The herb and vitamin market is a billion dollar industry. Some of the so-called cures found in natural food stores are just modern day snake oil, and there are lots of companies that are preying on people who believe that a pill will get them well. I’m kind of a hypochondriac, and I seem to get more than my share of minor ailments. And yet, I don’t really trust doctors, so I’ve tried every natural remedy known to womankind. So, I’ve decided to give a roundup of remedies that I’ve found actually work, even better than their synthetic counterparts.
Flax Oil –Flax oil is becoming increasingly popular as a healthy dietary supplement. It is high in the Omega-3 fatty acids that our modern, processed diets tend to lack. Some benefits include thinning the blood, lowering blood pressure, and improving digestive disorders such as colitis. I started taking it when I had a bout of extremely dry and itchy scalp (which it cured), but it made me feel so much better overall that I never stopped taking it.
Ginger Tea – Ginger has been used for thousands of years to aid everything from motion sickness to headaches. And as far as I’m concerned, fresh ginger tea is the ultimate remedy for flu and colds. As soon as I feel the slightest hint of a sore throat or congestion coming on, I go straight to the store to get a large piece of the gnarly, spicy root. To make ginger tea, simply slice up fresh ginger into eighth inch slivers and boil with the desired amount of water until it reduces by a third. The intense flavor can be mitigated with lemon and honey to taste.
Calms Forte by Hyland’s – My longest-ever bout of insomnia kept me awake for five nights straight. On the sixth day, when I decided that I couldn’t stand to be awake for one more hour, I consulted my local natural food store, and they recommended Calms Forte. I slept like a baby. The stuff is non-habit forming, and there are no side effects. Calms Forte can be purchased at pharmacies, supermarkets, and natural food stores.
Cranberry– It’s not just an old wives’ tale that cranberry juice can help to get rid of urinary tract infections. I have verified this time and time again as I get them frequently. Since the conventional treatment for urinary infections is antibiotics (which can cause yeast infections), you are much better off getting some pure cranberry juice (without sugar) or popping some cranberry pills, which is my preference since the juice is so tart.
Fennel Tea – Fennel tea is my number one choice for curing digestive distress (including that brought on by lactose intolerance) and heartburn. I drink it every morning, and it is a lifesaver.
Clay – I was puzzled when, at age twenty-five, I was stricken with a case of itchy, painful eczema that covered both of my legs and made me look like a burn victim. Doctors will often prescribe steroids for a bad case of eczema, but according to natural medicine, steroids are the last thing that you should take if you can possibly avoid it. I luckily discovered the Umbrian Clay Treatment Bar by the cosmetic company Fresh, and it was the only thing that helped. Most over-the-counter eczema treatments consist of greasy, moist ointment, but it turned out that my skin needed to be dried out. Clay also makes a great mask for acne and other skin rashes.
Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil has one thousand uses, which if you ask me have been conveniently “forgotten” so that drug companies can sell their synthetic poisons. Try it to treat cold sores, yeast infections, rashes, and many other gross, itchy conditions!
Hot Water – We tend to reach for synthetic painkillers first, but my experience has shown that plain hot water can be a miracle worker. I apply a hot water bottle when I have a chest infection, menstrual pain, or muscle soreness either before or in addition to aspirin or ibuprofen. It always helps.
Emergen-c– Here’s another product that I can’t live without during cold season. Anytime I’m in danger of catching a cold, I take two or three packs of this vitamin C and mineral supplement, and I swear, I never get sick anymore.
Arnica Oil – My number one recommendation for natural remedies is the Arnica Massage Oil made by the company Weleda. It is difficult to convince people that this product is a magic pain eraser–at least, until they try it! Arnica Oil can be used on any muscular pain, including at the neck and back. It is great to use post-workout to head off soreness and encourage flexibility. Don’t bother using other brands; for some reason, they just are not as strong as Weleda. If you can’t find it in your local health food store, ask them to order it or just order it yourself online. It will be the best $15 you’ve ever spent!