For many minor issues we face, a natural remedy is usually the best option. Sometimes we avoid natural options, thinking that they will be more expensive or more difficult to find than what we would pick up in the pharmaceutical aisle of the grocery store. That doesn’t have to be the case, however. Many natural remedies can be found in the items you may already have in your kitchen pantry. Here are 10 of them to get you started:
- Turmeric. Inflammation is a big source of many of our problems, often due to poor diet choices. Dealing with the inflammation is a must. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits because of the curcumin in it. One caveat about turmeric is that it is not absorbed well by the body when taken by itself, however combining turmeric with other foods improves this. The piperine in black pepper increases the half-life of turmeric and also helps to improve the absorption of the curcumin. Since curcumin is fat soluble, taking turmeric with an oil will also increase its availability. Good oils to use are olive oil, coconut oil, butter, or ghee.
- Fermented Foods. Along with inflammation, gut issues are another big source of health problems. Getting enough good bacteria in our digestive system is the answer. We can increase the gut flora by supplementation, but we can repopulate the digestive tract much more quickly by eating foods high is good bacteria. Several beneficial foods include kimche, sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, and kombucha. By eating some each day and rotating the fermented foods that you eat, you will vary the strains of good bacteria for maximum benefit.
- Ginger. Ginger helps in many ways. It is an anti-inflammatory as well as an anti-oxidant. It can be consumed by chewing on a small piece of it, drinking it as a tea, or as an ingredient in foods in powdered form, fresh, as an oil, or as a juice. Ginger is most often used to boost the digestive system or to help with nausea. An easy way to use ginger for any nausea, whether from pregnancy, motion sickness, or other causes, is to grate about an inch of fresh ginger and boil it in a saucepan filled with clean water for 10-20 minutes, strain, then drink as a tea.
- Honey. This food, when consumed raw, contains anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, making it useful for a wide array of ailments. You can take it both internally and topically. When taken internally, it is an immune system booster and is used to treat Helicobacter pylori bacterial infections. Honey is a great throat soother. Researchers conducted a study comparing the efficacy of the drug dextromethorphan (an over-the-counter cough suppressant) to honey. The result was that the honey was more effective in relieving coughs than the drug. You can use it topically on scrapes or burns to soothe the injured area as well as protect it from infection.
- Oats. Another staple that is helpful for skin irritations is oats. They have properties that soothe and soften the skin; they can also help dry skin by hydrating it and preventing itchiness. Oats can be used for exfoliation due to saponins, a natural cleanser. An excellent way to reap the benefits of oats is by bathing in them. Take a cup of oats and place them in muslin or cheesecloth, tie it up, and place it in your bathwater as you are bathing.
- Tart Cherry Juice. Tart cherries naturally contain a high amount of melatonin, which promotes sleep. In one study, participants drank 8 oz. of this juice in the morning and another in the evening 1-2 hours before sleep. The results found that participants extended their sleep by an average of 84 minutes. Not all cherries contain this high level of melatonin. The helpful cherries are called “sour” or “dwarf” or Montmorency.
- Apples/Apple Cider Vinegar. Both of these help to neutralize heartburn. Although scientists are still not positive of the reason, they are suggesting that the pectin in apples helps to reduce the pH in the esophagus. Often heartburn is caused by low acid in the stomach. This replaces that acid. Apple cider vinegar is also helpful with digestion because of its acidic nature. A beneficial practice is to put 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 8 oz. of water and drink it daily.
- Peppermint Tea. Peppermint contains properties that aid digestion. It can relieve gas and bloating as well as reduce symptoms of IBS and heartburn. The oil of peppermint can also be used. As a tea, peppermint is safe to use multiple times per day. It contains no caffeine. If you don’t have commercially bagged tea, you can simmer 5 dried peppermint leaves in a pot of water for 10 minutes.
- Black Tea. This tea contains tannic acids which are great at soothing burned skin after too much sun. To make a natural sunburn reliever, boil 3 bags of black tea in a pan full of water. Once the water reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat and allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and allow the tea to cool. Once it is cool, transfer the tea to a spray bottle and stick it in the refrigerator to chill. Keep it there to have it ready whenever you may need it. By keeping it cold, you will avoid adding any more heat to already “overheated” skin. This preparation will stain surroundings, however, so the best way to use it is to spray it on at the end of a shower without rinsing it off. If it can stay on overnight, all the better.
- Coffee Grounds. This one is more for pampering! The grounds can be used as a scrubbing agent to exfoliate the skin and to give a deep invigorating clean. (They can be used anywhere except the face.) Get a quart jar, keep adding grounds to it as you have them until the jar is half full. Then pour in a ¼ cup of olive oil and shake well. The oil hydrates your skin and locks in the moisture. Using this blend in a circular motion will reap the greatest benefit.
Serious issues need the help of a qualified medical professional, however relief from many of our everyday ailments can be found right in our kitchens—no need to reach for harmful drugs and introduce unnatural products into our system. Sometimes the answer is hiding right in our kitchens!
*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional. Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.