Natural Home Remedies for Beginners
From natural ways to aid healing all the way to getting rid of common household pests, there seems to be a natural remedy for just about everything. These natural remedies are often utilizing natural products, supplements or physical measures to reduce symptoms of illness, speed up recovery and make life better. At times you may also hear them referred to as home or folk remedies. For simplicity in this article I will just refer to them as natural remedies.
With all the different types of remedies, where do you start? In this article I want to explore some of the most common natural remedies. To be honest, some of these remedies are quite amazing, but before you dive into them it is always wise to consult your healthcare professional.
To get started let’s look at five categories that you will most likely see. Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list as there are so many great natural remedies out there.
- Essential Oils
- Plants and Herbs
- Super Foods
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are compounds that are extracted from plants. These oils capture the "essence" of the plant by extracting compounds that are generally responsible for the scent or flavor. Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy which is a form of alternative medicine using these extracts to promote health. The oils are extracted using distillation or methods like cold pressing then, they are typically combined with a carrier oil like coconut, jojoba, almond, olive or other lightly non-scented oil. Essential oils are typically defused or applied to the skin. Many do not recommend them to be ingested.
Some of the most common essential oils are Tea Tree, Lavender and Frankincense. There are many essential oils available on the market today but let’s just look at these three common oils.
Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. The leaves from this small tree have been used by natives for centuries. Tea Tree oil has been used to keep hair and nails healthy, as an insect repellant and as a hand sanitizer to just name a few. Known for its antiseptic properties Tea Tree has also been used to avoid infection and speed healing on minor cuts and scrapes. With antiviral, antifungal and immune boosting properties, Tea Tree oil is a great natural remedy to keep on hand.
Lavender essential oil is extracted from the flowers of the… you guessed it… the lavender plant Lavandula angustifolia. The oils are primarily extracted through distillation. Lavender oils are known for their calming scent and have been used in potpourri for many years. In aromatherapy lavender may relieve stress, anxiety, tension and help with respiratory issues. Topically it promotes wound healing and can relieve pain. Lavender is one of the most common and versatile essential oils making it another great remedy to keep on hand.
You may have heard about Frankincense in Sunday school. This oil has a rich history and a long list of benefits. From the genus Boswellia, frankincense oil is sourced from the resin of the Boswellia carterii, ferreana or serrata trees commonly grown in Somalia and Pakistan. Frankincense oils list of benefits range from anti-cancer to improved memory. The properties of this oil make it great at pain reduction, relief of stress, boosting immunity and more. Yet another great remedy to add to your collection.
Plants and Herbs:
Various plants and herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat wounds and disease. It hasn't been all that long that modern medicine has been able to isolate various plant and herbal compounds to produce the medication of today. Using plants and herbs can offer many benefits that the isolated compounds alone cannot. This is due to the various other complementary compounds that are found naturally in these plants and herbs. They work together in synergy to mitigate the potential side effects of the other compounds and help bioavaibility. The whole plant working together is often greater than the sum of its parts.
Let’s look at some of the more common plants and herbs that are used in home remedies.
Perhaps one of the oldest natural remedies, gingko is from the ginkgo tree and has been used in homeopathic medicine and as a herbal Chinese remedy for centuries. The ginkgo trees can live up to 3,000 years and are considered a living fossil. Ginkgo has been used for things like dementia, eye health, inflammation and even healing bones. You can purchase ginkgo in a supplement form or as a powder. Due to the long history and possible benefits or this herb, you may want to consider adding this to your arsenal of natural remedies.
In the past few years this little orange root has been making waves in the world of natural health. If you are like me and love a fresh turmeric tea, then be prepared to walk away with yellow hands. Turmeric is a spice/herb that has been used for thousands of years with a host of benefits. The beneficial compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids, the most important of them being curcumin. Curcumin is the active ingredient and is a powerful anti-inflammatory, strong antioxidant and is linked to improved brain function. Unfortunately, curcumin content in turmeric is low and it is not absorbed into the bloodstream well. So, when looking for a curcumin supplement, consider one with black pepper to help absorption.
One of the most popular herbs in the world, echinacea has been used by Native Americans for centuries to treat various ailments. Another name for echinacea is the purple coneflower and this powerhouse herb is known as a remedy for the common cold or flu. Echinacea plants are full of compounds that function as antioxidants and help defend your body against oxidative stress. It is also widely known for its positive effect on the immune system, helping your body to take on infections and viruses. Some studies found that taking echinacea may lower the risk of getting a cold by 50% and shorten the duration if you do get it. This herb is another great one to add to your cupboard.
In our list of home remedies, you may be thinking "why are we looking at foods?" This is a great question, because eating the right foods while healing is critical. These foods boost the immune system fight oxidation and can help to clean out the gut and replace it with good bacteria. Adding these super foods to juices or smoothies can give your body just what it needs to get back on track. Just keep in mind that you will need to be looking for organic options when choosing these foods.
