When you're feeling sick, you want fast relief, and with today's 24/7 grocery stores and pharmacies commercial medicine can be just a short drive away anytime day or night. But if you're trying to live a more natural, self-reliant lifestyle, there are many tried-and-true home remedies for minor ailments already available in your kitchen. And these aren't even including and herbal or essential oil remedies, just common ingredients you probably already have in your refrigerator or pantry.
(A word of caution: If your symptoms persist, you should consult a medical professional.)
Simple, Natural Home Remedies
Problem: Bee Sting
Solution: Baking Soda
Applying a baking soda and water paste to the site of a bee sting or other insect bites will neutralize the pain and itch. Just remove the actual stinger first, and smooth on the baking soda paste for instant relief.
Problem: Canker Sores
Researchers at a Saudi Arabian university tested three groups of people suffering from canker sores. The first group treated their sores with plain old commercial honey, the second used an oral corticosteroid cream, and the third got an over-the-counter product that forms a protective paste to cover sores while they heal. The honey users reported fewer days of pain and faster reduction in size than the other two groups due to the natural anti-inflammatory properties in honey. In fact, some honeys have strong anti-bacterial qualities, and many are shown to promote tissue growth in wound healing.
Problem: Chapped Lips
Solution: Olive Oil
It’s rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. And the fat in the oil moisturizes. Rub it on like you would lip balm whenever your lips feel dry. You can even make your own lip balm by mixing olive oil and melted beeswax in a 1:1 ration, adding some essential oil if you'd like a nice scent. Or, there are many store-bought lip balms using olive oil.
Problem: Cough Due To A Cold
Solution: Dark (not milk) Chocolate
Cocoa contains a chemical called theobromine that can help the body fight off the symptoms of the common cold. A 2012 study found that the cocoa chemical blocked the action of sensory nerves in those with a cold, stopping the cough reflex. Researchers of this study found the chocolate chemical to be more effective than codeine when treating a chronic cough.
Problem: Dry Skin
Solution: Sea Salt
Sea salt makes a great exfoliator–the thicker grains do a good job of clearing away dry skin. Mix one cup of sea salt with 1/2 cup of a light massage oil and treat rough patches on the knees, elbows and heels.
Problem: Foot Odor
Soak your feet in a tub filled with one part apple cider vinegar and two parts warm water. It's not sweat, but bacteria that causes foot odor, and the vinegar creates an acidic environment that kills the bacteria.
Apples have pectin, a soluble fiber that works very well at absorbing stomach acid. Plus, they contain two types of acid (malic and tartaric) that help to hold down acids rising from the stomach. You want sweet apples--red or golden delicious rather than tart granny smiths.
Solution: Two Tablespoons Sugar
Swallowing the coarse granules stimulates the vagus nerve that is triggering the spasms, calming the diaphragm.
Solution: Cherries (or Cherry Juice)
Cherries are one of the few natural food sources of melatonin, a hormone that affects the body’s internal clock to regulate sleep patterns, says Dr. Mark Moyad, an alternative medicine expert at the University of Michigan Medical Center and author of The Supplement Handbook. Try 1/2 cup of juice 20 minutes before bed, and make sure you're getting 100% juice with no additives.
Problem: Minor Cuts
Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and can be used as an effective disinfectant. If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process.
Try raw or candied ginger, homemade ginger ale, or make ginger ice chips. Make a tea using fresh-shaved ginger. When it cools, strain the liquid into ice cube trays. Smash the frozen cubes and suck on the ginger chips to soothe an upset stomach.
Problem: Poison Ivy Rash
Solution: Brewed Tea
If you need to dry a weepy poison ivy rash, try strongly brewed tea. Simply dip a cotton ball into the tea, dab it on the affected area, and let it air-dry. Repeat as needed.
Problem: Sore Throat
Solution: Fresh Garlic Juice
Squeeze the juice from six garlic cloves into a glass of warm (not hot) water. Mix and gargle with the solution twice a day. Garlic contains allicin, which is thought to help the body to heal the infections that cause a sore throat while fighting the germs that cause the pain and the irritation.
Solution: Vinegar, Oatmeal or Aloe Vera
A bath with one cup of apple cider vinegar added can help balance the pH of sunburned skin, while an oatmeal bath can help with the itching. Splitting an aloe vera leaf and applying the sap can help with the burn as well as moisturize the skin.
Solution: Mint Leaves
Chewing a few mint leaves from your garden can remove irritation in the intestines and the esophagus, and it is also capable of destroying the germs present in the stomach which could be the reason for your vomiting.
Keep track of what remedies work for you, and you might be able to replace some over the counter medicines and save some money! Do you have any of your own kitchen remedies that have worked for you?