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You’ve likely tried a home remedy at some point in your life. From elderberry, to herbal teas and essential oils – people love to swap tales about unconventional treatments. But do home remedies actually work or is it just the placebo effect? Internal medicine physician Elizabeth Kightlinger, MD, shares scientific insight into some of the most popular home remedies out there.

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Home Remedies Backed By Science with Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger

Podcast Transcript

Nada Youssef:

Hi and welcome to the Health Essentials Podcast brought to you by Cleveland Clinic. I'm your host, Nada Youssef. People treat a variety of common symptoms and conditions with a range of home remedies. Chances are, you or a family member have used a home remedy at some point. Maybe it was something grandma always did or maybe you read it online, but all these remedies, are they a good idea? Today, we are talking to Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger about common home remedies; what works and what doesn't.

              She's an internal medicine physician as well as pediatrician here at Cleveland Clinic. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yes, thank you for having me.

Nada Youssef:

Sure thing. And to our listeners, please remember this is for informational purposes only and it's intended to replace your own physician's advice. So before we go into specific remedies, can you explain when a home remedy might be a good idea and what point you should talk to your doctor before doing it?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So there are a lot of times where it might be safe and effective to try home remedies and definitely, I think most people, so many people today have tried them at one point in their lives. Given the large variety of home remedies we're going to talk about today, whether it's for the common cold, whether it's for a skin condition, whether it's for aches and pains, anything that's minor, you might want to try considering something at home.

              If it's a new pain, if it's a severe pain lasting for a long time, you definitely want to go see your doctor. If you have the cold and you're really having trouble breathing, or you're not able to eat or drink or keep fluids down, you definitely want to go see your doctor. Or if you're trying home remedies and it's not working or it's getting worse, that's another time to go see your doctor. So you always want to take that into account, but it's always... If you're feeling bad and you want to try something at home and you don't feel bad enough to see a doctor, it may be worth a try.

Nada Youssef:

So is it likely that these home remedies are actually treating symptoms or conditions, or is it more of a placebo effect? And if it is a placebo effect, is it a good idea?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So there are a lot of home remedies that are proven to be effective. I'm sure we'll get into them later, like chicken soup for the cold. That's a great one and there's actually science behind it, or using vitamin D. Or if you have skin warts or if there's creams to use for diaper rash, so many things can be effective and can be used at home. Are some of them causing a placebo effect? Yeah. There are a number out there where the data is inconclusive, where they may not necessarily benefit you, but they don't do any harm. So that's always something to consider. As a doctor, one of the first things we learned is do no harm. If it makes you feel better and it's not doing harm, I would say that's probably something safe to do.

Nada Youssef:

Excellent. Now, I'd like to get your opinion on some of the most popular home remedies that we know of and what they're most commonly used for. So feel free to elaborate more, or let us know if it's effective or if it's not effective, how to use them. So for a cold or a cough, I know you mentioned chicken soup. If you can elaborate, maybe go a little bit into other remedies as well?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So first, I'll talk about the chicken noodle soup. So while I was preparing for this podcast, I actually read a really interesting study and it was looking at chicken noodle soup versus cold water, hot water in chicken noodle soup. The chicken noodle soup actually increased the velocity of movement of the mucus in your nose better compared to hot water and better compared to cold water. So there were actually is science that it may relieve some of that congestion and mucus and make you feel better. Why it was better than hot water? That might just be some of the ingredients in it that are actually nutritious and may help you fight the cold. There are a number of... So that's definitely a great thing to try as long as you're able to take fluids in, and you always want to think this is great for children too, but you want to make sure the child is old enough to eat and it's safe for them to eat the product and it's not too hot for them.

              There are a number of other remedies that are great. Another one is honey. So there are a lot of studies that found that giving a couple of teaspoons of honey at night can actually reduce symptoms, reduce coughing, and improve sleep. Studies have even found that this is more effective than over the counter cough suppressants. So another point I want to make that there, again, going back to children is that for over the counter cough suppressants, it's not recommended to give to young children because of the side effects. The honey is actually much safer and it's found to be more effective and there's less risk of side effects. The last point I want to make about the honey is that you always want to make sure you're not giving it to anyone younger than one year of age because honey does have a risk of infant botulism, which is a very serious disease.