Let’s look at just a few super foods that your body will love.
If you love eating things that taste like cardboard, then you will love kale! Kale is a power packed superfood, but the texture can be a little much for some. Loaded with antioxidants and an excellent source of vitamins like C, K, A and more, kale is great on salads or added into recipes. Try adding kale to a juice or making Kale chips. This super food will provide your body with some much-needed nutrition.
Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids as well as fiber and protein, flax seeds are one of the oldest crops around. Another super food that is high in antioxidants and have shown to be great for your heart, flax seeds are simple to add to your diet. They have even shown to help with hot flashes due to their beneficial phytoestrogens. Grind them up, top a salad or just grab them as a snack and chew well. Flax seeds are a great addition to a natural remedies diet.
Soy has been a controversial topic in the past but pretty much everyone is now in agreement that these nutritious beans must be fermented to unlock their massive potential. Loaded with five major anti-cancerous compounds, rich in anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, soybeans are a sleeping giant that is awakened by fermentation. Although this food may be an acquired taste it is well worth getting it on board.
Sometimes the best thing we can do to heal the body is to stop putting things in that hurt it. The body may be reacting to the food we are eating. Foods that cause oxidative stress or inflammation will continue to put unnecessary pressure on the systems that are designed to heal us. So, getting rid of some things can pay off big-time.
Here are just a few things to cut out when trying to heal up.
Most of us have heard that too much sugar is bad for you and have some idea that it is causing issues within the body. However, to what extent is not being taken all that seriously by many. Sugar has an impact on just about every organ in your body and it is not good. Unfortunately, sugar is extremely addictive and cutting it out can be challenging. Sugar has been linked to heart disease, cancer, fatty liver, diabetes and much more. It can go by many names like high-fructose corn syrup, white granulated sugar, anhydrous dextrose and many more. It is good to read your food labels and get this little trouble causer out of your diet.
Artificial Sweeteners and Chemicals:
To combat the use of sugar many companies are coming up with artificial sweeteners and chemicals to replace the need for sweetness like aspartame and sucralose. These too have their issues and can cause internal damage. Some studies have found that aspartame may be linked to impaired memory and increased oxidative stress. Sucralose is a chlorinated sucrose derivative. That’s correct, chlorine. Get this stuff out of your diet and let the healing begin. Try subbing in some raw honey, monk fruit or stevia
Over processed foods:
Many of the methods used to process foods can strip the foods of their vital nutrients. Cooking oils can often be chemically processed at high heat damaging them and making them bad for your health. Look for things like cold or expeller pressed and oils like olive, coconut and avocado that provide better nutrition. Other things like frozen dinners and fast foods can be packed with preservatives and fillers that are bringing down your health. Stick to fresh and minimally processed foods for maximum nutrition and healing.
Last but not least is detoxing. This is a great natural remedy for many issues. Often our bodies are reacting to a buildup of toxins and we need to flush them out. Our bodies can be carrying toxins from our diet, environment and even self-produced toxins from things like stress. Getting them out can free up resources to heal other areas and keep us healthy.
Here are a few great ways to detox the body and get back on track.
Fasting has been a hot topic lately. From full on water fasting to intermittent fasting, the benefits are starting to get some real time in the spotlight. During a fast your body has time to "clean house" by flushing out toxins and burning off storage. Water fasting is a reduction in food intake restricting everything except water. This is typically done for an extended period such as 24 - 72 hours or even longer in some cases. Intermittent fasting involves shorter fasts done intermittently over a period of time. One example is alternate day fasting. There are many types of fasting choosing the one for you may be a process, but it can pay off in the long run and get your body into healing mode.
Some teas are known for their ability to detox the body. Teas such as mint, lemon, raspberry, rosemary, dandelion and many more can draw out toxins from the body. One great example is dandelion tea. Dandelion tea can help to cleanse the liver, this is where many toxins are processed and keeping it clean it vital to health. Drinking a detoxing tea can be a relaxing way to help your body detox and mend.
Water is our final natural remedy. And I have saved the best for last. Keeping your body hydrated is critical for health and wellbeing and many people do not get enough. On top of that the water they drink is contaminated with all sorts of chemicals and garbage. So, getting clean water can be a great step to natural health. Some health issues can simply be overcome by drinking more clean water. It sounds too easy… right? Well, it’s true. Water is essential for your body to detox and function properly. So, if you get one thing on this list, make it a tall glass of clean water.
I hope you found this list of natural remedies helpful and I am sure you will come up with many more as you get started with some of these time-tested natural ways to improve your health. Weather you dive into essential oils or plant and herbs, keep in mind that consulting a professional is your best option. Not only will you get better results, but you can save a lot of time and money in figuring out where to start.