Natural Home Remedies That Work

Your body can throw you for a loop at any time. You wake up with a sore throat the day you’re set to make a major presentation, a seafood-salad sandwich leaves you with grumbling indigestion, or you overdo it at the gym and arrive home with a stiff neck. Wouldn’t it be great to have a live-in doctor/therapist/trainer to tend to your everyday aches and pains?

Natural Home Remedies; oil made with lavender

Here’s the next best thing: all-natural, expert-recommended ways to treat ailments quickly, safely, and effectively at home. So clear some space in your bathroom cabinet, refrigerator, and kitchen cupboard for these surprisingly effective (and inexpensive) remedies. The following 20 natural home remedies are like having a doctor on call 24 hours a day.

Quell nausea?

Try frozen ginger chips. First, infuse fresh ginger in hot water. Strain, then freeze the concoction in ice cube trays.

Crush the cubes and suck the icy chips throughout the day to provide your tummy with a steady soothing dribble. Ginger’s antinausea properties are particularly effective during pregnancy or after surgery.

–Expert: Eric Yarnell, ND, faculty member of the department of botanical medicine at Bastyr University

Stifle hiccups?

Swallow 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar. The dry granules stimulate and reset the irritated nerve that is causing the spasms of the diaphragm. Any coarse substance, such as salt, can work in a pinch, but sugar tastes best.

–Expert: Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and author of From Fatigued to Fantastic!

Soothe a sore throat

Gargle twice daily with a solution of six pressed garlic cloves mixed into a glass of warm (not hot) water. Follow the regimen for 3 days. Research shows that fresh garlic juice has antimicrobial properties that fight pain-causing bacteria. The warm liquid soothes inflamed tissue.

–Expert: Ronald Hoffman, MD, medical director of the Hoffman Center in New York and author of Alternative Cures That Really Work

Curb a cough

Indulge in a square or two of dark chocolate. Researchers found that chocolate’s theobromine compound is more effective than codeine at suppressing persistent coughs without the side effects of drowsiness and constipation.

To calm a nagging cough that keeps you awake at night, take 2 teaspoons of honey (1 to 2 teaspoons for kids; don’t give to children younger than 1), along with 500 mg of Ester C 30 minutes before bed. The vitamin C (nonacidic Ester type won’t upset stomachs) boosts the immune system in the early stages of your cough. Research shows that honey works better than either a cough suppressant or no treatment at all for relieving children’s nocturnal cough and promoting sleep.

–Experts: Jacob Teitelbaum, MD; Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, Jenkens/Pokempner director of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor

Reduce a fever

Sip linden flower tea, which works in two ways: It stimulates the hypothalamus to better control your temperature, and it dilates blood vessels, inducing sweating. Steep 1 tablespoon of dried herb (available in health food stores) in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, then sip. Drink three to four cups a day. If you still run hot after a day of sipping tea, seek medical attention.

For a high fever (above 102°F), take a tepid bath, which simply cools the body to match the water temperature. Bathe until your temperature decreases to 101° to 102°F, then sip linden flower tea to lower it even more.

–Expert: Eric Yarnell, ND

Cool a burn

If you grazed your skin with a hot-from-the-oven cookie pan, apply aloe vera gel to the burn as needed. The soothing and anti-inflammatory gel creates a second skin to protect the burn from air, which irritates exposed nerve endings.

–Expert: Laurie Steelsmith, ND, is in private practice in Honolulu and is the author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health

Quiet flatulence

Take two enteric-coated peppermint capsules (500 mg each) three times daily. Peppermint kills bacteria that cause bloating and relaxes gastrointestinal muscles for smoother, spasm-free digestion. The enteric coating prevents capsules from opening in the stomach and increasing discomfort by causing heartburn and indigestion. The peppermint releases and goes to work lower in the gastrointestinal tract, where gas-plagued people need it most.