Nada Youssef:

How about elderberry? We've heard a lot about elderberry lately. Can you tell us the benefits of those and if they do work?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. Yeah, there's a lot of mixed data. So like a lot of supplements for the flu, there's a lot of mixed data on this one and I'm actually going to quote... There's actually a study that just came out of Cleveland Clinic led by Dr. Michael Macken that looked at elderberry use in pediatrics for the flu, and he actually found that there was no difference in the elderberry versus the placebo group. And in fact, in the elderberry group who didn't take Tamiflu, which is a medication for the flu, it actually took two extra days in his study for people to recover. So some data says it's good. Some data says it's not. It's probably not harmful. So I'm not against trying it, but it may not work. As always, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from the flu is to get a flu shot every year.

Nada Youssef:

Sure. Of course. Now, another thing for cold or cough, we see a lot of people may be using air purifiers, maybe a neti pot, some kind of menthol rub. Do these work for colds?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So there's some evidence that say they do and some evidence that say they don't. So first, I'll start with the humidifier. There's been a number of studies that have showed that there's no conclusive data. So they may not work, but they don't cause any harm. So I would say in this case, it may still have a soothing effect though, even though it may not be decreasing the severity and duration of the flu. But as I mentioned many times during this podcast, you don't want to do any harm.

              So when you're using these humidifiers, you want to make sure they're cleaned properly because if not, they can be a source of bacteria and mold that can then be aerosolized into your house and can actually cause health issues. The other thing is for a lot of these humidifiers, if they're stinging hot air, there is a burn risk if a young child or anyone were to get too close to it or the water were to spill. So you want to make sure you're carefully monitoring this humidifier use because there's no benefit, no harm, it may improve symptoms, but you want to make sure no one is going to get injured by having it running in your house.

              As far as nasal saline or neti pots, like saltwater sprays to clear the nose are definitely safe. They may cause some local irritation of the nose, but they are usually safe and can be effective, especially in children where we don't recommend use being over the counter kind of cough syrup or those medications. Again, the big thing I want to say for the neti pot if that's something you want to use, you want to make sure you're cleaning it appropriately so it doesn't become a source of infection that you're then putting into your nose because those areas with the mucus membranes, they can easily become infected if not used properly.

              The last thing I want to mention is using a menthol rub for kind of some of your congestion and nasal symptoms, sore throat, cough for when you have a cold. So there are a lot of rubs out there. I think one of the most common ones that we've all seen is the Vicks vapor rub. These can be effective with symptoms, but there's kind of mixed data on how good they are in the long run. So kind of the main ingredients in a lot of these rubs are the camphor, the eucalyptus oil, and the menthol. So I particularly want to mention the camphor. Some of these can be toxic to children under two years of age. So you definitely don't want to give it to anyone under two years of age and you don't want to put it on any broken skin. You want to put it on the rote or the chest, and definitely not if there's an open wound there. You don't want to put it near any mucous membrane, like near the nares or the lips because then it can be absorbed and you can get these toxic effects.

              I did come across a study that kind of compare the menthol rub versus just petroleum as a placebo. While a lot of people found that the menthol rub, those people had reduced symptoms, they also had significantly more side effects, most commonly was skin irritations. The ultimate conclusion was that the harm of the rub outweighed the benefits. So it may improve symptoms, but like I said, you really want to be careful you're not giving it to children under two, you're not putting it on broken skin or near any mucous membranes, just on the throat or the chest.

Nada Youssef:

Great. Very helpful information. Thank you. So when it comes to the digestion, are there any home remedies they can tell us about? I know we always hear about lemon water in the morning to help aid with digestion. Can tell us a little bit more.

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So there are a couple of things we can use for digestion. So some of them... A lot of the products that are out there include ginger, mint and as you mentioned, the lemon water. I read a little bit about how a lot of people use lemon water in order to prevent kind of acid reflux, and they mix a small amount of it with water. I would say overall, there's a lot of mixed data on whether this works and if you're suffering from acid reflux that's causing your indigestion, the common kind of advice we give to all patients is to avoid spicy foods, avoid alcohol, avoid acidic foods. So for me, taking something acidic to kind of relieve that heartburn, indigestion symptoms kind of goes against all of the advice we have out there. Some people swear by it. It's probably not harmful, but my personal opinion is it's probably not going to help you that much. At least of the lemon juice goes.

              So some of the other products out there are ginger. And ginger, there's a lot of data showing that it actually can be quite effective for nausea. There are studies that have used it in pregnant women, chemotherapy patients, and a lot of other people out there. The overall trend was that these are helpful medications. Again, I want to say whenever you're trying to use herbal remedy to treat kind of some of your symptoms, you want to talk to your doctor first. The reason herbal remedies work is they have medicinal properties, but these medicinal properties can interact with some of your other health conditions and they can interact with other medications you're on. There are some studies that show that ginger can have a slight increased bleeding risk, and it may be unsafe to take towards the end of pregnancy. So you always want to make sure you're talking to your doctor about all this.

