In a sick twist of fate, literally, I am writing this article from my sickbed. While I planned to write this article when I was feeling my best, a rather nasty cold does provide me the opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. I always do my best to avoid reaching for the medicine cabinet when not feeling well, and over the years I have found some go to natural remedies for almost any malady.
This is not to say you should forgo all Western medicine (it is always best to consult your doctor when a health issue arises), but if you are looking for natural remedies for minor maladies, these are my tried and true favorites.
The Solution: Chamomile tea with honey
How It Works: Chamomile has components that kill bacteria and works as a painkiller. The anti-spasmodic properties, which help muscles relax, in Chamomile also help you unwind and rest. Add honey to your tea; it’s antibacterial and will help coat your throat to ease pain when swallowing.
Source: Urban Outfitters
The Solution: De-stress and set aside time to unwind. Step away from the computer if you have been working, take a few deep breaths while inhaling lavender oil, and take a moment to clear your mind. Then focus on relaxation and wellness. It may not be an instant fix, but an hour of yoga, an afternoon nap, or even a stress-free dinner with good friends can help tension headaches. You are attacking the problem at the source rather than dulling the pain for a few hours with an aspirin.
How It Works: Many headaches are brought on by stress and tension. When you are tense you may clench your jaw, which while destroying tooth enamel and causing tooth pain, also causes headaches. The solution to tension headaches is to destress and prioritizing relaxing. Easier said than done, but it will save you a lot of pain in the long run.
The Solution: Open your airways with essential oils. You can rub a little on the bridge of your nose, add some to a diffuser, or even smell it straight out of the bottle. You will get the most bang for your buck if you do this right after taking a steamy shower.
How It Works: When you are congested your first instinct is probably to blow your nose, but blowing your nose can create a buildup of excess pressure in sinus cavities. That feeling of not being able to breath is because your sinus cavities are inflamed. By adding that pressure you are only going to make it harder to breath by inflaming them more. Instead, open airways with essential oils. Both eucalyptus and peppermint oil work wonders for helping you breath.
Aches and Pains
Source: Jenny Wolfe Interiors
The Solution: A hot bath with Epsom salts
How It Works: There is nothing that quite relieves pain like heat therapy—it can work better than medicine more times than not. And any cure (like a bath or aromatherapy) that helps you relax is an added benefit of natural remedies.
The Solution: Drinking or eating ginger and peppermint
How It Works: Both ginger and peppermint have qualities that help relieve nausea. You can use raw ginger in cooking, drink it in tea, or eat a candied variety. Ginger has even been found to successfully to treat morning sickness and nausea after chemotherapy. Peppermint leaves and oil have been shown to be helpful when dealing with indigestion problems and irritable bowel syndrome.
The Solution: When you feel fatigued (even after a good night’s sleep), it’s a sign your body is feeling exhausted for other reasons. A little exercise might be all you need to shake that constant tired feeling and boost energy levels.
How It Works: Studies have shown that graded exercise therapy can help with chronic fatigue syndrome. Graded exercise therapy has you start exercising gradually with stretching and then over time increases the intensity and duration of your workout. A randomized, controlled study, showed that participants that underwent this type of therapy reported significantly less fatigue than people in the control group, who received standard medical care.