Five Easy Home Remedies
February 12th, 2020
4 minute read
When we’re sick, bleeding or otherwise injured, we all have those things we’re used to reaching for. Maybe your go-to when you have a cold is a dose of Nyquil or Theraflu, or a thick layer of Vicks Vaporub. Perhaps after a cut, you get out the superglue or Neosporin. We all have our favorite products, and they become part of our routine.
Even people who prepare for various disaster scenarios — or just like to be prepared — often forget to stock extra cold medicine or supplies for other minor maladies and injuries. Part of that might be because those products are often fairly expensive; most people go buy them when they need them. We’ve all made that trip to the store to get supplies for the head cold we feel coming on.
The truth is that there are many remedies that have been around for quite some time — long before Nyquil or Neosporin. While there’s something to be said for modern medicine, homemade remedies are often just as good; sometimes, they’re even better. What’s more, they’re derived from natural ingredients, and in some cases, you probably already have the components in your home.
A stomachache is often a minor and temporary thing, but it can be both inconvenient and painful. Peppermint tea is excellent for those nights when your stomach isn’t happy, and it also has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Made from the dried leaves of the peppermint plant, it’s not only easy to find already packaged, but easy to cultivate yourself. I keep a plant in my kitchen, and every month or so I harvest leaves and dry them. It tastes good on its own, but a bit of honey makes it even better. It’s a great way to soothe your stomach. Steer clear, however, if you have acid reflux or kidney stones.
Ginger is one of those foods that has a wide variety of health benefits, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory properties. One of the best benefits of ginger tea is that it improves digestion and can help calm heartburn or nausea. Like peppermint tea, it can be found easily in your local grocery store — usually in the coffee aisle. You can also make it simply by putting powdered or fresh ginger in a cup and pouring boiling water over it, steeping it for about 10 minutes. This tea also tastes amazing with honey.
This spice is used in all kinds of food, but it’s also an amazing medicine. Capsaicin is the alkaloid ingredient in cayenne, and it has a long list of benefits. While it’s a myth that drinking it mixed with water can stop serious bleeding, it can be used on minor cuts and scrapes. In fact, it’s considered an external analgesic counterirritant, often used in muscle and joint pain relief creams. It can even help prevent and heal gastric ulcers or work as an anti-fungal.
While elderberries aren’t necessarily the kind of fruit you’d spend an afternoon picking and eating off the bush (they’re toxic when raw), they have incredible anti-viral properties, and one commercially produced elderberry extract has been shown to reduce flu symptoms to only three to four days or even less.
If you’re looking to make it at home, there are many recipes out there for both syrups and tinctures. You can make a tincture simply by filling a mason jar 1/4 full with dried or fresh elderberries and then pouring in some kind of alcohol, such as vodka. Stir to release the air bubbles and place the jar in a dark place for four to six weeks. Strain your mixture and keep it away from light. If you feel yourself coming down with a cold or flu, take a teaspoon or two of your tincture three times a day. I’ve also found it quite effective to take a shot of it before bed, especially the night before your cold really kicks in. Bundle up, sweat it out, and you’ll wake up feeling a lot better.
While we’ve already covered peppermint tea for stomach ailments, there’s one more use for it in oil form: migraines. If you’ve had a migraine, then you’re familiar with the potentially debilitating pain, sensitivity to light, nausea and other symptoms that can combine to create a truly awful experience. Peppermint oil, rubbed on the forehead or temples, can stop a migraine before it gets out of control, or help relieve the symptoms once it’s in full swing. A dark room and some peppermint oil are my go-to for migraines.
There are hundreds of home remedies out there, and while some are more old wives’ tales than solid medicine, many are time-tested recipes that can help you find relief in a variety of situations, all without leaving your home.
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