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Everyday quick-fixes

MagazineMarch 2012 (Vol. 22 Issue 12)Everyday quick-fixes

Overworked? You're dog-tired, but there's no let-up

  • Overworked? You're dog-tired, but there's no let-up. To promote relaxation and relieve stress and tension, make a mixture of herbs using equal amounts of thyme, lavender and fennel. This will calm the nerves and, if you're overwrought, should help you sleep. To make this herbal tea, steep one teaspoonful in one cup of very hot water for seven minutes.
  • Puffy eyes from partying all night? Place two refrigerated slices of avocado (cut transversely to leave holes in each slice) for three minutes over the eyes. The avocado oil and pantothenic acid induce local relaxation, and the cool temperature will help to reduce the puffiness.
  • Had too much coffee? After three cupsof coffee, the body's fluid balance becomes seriously disturbed-as if you haven't drunk anything for six hours. Coffee de-hydrates: it's a diuretic, after all. Often, the consequence of this dried-out effect is deterioration of your powers of concen-tration. So, the golden rule is to always drink a glass of water with each cup of coffee. (Indeed, on the Continent, coffee is usually served with an accompanying glass of water; now you know why.)
  • Garlic breath? The garlicky smell that persists on the breath after eating garlic-seasoned food can best be dispelled by this simple trick: chew on a cardamom seed. The aromatic oils in cardamom bind with garlic's allicin, the ingredient respon-sible for the characteristic odour. Your garlicky aftertaste and breath will soon disappear. If cardamom seed isn't readily available, chew on a stick of raw celery instead.
  • Overindulged alcohol? Anyone who has drunk too much alcohol should eat fructose (fruit sugar) before trying to sleep it off. Sugar speeds up the resorption of alcohol by one-third, according to a study by Dr Merle Diamond of the US National Headache Foundation; this is because fructose competes for the same metabolic pathway as alcohol. Two tablespoonfuls of honey before bed should do the trick.
  • Too much acidic food? Taking one teaspoonful of baking powder (containing baking soda, or bicarbonate) in a glass of water or swallowing a handful of uncooked oats will provide quick relief for an over-acidified stomach.
  • Smoked too much? A sallow complexion and bad taste in your mouth the next day is evidence of smoking excess. Your daily vitamin C requirement (100 mg) should be increased to 500 mg, as tobacco will have flushed too much ascorbic acid from your system.
  • Talked way too much? Becoming hoarse (or even having aphonia, 'losing your voice') due to excessive talking is best corrected with a little tincture of Balmof Gilead (Populus candicans), which can generally be found at a good pharmacy. But if this isn't readily available, then drink a glass of hot lemon juice sweetened with two tablespoonfuls of honey, followed by sucking on sage lozenges every two hours. The essential oils contained in sage help to keep the vocal cords limber.
  • Gorged on fast food? Drink a glass of tomato juice with added hot pepper. This remedy has a dual effect: 1) the lycopene in the tomato will dispose of all those fats; and 2) the pepper has certain pungent acid amides that rev up your metabolism. With this remedy, you shouldn't put on a single extra kilogramme of weight.
  • Bolted your food? The usual result is that the food sits like a lump of lead in your stomach, so dissolve a calcium tablet in half a glass of water and drink it down. The mineral should facilitate the stom-ach's smooth working motion while, at the same time, soothing the stretched lining of your stomach.
  • Been chopping onions? Onions and shallots can leave a smell on your hands and fingernails. The solution: vigorously rub some peanut butter into your hands. They'll feel a little greasy afterwards (but also moisturized), but the smell will be gone, and you can wash off the peanut butter with soap and water. If you don't have peanut butter to hand, try parsley instead, although this will leave a slight greenish hue on your skin for a little while.
  • Need more sleep? The morning 'fog' and lethargy can be countered with this 'cold start': simply dip both your hands and wrists into ice-cold water. The cold is a stimulant that will momentarily increase your blood pressure, so you'll feel wide awake instantly.
Harald Gaier

WDDTY Vol. 22, 12. March 2012


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