Did you know that your kitchen is actually one big medicine cabinet? If you look in your pantry right now, it’s probably carrying many of the natural remedies you might need to cure colds, a cough, joint pain, and the other ailments that may be bothering you.
Before reaching for the pills and ointments you probably have in your actual medicine cabinet, how about giving these natural remedies a go? Your body absorbs them better than synthetic medicines, after all.
So have an open mind and couple it with a healthy lifestyle. Your next step? Go natural!
Apple cider vinegar
Yes, it’s great in your vinaigrette, sauces, and marinades. But apple cider vinegar should also be a staple in your health regimen. It boosts your immune system, helps with weight loss, improves digestion, and helps ease the dryness of your throat. Here’s your prescription: one teaspoon mixed with a glass of water, taken three times a day, every day.
Also, it’s the perfect balm to ease the sting of sunburn. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and cool water. Soak paper towels in the mixture then carefully place them on your sunburned skin. Leave them on until the paper towels dry. Repeat the process throughout the day over several days until the nip of the burns taper off.
The fact that ancient Egyptians and Greeks used honey to treat wounds should tell you something. Honey has been found with antibacterial properties that help heal wounds. In fact, some hospitals have been using medical-grade honey to treat wounds.
Other than wound-healing, raw honey also eases the pain of sore throats. Plus, it contains many antioxidants. Some types of honey can even match the antioxidant content of fruits and vegetables. This makes honey extremely helpful in slowing the ageing process, preventing heart disease, and blocking diseases such as cancer.
Here’s another helpful tip: drinking a mug of honey mixed with lemon and warm water is a good antidote to sore throat. Honey’s antibacterial properties help ease infection while the vitamin C present in lemon juice helps boost your immune system and also fight off infection.
Extra virgin olive oil
Just like raw honey, virgin olive oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it a very hardworking type of oil, health-wise. It can help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke.
Extra virgin olive oil can also help treat rheumatoid arthritis. It’s more potent when you take it combined with fish oil, which also has anti-inflammatory properties in its omega-3 fatty acids. This duo—olive oil and fish oil—taken together can significantly ease morning stiffness and improve the grip strength of people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Oatmeal is incredibly nutritious—it’s the breakfast of champions. Whole oats are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre that brings down cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
But did you know that oats also give health benefits that have little to do with eating? Oat-based skin products have been found to ease the effects of eczema.
Similarly, putting oatmeal on your face helps soothe the volcanic effects of acne and oily skin. To make the most basic oatmeal face mask, simply cook a serving of oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of honey. (The oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties; the honey will lock in moisture.) While the mixture is warm (not hot), apply it on your face, leaving it for 10 to 15 minutes. Then rinse it off.
It’s not only a healthier alternative to regular cooking oil. Coconut oil can also boost your skin’s health—it keeps in the moisture content. In fact, some dermatologists suggest applying 6 to 8 drops of coconut oil on your hands every night to prevent dry skin.
It works wonders on your lips, too. Since coconut oil is a natural moisturiser, it can help prevent chapped lips; thus, the proliferation of coconut oil lip balms on cosmetic shelves. It’s easy to make one yourself, though. Simply mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 tablespoon of melted cocoa butter. Then freeze the mixture for about half an hour.
It’s pungent but it also fights the common cold! Being anti-microbial, garlic can slow the spread of microorganisms, which bring with them bacteria and viruses. If you can hack it, eat a raw clove of garlic when you feel the sniffles coming on. Otherwise, cook plenty of garlic in your dishes.
These bulbs are also packed with nutrients. One raw clove contains manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin C, selenium, fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphorous. It’s like your kitchen’s version of multivitamins. Garlic can also help bring down blood pressure, bad cholesterol levels, and the risk of heart disease. It may also improve bone health. Finally, it’s also a great substitute for ointments for athlete’s foot. Just rub a crushed clove of garlic onto the rash; after a few days, you’ll see it dry off.
Aside from making your kitchen smell oh so good, ginger (which comes with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties) also brings a lot of medicinal benefits. First, drinking ginger tea can help relieve nausea, even morning sickness, and menstrual cramps. In fact, a study on female college students found that 200mg of ginger taken every six hours had the same pain-relieving effect as taking a combination of ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and caffeine.
Second, the enzymes in ginger can reduce gas during digestion. In the same way, it can help stimulate movement in the digestive tract, lowering the possibility of constipation.
Third, there are small studies that have found fresh ginger to play a part in easing the effects of colds, cough, and the flu.
Beyond giving you fresh breath, mint, like other herbs, gives you a host of other health benefits. It’s a good source of vitamin A, for example, which you need for eye health. Mint can also improve symptoms of IBS, minimise breastfeeding pain and headaches, and improve cold symptoms.
Now, mint can be taken either in capsule form, as tea, or applied as peppermint oil. (Peppermint is one of the most flavourful and aromatic species of the mint plant.) To ease headaches, particularly, rub peppermint oil on your temples.
While scientists continue to do studies to find irrefutable proof, your great-grandmother probably knew this fact all along: your kitchen is a veritable wellness pantry. Take advantage of all the natural home remedies you currently have within arm’s reach. Your body will thank you for it.
Remember to consult your physician about any chronic conditions you have before beginning a natural healing regimen.
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