world’s herbal knowledge for your health. ::

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About Author

Kabuika develops multicultural communication strategies and tactics to strengthen workplace inclusivity with compelling multimedia storytelling and engaging events. She is currently working in Rochester as a Program Manager.

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