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Keeping an index card box of home cure “recipes”

Everybody’s body should come with an instruction manual. Unfortunately, they don’t, and it’s up to us to figure out our little quirks. Like, that one brand of pain reliever works better than another for us, even though according to the package they’re both the same dose of the same medicine. Or just which combination of herbs you discovered helps your sinus congestion if you boil them and breathe in the steam.

Recipe box on table

Write ’em down

I’ve finally started writing down the little home “cures” I find for my ailments. You can store them online somewhere, or you can just set up an index card file and put them in there. I alphabetize mine by either the problem (“Colds/Flu”) or the part of the body it relates to (“Sinuses, congested” or “Sinuses, swollen” – yes, sometimes my sinus linings just swell, it’s weird). Then I write down notes on what has relieved the problem in the past.

I’ve got my cold-fighting broth under both “Colds/Flu” and “Sinus, congested.” For “Sinuses, swollen” I’ve got “ibuprofen” and “sniff saline” as recommendations.

Another example: let’s say you get occasional adult pimples, and some of them respond well to one treatment and others respond well to another, and it took you years to figure out the difference. If you go six months without having another pimple, are you going to be able to remember what worked last time? Jot it down and stick it in your box, and you don’t have to.

One of my cards is “Exhaustion” and another is “Tired.” On both of them I have the same word: “anemia.” Every few months I’ll get terrifically tired and think I’m not getting enough sleep, and then I’ll get lots of sleep and not feel any better and wonder what on earth is wrong with me. Once I set up the card file with “anemia” under the terms that come to mind whenever this happens, I’m reminded what the problem is and know I just need extra iron supplements or beef for a few days.

At the front of the box, I’ve also got a list of things I should never do or be very careful about doing: for example,  medications that give you miserable side effects, or the fact that you seem to be able to tolerate a couple of glasses of vodka, but for some reason whiskey gives you headaches.

When you’re feeling terrible, that’s no time to rack your brain trying to remember what made you feel better the last time. This system is simple to use, and the more notes you make, the better it works.