              The last thing I really read for indigestion was about peppermint. So I don't know if you've noticed when you go out to eat, a lot of restaurants will give you a mint at the end. Some of the theory behind this is you've overeaten and the mint's going to help kind of control those feelings you have of being to full to make you feel better, so you like the restaurant more. You come back. Kind of some of the theory behind this is that peppermint, it shows that it kind of speeds up gastric emptying. So it allows your stomach to kind of release that food earlier, so you don't feel as full. There are studies that show that it can sometimes be helpful in irritable bowel syndrome or just that kind of feeling of bloating, satiety

              If you do suffer from acid reflux though, it might make it worse because while it can help release all that food from your stomach, it kind of releases those sphincters that control where food goes up from your stomach into your esophagus or down the other way. So it might increase acid reflux. So you want to be careful if you do suffer from GERD or acid reflux with peppermint.

Nada Youssef:

So we talked about overeating, maybe things you can take home remedies. What about over drinking? Anything for hangovers?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yes. So the best way to not get a hang over, I will have to say, is to not drink. That may not always be practical for everyone out there. So one of the first things I want to say is that while there's no necessarily safe amount of alcohol, they do recommend that for men about, one to two drinks per day. And for women, about one drink a day is in probably a safe range. We don't necessarily encourage binge drinking ever. But if you do, the most important thing to do is to make sure you drink a lot of water, so that way you're helping flush that out alcohol out of your system.

              A lot of times when you drink, you're not necessarily eating and you may not get as much urge to drink. So you want to make sure you're eating a nutritious meal. If the next morning, you're still feeling bad and you feel like you need a Tylenol or an ibuprofen, I would say it's important to make sure you're reaching for the ibuprofen because Tylenol is processed in your liver. So it can be liver toxic, the drinking is liver toxic. You don't want to combine those effects. So definitely don't take a Tylenol to kind of cure those hangover woes.

              Aside from drinking a lot of water, there is a popular remedy that I read about a pickle juice. Personally, I would have to say this is probably not going to be very helpful. So some of the theory behind drinking pickle juice is after having a night of drinking, you're dehydrated, but also your electrolytes are low. So pickle juice being so salty may replenish some of those electrolytes. But I would say it's so salty that when you're that dehydrated, you're better off reaching for water to kind of fill that hydration rather than having something so salty. It might dehydrate you more. If you're really worried about the electrolytes, go ahead and drink a Gatorade. That's probably better for you than a shot of pickle juice.

              Last but not least, I definitely don't recommend hair of the dog. If you've had a night of binge drinking, the cure to that is not having another drink in the morning.

Nada Youssef:

Sure, sure. Now, lot of people go for greasy food the next day. Is that a good idea, to add oil to the system after a night of drinking?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

I would say your stomach is probably already upset and greasy foods tend to upset your stomach more. So while it may feel good, it's probably not doing you any favors.

Nada Youssef:

Good to know. Thank you. Now, I want to jump on to skin home remedies. Some people use different kinds of tapes for warts and things like that. Can you tell us what home remedies, what common ones are out there and if they are effective and if they are not?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So we can talk about warts. So warts are very common. In the pediatric population, they can occur in 5% to 10%. So you can't always go to the doctor's office and have them use cryotherapy to burn them off. But I actually looked into a study while preparing for this that compared duct tape to cryotherapy. They actually found that the duct tape was just as effective or more effective. So the important thing to note is you want to get the duct tape. You want to cut it to a small as possible to cover the warts, so you're not irritating all the other skin around it. Then you want to put it on the wart and you want to leave it on for about six days. You want to give it substantial time to kind of have an occlusive property over that wart, take it off, and then you want to scrub it and scrub the skin to try and debride it and get some of that out.

              Then you want to reapply the tape again and leave it on for another six days and repeat this process. The study did note that while this was very effective, if you didn't see any improvement within about two weeks, you should probably go to the doctors to have it taken off. There are at-home cryotherapy kits, but the thing about the at-home kits is they don't always get as cold as the grade machine you have in your doctor's office. It needs to be really, really cold to be effective in getting that wart. So it just may not be as effective as the machine that your doctor's office has.