Stop foot odor

Soak feet nightly in 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water to eliminate odoriferous bacteria. Or take a daily foot bath in strong black tea (let it cool first) for 30 minutes. Tea’s tannins kill bacteria and close the pores in your feet, keeping feet dry longer; bacteria tend to thrive in moist environments. You’ll see results in a few days to a week. One caution: Do the soak only when your feet are free of cuts.

Cut a cold short

Sip a faux hot toddy. Cut a vitamin C–rich lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half into a cup. Studies show that vitamin C taken before the onset of a cold shortens its duration and severity. Drop the lemon half shell into the cup. Add boiling water and a teaspoon of organic raw honey, an immunity booster that also coats painful throat tissues. Breathe in the healing vapor to open sinuses, and sip a cupful two or three times daily to fight the bug. (To make a traditional hot toddy, add a half shot of brandy.)

–Expert: Ellen Kamhi, PhD, RN, clinical instructor at Stony Brook Medical School and co-author of Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Arthritis and The Natural Medicine Chest

Sweeten bad breath

Gargle with a small cup of acidic lemon juice to kill odor-causing bacteria. Then eat a bit of plain unsweetened yogurt, which contains beneficial lactobacillus bacteria. These so-called probiotics compete with and replace the reeking bacteria. (They also make you prettier—check it out!) The lemon-yogurt combo instantly neutralizes odor and lasts 12 to 24 hours.

–Expert: Mark Moyad, MD, MPH

Soften chapped lips

Rub on anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and moisturizing olive oil two or three times a day to soothe, soften, and lubricate. Your lips will feel immediately better, but it will take a few days before they start to heal on their own. Some research suggests that applying extra virgin olive oil to skin after sunbathing may help prevent skin cancer.

–Expert: Laurie Steelsmith, ND

Relax a stiff neck

A stiff neck results from slowed circulation and lymph flow to muscle tissues. Use contrast hydrotherapy—a quick blast of hot, then cold water—to get the blood pumping again. In the shower, first run hot water over your neck for 20 seconds to increase blood flow, then switch to cold for 10 seconds to constrict blood flow. Alternate three times, always ending with cold. When you get out of the shower, your body will send the blood back out to the skin, which results in a final dilation of blood vessels and—voilà!—a looser neck.

–Expert: Laurie Steelsmith, ND

End snoring

If you snore mostly when on your back, put a tennis ball in a shirt pocket cut from an old T-shirt and sew it to the midback of your tight pajama top.

The discomfort forces you to roll over and sleep on your side—without waking you up.

–Expert: Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Beat insomnia

Before bedtime, eat a handful of cherries (or drink tart cherry juice), which scientists discovered are jam-packed with melatonin, the same hormone created by your body to regulate sleep patterns. Then steep yourself in a hot bath to relax your muscles and your mind. In bed, rest your head on a lavender-filled pillow—the fragrance induces sleepiness. (Bonus: Cherries can help prevent gout attacks.)

–Experts: Mark Moyad, MD, MPH; Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Revive puffy, tired eyes

Black tea is chock-full of astringent compounds called tannins that can help deflate and tighten the bags under your eyes. (Not to mention black tea is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.) Activate the tannins in a tea bag by dipping in a cup of hot water for several minutes. Cool in the fridge, then apply the damp bag as a compress to the closed eye for 10 minutes.

–Expert: Ronald Hoffman, MD

Whiten stained teeth

Crush a few fresh strawberries into a scrubbing pulp that you mix with a pinch of stain-removing baking soda and enough water to make a paste. Apply the mixture to a soft-bristled toothbrush and polish for a few minutes once every 3 or 4 months. (More often can erode tooth enamel.) The astringent malic acid in strawberries helps buff coffee and red-wine stains from teeth. (Here are 4 more foods that whiten teeth naturually.)

