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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 8 (November 2, 1936)

Health Notes. — Household Remedies

Health Notes.
Household Remedies.

In these days of extensive advertising of household remedies one would imagine that there is “no ill to which the flesh is heir” that cannot be cured by something from bottle, tin or carton!

However, when one undertakes one's own diagnosis and treatment, care and caution must be exercised lest one be treating symptoms only, thus neglecting removal of the cause, which is, or should be, the basis for the treatment of all cases. Take for instance the host of “cures” for so-called indigestion. Now indigestion is but the symptom of a gastric disorder which can originate in any condition varying from an error in diet to cancer of the organ. Naturally it follows, there is no one remedy capable of curing such a variety of causes.

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Next, let us take the common symptom “lack of energy.” This may arise from anything varying from over-work to tuberculosis of the lungs.

Similarly, constipation may be due to irregularity of habit or to a growth in the bowel. Headaches may be due to a stuffy atmosphere or to a tumour in the brain.

These examples will suffice to demonstrate the impossibility of one remedy dealing with all the causes which may give rise to one common symptom.

As household remedies, ointments are very much abused by many people. Into ointments are dispensed a very wide variety of drugs, each one capable of acting beneficially only in its own sphere, hence the utmost care must be exercised in their application. Much harm may be done by rubbing an ointment over a pimple with a “mattery” head. This matter is usually pus trying to come out, and as pus finds difficulty in emerging through grease there is grave risk of the pus spreading in its endeavour to find an exit.

Gargles must be carefully selected and carefully used, for if too strong, there is risk of injuring the membranes, lining and guarding the passages of the mouth and throat.

Lotions are much the same as ointments, as they contain various drugs. A lotion which will cure one trouble, will most likely aggravate another.

Pills must be treated with equal respect as so many of the so-called “tonic” pills lead to constipation.

Now please do not think that this short article is a general malignment of all household remedies, as most are good for something, but please avoid indiscriminate use which may lead to harmful results.

What we wish to impress upon you most of all, is the necessity for locating the cause of your trouble and dealing with its removal in a rational way. Avoid all “Slap-dab—Here goes.”