Nada Youssef:

Sure. Now, what about skin tags? I hear many people talking about clipping their own skin tags.

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So skin tags is another one. I would probably not recommend ever clipping your skin tag at home, but there are some home remedies that are probably safe to try. So a lot of these home remedies, they focus on kind of drying out the skin tag. Some popular ones are tea tree oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, banana peels, and vitamin E. You put applications near the skin tag. You want to cover it up with a bandage, so that it stays in place and leave it on for significant amounts of time and repeat the process. The thought of this is that it dries it off so that it falls off on its own. I will say, a lot of skin tags can occur near that the eyes or in the genital region. It's probably not necessarily safe to be applying any of these applications in those areas where you can really irritate some of those places on your body.

              So kind of some other indications that you probably shouldn't take care of this at home is around your eyes, your genitals, as I already mentioned, it's really itchy, it's bleeding, or it's very large, or it's got kind of redness or warmth around it, which could show as a sign those are infected. Those should probably be evaluated by your doctor first. The last thing I want to mention is that some of these products I already mentioned, when you put them on, they can actually irritate the skin around it, causing something called contact dermatitis which can create another problem you have to go to your doctors for and be treated. So be wary of that.

Nada Youssef:

All right. Now, how about something for diaper rash, for instance?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. Yeah. So unfortunately, most babies at some point in their life are probably going to get a diaper rash. There are a lot of over the counter products you can use that are going to be really effective at this. Now, the best way to prevent the diaper rash is to change the diaper is frequently as possible soon after the stool or the urine is made. I know everyone tries their best and sometimes you just miss it. So if that happens, it's really important to make sure you're putting a barrier cream around the baby's skin, and this can really help protect against the moisture between the skin, the stool and the urine, and the diaper.

              So some of the best things to use is you want to look for anything that's oil based because these will really help create that barrier; so petroleum, jelly, or Aquaphor, or Desistin, zinc oxide, these are all great options and you can put... Another thing I really want to mention is you don't necessarily have to wipe these off with every diaper change because you might be irritating the skin because these things really stick if you've ever used them before. So don't feel the need to wipe it off between every change. You can leave it there and have it keep creating that barrier. So a lot of times, these are good at preventing the diaper rash or helping kind of ease some of that irritation the baby may be experiencing. However, if you start to notice large red plaques that are spreading over the belly or down the thighs, this can be a sign that you may have a secondary bacterial or fungal infection, and you should go see your doctor to make sure there aren't other medications you need to control the rash.

Nada Youssef:

Awesome. You're full of good information. All right. I'm going to keep going. I've heard many different things about things you can take for breastfeeding to help the milk supply. Can we talk about those?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So one of the ones I looked at the most for breastfeeding is fenugreek, and I've actually known a number of people who have used this and swear by this and say that it really helps them. I will say and it has been used for centuries to help with milk let down, and there is data that shows it's effective. However, along with all the other herbal supplements I'm going to mention, this is definitely something you want to talk to your doctor about before you start using it.

              So fenugreek, it does have some anticoagulant properties, which means it can make you more likely to bleed. So if you have a history of heavy bleeding, bleeding or clotting disorders, you definitely want to talk to your doctor before. This can interact with a lot of over the counter medications, like your ibuprofen or any NSAIDs out there or if you have to take a medication like warfarin or any of the other medications to kind of thin your blood to bleed. The other thing about fenugreek is it can also sometimes stimulate uterine contractions. So there may be a slight increase risk with miscarriage. So if you're trying to get pregnant again, you may want to talk to your doctor about using this and it may not be the best idea.

Nada Youssef:

So for pain or inflammation, can you tell us about some home remedies that we can use? I'll have my own question when it comes to that one; heat versus ice packs, want to use heat versus ice.

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah.

Nada Youssef:

So maybe we could start with that and then you can give us other home remedies?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yes, absolutely. Yeah. So a lot of us suffer from just minor aches and pains throughout the day. A lot of these have to do with just kind of our daily jobs and our lives. If you're sitting at a desk all day, you can cause some injury to the muscles in your back and make them sore. You can make your hamstrings get tight. So there's a lot of different ways we accumulate pain in our life.

              Yeah, heat and ice packs are a great way of treating pains. A lot of times people ask, "When do you use heat versus when you use ice?" So ice is a really great thing to use after an acute injury, such as just right after you've sprained your ankle. The ice helps in a lot of ways by can reduce the swelling, and if there's bleeding through the injury that may be causing the swelling, it can reduce the blood flow. It can act as a numbing agent, which can help decrease the pain. It's important to know that you don't want to put the ice directly on the skin. If you do have ice, you want to make sure you're moving it to prevent from getting ice.

