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Natural Remedies: An introduction

Long before there was an urgent care clinic at your chain pharmacy, there were fruit trees, honeybees, and the herb garden. 

1. PROBLEM: Acne

TRY: Honey & turmeric

"You can make a great pimple paste with honey (any kind, but I prefer raw) and turmeric. Mix 1/4 tsp of each--a little goes a long way. Make a paste and apply directly to the pimple." (Note: This remedy may leave a temporary yellow stain on your skin, which you can remove with coconut oil.)

2. PROBLEM: Allergies

TRY: Local honey

"Besides adding sweetness to your tea, honey—if it's local—can also help you build your resistance to allergens specific to where you live." Just be sure not to give honey to children under the age of 1. (Honey is also great for your skin. )

3. PROBLEM: Anxiety

TRY: Catnip

Your cat's favorite herb can help relieve anxiety. It's easy to grow in a home garden, and you can drink it in tea or take it as a supplement. "Catnip is a stimulant when cats sniff it but has the opposite effect on people. For us, it's relaxing and calms the mind."

4. PROBLEM: Arthritis pain

TRY: Gelatin

Natural gelatin contains collagen, which is made from pig skin or cow bone and may help relieve joint pain and inflammation. Add natural gelatin to fruit and fruit juice to make a refreshing dessert, or take collagen in the form of supplements. One study found that people who regularly took collagen reported less knee pain.

5. PROBLEM: Back pain

TRY: White willow

Available as a supplement, white willow is sometimes considered an alternative to aspirin because it contains salicin, a natural form of the drug's pain-relieving component. It's often used to enhance other anti-inflammatory treatments. (These six exercises can also ease your lower back pain.)

6. PROBLEM: Bee sting

TRY: Meat tenderizer

"If a bee stings you and you aren't allergic to it, remove the stinger and apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes. Then mix meat tenderizer or baking soda and water and apply to the sore area. Leave on until it dries (about 30 minutes)."

7. PROBLEM: Dandruff

TRY: Lemongrass oil

If your scalp is scaly, try some lemongrass. The perennial plant contains high levels of antimicrobial compounds called citral and geraniol that fight fungus, which can cause dandruff. Although the oil shouldn't be used on its own, one study showed that people who applied a tonic containing 5 to 15% lemongrass oil had less dandruff.

8. PROBLEM: Diarrhea

TRY: Cooking water

Boil brown rice or oatmeal in twice the amount of water you would normally use, then strain. Once the water is cool, drink it. The water contains electrolytes that are often lost when you have diarrhea. Replacing electrolytes can help ease the problem.

9. PROBLEM: Dry eyes

TRY: Flaxseed oil

Too much screen time irritating your eyes? Take 1 to 2 tsp of flaxseed oil each day. The anti-inflammatory properties of the omega-3 fatty acids it contains can help relieve the dryness in your eyes. 

10. PROBLEM: Gas 

TRY: Fennel seeds

Fennel is a carminative, a compound that can disperse gas from the intestinal tract. "You can find fennel seeds in the spice section of most supermarkets, and they're sold in indian grocery stores as a digestive aid. Try chewing and swallowing half a teaspoonful of the seeds at the end of meals."

11. PROBLEM: Gout

TRY: Celery

Celery contains compounds that block uric acid and calm inflammation. "I advise people suffering from gout to eat four stalks per day. They can juice it, chew it, or take it in a capsule."

12. PROBLEM: Hair loss

TRY: Cedarwood, lavender, rosemary & thyme essential oils

In a 7-month study published in the Archives of Dermatology, people with hair loss (alopecia) who massaged these essential oils, along with jojoba and grapeseed carrier oils, into their scalps exhibited new hair growth. 

13. PROBLEM: Hay fever

TRY: Butterbur

Studies have found that supplements derived from this herb, which typically grows on riverbanks, can help relieve hay fever symptoms.

Relief from some more common ailments 

1. PROBLEM: Cough

TRY: Apple cider vinegar, cayenne & cinnamon

"Mix 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar in 8 oz of hot water. Add a sprinkle of cayenne, a dash of cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp of honey, and stir. I'm a singer, and this has saved my voice!"

2. PROBLEM: Cold/flu

TRY: Garlic & Honey

"At the first sign of a cold or flu, I crush two cloves of garlic in a glass of water, add a splash of raw honey, and drink it."

3. PROBLEM: Sensitive skin

TRY: Witch hazel

"For 57 years, I've never gone to bed or woken up without soothing my face with a wipe of witch hazel. It provides immediate relief for irritated skin."

