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Few things are more annoying than becoming sick in the middle of the night and realizing you have nothing at home to ease your symptoms. That’s why many of us keep aspirin, cough medicine and Imodium at hand. But have you ever considered stocking a natural medicine cabinet (too)?
There are different reasons why you might turn to natural remedies instead of conventional medication when you get sick. You may experience side-effects from over-the-counter drugs or you want to fix the root cause instead of treating symptoms. Natural remedies could also help prevent you from getting ill, by supporting your immunity.
Whatever your motivation, take a look at these 8 remedies to keep in your natural medicine cabinet.
Warning: Remedies labeled ‘natural’ can still cause side-effects, be harmful in high dosages and/or interact with other drugs. Please consult a medical professional for personalized advice. The information below is meant for educational purposes only and cannot replace a consultation with your doctor.
1. Aloe Vera
You’ve probably heard of this popular medical plant before. Used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, the thick aloe vera leaves contain a gel that’s rich in bioactive compounds.
Research confirms that aloe vera improves skin conditions like psoriasis and even speeds up the healing of burn wounds. As a juice, aloe vera can also be used to relieve constipation and improve digestion. However, doctors warn against chronic consumption of aloe vera because it may worsen gut symptoms or interfere with the absorption of certain medication.
Prescription: Keep aloe vera gel in your natural medicine cabinet for mild sunburns and scrapes.
2. Elderberry Syrup
Dating back to ancient Egypt, elderberry has been used throughout the ages for its healing abilities, especially cold and flu relief. Studies show that elderberry prevents virus infections, and if you do get sick, it shorten the duration of your symptoms by two days on average. What’s more, elderberries clear up sinus infections, ease allergies and act as a natural diuretic.
Elderberry syrup is a tasty way to get all these health benefits. You can make your own, using dried elderberries, honey and spices, or get a store-bought elderberry syrup.
Prescription: Thanks to its immune-boosting properties, elderberry syrup is a must-have remedy for cold and flu season.
3. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil has acted like nature’s antibiotic since Roman times. Extracted from air-dried leaves, oregano oil is very high in antioxidants. Combine this with antibacterial and anti-fungal compounds and you have a potent remedy to fight bacteria, treat yeast infections and improve gut health.
Animal studies suggest that oregano oil may also reduce inflammation in the body and ease pain.
Prescription: Coming down with a bacterial or fungal infection? Dilute oregano oil with olive oil (1:1 ratio), place one drop under the tongue and flush with water. You could also apply the oregano oil topically on the affected skin. Not recommended when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Echinacea is a group of flowering plants packed with active compounds. Used all over the world in tinctures and tablets, echinacea plants are well-known for their immune-boosting effects.
Research confirms that echinacea promotes immune functioning and reduces the severity and duration of cold symptoms. In animal and cell studies, echinacea also showed anti-viral activity and the inhibition of yeast growth.
Prescription: Sniffling and sneezing? Support your immunity by following the instructions of your echinacea product.
It’s a standard tip for beating insomnia: have a cup of chamomile tea. And for good reason: this ancient medicinal herb has a mild sedative effect, making it a perfect remedy for sleep, relaxation and anxiety.
The dried chamomile flowers are also packed with terpenoids and flavonoids, which contribute to its medicinal properties. Studies show that drinking chamomile tea for a month significantly reduces menstrual cramps. It also soothes the stomach and calms the muscles that move food through your gut. Finally, chamomile extracts may be used to treat mild skin conditions.
It’s advised not to take chamomile when you have a history of severe allergies, especially pollen.
Prescription: Have a daily cup of good-quality chamomile tea before bedtime to ensure a good night’s sleep and reap all its health benefits.
6. Epsom Salt
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath has become a popular wellness ritual in recent years. It’s not hard to understand why. When Epsom salt dissolves in water, it releases magnesium – an important mineral many of us are not getting enough of. It’s thought that by absorbing magnesium through your skin, Epsom salt promotes sleep, relieves aching muscles and treat constipation.
Prescription: Bye bye sore muscles! To boost your performance, add Epsom salt to your next bath.
Peppermint doesn’t just smell and taste good, it has some impressive health qualities too. Throughout history, peppermint has been used to sooth the digestive system. Research indicates peppermint tea reduces nausea, relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and helps with heart burn. What’s more, peppermint oil also relaxes your muscles, which in turn reduces pain.
Prescription: Stock your natural medicine cabinet with peppermint tea to support your digestion. You could also add drops of peppermint oil to a diffuser to provide sinus care and allergy relief.
8. Neti pot
Do you often have a stuffy or runny nose, sinus infections or other respiratory problems? Your nasal passages are your first line of defense against pollen and pollution. That’s why in the ancient tradition of Ayurveda, a neti pot is used to rinse the nasals.
By pouring saline solution through your nostrils, using a neti pot flushes out excess mucus, relieves allergy symptoms and reduces snoring. And we
Prescription: Got a cold? Skip the nasal spray and rinse your nasals with a neti pot instead.
What do you keep in your natural medicine cabinet?
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