Friday, June 30, 2017

Good Reasons To Stop Self-Medication

Have you ever approached a pharmacist to buy antibiotics without a prescription? The answer would most probably be a ‘Yes’. And, most of us are not surprised, because self-medication has become a veritable epidemic, but the fact that it can be dangerous is somehow Not catching up.
Self-medication is when a person decides to treat themselves without consulting a doctor. This is not only dangerous but can also cause serious problems and in some cases worsen the situation. Today over 7,000 drugs and drug combinations are available in the world and many of these have been released for general use and are sold directly as over- the-counter or OTC drugs. On the other hand, medicines that are available only with a prescription are called prescription medicines.

Most OTC drugs usually fall under the category of pain relievers, cough remedies, anti-allergies, laxatives, vitamins, tonics, antacids etc. The term “responsible self-medication” is often used to stress the responsible use of OTC medicines by patients with healthcare professional support, where necessary.

Due to various sociocultural and economic factors, self-medication is a very common practice in India. However, the benefits of the same are much lesser than the potential dangers one might face as a result of self-medication. Let’s take a looks at the benefits and dangers of self-medication.

Dangers of self- medication
Self-medication is not only risky, but can also prove to be life-threatening in some cases. If you want to self-medicate, you should be able to recognise the symptoms that you are treating and should be confident that your medical condition is suitable for self-medication, and you should also be able to choose an appropriate medicine, and finally, you must also be able to follow the directions for use of the medicine as stated on the product labelling.

Now these are big asks. Not everyone is capable of ticking all the above boxes. This makes self-medication particularly dangerous. The doctor or a health professional is responsible for interpreting both signs and symptoms of an illness and the side effects of a medicine.

Patients can’t decide by themselves which medicine to take for what symptoms and what are the contraindications or side effects. For example, you may decide to self-medicate for a headache and this medicine interacts with another medicine that you are taking for a chronic issue and you land up in the ICU due to the two medicines interacting.

Here are some potential risks that can be posed by self-medication:

1.     One may misdiagnose
2.     Wrong dosage
3.     Allergic and adverse drug reactions
4.     Drug interactions and resistance
5.     Contraindications
6.     Mask a severe illness
7.     Make a mistake in identifying the right drugs
8.     Taking the right medicine at the wrong time

Lay persons don’t know that people vary greatly in their sensitivity or reaction to drugs and that an appropriate dose for one person may not be appropriate for another and may actually be dangerous. This situation is further worsened in many countries around the world where the regulatory mechanisms controlling drug sale are weak and most drugs including certain prescription medicines are available to the lay person without a doctor’s prescription.

It is important that you realize that self-medication can prove to be extremely dangerous for your health and may also be responsible for making an illness worse; so, one should consult a doctor before self-medicating to avoid any kind of medical emergencies and fatalities.

Amazing Ayurvedic Health Benefits Of Spearmint (Pudina)

The word "Spearmint" probably reminds you of your favorite chewing gum. However, this special type of mint and has far reaching benefits than just a gum, some known and some unknown. Its value lies in its leaves that are used in many cultures as a part of daily recipes. Apart from that, the leaves are used to prepare a host of products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. They are also used medicinally and are one of the predominant medicines used in Ayurveda. Let us look at some of the benefits of using Spearmint.

Health benefits of spearmint

1.     Antibacterial Capacity: The natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of the spearmint can be beneficial in protecting your gums and teeth from cavities. Apart from that, they also take care of your bad breath and dental damages.

2.     Respiratory Health: Spearmint has a significant impact on the overall health of your respiratory system. It has anti-inflammatory qualities and can relieve sore throats and chest tightness. They are also used in some asthma medicines to ease out the congestion and assist in the breathing process.

3.     Digestion: If you are facing stomach upset frequently, look no further than spearmint. It is beneficial for digestion and can be great for the overall health of your digestive system. It is also helpful during pregnancy and can prevent morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting. It also minimizes cramping and bloating.

4.     Hormonal Balance: For people who are suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome or other forms of hormonal imbalance, having spearmint juices can reduce the symptoms. The juice stimulates the endocrine system and prevents complicated metabolic side effects.

5.     Blood Circulation: Spearmint leaves and juices can also prevent anemia and can be beneficial for proper blood circulation. They also greatly stimulate the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Spearmint leaves can also be beneficial in maintaining the pH levels of your skin and blood.

