Natural Cures for Common Ailments

There’s a growing drive toward healthier living, including a shift away from traditional medicine and there is a good reason for that. While modern medicine is invaluable for the treatment of hundreds of serious conditions, when it comes to the most common health troubles that make our lives miserable, such as indigestion or the sniffles, natural remedies are the better bet — they usually have a quick effect and are, well, natural.

Indigestion is one of the little plagues of our modern lifestyle, a side-effect of the post-industrial society where everything is within reach. Most of us have probably tried more than one over-the-counter or prescription treatments for this condition, but there are a number of herbal alternatives that won’t fail you and are both cheaper and healthier. Take mint, for example, it’s probably one of the most familiar scents but the plant has strong medicinal properties as well, among them – alleviation of indigestion symptoms. A mint tea will calm your stomach, stimulate digestion and can also rid you of nausea and sea sickness, mostly because of the essential oils it contains, Oreganowhich have been proven scientifically to have a soothing effect on the digestive tract and also pain relief properties. Also good for indigestion are fennel seeds and oregano, to mention but a few that are easily accessible and could be found in many kitchens.

As for the common cold, there are several herbs and foods at the ready after the first sneeze. To start with those that have the most wide-reaching effect, top of the list is chamomile, with its antibacterial and antiviral properties. A cup of chamomile tea (a bit stronger than usual, perhaps) would soothe your sore throat in no time, and the beauty of it is that it will tackle the bug that made you sick, not just relieve the symptoms. Mint, by the way, also has a place here, as it has a healing effect on respiratory troubles. In case you’re coughing already, make yourself some thyme tea. Thyme clears the lungs by making the cough more productive, that is, expelling the secretions accumulating in the lungs. Garlic is another all-round remedy, good for almost anything but especially good for colds and flu as it’s packed with compounds with strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, in short, anti-everything harmful. Allicin is the star among them but bear in mind that this compound is volatile and is mostly destroyed in cooking, so, yes, you’ll have to crunch up some fresh cloves for the best results. For those of a more adventurous nature, here’s a sure-fire means to clear a blocked nose and reduce the secretion. Onion juice, plain and simple. Put a chunk of peeled onion in a garlic squeezer, dip a cotton bud in the clear liquid and rub well on the inside of the nostrils. If you’re really brave, just go for direct application with a dropper. It burns bad and it stinks as bad, but it works in minutes, so consider it as a last resort in the middle of the night when you don’t feel like going to the drugstore for nose drops.

This is just a tiny part of all the health benefits common herbs, plants and flowers, which can be found in the average garden, can offer us. They can also undo some of the harm that abuse of modern medicine has caused, such as the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Go for chamomile tea (or compress) if you have a sore throat or a minor bacterial infection, instead of stuffing yourself with antibiotics that, while curing the infection, can wreak havoc on your stomach and liver.