              You never want to leave it on for more than about 15 or 30 minutes. You can use a frozen pack of peas or wet towel, ice cubes in a plastic bag. All of these things can be effective. If you start to notice with the ice that your skin is starting to appear a bright pink or red, you should remove the ice pack and consider talking to your doctor. You also never want to use ice right before activity because you want the muscles to be warmed up and ready to use, and that can be very dangerous.

              So heat on the other hand, heat is more likely to be effective in chronic conditions to help relax and loosen the tissue and stimulate the blood flow. You don't want to use heat treatments after the activity or after an acute injury because like I said how it brings blood flow to the area, if you have that acute injury, it can make the swelling worse.

Nada Youssef:

Very good information. Thank you. How about for migraines, something like aroma therapy or lavender? Does that work for migraines?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So I was looking into this and I did actually find some studies that show that lavender and aromatherapy can actually be effective for the treatment of migraines. So there's a study that showed that lavender inhalation for 15 minutes at the onset of migraines was safe and well tolerated, and it did actually reduce the severity of migraines in a number of people. It did show that in some younger boys , they had something called gynecomastia from using it, and that's just a transient enlargement of the breast tissues, but that's all resolved because lavender does have some... It can interact with your hormones, but overall, this was found to be transient and effective, and it was a great way. Some people found it a really effective way to treat migraines. Lavender has also been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and improving mood and to enhance relaxation. Of course, if you're having frequent migraines or chronic migraines, you probably want to talk to your doctor to make sure there's nothing more serious or there aren't other medications we can try.

Nada Youssef:

So beyond topic treatments or nutrition, what else can we do at home to help with everyday aches and pains, more of a healthy pattern tips or advice for us?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So some of the best ways we can do to help with the aches and pains is to kind of prevent them from occurring in the first place. So one of the best ways we kind of hear a lot of these aches and pains is with stretching and frequent exercise and mindfulness really to help with that mind, body kind of outlook in life. So stretching is super important and that it keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, which we really need in order to prevent injury from muscle tightness. Muscles go across your joints, and if we don't take care of them, we can injure our joints too.

              So the big thing is you need to do this daily in order to see an effect. A lot of the muscle tightness we have, it took us months to years to accumulate from our jobs and all the things we do in our everyday life. So doing it once probably isn't going to help. It's going to be something you're going to have to incorporate into your daily activity and really dedicate yourself to. If you're unsure where to start, I definitely recommend going to see a physical therapist who can help guide you, especially if you have any of the neuromuscular conditions out there. You really want to make sure you're doing this safely and accurately, and you're not going to injure yourself more. But the more we keep those muscles loose and limber, the less they pull on all the other joints and bones we have, and that can help so much with our kind of just daily aches and pains.

              So exercise is also a great way to really kind of help our body stay limber and flexible and to keep us moving. If we're moving and using our muscles, we're probably going to have less pain than if we're bedridden. So yoga is a really great way that we can do this because yoga is a form of mind, body fitness... muscular activity and internally directed, mindful focus on awareness of the self, the breath, the energy that helps you relax and it has a lot of other benefits and stress, and kind of managing all the daily things we have to deal with in your life. So another great thing about yoga is it helps with the stretching that I already mentioned and it's also considered a weight bearing exercise, which has been proven to be good for your bone health and to cause increased bone mineral density in post-menopausal women, which decreases our risk of having fractures or other major injuries down the line. So it's another way it keeps us mobile.

              The last thing I want to mention about exercise is exercise, it's great for pain control, but it can also improve your mood and it does a lot of these things by the endorphins that get released from your brain when you exercise. So endorphins are kind of natural opioid medication. They mimic. So opioid medications were made to mimic endorphins. So endorphins can help decrease your pain sensation and they're also involved in a lot of reward activities, whether it's eating, a nice pizza pie. For so many of those activities, our endorphins are involved in the pathway. So having endorphins can definitely improve your mood and decrease your pain.

Nada Youssef:

Besides exercising, can you talk about maybe other options as well that can support mental health and happiness?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So I've kind of mentioned mindfulness already, and then also another great way to do this is to express daily gratitude. So daily gratitude, we all want more gratitude in our lives and there's been a lot of studies that have shown there's a positive correlation between gratitude, life satisfaction, happiness, optimism, social activity, and kind of a negative correlation with anxiety, depression. So we all know it's probably good. How do we do it though? So as I've already talked about in mindfulness; taking a few minutes each day to kind of sit and think about yourself, think about the things you're grateful for. Once you're done with that, you can write it in a gratitude journal.

