We tend to think that natural remedies are safe. Yet few of us actually do enough research to know that just because something is natural, doesn't mean that it is safe for us to use. Take a look at these seven well-known home remedies that may make you worse, not better.
This herb is grown on the South Pacific islands and is often recommended for anxiety - in fact, it has been found to have a calming effect similar to Valium. But, Kava may also cause liver failure in otherwise healthy people and may also cause allergic reactions.
2. Castor oil
Obstetrician, Dr. Yamaguchi, has seen her fair share of women in their final stages of pregnancy who cannot quite wait to have their baby, and have seen many women take castor oil believing it will jump start labor. But, aside from its awful taste, castor oil, is a remedy for constipation. Nevertheless, it's not recommended. A healthier alternative would be to take prunes and prune juice.
Activated charcoal is generally derived from coconut shells and is thought to trap and remove dangerous toxins from the body. It is recommended to treat bloating and constipation. But swallowing charcoal for detoxification purposes is strongly discouraged. It is dangerous because it can cause life-threatening intestinal obstructions and severe dehydration. Eating well and drinking plenty of water can have a similar, but safer effect on the body.
A healthy diet should consist of all the vitamins and minerals that we need. Sometimes, a vitamin pill can fill the gap and ensure optimum health. The danger comes when people ignore the recommended doses and take too much of a particular vitamin. Too much vitamin D, for instance, can cause liver and heart problems, while too much B6 can cause nerve toxicity, and a vitamin A overdose can cause death in extreme cases.
5. Blowing or licking a wound
Mothers are known for spitting on a tissue and using it to clean their children's faces, or worse, a wound. Blowing on or introducing saliva to a cut is dangerous as both our breath and saliva have tons of bacteria and can contaminate the wound and lead to an infection.
6. Syrup of Ipecac
This syrup is made from the roots of a South American plant and is kept as a counter treatment for accidental poisoning as it induces vomiting. But this form of treatment is incredibly dangerous as many poisons do further damage when they make their way out of the body, thus damaging the esophagus and causing breathing problems. The only appropriate reaction to a child swallowing something poisonous is to call Poison Control immediately, seeking medical treatment.
7. Breast milk
Breast milk is the best possible natural food for babies but its use as a healing agent lacks scientific studies. Many moms claim that their milk clears up skin conditions. Yet it is unwise to apply another person's breast milk to an injury or infection. It can transmit infectious diseases, including HIV. If not stored properly, breast milk can be contaminated and can actually introduce bacteria into an already infected area.