7 Natural Remedies for Common Conditions

By Christine M. Okezie

Benjamin Franklin said, “The best doctor gives the least medicines.” But it seems everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with messaging telling us the cure for what ails us can be found in a pill or drug. The overdependence and overreliance on medications is a serious problem in today’s society.

Too many people turn to those shiny, colorful pills that promise an easy fix, and away from proactive involvement in their own health. While modern medicine’s pharmaceutical intervention has indisputably saved and improved countless lives, there is another side of the coin. Research shows despite the widespread use of store-bought and prescription drugs, an alarming percentage of people are unaware of the potential harmful side effects and drug interactions.

The real tragedy is many people have lost the ability to learn when a drug is a necessity and when other medication-free options are a better solution. The truth is, fundamentally, drugs don’t treat disease – they cover it up by treating the symptoms. Drugs are designed to treat illness and distract us from addressing the causes of poor health.

However, there is another approach – a holistic one. This approach to healing empowers the individual to listen to his or her body and respond to its needs instead of ignoring or repressing them. Healing is focused on responding to the early and subtle signs of distress, which unheeded can lead to overt disease. It is directed at mobilizing the mind and body to enhance natural defenses, accelerate recovery and promote full health, and its basis is in self-regulation versus professional intervention.

Natural remedies use herbs and food to support the body’s innate ability to restore balance. They are extremely useful in relieving many common complaints such as digestive problems, headaches and the common cold, and their medicinal properties are gentler than commercial drugs, as the risk of harmful side effects are slim.

Before running to the doctor the next time someone sneezes or coughs – or even to the pharmacy for headache or diarrhea relief, try some of these natural remedies instead.

1)      Diarrhea

Herbal Teas: Slippery Elm, Ginger, Peppermint, Kukicha

Foods: BRAT Diet – Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast

Other: Coconut Water, Blackberry Juice, Barley Broth

2)      Constipation

Herbal Teas: Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm

Foods: Add chia seeds and ground flaxseeds to diet; Flaxseed Oil (add to salad dressing), Figs, Prunes

Other: Aloe Vera Juice (2 to 4 ounces in water), Vitamin C, Psyllium Husk Powder, Magnesium, Probiotic

3)      Heartburn

Herbal Teas: Fennel, Dandelion, Marshmallow Root

Foods: Apple Cider Vinegar (1 tablespoon in water), Dandelion Greens

Other: Aloe Vera Juice (2 to 4 ounces in water), Probiotic, Digestive Enzyme Supplement

Lifestyle:  Chew food well; Avoid eating late at night; Reduce fluids at meals

4)      Gas/Bloating

Herbal Teas: Ginger, Fennel, Dandelion, Anise, Peppermint

Foods:  Fresh Garlic, Fresh Parsley, Fennel Seeds, Caraway Seeds

Other: Probiotic, Digestive Enzyme Supplement

Lifestyle: Chew food well; Avoid artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol); Explore common food sensitivities (Wheat, Dairy)

5)      Sore Throat/Cough

Teas: Slippery Elm, Ginger Tea with Fresh Lemon Juice, Peppermint

Foods: Raw Honey; Fresh Ginger & Lemon in Hot Water; Warm Salty Water with Raw Honey & Turmeric

Other: Hot Water Inhalation: Put your head over a pot of water covered with towel, and add Eucalyptus, Tea Tree or Peppermint Essential Oil 

6)      Headaches

Herbal Teas: Lemon, Ginger, Peppermint, Kukicha

Essential Oils: Lavender

Other: Feverfew, Magnesium, Scalp/Forehead Massage & Deep Breathing

7)      Nasal Congestion

Herbal Teas: All

Other: Put your head over a pot of water covered with towel, and add Eucalyptus, Tea Tree or Peppermint Essential Oil; Hot Compress: Warm washcloth applied to cheekbones, nose and eyes; Neti Pot

Christine M. Okezie is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She founded her company, Your Delicious Balance, where she councels individuals to heal themselves through real food and positive lifestyle choices. Her healing strategies are based on whole foods nutrition, and she guides her clients to adopt a plant-centered way of eating that offers anti-inflammatory and detoxifying benefits to the body. For more information, visit her Web site at www.yourdeliciousbalance.com or call (201) 889-5001.