              In the beginning, you might find it's really hard and you don't know what to say, what you're grateful for, and it doesn't have to be anything big. It can literally just be, "Oh, the sun is out today. The weather is over 60 degrees." We live in Cleveland, so that's always a nice thing. Or it can be as big or as small as you want. The more you do it, the easier it'll get to find these things that you're thankful for. Another way is if you find during this exercise that you're really thankful for someone in your life, tell them. Reach out to them. There was a study that showed that people who wrote letters to people they wanted to thank who had done really nice things in their life for them and maybe they hadn't properly thanked when they wrote the letter to send out to someone, immediate increase on their happiness levels and it even existed for a whole month after the letter was sent. So be grateful and make sure you tell everyone around you.

              The more gratitude you have, they found that it overall makes you healthier, you can have improved sleep and it may even potentially decrease your risk to have other diseases. So meditation is another great way to practice mindfulness and same thing as gratitude, it can enhance your emotional intelligence, increase kind of all your positive values and kind of decrease anger, anxiety, and hostility. It really strives to help you develop your own self-awareness. So meditation is kind of a willful and purposely regulating one's own attention. So it's kind of really taking the time to think about yourself and think about what's happening. You can either kind of focus on one thing that's unchanging or one thing that's changing, but overall, it's kind of that purposeful attention to everything in your life and it can really help increase your mood.

Nada Youssef:

Excellent. Thank you so much. Now, how do we make sure we're using these home remedies correctly for the maximum benefits? And should we be taking them in supplements, should we be getting them through food?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So home remedies definitely have a time and a place. I would say over all the things we've talked about, you definitely always want to consider, "Do I need to see a doctor for this or do I not?" For the aches and pains that we mentioned, if it's a new pain, a pain that's not going away or getting worse, you probably want to see a doctor rather than just sticking to the home remedies over and over again, or even from the beginning because you never want to miss a more serious condition.

              Just like for the flu, if you're having trouble breathing, you're having really high fevers, you can't eat or drink, or you're developing new pain in other areas, that could be a sign that another process is going on. You definitely need to go outside your home and see the doctor to make sure there's nothing worse. So it's really hard to say because there's so many different variations of home remedies for so many different things we've seen over or talked about over the course of this podcast, but new pains or worsening symptoms always means you should see a doctor.

Nada Youssef:

Sure. Thank you so much, Dr. Kightlinger for you a time to change your knowledge with us today. Are there any last words of advice or tips you'd like to share with our listeners before we end our session?

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Yeah. So thank you so much for having me too. It was great. As I kind of reiterated throughout this podcast, if you're ever unsure about something, you're having worsening pains, it's not getting better, you're not able to eat and drink, your skin condition, you're worried there might be another infection or something more serious going on, you should always go see your doctor. As I said, if you're ever considering starting an herbal remedy, a lot of these normal remedies work because they have medicinal properties, but we want to make sure they're not interacting with any other medications you're on or any other health conditions you may have. So if you're ever in concern, go talk to your doctor and make sure it's safe for you.

Nada Youssef:

Thank you so much again for your time today.

Dr. Elizabeth Kightlinger:

Thank you.

Nada Youssef:

Remember, some home remedies may help alleviate short-term symptoms, but they won't treat an underlying illness. It's important that you address your symptoms and pain with your doctor. With that said, if you'd like to make an appointment with an internal medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic, please call (216) 444-2538. Or you can go to our website at ClevelandClinic.org. If you'd like to listen to more podcasts with our Cleveland Clinic experts, visit ClevelandClinic.org/HEpodcast, or you can find us wherever you subscribe to your own podcasts. Make sure to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest health tips, news, and health information. Thanks again for tuning in.

Health Essentials
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Health Essentials

Tune in for practical health advice from Cleveland Clinic experts. What's really the healthiest diet for you? How can you safely recover after a heart attack? Can you boost your immune system?

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit, multispecialty academic medical center and is ranked as one of the nation’s top hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Our experts offer trusted advice on health, wellness and nutrition for the whole family.

Our podcasts are for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. They are not designed to replace a physician's medical assessment and medical judgment. Always consult first with your physician about anything related to your personal health.

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