4. PROBLEM: Weak nails

TRY: Black currant capsules

"At 75, my biggest concern was splitting nails. Within 2 weeks of trying black currant oil capsules, my nails were no longer splitting, and the growth was amazing." 

5. PROBLEM: Ear infection

TRY: Lemon juice

"Squeeze some drops from a fresh lemon directly into the ear. Studies have shown that lemon juice has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties".

6. PROBLEM: Fever

TRY: Mint

"My grandmother would give my mom a mint leaf to chew on for fever reduction."

7. PROBLEM: Minor wounds

TRY: Comfrey

"My grandmother was a fan of making poultices out of comfrey leaves to heal wounds. She grew the herb in her garden."

8. PROBLEM: Muscle cramps

TRY: Pickle Juice

"Friends who are athletes say you can prevent muscle cramps by drinking pickle juice. The theory is that electrolyte imbalance can spark cramps and that the salt in the brine helps restore missing sodium if you've been sweating a lot." 

9. PROBLEM: Hemorrhoids

TRY: Flavonoids

Flavonoids are antioxidants found primarily in dark berries like blueberries and blackberries. In a study by Italian researchers of 134 people who had hemorrhoid flare-ups, those who received a supplement of 500 mg of flavonoids had fewer and less severe hemorrhoid symptoms.

10. PROBLEM: High blood sugar

TRY: Berberine

This herb plus chromium (in individual supplements or together in one) helped reduce blood sugar in prediabetic patients on a diet low in refined sugar and high in complex carbs.

11. PROBLEM: Hives

TRY: Oatmeal bath

"Put raw oats inside a thin sock, and tie the sock around the bathtub faucet. Let water run through the sock as you're filling the tub. The water that's gone through the oats is soothing and anti-inflammatory for irritated skin."

12. PROBLEM: Hot flashes

TRY: Sage iced tea

Studies find that sage can reduce the frequency of hot flashes. Put a tablespoon of the herb—dried or fresh—into 8 oz of water for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain, chill, and drink.

13. PROBLEM: Jet lag

TRY: Melatonin

"Melatonin is great for getting your circadian rhythm back in the groove." Look for sublingual supplements, which you place under your tongue rather than swallow. They go directly into the bloodstream instead of through the stomach first.

14. PROBLEM: Knee osteoarthritis

TRY: Curcumin

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can help reduce joint pain and swelling in people with osteoarthritis. It's available as an extract, and some studies have found 1,000 to 1,200 mg per day to be effective.

15. PROBLEM: Memory loss

TRY: Rosemary

"Deeply inhaling fresh or dried rosemary can help boost cognitive function in the short term, studies show. For greater effect, use the more highly concentrated essential oil. But taking a moment to simply sniff a fresh sprig of rosemary once a day can also improve alertness." 

16. PROBLEM: Nausea

TRY: Frozen ginger chips

When you have a queasy stomach, chop fresh ginger into small pieces and boil for 10 minutes. Strain, then pour the liquid into ice cube trays. Crush the frozen cubes and suck the icy chips throughout the day to provide your stomach with a steady dribble.

17. PROBLEM: Sinus congestion

TRY: Foot bath

Fill a basin with hot water, taking care not to burn yourself, and soak your feet for 5 to 8 minutes. Then splash your feet with cold water, dry them off, and put on warm, dry socks. "It's a beautiful treatment for drawing inflammation away from the head and neck. It's very relaxing, too."

18. PROBLEM: Sty

TRY: Black tea

"Moisten a black tea bag in warm or cold water--whichever you prefer--and apply it to your eyelid. The tannic acid in the tea shrinks swelling around the sty." 

19. PROBLEM: Swollen legs

TRY: Horse chestnut

In a study of 240 people, horse chestnut extract reduced swelling in the lower legs of people with chronic venous insufficiency as well as compression stockings did. Horse chestnut contains a compound called escin, which improves vein elasticity.

20. PROBLEM: Tension

TRY: Bergamot

Fill a 1 oz bottle halfway with rock salt and add 10 drops of bergamot essential oil. Inhale. "Citrus brightens spirits and soothes tension." 

21. PROBLEM: Urinary tract infection

TRY: Black chokeberry juice

Some studies have questioned cranberry juice's effectiveness, but researchers found that nursing home residents who drank a small amount of chokeberry (also known as aronia berry) juice each day had 55% fewer urinary tract infections.

22. PROBLEM: Weight gain

TRY: Green tea

"Green tea can help spur weight loss when combined with eating a nutritious diet and exercising. That's because compounds called polyphenols in the tea target fat cells, and the presence of caffeine might help, too."

Conclusion

In the good old ancient days, our grandmothers used to treat all diseases of their children and grandchildren quickly and easily using natural products and traditional methods.

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