6.     Heart Health: Spearmint effectively maintains a healthy blood pressure and relieves the pressure on your arteries. They are also beneficial in controlling your cardiovascular symptoms and relieve the stress on your blood vessels and arteries.

7.     Stress Relief: Menthol, which one of the most powerful ingredients in spearmint, has a soothing and calming effect on your overall health. It also acts a mild sedative in some cases. Take a cup of hot spearmint tea in case you need a calming effect on your body. It can also significantly reduce the stress levels and can stimulate your nervous system effectively.

Treat Your Grey Hair Naturally With Home Remedies

Greying of hair occurs when the pigments which give hair its characteristic color stop working. The pigment cells present in the hair follicle produce a chemical known as melanin which is responsible for the color of the hair. Usually greying of hair begins when one reaches their mid-thirties, however, premature greying can occur in one's twenties.

These are some home remedies for treating grey hair -

1. Almond oil and lemon juice massage - Almond oil enhances the elasticity and provides nourishment to the hair. Lemon is a good source of vitamins and phosphorus which help in promoting the growth of the hair. Combining almond oil and lemon juice helps in preventing greying of hair.

2. Indian gooseberry - Indian gooseberry or amla contains high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C which is an excellent remedy for greying hair. You can either apply amla oil or consume the fruit to reap its benefits.

3. Henna - Henna is a natural hair colorant that is used to darken the color of the hair. It also helps in strengthening the hair strands.

4. Coconut oil - Coconut oil helps in moisturizing the hair, eliminates 
dandruff and promotes hair growth. Coconut oil contains high amounts of antioxidants that help in treating grey hair.

5. Black tea - Black tea enhances hair strength and promotes hair growth apart from adding a natural dark hue to the hair strands. It is one of the most favored methods to treat grey hair.

6. Curry leaves - Curry leaves contain vitamin B which improves the functioning of the pigments present in the hair follicle. It also provides nourishment to the hair and limits hair fall.

7. Blackstrap molasses - It is a by-product of sugarcane that is rich in minerals such as manganese, calcium and vitamin B. It is also rich in copper that is beneficial to the hair pigment.

8. Shikakai - Shikakai, also known as 'Acacia Concinna' is a herb that helps in grey hair treatment. It restricts hair fall and promotes growth of hair

Thursday, June 29, 2017

An Ayurvedic Approach For Healthy Hair

Hair is one of the most noticeable aspects of a human being, whether you are a man or a woman. However, the increasing use of chemicals and other ingredients in hair care products tends to cause more damage to hair than benefits. Ayurveda offers great solutions for healthy hair without the side effects associated with chemical related products.

Some Ayurvedic tips to keep hair healthy:

Shampoo itself is a derivative of the word champoo, which is an indian concept of soothing or gently massaging the scalp before washing it off. Let's look at some of the ayurvedic tips which may help you get better hair and shine and keep it healthy throughout.

A. Special Ayurvedic oils for massaging on scalp: The best options are usually sesame, brahmi and the most commonly available coconut oil. Massage it on your scalp regularly at least twice a week and leave it overnight before washing it off the next morning.

B. Make sure diet is corrected: Ensure that the food you eat is a part of a balanced diet and it is preferable to avoid junk food altogether. Stay away from carbonated sweetened beverages as well as smoking and drinking. Some of the spices and vegetables that will be helpful in restoring hair health would be:
1.     Coriander
2.     Cumin
3.     Turmeric
4.     Fenugreek
5.     Cooking in olive oil or ghee instead of cheap vegetable oils is also beneficial

C. Taking care of digestive or bowel issues: If you suffer from digestive or bowel related issues, then it would be wise to correct that first by the use of laxatives or other medications.

D. Taking care of pitta issues: The pitta, if aggravated, can cause hair fall. There are many techniques in ayurveda which can be used to balance it.

E. Usage of certain herbs in controlled amounts: Usage of the following herbs in controlled amounts can be very good for the health of your hair.

1.     Aloe vera - aloe vera is the new wonder drug, which is effective in treating many ailments and it is very good for skin and hair as well, whether consumed as food or applied to the hair as an extract.

2.     Bhringraj - paste made of bhringraj applied to the hair before washing can be very good for the health of the hair.

3.     Methi - another spice which can be grounded made into a paste and then applied to hair and is known to produce great results.

4.     Amla - amla is very good while being eaten as it contains vitamin c and fortifies hair health from the inside. Amla paste or extract massaged on hair is also very good for its health.