Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Must-Haves for Your Natural Medicine Cabinet

There are so many natural remedies available, it can seem like we need to be spending thousands of dollars on supplements and herbs. However, it’s easy to keep things simple if you stick with these 14 basic remedies that are practically cure-alls.
Use this list to stock your natural medicine cabinet and you’ll have the answer for every injury, pain and ailment. They’re all extremely affordable and readily available, so you can become the “village healer” for your family immediately.

Garlic is the ultimate immune booster. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, simply chow down some raw, crushed garlic. If eating raw cloves seems daunting, don’t worry, try making fresh guacamole, salsa, or pesto with lots of fresh garlic instead — and enjoy with rice crackers or organic tortilla chips.
Keep a little garlic oil on hand for when the raw stuff isn’t available. Simply crush a few cloves and drop them into the bottom of a bottle of olive oil. The result (after a few days) will be a flavorful and health-improving oil.
The best detoxifier and digestion helper is lemon. If you are lacking energy, experiencing bloating, or have a hangover, fresh lemon juice squeezed into a tall glass of cool water is just the ticket. With all that vitamin C and fiber, you can’t go wrong. Lemon juice also provides the liver with the raw material to make enzymes — so it’s great for cleaning out junk from the body and encouraging overall health.
Aloe vera
A bottle of pure inner-leaf aloe vera gel is a good thing to keep in the fridge. A couple of tablespoons taken daily or applied topically will help prevent infections, soothe skin conditions and clean out the gut. This stuff also works as a hair conditioner and breath freshener — who knew?
Witch hazel
Try using witch hazel distillate for a variety of conditions such as bug bites, shaving irritation, acne and sunburn. It has a gentle astringent action and works great as an antiseptic. Try witch hazel first for any type of skin issue.
Tea tree oil
This one has become a go-to remedy in many homes. Proven to fight many microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, tea tree oil (also known as melaleuca) is the perfect weapon against dandruff, athlete’s foot, cold sores and candida. It also dries out pimples and discourages head lice. Be sure to purchase a high-quality essential oil since lower-quality tea tree oil is known to cause skin irritation.
Apple cider vinegar
We absolutely adore apple cider vinegar (affectionately dubbed ACV). Raw organic varieties arebrimming with beneficial probiotic bacteria, which support good digestion and immune function. If a food sensitivity or potential food-borne illness is causing grumbling in your gut, drink a glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
It also makes a great natural hair conditioner and facial toner (diluted with distilled water). Finally, warts can be removed with daily application of apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball attached with some medical tape.
Fish oil
One of the strongest natural anti-inflammatories, fish oil can be used to soothe practically any condition. Most illness and pain arise from inflammation, so it never hurts to take a few capsules of fish oil. Make sure the brand you choose is made from wild-caught small species of fish (such as sardines, herring and salmon) and has been tested for heavy metals.
Castor oil
Healing herbs in hessian bags, wooden mortar with chamomile and essential oil on rustic table, herbal medicine.Got constipation? Castor oil. Stalled labor? Castor oil. Losing hair? Castor oil. We could go on for ages. Suffice to say, this time-honored yet largely forgotten remedy has a lot of uses. Some other uses include boosting immune function and lymphatic flow, nourishing skin, minimizing signs of aging, and relieving pain, inflammation and infection.
Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper has been said to stop a heart attack in thirty seconds, since it is extremely helpful for circulation and the oxygenation of tissues. It also relieves chronic pain and joint inflammation, and improves the peristaltic action of the intestines. Peristalsis is the wave-like squeezing movement that pushes food along and prevents constipation. Try keeping a cayenne tincture on hand to help with these common health issues.
Raw honey
Raw honey is such a renowned natural remedy that it is even used in conventional medical facilities to help with wound healing. Raw honey contains enzymes and nutrients that discourage the growth of bacteria, as well as nourish skin and hair. Try using it as a natural shampoo, a treatment for minor skin injuries, or to soothe a sore throat. Raw honey also makes a great scrub for face, feet, hands and body when combined with a little coarse sea salt.
Make sure the jar says “raw” or “unpasteurized” to ensure you’re getting the best honey with its active constituents preserved. If you’re able to source a local variety, some say this helps ease seasonal allergies since it contains a neutralized version of the pollens that might be causing the irritation.
Oregano oil
Many of us now reach for oregano oil instead of cold medicine or cough syrup. This incredible immune booster has been proven to kill a variety of bacteria and viruses — even those that are resistant to drugs. Try taking two to three drops in an empty capsule to avoid the burning sensation of consuming the oil directly. This provides a potent preventative effect during cold and flu season.
Coconut oil
No natural remedies cabinet would be complete without coconut oil. With a multitude of antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, coconut oil can be used as a soothing topical ointment or a vehicle for other remedies which must be consumed (such as oregano oil).
Try applying it to any irritation, such as diaper rash, eczema or bug bites. It even supports oral health and can be used as a gently antibacterial and whitening toothpaste or mouthwash.
Frankincense essential oil
Frankincense essential oil is made from the steam-distilled sap of the boswellia tree, which commonly grows in the Middle East. The essential oil is practically a miracle, with amazing anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to regulate cell function.
Skin irregularities such as moles, skin tags and cystic acne can be helped by frankincense essential oil, as can many different injuries and pains stemming from inflammation. Try mixing a few drops into some coconut oil and applying directly to the site. This same mixture can also be used as a toothpaste to fight gum disease.
Lavender essential oil
Finally, a soothing remedy for many irritations: sunburn, skin injuries, rashes, bug bites and more can be relieved with a little lavender essential oil. It is also said to help remove scars and  persistent marks on the skin.
Try mixing a few drops into coconut oil to make a gentle moisturizing balm. It also makes a great pre-bedtime lotion to prepare for a night of rest and rejuvenation.
Isn’t it awesome to have all of these multifunctional and time-honored remedies to help with everyday challenges? Now get to work stocking that natural medicine cabinet!
—Liivi Hess

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