Indian home remedies and its western adaptations

BY SHIPRA MATHUR |  30th August 2018

I still remember being a child and having a toothache, and my mom would come to my room with “laung” (clove) and asked me to chew on it with the tooth that hurts. I wasn't sure why it worked, but it did! Yet I was very sceptical of the whole thing. I would cry in the middle of the night and complain of tummy ache/upset tummy, and my mom would come to my room nonchalantly with “hing” (asafoetida) and would apply it to my belly button. I remember me making fun of my mother saying, “Ma, these things don't work, they are just to make you feel like they do - I need actual medicines.” Boy was I wrong!!


Earlier this year, my dear friend Kim introduced me to her wonderful line of Essential Oils, “Young Living”. I was reluctant to try but went to one of her classes anyway. She introduced me to some oils and told me the benefits of natural ingredients, even for house cleaning products. I told her about the kids getting sick due to the change in weather and she suggested “Thieves” as a way to kill bacteria. It worked like a charm, and soon enough I was a believer. I bought a full kit with 10 oils and one of them was, yes, clove oil. When Kim said,” clove is really good for a toothache”, I immediately thought of my mother and how she would have a, “ I told you so” look on her face if I told her.

So why do we not believe in the “old wives tales” and where are its origin? Which ones are myths and what is the truth behind some that actually work?

I am sure you all have heard rub “hing” (asafoetida) on the babies belly button to cure colic. I always wondered if that's just buying time for the body to naturally heal, but apparently, that's not true, hing have anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties which help deal with irritable bowel syndrome, colon cleansing, stomach upsets and also breathing problems. However, in the case of infants, hing cannot be given to them directly to combat gastrointestinal problems, so massaging hing is the right way to use it.

I remember using this remedy on my babies and it worked perfectly. Here in the US, I found asafoetida tablets for adults available in major health stores to cure gastrointestinal problems. I now believe that all the old wives tales had some scientific truth to it but back then they just didn't know why certain things worked and certain things don't.

 Natural/home remedies do work on certain health issues, maybe even upto 90% of the times when applied proactively, but that does not mean you should ignore the signs of your body telling you it's too late for home remedies and you need to go see a trained professional.

Young Living offers a wide range of pure essential oils for various ailments and I would highly recommend them for preventive care! After all, prevention is certainly better than the cure. Here’s how to get your own: