Not every ailment that lays you low requires a trip to the medicine cabinet for a pill or dose of liquid antibiotics. Very often, a natural remedy can be a fast and easy solution. For example, a sore throat or even an annoying case of acid reflux can be treated with common household items you probably keep on hand all the time.
“Natural remedies are gaining in popularity as people become more frustrated with the cost and potential side effects that are associated with pharmaceuticals,” says Russell Faust, M.D., Ph.D., a physician and board member of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine.
Some herbal solutions have proven effective for thousands of years, but precision can be an issue (strength and dosing can vary between batches and manufacturers. “And because of the possibility that a natural remedy may interact with a drug you’re already taking, always consult with your healthcare provider before trying anything new,” he says. The next time you have aches or pains, consider one of these four natural remedies.
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Sore throat: Got a tickle that just won’t quit? Or do family members or co-workers seem to be ‘coming down with something’? “Try this soothing, immune-boosting tea to ease the pain of a sore throat,” recommends Dr. Faust.
Peel and chop 2 heaping tablespoons of fresh ginger and place in a heatproof cup or bowl. Boil 2 cups of water, let it cool down for about a minute and then pour it over the ginger. After this mixture has steeped for two minutes, halve a lemon and squeeze both pieces into the ginger water, along with a shake or two of cayenne pepper. Sweeten to taste with honey, stir to combine and sip.
Acid reflux: That telltale burning in the back of your throat is enough to put you off eating for the rest of the day (tomorrow, too!). A quick fix can be found in a simple cup of tea. Barley grass, which has been grown and consumed for thousands of years, contains anti-inflammatory agents and antioxidants. Prepared as a tea, this natural remedy is very soothing for a case of reflux. Or try chamomile or fennel seed tea — both of which are packed with bioflavonoids that are also anti-inflammatories.
Nausea: An upset stomach is no laughing matter, so thank goodness for ginger. This knobby root has an excellent track record when it comes to battling morning sickness, motion sickness and post-operative nausea. To make this remedy, chop fresh ginger root and steep it in hot water. You can add sweetener to this and drink it like a tea or freeze the ginger water and then suck on the cubes.
Allergies: Pollen, pet dander, ragweed and all kinds of flowers can conspire to block and inflame your nose. Saline nasal sprays help clear mucus from the passageways in your nose, allowing you to breathe free once more. To make your own, mix a couple of teaspoons of kosher salt with one quart of distilled or sterile water. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to this solution and mix again and then flush your nose using a bulb syringe or a Neti pot.
Written by: Jennifer Kelly Geddes