Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

Radically Natural Remedies: Healing with Hydrogen Peroxide

My family has enjoyed the healing benefits of hydrogen peroxide for some years.  This remedy is so easy to use and fairly inexpensive; it makes a nice addition to the natural medicine repertoire.

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is a multi-purpose anti-microbial and, as one pro-H2O2 author has stated, is "essential to life."  Most people are familiar with hydrogen peroxide as an antiseptic for wounds, but its myriad further uses are less well known.  Rather than re-inventing the wheel here, I would like to share a few facts about hydrogen peroxide via quotes from an excellent article on its health benefits, which is an essential read (Benefits of H2O2):

"...the cells responsible for fighting infection and foreign invaders in the body (your white blood cells) make hydrogen peroxide and use it to oxidize any offending culprits. The intense bubbling you see when hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with a bacteria-laden cut or wound is the oxygen being released and bacteria being destroyed. The ability of our cells to produce hydrogen peroxide is essential for life.
...we now know that vitamin C helps fight infections by producing hydrogen peroxide, which in turn stimulates the production of prostaglandins. Also lactobacillus found in the colon and vagina produce hydrogen peroxide. This destroys harmful bacteria and viruses, preventing colon disease, vaginitis, bladder infections and a host of other common ailments. 
The friendly bacteria in the colon and vagina are aerobic. In other words, they flourish in high oxygen environments and thrive in the presence of oxygen rich H202. On the other hand, most strains of harmful bacteria (and cancer cells) are anaerobic and cannot survive in the presence of oxygen or H202."

The article continues with a discussion of using H2O2 in oral and intravenous applications, and the numerous ailments/disorders that respond positively to H2O2 therapy.  The entire discussion is beyond the scope of this post, but I encourage you to read the article as well as the other links I will add below.  You may discover a vital personal use for H2O2.

Outside of using H2O2 as a wound cleaner, our primary application of hydrogen peroxide has been to ward off colds and flus, which it does admirably.  Using H2O2 as a gargle can prevent a sore throat from taking hold and developing into a full-blown upper-respiratory infection.  I gargle with a mixture of 1 Tb. H2O2 to 1 cup filtered warm water.  Often one round is all I need to avoid a sore throat.  For a more stubborn situation, continue gargling every hour throughout the day.  Swallowing the hydrogen peroxide is safe AS LONG AS you have a proper dilution and you are using food grade H2O2.

Many holistic practitioners rightly advise H2O2 for ailment therapy, but neglect to specify the need to eschew typical store-bought "pharmaceutical grade" peroxide.  While certainly "cheap," those H2O2 products contain toxic additives (stabilizers) that are best avoided.  Food grade H2O2 is the correct choice for both external and internal applications.  It is more expensive, but can be purchased in larger quantities and because it must be diluted, it lasts a long time.  As the above cited article instructs, you want to dilute your H2O2 to 3% before using.  [You can actually be "burned" by higher concentrations...it is not very painful, depending on the strength, but not desirable...I have done this and it is interesting; the skin turns white and "prickles."]

The best technique I have learnt and used to avert a potentially developing flu/cold is the H2O2 in the ear trick.  Viruses enter your body through open cavities, and the ears are a favorite place.  Microbes can travel from the outer ear through the semi-permeable tympanic membrane, invading and multiplying in your body.  By applying H2O2 into the ear canal at the onset of virus symptoms, you can stop the illness before it starts.  This is not a guaranteed cure, but it has worked so incredibly well for us that I hope you will try the therapy.  You will want to lie on your side and put about 10 drops of H2O2 into the exposed ear (if you are like me, you cringe at the thought of liquid in your ear...but it is for your own good, LOL).  Allow the H2O2 to stay in the ear at least 5 minutes, or until the bubbling/fizzing/popping stops. If you have any microbes (bacteria, virus, etc) in your ear canal, the H2O2 will encounter it and begin killing it (this action releases oxygen, which causes the fizzing).  Turn your head over, draining the ear onto a towel, and repeat with the other side.

This technique is easy, inexpensive and effective.  We have adopted the H2O2 ear canal protocol as a prophylactic against viral infections whenever we know we have been exposed to such an illness or we are traveling.  Take a small glass bottle of H2O2 with you on your trips and administer before and after flying.  (We use the H2O2 as an illness preventative once daily for the duration of our travels.)  Remember to leave a small amount of head room in the bottle for expansion with air pressure changes, or you might end up with a wee bit o' mess.  [Amber boston round bottles with caps in the 2 oz. size work nicely and can be found online or at health food stores.  I do not recommend the dropper tops because the expansion caused by the H2O2 gases damages their rubber.]

Young children may not allow you to drop H2O2 into their ears, in which case I use cotton swabs soaked in the peroxide.  Gently swab around the ear and just into the opening of the ear multiple times if you can.  You might be able to convince a skeptical child to allow you to administer drops by making it a game of listening for the "popcorn" in his/her ear.

[This remedy works wonders at the onset of viruses, but be careful if you or your child already has an ear infection.  In that case, you don't want to pour the H2O2 directly into the ear canal, as it can irritate the swollen ear drum and cause more pain.  It would be fine, though, to swab around your ear and inside the ear gently with a cotton swab soaked in H2O2.  This will help to combat the microbes involved in the infection.]

And don't forget that you can swab inside your nostrils, too.  Ear, nose, throat...H2O2 has you covered!

The following links provide additional information on H2O2 and the cold/flu technique, as well as purchasing options.

H2O2 for colds
H2O2 Info, including dilutions
Mercola on colds, including H2O2 info
12% Food Grade H2O2 at Lucky Vitamin
35% H2O2 at Pure Health Systems

While I did not intend to expand the H2O2 discussion beyond these simple health techniques, I would be remiss if I did not mention H2O2's wonderful qualities in home cleaning!  You can use hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria in your house rather than using toxic bleach.  Just dilute the peroxide half and half with water, and voila!  Natural germ removal.  I should have put H2O2 on my cleaning essentials list!  I think I will do so as an edit even now.  I will be discussing H2O2 in laundry applications in that future post.  But I digress....

Until next time, be well and Become Your Own Expert!

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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