–Expert: Mark Moyad, MD, MPH

Prevent a headache

Try relaxing magnesium (200 to 400 mg) to reduce the muscle tension and spasms that can cause your noggin to throb. But not any type will do. Make sure the supplement contains at least 200 mg of active elemental magnesium. Because magnesium is more preventive than curative, the treatment works best on, say, premenstrual headaches because you can predict when they’re coming and take a dose a day in advance. Those with kidney problems should consult a health care practitioner before taking magnesium. (Here are 3 more natural remedies for your headache.)

–Expert: Ronald Hoffman, MD

Sidestep a hangover

Because excess alcohol depletes the body of essential B vitamins (they help break down alcohol in the body), before going to bed take a B-50 complex supplement, which will ensure that the metabolism of alcohol continues apace. Also, rehydrate by drinking plenty of water. (Check out these 5 more ways to prevent a hangover.)

–Expert: Laurie Steelsmith, ND

Relieve menstrual cramps

Take ½ to 1 teaspoon of crampbark tincture every 2 hours on the days of your worst cramps. Test-tube studies show that this North American plant works as a muscle relaxant to quickly relieve painful spasms.

–Expert: Eric Yarnell, ND

Heal dry skin, rashes, and eczema

Bathe in your breakfast. Although oatmeal is a centuries-old skin soother, researchers only recently recognized the avenanthramides in oats as the key compounds that calm inflamed, itchy skin. Put whole oats in a clean, dry sock. Seal the open end with a rubber band, and then drop the sock into a warm or hot bath. Soak yourself for 15 to 20 minutes. (Winterize your skin care routine with our best cold-weather tips.)

–Expert: Laurie Steelsmith, ND

Prevent vomiting

Douse a cotton makeup pad with isopropyl alcohol, hold it up to your nose, and take a few deep breaths (no more than three in a 10-minute period). According to a recent study, emergency room patients who inhaled the isopropyl alcohol–saturated pads saw a 50% reduction in nausea, compared with patients who sniffed pads doused in saline solution.

Dandelion Greens Nutrition – Health Benefits

The dandelion herb has been used for centuries to promote good health. It is full of vitamins, minerals, and other natural chemicals the body can use to overcome illness. Not only does it have medical uses, but it also has popular culinary uses.

Dandelion Greens Nutrition; smoothie and salad containing dandelion herb

What Is The Dandelion Herb?

Taraxacum officinal, meaning “the official remedy for disorders”, is a perennial herb with a long, brown taproot. The leaves are jagged and pointy. They grow close to the ground and outward from a central point. They are a dark green on the edges and a lighter green towards the center. The stems are light green to a dark reddish purple.

The flowers are a bright yellow on the outside to a dark orange in the center. When the flowers are mature, they turn into a white puffball of seeds that scatter everywhere when the wind blows. The scattered seeds sprout into new plants. Every part of the dandelion exudes a milky substance when it is damaged. The name Dandelion comes from the French word for Lion’s Tooth, Dent de Lion, because the leaves are jagged like teeth. Other names for Dandelion are:

  • Blow Ball,
  • Cankerwort
  • Puffball
  • Pu-kung-ying
  • Telltime
  • White Endive
  • Wild Endive
  • Swine’s Snout
  • Pu Gong Ying
  • Dent de Lion
  • Priest’s Crown.

Where Does It Come From?

The dandelion herb is thought to have originated in Europe and Asia, but it can now be found throughout the northern hemisphere, including the United States. Most people consider the dandelion a weed, especially when it takes over their front lawn! However, it is also grown and cultivated for medical and edible uses. When used for medicine, the dandelion can be taken in powdered or liquid form.

There are several ways to make a liquid dandelion extract. To make a tea, steep the dandelion in water. A tincture can be made by adding either alcohol or glycerin to the tea. If alcohol is used, the tincture is preserved for up to three years and it is absorbed more easily than if glycerin is used. However, glycerin tastes better.

To make the powder, they use a low temperature distillation process that removes the active ingredients from the raw herb. The liquid is then condensed and dried to make a fine powder, which is put in gelatin capsules.

