Blog Posts by Mother Nature Network (

  • 10 Natural Cough Remedies

    Tea with honey and lemon combines several cough-soothing ingredients.Coughing happens when viruses, bacteria, dust, pollen or other substances irritate the nerve endings in the airways between the throat and lungs - which can be distracting and possibly painful. Fortunately, there are ways to sooth a cough naturally.

    A cough is the body's way of trying to clear the passages, and what a valiant effort the body makes in this endeavor. We can cough at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, and the average cough produces enough air to fill a two-liter soda bottle about three-fourths full. The air of a cough sprays out several feet and is accompanied by some 3,000 tiny droplets of saliva.

    While chronic coughs can be a sign of a serious illness, most people consider the common cough to be more of an annoyance than a health issue. Although side effects like chest pain, exhaustion, and incontinence can accompany a cough, the more vexing complaints often have to do with a cough's ability to interfere with your (and your household's) sleep and the propensity to

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  • 10 Health Benefits of Honey

    Honey is more than just a delicious treat — it's good for you, too!There is something undeniably enchanting about honey; the product of flower nectar transformed by bees, as if by alchemy - but in fact through the far less-poetic act of regurgitation - into a sweet, golden elixir. Honey has held sway over humans since ancient times.

    But aside from honey's seductive color and flavor, it has some scientific superpowers that add to its appeal. Honey has an unusual chemical composition, one which makes it keep indefinitely without spoiling; as is seen whenever ancient pots of honey, still perfectly preserved, are found during excavations of early Egyptian tombs. It is uniquely low in moisture and extremely acidic, making it a forbidding environment for bacteria and microorganisms. On top of that, bees add an enzyme, glucose oxidase, to it that creates hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct. According to the National Institutes of Health, honey is hygroscopic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and has remarkable debriding action. Who knew?

    Also see: The

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  • Elderly Golden Retriever, Baby Chicks Take Interspecies' Cooperation to Whole New Level

    The ultimate 'aww' moment: Champ snuggles with baby chicks. When 21-year-old photographer Candice Sedighan saw that a local feed store was going out of business and getting rid of its stock, she jumped into action. Why? Because included in the closeout were a dozen tiny chicks that would have likely been sold and raised for meat.

    While only planning to keep them until a safe and suitable habitat could be found, Sedighan still had a potential obstacle at home: her 11-year-old golden retriever, Champ.

    Yet when she introduced the babes to Champ, he responded with nothing but patience and kindness. Even though he had been a perky puppy and had never seen chicks before, he expertly took them under his wing, so to speak.

    Also see: 16 unlikely animal friendships

    "The wisdom and calm nature of senior dogs are unmatched," Sedighan told

    Although most chicks raised for meat and eggs don't experience the nurturing nature of their mothers, they nonetheless crave affection. Champ's dozen took to cuddling and snuggling with the old

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  • 22 Surprising Uses for Turmeric

    You'll get plenty of use out of this spice-rack staple.

    One of the most fetching culinary spices, turmeric has an intense golden hue. The major ingredient in Indian curries, turmeric is the component responsible for curry's dizzying color; it's also commonly used to imbue mustard with its radiant glow.

    We're commonly reminded to eat colorful plant foods because their pigments, which are associated with antioxidants - the wonder nutrients that experts believe protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals and that also have important anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric's intense color makes it a front-runner in this group of foods; curcumin, a compound found only in turmeric, appears to be the magic ingredient.

    A cousin of ginger, this rhizome has a long history of use in herbal remedies, particularly in China, India and Indonesia. Many current studies are looking into turmeric to treat a whole host of health problems, and turmeric has ample other uses as well, as evidenced in the following applications.

    Also see:

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  • How to Introduce Your Child to a New Pet

    Your new pet may be scared and timid; advise children to approach with caution.

    So you've decided to get a new pet and now it's time to get your new furry friend acquainted with your two-legged children. How do you get started?

    Your kids will no doubt be excited about the addition of a new family member. So the important step now is to teach your kids the best ways to interact with your new pet.

    Here are some tips from the folks at Pets Add Life, a nonprofit arm of the American Pet Products Association that campaigns to promote pet adoption and ownership.

    Also see: How much do you know about these headline-grabbing pets?

    Use gentle hands. Teaching kids to be gentle is a huge contributor to the relationship they can have with a pet. Take the time to demonstrate the proper way to interact with animals, which is calmly (no loud noises) and with non-threatening hands, such as a low, closed fist or an open palm for the animal to sniff and become familiar with. Kids should never tug on pets and should avoid their ears, eyes, and mouth when petting and

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  • How to Take Care of Your Aging Cat

    Living with an older cat can be challenging, but with this vet's advice, you'll be back to cuddling in no time.As cats enter their elderly years, owners often encounter new and unusual problems. Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal Hospital in Atlanta answers questions about two common issues: excessive salivation and overgrown claws.

