"After thirty," says the proverb, "you're either a fool or your own physician." Maybe before thirty, too … especially if you live in an isolated spot and/or have a big bump of independence. Of course, you're a bigger fool still if you meddle with a serious or persistent condition … but both you and your overworked doctor will be better off if you can prevent or cure your own minor ills … as Marj Watkins began pointing out in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 28. Here's the final installment of the health hints that work for her family.
Vaginal Infection or Irritation
Vaginal inflammations seem to occur inevitably when a woman's body is short of vitamins A and E. The problems will usually subside when 100,000 units of vitamin A and 200 of vitamin E are taken daily for three days.
A douche of one tablespoon of vinegar to a quart of water will combat yeasts and fungi and can be used daily to fight infection by these organisms or by bacteria. Used occasionally, it will keep Monilia fungus at bay.
Gentian violet, prepared as a suppository and sold on prescription, is the most effective remedy for trichomonad and Monilia infections. Doctors often hesitate to prescribe this medicine because it's a strong dye . . . but that's no problem when a tampon is used with the suppository.
VARICOSE VEINS: Although they often begin with a pregnancy, varicose veins can happen to anybody. To make them go away, or at least not get worse, rest with your legs above hip level five minutes out of each hour if at all possible. (Use a slant-board . . . perhaps your ironing board with one end on the floor and the other on a sofa.)
Wear good support hose. Finish every bath with cold water applied to the varicose-vein area to firm your skin, or apply alternate hot and cold packs to your elevated legs. Do bicycling exercises with your legs in the air.
Increase the oxygen in your bloodstream by learning to breathe with your entire lungs. Walk daily, fifteen minutes at first and working up to an hour. Afterward, rest on your back with your legs raised. Sit up slowly to avoid dizziness.
Take 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C night and morning, with vitamin E as directed under ACHES AND PAINS (MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 29). Drink a glass of milk at the same time for calcium, protein, and other helpful elements.
HEMMORRHOIDS: To prevent this trouble, keep the bowels functioning well with plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, fruit juices, dried prunes and figs, and herb teas. Keep the abdominal muscles trim by walking, swimming, and bicycling.
To overcome hemorrhoids, eat cottage cheese, poached fish, applesauce, soybean products, lentils, dried and fresh peas, stir-fried assorted vegetables, mashed potatoes (dice small and cook without peeling), and butter or gravy. Don't eat sugar, candy, or white flour products or drink coffee or strong tea. These give you nothing but calories or stimulation, while robbing you of essential B vitamins.
PHLEBITIS: This condition is the inflammation of a vein, with swelling, itching, burning, and sometimes a general physical upset. It probably won't happen to you if you eat well and exercise faithfully. If it does, go at once to your vitamin C source and take 1,000 units with milk at each meal, between meals, and at bedtime.
Also take vitamin E, beginning with 100 units each morning. In a few days, add another 100 units at night. After a few more days, increase again. Some very active people control vein problems with 600 to 800 units of vitamin E daily, but you may find 200 enough in combination with leg-up rest and cold packs. Honey and peach kernel oil lotion gently massaged into the skin will relieve itching. Eat plenty of parsley, liver, whole grains, and dairy products.
Puncture a vitamin E capsule and squeeze the oil onto the wart. Cover the area with a Band-Aid. Repeat the treatment daily for three days.
A healthy, happy person who is in tune with the rest of the universe doesn't attract accidents or hurts . . . but it sometimes happens that a barefoot child, for instance, in a moment of doubt or inattention steps on a piece of glass left by some out-of-tune individual.
If there is much bleeding, elevate the wounded part and press against the injury with a clean cloth or a handful of grass or soft leaves. Any dirt or foreign matter in the wound will prevent healing and must be gently removed. If there is none, just bandage the injury . . . the blood will have washed it. A hurt that has not bled well should be cleaned with mild soap and water and then bandaged. No other antiseptic is needed.
It's necessary to keep the injury, and the skin around it, protected with a bandage and a sock or other clothing. Otherwise new dirt can get in and cause infection later. If infection does set in, soak the part several times a day in a salt solution as hot as can be borne.
"The Fountain of Youth"
I'll conclude this series with my recipe for good health. It's really not a fountain but a cornucopia: an abundant assortment of fruits and vegetables, as fresh from the earth as possible, grown without insecticides or artificial fertilizers.
My stay-young formula also includes sea vegetables — kelp, dulse, bladder wrack, and sea lettuce — for their 67 different minerals. I use them in oyster stew, clam and fish chowders, sneak ground kelp into beef stew, meatballs, herb-fried chicken, sesame-coated baked fish, and shepherd's pie. Anywhere a land herb can go, sea herbs can go too, accompanied by basil, marjoram, ginger, cumin, thyme, or whatever. In a recipe for four or five people I use one-half to one teaspoon of ground kelp, depending on the dish. One can also stir a teaspoon of kelp into a glass of tomato juice for a morning pickup.
Well, that's it . . . the simple methods of prevention and healing that keep our family in good shape and out of the doctor's office. I hope they work as well for you as they have for us.