Back to the Basics: Home Remedies
Mothers and grandmothers around the world have been giving us home remedies for almost every ailment under the sun for centuries. Younger generations have had the tendency to disregard them as the superstitions of an older generation and favored the prescription medicine approach. But what happens when science supports these home remedies? I think it’s time you listen to Grandma… I don’t like running to doctors every time I get the flu or a cold, and neither do I like wasting away in bed while sick. Natural home remedies are a wonderful way to give your body the boost and attention it needs without resorting to doctors and shelling out loads of money at your local pharmacy. Sometimes proven to be more effective than pharmaceutical medication itself, these foods are things you should always have in your fridge or pantry. I’ve given a short list below of some of the most common foods that have the most surprising health benefits, all supported by scientific research. Let’s take a look at these home remedies now!
Ginger: one of the best anti-inflammatory foods available. There’s a reason traditional Chinese medicine has relied on ginger for over 2,000 years. It has been proven to improve blood flow and lessen inflammation, and to be as effective at ibuprofen at times. Period cramps got you in bed? Fight back with a warm cup of ginger tea. Is your trainer pushing you until your muscles want to scream? Reduce post-workout pain by consuming about 2 grams of raw ginger every day. Feeling sick to your stomach? There’s a reason people always reach for the ginger ale to combat nausea. Ginger has been used for quite a while as a natural remedy to suppress motion sickness and nausea.
Cranberry sauce is a must-have for anyone wanting to put on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. However, cranberries have a lot of importance besides from making turkey day even yummier. They’re a natural way to fend off the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. While cranberries won’t cure a UTI if you already have one (DEFINITELY go to the doctor for that), they can help prevent future infections. Drinking a glass or two of at least 20% cranberry juice can help prevent UTI recurrences. Cranberries contain a compound, proanthocyanidins (I can’t pronounce that either) that prevent bacteria from latching onto the walls of your bladder. Who knew cranberries were the secret to urinary tract health?
Since we’re already on the topic of uteruses (uteri? Both work), let’s bring another that’s healthy for them: almonds! Whether or not you believe in the horror that is PMS, the riboflavin in almonds can help you deal with the hormonal imbalances caused by your monthly visitor. The riboflavin in almonds has been shown to boost neurotransmitters that may be involved in diminishing PMS symptoms. Additionally, the calcium in almonds can help balance the lower blood-calcium levels of those with PMS. If you’re not a nut fun, try eating broccoli, leafy greens, or dairy products to help increase you blood calcium levels. If looking to increase your riboflavin, about 2 ounces of almonds a day gives you more than 30% of your daily needs.
Have you jumped on the bandwagon that touts using natural ingredients from your fridge or pantry as the best facemasks yet? Well, if you’re a sufferer (is that actually a word?) of eczema, I’ve got good news for you. Your new best friend is… oatmeal! Yes, the much loved, much hated breakfast food is just the thing you need to calm your itchy, inflamed skin. Chock full of phytochemicals (I told you this stuff has science in it!), oats have anti-inflammatory properties. If you have a tub for a relaxing bath, grind a third of a cup of plain, unflavored oatmeal into a fine powder and mix it into lukewarm bathwater until the water looks milky. If you don’t want oatmeal getting EVERYWHERE, don’t have a bathtub, or simply don’t have the time, you can also apply it directly to the affected areas as a paste. To make the paste, mix a quarter of a cup of oatmeal with a little bit of water and apply to your skin for 10 minutes.
Do we all really need another excuse to eat sugar? Yes, yes we do. Who knew it was the long sought for cure to hiccups? The next time you’re spasming with them, put a teaspoonful of sugar underneath your tongue. Apparently, the strong sweet sensation stimulates the longest cranial nerve in your body, the vagus nerve, and fools your diaphragm into stopping the spasms. Hiccups, be gone!
Aah, the beauty staple. Who hasn’t put cucumbers on their eyes at least once in their lives to pretend that we’re relaxing at a luxurious spa? Turns out, this fruit (nope, not a vegetable) has more uses than to make your salad yummy. Cold cucumber slices placed over your eyes can help reduce puffiness. Composed of over 95% water, these green slices offer a cooling sensation, and the cold temperature can help blood vessels to constrict, reducing inflammation. They work even better than ice packs for your eyes because they contour to the shape of your eye. A 10-minute treatment can reduce puffiness and make your eyes look fresher.
Modern science has made leaps and bounds over the centuries, but somehow, we still haven’t managed to cure a common cold. While honey can’t exactly cure it (we wish), it can help manage the symptoms. This sweet treat has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that have been touted for centuries and can help alleviate sore throats and coughs. Two teaspoons of honey stirred into warm water or herbal tea, and a cup sipped every few hours, can help manage symptoms. Singers have also used warm water with honey over the years to soothe their overworked throats. This is one of my favorite home remedies by the way since it is so versatile!
Nature can be your best friend when you’re looking for quick, effective, and natural fixes. Next time you’re down with a sore throat, head to your pantry and grab that honey. When you’re curled in bed with the cramps and your mother gives you ginger tea, drink it. Sometimes, the most effective remedies are the most natural.
I hope you enjoyed learning about these common household natural remedies. If so, feel free to like, comment, and share with your friends!