Common ailments affect us all from time to time, but how can we treat the symptoms without resorting to pharmaceutical products? Nature has actually provided us with all we need, and sometimes being old-style really is the best. Before you head off to the chemist to treat a cold, tummy bug or headache, stop and see what’s in your kitchen cupboards or fridge and keep a ‘natural medicine cabinet’.
Please bear in mind all the remedies below are suggestions only and if symptoms persist, always consult your practitioner.
Bites and Stings
If you get more than your fair share of bites, consider taking a B Vitamin supplement for a while. The absolute best insect repellent happens to be totally natural – Incognito spray makes you – incognito! It works a treat. If you are unlucky and do get bitten the homeopathic remedy Apis also works brilliantly.
Arnica is fantastic for bruising (and shock). Use arnica cream, and if the bruising is severe, take a pill of Arnica 30. Most high-street chemists sell it now. Take Arnica 200 if you are going for an operation and if the bruise is inflamed, apply a cold vinegar compress or use witch hazel on a pad of cotton wool.
Mild burns and Scalds
For a minor burn or scald, snip an aloe vera plant and use the juice (not great for the plant, I know) or alternatively apply neat lavender oil, which works incredibly quickly.
Colds and Flu
Remember old-fashioned remedies like honey and lemon in hot water. Many respiratory problems can be cured with steam: just fill a bowl with boiled water, add a drop of tea tree or eucalyptus oil to the water, put a towel over your head and steam away. Add a cupful of Epsom salts or Himalayan salt, which has wonderfully healing and detoxifying properties to your bath water. I’m a big believer in the healing properties and immune-boosting powers of Echinacea Purpurea or purple cornflower – (Echinacea). Use it as soon as you feel the first signs of a cold or sore throat, combine it with high doses of vitamin C for a few days and you should get over the cold more quickly. Unless you are vegetarian eat organic chicken soup, I’m assured by very wise people that it really is therapeutic in many ways.
Manuka honey is antibacterial and soothing. Take it by the spoonful (with a little crushed garlic it’s even more powerful). Ginger is also fantastic for colds; keep fresh ginger in the freezer and then just pop a spoonful or two of grated ginger into a pan with hot water and lemon, simmer it, strain and sip throughout the day.
Irritable Bowel and Digestive Problems
Make sure you take a good probiotic to aid digestion. You can eat natural live yoghurt but avoid probiotic drinks that can contain sugars. If you take capsules, bear in mind you should store them in the fridge. Symprove, a cocktail of ‘live bacteria’ is beneficial for symptoms of IBS.
Fermented foods really can help so opt to drink Goats Milk Kefir made the traditional way, you get dozens of beneficial micro-organisms. You can buy Super Probiotic Raw Goat’s Milk Kefir drinks from Chuckling Goat. It’s a real medicinal food made the traditional way, with live grains and fresh raw milk. Blend into a smoothie, using fruit, veg, very ripe bananas, honey, vanilla and avocado.
Keep the homeopathic remedy nux vomica to hand, it’s great for digestion.