    I have a 19-year-old house cat that salivates a lot when he sleeps. What is causing this? Should I take him to the vet?
    Excessive salivating could be caused by a number of health issues, especially if it is vomiting or not eating. Nausea, pain and even dental disease can lead to hypersalivation. During exams, we find a lot of cats with teeth that are just rotten, and it hurts. Common oral tumors also make it diff to swallow well and cats will drool as a result.

    Also see: 7 strategies for keeping your pets healthy and happy

    If the problem has persisted for a while, the cat may have eaten something that caused ulcerative damage to its mouth. Some houseplants can cause damage to the mouth and esophagus. Definitely schedule a veterinary exam and bookmark

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  • TB Transferred from Cats to Humans in First Documented Cases (But You Shouldn't Worry)

    The risk of catching TB from your cat is low; in rare cases, it's spread by coughing or through wounds.The first documented cases of people catching tuberculosis from their cats were recently revealed in England, but experts say cat owners have little to fear.

    The four cases were all linked to a cluster of sick felines in England, all of whom had bovine tuberculosis, which is carried by cows.

    Between December 2012 and April 2013, veterinarians identified TB in nine pet cats in Berkshire and Hampshire, and Public Health England said the people who caught TB were recovering.

    The report said the risk of the public catching TB from cats is "very low."

    Also see: 14 diseases you can get from your pets

    "This is an exceedingly rare, odd event, and there's no reason to be alarmed," Dr. Neil Schluger, chief scientific officer of the World Lung Foundation, told the New York Times. "Bovine tuberculosis represents maybe 1 percent of all the TB in the U.S., and the most common way to get it is drinking unpasteurized milk. Person-to-person transmission of TB is the only thing people

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  • Could a Home-Cooked Meal Save Your Cat's Life?

    Penelope is always nearby.

    My kitty, Penelope, is the best cat I've ever had. She's been my very faithful companion for almost 12 years - she finds me when I cry and snuggles in my lap while I drip tears on her fur, sleeps in the crook of my elbow at night, always comes when I call her name, and has the softest grey fur, which she keeps meticulously clean.

    I rescued her when she was just 8 weeks old and when I saw her on Petfinder, it was love at first sight. She has lived in Connecticut, accompanied me to Vermont for long stays, and now lives out in Oregon (she's a great traveler, for a cat). She has seen me through a breakup, three years of dating, and into my new relationship. She means a lot to me.

    So when she got sick a couple years ago (warning, it's a bit graphic ahead!), I was worried; she was using the litter box 4-5 times a day (and sometimes not making it all the way there) and let's say, what should have been solid, was liquid - all over the stairs, around her litter box, and once on the

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  • Amazing Dog Detects Breast Cancer in Owner

    This incredible story shows how perceptive dogs can be.

    Many dogs are experts at knowing when someone in the house is about to have a snack. Even before their owners head to the kitchen, they will come running from all directions with the hope that some table scraps will make their way to the floor.

    It's a pretty good trick. But nothing like the feat recently accomplished by a dog named Max, who successfully sniffed out cancer in his owner, even before it showed up in her mammogram.

    Also see: What is your dog trying to tell you? Take the quiz

    As Max's owner, Maureen Burns tells it, when her nine-year-old collie-mix started acting strangely, she initially thought it was Max who was sick. Her normally hyper and happy dog suddenly became lethargic and depressed. He also started acting strangely, sniffing at her breast and then backing off with what Burns described as a "sad look in his eyes." Burns did have a small lump in that breast, but her most recent mammogram had been clear. Still, she went to her health care provider and

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  • Looking to Hire? Have You Considered a Cat?

    Office cats can boost productivity and improve employee health. Bonus: they're cute and cuddly!Office cats can boost productivity and improve employee health. Bonus: they're cute and cuddly!The Great Plains SPCA has found a solution to the influx of kittens during spring months: Put them to work.

    The animal welfare organization is launching a new program in hopes of getting more shelter cats into offices and businesses.

    Several local businesses in Lawrence, Kan., keep cats in their stores, and the felines have received positive "purrformance" reviews.

    "The cats are the best co-workers I could have had," Chip Badley, a clerk at the Raven Bookstore, told KCTV News. "You come in and you get to have your cat fix for four or five hours a day."

    Also see: What do you know about cats? Take the quiz

    The Raven Bookstore has two cats, Ngaio and Dashiell, who were named after authors Ngaio Marsh and Dashiell Hammett.

    Badley said the cats not only attract customers, but they have also become mascots for the shop, which sells postcards and other merchandise with pictures of the bookish felines.

    Shelters often become overcrowded during spring, and the SPCA hopes

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