The History and Origin of the Dandelion

The first recorded use of dandelion for medicinal purposes is from the Arabians around 900 AD; however, it is believed the Chinese were using dandelions long before that. Dandelion is believed to be one of the original bitter herbs used for Passover in the Bible. There are records of the Welsh using it in the 13th century.

The pilgrims brought it to North America. In 1620, when the Mayflower arrived, there were no dandelions in America. By 1671, they were growing abundantly all over what is now the United States.

How the Dandelion is Used Today

Today, the dandelion has both medical and culinary uses. Dandelion greens are one of the most nutritious greens available. One cup of raw greens has:

  • 112% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A
  • 535% RDA of vitamin K
  • 32% RDA of vitamin C
  • 103 mg of calcium
  • 1.7 mg of iron
  • 218 mg of potassium.

Additional Uses

They are also a good source of beta carotene, lutein, vitamin H, which has been proven to help weight loss, and over two dozen other nutrients. Dandelion greens add color and texture to salads, stir-fry, and soups. The greens are the leaves. It is best to harvest them in early spring, well before the last frost is expected. They need to be gathered before the flowers bloom or they will be bitter. The best time is when the leaves have just emerged.

The root is also used for culinary purposes. It can be added to soups or ground up and roasted to make a drink similar to coffee without the negative side effects. The root of the dandelion is full of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, including inulin, which is helpful in controlling diabetes.

Drinking dandelion coffee helps stimulate the digestive system. It is best to harvest the roots in early spring or late fall when most of the nutrients are stored there. The flowers are used for making dandelion wine and dandelion fritters. They are good for the antioxidant luteolin, which is found in them.

Benefits of the Dandelion Herb

Dandelion herb has been associated with improving liver function and liver diseases such as hepatitis and jaundice. It is a strong diuretic that does not deplete potassium in the body. It has been shown to improve both constipation and diarrhea. The herb purifies the blood, cleanses the digestive system, removes heavy metals from body tissues, and can help dissolve kidney stones. The herb has been shown to help weight loss, cure acne, lower high blood pressure, cure anemia, lower serum cholesterol levels, reduce acid indigestion and gas, improve some cancers, and help control diabetes all with no negative side effects. The dandelion herb is full of so many vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that alone might be the reason it is so beneficial in so many different areas.

  • The sodium in dandelions is thought to reduce the inflammation of the liver.
  • Vitamin A helps fight cancers in the mouth and the lungs.
  • Potassium, along with magnesium, has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Dandelions are full of both potassium and magnesium.
  • The fiber in dandelions lowers cholesterol, is beneficial to diabetes, and fights cancer and heart disease.
  • Calcium has been shown to build strong bones and reduce high blood pressure.
  • B vitamins lower the effects of stress.
  • Romanian lab mice lost 30% of their body weight in 30 days by taking a dandelion extract with their food.

Precautions

While there are no negative side effects from taking the dandelion herb, some people have been known to have allergic reactions to it, including a rash or mouth sores. If you are allergic to yarrow, iodine, ragweed, marigold, chrysanthemums, chamomile, or daisies, you should avoid taking dandelion. Dandelion might cause stomach acid or heartburn in some people. If you have gallbladder problems or gallstones, you should consult a doctor before taking dandelion. Dandelion is a diuretic and may cause your body to expel any drugs you are taking faster than normal. Consult a doctor if you are taking Lithium, quinoline antibiotics, and antacids like Pepcid, Zantac, and Taganet.

Foods That Lower Blood Sugar – Balance Blood Sugar With Cinnamon!

Much to my delight it actually felt like fall yesterday! Right at the beginning of what is supposed to be one of the hottest months of the year! After weeks of unbearable heat here in the Midwest, it was a welcome relief. I pulled out my Doctor Cinnamon Tea and made a whole pitcher of it for us to enjoy. Something about cooler weather puts me in the mood for warming herbs, and cinnamon is definitely one of those!

