The home health remedies that science has proven to work

There are few worse experiences in life than sitting in a GP waiting room, watching endless reruns of Jeremy Kyle (muted, of course), praying for the buzz of your name to whisk you away from the hellscape of other glum-looking patients and their potentially contagious problems.

Whilst many of us would prefer to not have to spend our time at the local doctor’s surgery, it’s inevitable that at some point or another, our bodies will get the better of us – be it warts or the flu.But are all our visits warranted? Could they be treated in the comfort of our own home, cutting out the middleman entirely?

Earlier in the year,NHS England issued a plea to the public to take their children to a pharmacist before consulting a GP. And now, new guidance from the NHS suggests we should try honey for coughs and colds before visiting a healthcare professional Further figures show that 18 million GP appointments and 2.1 million A&E visits could have been treated at home.

Which raises the question: what other homemade health hacks could we use to treat minor ailments? And how can we parse effective remedy from old wives' tale?


Low-carb diets could shorten life, study suggests

A low-carb diet could shorten life expectancy by up to four years, a study suggests.

Low-carb diets, such as Atkins, have become increasingly popular for weight loss and have shown promise for lowering the risk of some illnesses. But a US study over 25 years indicates that moderate carb consumption - or switching meat for plant-based protein and fats - is healthier. The study relied on people remembering the amount of carbohydrates they ate.

In the study, published in The Lancet Public Health, 15,400 people from the US filled out questionnaires on the food and drink they consumed, along with portion sizes. From this, scientists estimated the proportion of calories they got from carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

After following the group for an average of 25 years, researchers found that those who got 50-55% of their energy from carbohydrates (the moderate carb group and in line with UK dietary guidelines) had a slightly lower risk of death compared with the low and high-carb groups.

How the humble cabbage can stop cancers

Scientists say they have discovered why some vegetables - including cabbage, broccoli and kale - can reduce the risk of bowel cancers.

That cruciferous veg is good for the gut has never been in doubt but a detailed explanation has been elusive. The team at the Francis Crick Institute found anti-cancer chemicals were produced as the vegetables were digested. Cancer Research UK said there were plenty of reasons to eat more veg.

The work focused on how vegetables alter the lining of the intestines, by studying mice and miniature bowels growing in the lab. Like the skin, the surface of the bowels is constantly being regenerated in a process that takes four to five days. But this constant renewal needs to be tightly controlled, otherwise it could lead to cancer or gut inflammation.

And the work, published in the journal Immunity, showed chemicals in cruciferous vegetables were vital.