Nature’s Best Cures for a Healthier You

Inside raids the kitchen for natural remedies guaranteed to combat 10 most common health conditions

Issue: Feb 2015

From ginger to honey, Nature provides a storehouse of quick cures for common ailments
From ginger to honey, Nature provides a storehouse of quick cures for common ailments

In days of old when pharmacies were unheard of and doctors a rare breed, mothers would raid the kitchen for home remedies to treat common ailments. They seem to instinctively understand the wealth of quick cures that Mother Nature has provided for us. What has worked for centuries continue to be effective today. So, the next time your immune system lets you down, let Nature nurse you back to health.

1. Quell a Cold

Garlic may be pungent but its antioxidant properties makes it Nature's own antibiotic
Garlic may be pungent but its antioxidant properties makes it Nature’s own antibiotic

To stop a cold in its tracks, crush a clove of garlic and mix it with one cup of warm milk or warm honey (anything to help you keep the garlic down). The concoction may be pungent but the active compound in garlic, allicin, is an effective decongestant while the antioxidant properties in garlic can up your natural immunity to battle your cold much like Nature’s own antibiotics.

2. Douse a Fever

Linden flower tea can help your body regulate its temperature and cool a fever
Linden flower tea can help your body regulate its temperature and cool a fever

Sip linden flower tea three to four times a day if you are burning up. The dried herb needs to be steeped in hot water for 15 minutes. The herb stimulates the hypothalamus so your body can better control your temperature, and it also dilates blood vessels that induce sweating to cool your body.

3. Soothe a Sore Throat

Raw honey can reduce inflamed throats and soothe the pain
Raw honey can reduce inflamed throats and soothe the pain

Your throat hurts when the cells in the mucous membranes in your throat become swollen or inflamed. Salt water is a great cure because the salt will draw out the water in the cells, causing them the swelling to ease. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and gargle. Do this three times a day till the sore throat subsides.

Raw honey can also help. The plant enzymes in unpasturised honey can reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process.

4. Quiet a Cough

Chocolate are not just yummy, they have a compound in them that can suppress your cough
Chocolate are not just yummy, they have a compound in them that can suppress your cough

Chocolate lover will cheer at this cure. The next time you have a nagging cough, treat yourself to a square or two of dark chocolate. The theobromine (a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant) in this treat has been found to be more effective than codeine in suppressing coughs.

5. Heal a Headache

Down a cup of strong coffee or tea when you feel a headache coming on because it can reduce your pain
Down a cup of strong coffee or tea when you feel a headache coming on because it can reduce your pain

Coffee and tea lovers will lap at this cure. Caffeine, it seems, is a good cure for headaches. It constricts blood vessels which helps to reduce pain. If you feel a headache coming on, down a cup of strong coffee, tea or caffeinated drink. Since caffeine helps in the absorption of other medication, it is also good to down over-the-counter pills for headaches with a cup of coffee or tea.

A word of caution, though. The caffeine cure only works if you are not a regular caffeine drinker.

6. Nip Nausea in the Bud

Suck on a piece of fresh ginger to get rid of nausea
Suck on a piece of fresh ginger to get rid of nausea

Whether it is motion sickness, morning sickness or just general nausea, ginger is your best bet. Ginger contains gingerols that blocks serotonin receptors in the stomach which effectively rids you of that queasy feeling.

You can boil some ginger to make a drink, freeze some slices to suck on or simply swallow half a teaspoon of finely diced fresh ginger.

7. Act on Eczema

An oatmeal bath will calm the inflammation and soothe the itch
An oatmeal bath will calm the inflammation and soothe the itch

Don’t just eat oatmeal. Bath in it. The avenanthramides in oats is a key compound that calms inflamed, itchy skin. Put whole oats in a clean handkerchief and tie it up. Drop the sack into a warm bath and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes.

8. A Lullaby for Insomnia

A bowl of cherries is not only pretty, it can put you right to sleep because it is packed with melatonin
A bowl of cherries is not only pretty, it can put you right to sleep because it is packed with melatonin

If you have trouble sleeping, eat a handful of cherries. The fruit is packed with melatonin, the same hormone your body produces to regulate sleep.

9. Battle Bad Breath

Say good bye to bad breath with a cup of unsweetened yoghurt
Say good bye to bad breath with a cup of unsweetened yoghurt

Bad breath is often caused by bacteria. Begin by gargling a small cup of lemon juice to kill those bacteria. Then eat some plain unsweetened yoghurt. Halitosis or bad breath is the result of systemic diseases, gastrointestinal or upper respiratory tract disorder and microbial metabolism from the tongue, saliva or dental plaque. These imbalances can be remedied by the lactobacillus bacteria in yoghurt. This combination will neutralise your breath instantly with results that last up to 24 hours.

10. Whiten Your Teeth

Make your own tooth-whitening paste with fresh strawberry puree and baking soda
Make your own tooth-whitening paste with fresh strawberry puree and baking soda

Stained teeth can be scrubbed clean with a mixture of fresh strawberries crushed to a pulp, baking soda and water to form a paste. Brush this onto your teeth for a few minutes every month or so then sit back and enjoy your pearly whites. The astringent malic acid in strawberries coupled with the stain-removing properties of baking soda is a hard-to-beat formula.

The next time you go grocery shopping, load up on these natural, easily available cures. It’s Nature’s way of taking care of you naturally.

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