Simple home remedies which work (all tried and tested)

Ear infection - Chop an onion, place it in a muslin/cloth bag and apply to the ear overnight (hold it in place with a pair of old tights wrapped round your head, and a hat or scarf). This is a traditional German remedy, and works for both adults and children.

Wasp sting - Vinegar applied topically, undiluted.

Bee sting - Bicarbonate of soda made into a paste with water and applied topically.

Keep allopathic anti-histamine cream in emergency kit in case of allergic reaction to a sting from bee or wasp.

Cystitis - Add a teaspoonful of sodium bicarbonate to a large glass of water, and drink. Keep drinking as much water as you can from the moment you start feeling cystitis coming on, and try to relax.

Wart on a finger - Wrap the affected area of the finger with a piece of duct/gorilla tape, and put a new piece on only when the tape stops being sticky. This gets rid of a wart in a couple of days, and was recommended by a GP.

Useful natural healers

Tea tree oil - Fantastic antiseptic, but don't use at the same time as homoeopathic remedies, and it's too strong for dogs and cats.

Lavender oil - Ditto, and also good for headaches. BUT avoid if you are pregnant, as it can cause miscarriage.

Olbas oil - One of the best oils for inhaling to clear chest congestion.

Eucalyptus oil - Excellent inhaled in steam (put some drops in a bowl of boiling water, a towel over your head, breath in the vapour), for chest infections

Potassium permanganate - The best remedy used topically in solution if you tread on a weaver fish when in the sea or walking on the shore

Garlic - Nature's antibiotic, and full of immune system boosting minerals, so eat a clove raw every day if you (and those closest to you) can bear it. Raw garlic loses its medicinal properties just 20 minutes after peeling and chopping.

Onions - Another healer, and very good to give your immune system a boost if you are coming down with a cold. Make French onion soup and include lots of garlic too.

Ginger - A 1" piece of fresh ginger peeled (if non-organic), sliced and steeped in boiling water for ten minutes makes an excellent tea to calm an upset stomach. Keep crystallised ginger to hand, as it sorts out nausea and upset stomachs.

Salt - Rock salt or pink Himalayan rock salt are best, but if you can get nothing else, use sea salt. Superb diluted with water as antiseptic, for bathing wounds on both humans and animals, mouthwash, etc.

Turmeric - Brilliant antiseptic, when made into a paste.

Thieves vinegar

In times of plague, it is said that robbers would make this and drink it before going into houses where people had died from the plague, and nicking all their stuff. This recipe is recommended by a medical herbalist friend, really helps with colds and flu symptoms, and may help stave off any other lurgies:

Take equal amounts of raw chillies, garlic, onion, horseradish root and root ginger. All must be fresh and untreated. Grate them or chop very fine, and place in a large screw top jar. Cover with vodka or organic cider vinegar (both used as carriers for remedies by herbalists). Leave for around 3-6 weeks, then strain and bottle the liquid. Take a teaspoonful as needed.