For all the care you take of yourself, for all the exercise and healthy eating you do, there are some things that will always be unavoidable. There will always be illnesses that knock you on your butt and unexpected accidents that leaves you with a long fight back to full health and all out of your control.
In this blog, we could tell you to be more careful, exercise less intensely or look more diligently as you cross the street but we all know that however much we try and stay safe and sound, there are times when we’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time or times when our body reacts in a way that we have no control over.
So instead, we’re going to look at some very natural ways to help alleviate our aches and pains when facing a chronic illness or from the result of an accident. We should, of course, say that you must always consult with your doctor before taking any medicine that might interact with your current drug regime.
Swelling and Inflammation
One of the current on-trend spices for helping combat all manner of complaints is turmeric or more specifically curcumin the active ingredient. This useful ingredient has been shown to reduce inflammation, help with digestive disorders and even gets a mention in research to help combat cancer, though this is still very much in the exploratory phases.
It might also help in clearing up a persistent wound or infection. Take turmeric as a powder, added to smoothies and vegetable juices for the quickest way of absorbing it.
Another naturally occurring miracle are cloves, perhaps best known for helping combat the pain of toothache, but did you know they can also help combat sickness and diarrhea? Crush into powder and mix with a little water to make a paste before applying to the affected tooth or take in tablet form or in food to help with nausea.
This can be so hard to live with and the first port of call you’ll no doubt make is to your doctor and possibly a pain management center for further advice and treatment. But there are some other avenues you might explore, but just check they won’t have an adverse reaction to any medicine you’re currently taking.
For a start you may want to have regular, very gentle massages with some essential oils. At the very least you’ll probably find that regular exposure to lavender will help soothe anxiety issues and might aid better sleep.
You might also get some relief for topical pain with a cream made from the active ingredient in chilis, capsaicin. This ingredient is also found in many commercial pain relief creams and appears to work by making the nerves that carry pain signals around the body, less sensitive.
Feverfew, a plant popular in traditional medicine has been lauded by the American Migraine Foundation as helpful in preventing migraines. While the jury’s still out on whether it can help reduce the symptoms and end the episode earlier, it does seem to have a role to play in preventing them from occurring in the first place. Although effective, there may be some side effects associated with this plant such as nausea and sickness so, again, talk to a doctor before trying it out.
One other plant that has attracted a lot of attention for its medical use in the fight against pain is marijuana. While different areas will have their own laws governing its use, check out Florida medical marijuana for further information on their products.
It seems that the chemicals in this plant, known as cannabinoids can help fight pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. They may even help people suffering from regular seizures and addictions, though research is still ongoing in all these areas.
Another popular option that’s been used for centuries is willow bark. Originally, this plant was chewed as a way to reduce fever and inflammation as it has similar effects to aspirin. This is worth noting if you are already taking aspirin-based medication or anticoagulants and would need to be avoided.
You can take willow bark as a dried herb that can be added to tea.
Colds and Flu
They seem so innocuous but a bad bout of flu or a heavy cold can be debilitating, especially if you already have existing health concerns.
While the best way of preventing the spread of the virus is simply to wash your hands more often, especially during flu season, there are some natural options you can explore to help lessen the severity of symptoms.
The very best thing you can do is to rest and stay properly hydrated. Drink hot water with lemon and honey to soothe a sore throat. Take some zinc in tablet form to help shorten the duration of a cold and vitamin c if you think you may be deficient in some way. There’s limited research to suggest that vitamin c will prevent a cold but when viewed as part of a healthy diet, it certainly has its place. Again turmeric finds its place on this list as a great way of reducing any inflammation and helping to relieve congestion. You might consider combining all the herbs and spices in a cold-busting broth to take down your cold and reduce the worst of the symptoms.
Nausea and sickness
Two very popular remedies that tend to get mentioned a lot when it comes to nausea and sickness are peppermint and ginger. Both appear to be effective in general incidents of sickness and for women suffering from morning sickness during pregnancy. To get relief from your symptoms you might consider sucking on some sugar-free mints or dabbing a few drops of peppermint essential oil on to a handkerchief.
Ginger comes in many forms from crystallized portions that can be eaten almost like candy, to the fresh root that can be added to any manner of savory and sweet recipes. If you’re not a fan of the flavor then a tablet or capsule will be your best bet.
Again a great many pregnant women get some relief from vitamin B6 supplements that are proven to be effective against nausea. For those who have just picked up stomach flu staying hydrated and away from strong tasting foods is your first line of defense. If you suffer from regular feelings of nausea then you might find acupuncture will also prove effective as there is a point on your inside wrist that seems to stimulate recovery.
Heartburn or acid reflux, although common, is at best uncomfortable and at worst very painful. Luckily there are several ways you can treat it at home. You might help yourself in general by following a diet with lower carbs, as these are very often the culprit of an onset attack and make you feel bloated. You might also want to lower your alcohol intake as this can cause your acidity levels to rise quite dramatically.
Other top tips to help prevent a bout of acid reflux include not eating less than three hours before bed and raising the head of the bed. If you do feel it coming on you could try drinking some tea made from fresh ginger root or simply swallowing a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to neutralize the attack.
You might also want to consider chewing gum, which will help stimulate the production of saliva, which helpfully dilutes acid build-up.
While not backed up with masses of research, some studies have suggested that eating raw almonds can help reduce acid reflux. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to note down what triggers an attack and what helps to bring it back under control. By keeping track of these things, you should be able to limit unpleasant episodes but at the very least have the medicine to hand that helps combat it as quickly as possible.
You may not be an expert in holistic medicine or natural health and you don’t have to be. There’s a wealth of information from your favorite bloggers and health experts that have done all the hard work for you. From relief from pain to creating a new hair conditioning product, the natural world has given us a wealth of resources to help us stay healthy and pain free.
Do some research around your symptoms, whether that’s to find relief from a heavy cold or flu virus that you simply can’t shake off, or sickness that you’re experiencing because of a pregnancy. Often the tried and tested natural remedies are the best and at the very least will save you a trip to the doctor.
Prevention is, of course, better than cure so boost your body’s immune system with plenty of rest and water, as well as vitamins. Opt to use natural, organic supplements and fresh herbs and spices in any natural medicines that you make. Experiment until you find what’s right for you and find your natural balance and a healthy life.