Foods That Lower Blood Sugar;Blood Sugar monitor,and stethoscope with heart and bowl of apples, cauliflower, broccoli

As I made the tea I was reminded of how of all the foods that lower blood sugar, one of them is cinnamon! In fact, just 1/2 teaspoon a day can help! However, if you actually struggle with blood sugar balance or diabetes, a slightly larger amount would likely be necessary.

Most people enjoy the taste of cinnamon, so it’s easy to use it to lower blood sugar. You can take cinnamon before eating that sugary dessert, and not suffer as much from the side effects! Research shows that cinnamon improves those with type 2 diabetes by helping them respond to insulin, which helps normalize blood sugar levels.  It stimulates insulin receptors, thus improving the cell’s ability to use glucose. It also lowers cholesterol and triglycerides.
One study was conducted using apple pie. The scientists expected the pie to have an adverse affect on sugar levels, but found the blood glucose levels to be actually lower! Why? Because the pie contained cinnamon!

Another study was conducted with 60 patients that had type 2 adult diabetes for several years and were taking anti-diabetic drugs. They were given cinnamon for 40 days. They found that the cinnamon reduced blood sugar levels and increased the natural production of insulin. It also lowered their blood cholesterol.

Cinnamon also helps boost brain function by boosting brain activity.

You want to buy quality cinnamon – not the seasoning at the store for 50 cents. 🙂 Fresh, good quality cinnamon is the best way to go if you want to help your sugar levels.

Foods That Lower Blood Sugar – How much cinnamon to take?

It’s recommended to take 1/2 tsp. – 2 tsp. a day. Start out with the smallest amount and increase if needed.

4 Ways to Balance Blood Sugar With Cinnamon

1. Powdered Cinnamon

Buy it in powdered form to use in foods or sprinkle on oatmeal, cereal, applesauce, toast, etc. A yummy toast is to put butter, honey and cinnamon on whole wheat bread! Buy organic powdered cinnamon here.

2. Cinnamon Sticks

Buy cinnamon sticks to stir hot chocolate (YUM) or tea with. The hot beverage will pull the properties out of the cinnamon stick for your benefit. Kids can also chew on cinnamon sticks or use them for straws to get healthy benefits including manganese, iron, calcium and dietary fiber. Buy organic cinnamon sticks here.

3. Cinnamon Tea

Buy a tea mixture like Dr. Cinnamon Tea that contains not only cinnamon, but also orange peel, red raspberry leaf, ginkgo and green tea for extra health benefits. This is the tea I made just yesterday and we love it! The herbs in this tea will help blood sugar levels, and also varicose veins, inflammation, fight cancer, plus many other benefits! Drink 2-3 glasses a day. Buy organic Doctor Cinnamon Tea here.

4. Cinnamon Capsules

Take in capsule form. If you don’t care for the taste of cinnamon or you would like the convenience of a pill, you can buy the cinnamon in capsules or buy powdered cinnamon and put them in your own capsules to save money and to be sure that you’re using a capsule without any added fillers (that a lot of companies use). Buy the capsules and capsule machine here.

I personally struggle with blood sugar problems from time to time, and greatly enjoy the benefits of cinnamon! Cinnamon is good for those who are pre-diabetic too. It will reduce your chances of becoming a diabetic.

So, whether you have blood sugar problems or would like to prevent them, start making cinnamon a part of your diet, and live a better quality of life!

Food For Healthy Hair – Use Grape Seed Oil To Get Luscious Locks!

Grapeseed oil is oil extracted from the seeds of grapes and has two uses: cosmetics and culinary. Not only used for cooking, grape seed oil also serves as an example of food for healthy hair, and it offers several health benefits for your skin, including serving as a good source of essential fatty acids and Vitamin E. Grapeseed oil also contains polyphenols and flavonoids which are strong antioxidant compounds.

Food for healthy hair; up close picture of woman and long, shining, and healthy hair

These nutrients in grapeseed oil seem to assist in skin repair and offer some antiseptic qualities. In the cosmetic world, grapeseed oil is widely used. Often mixed with other oils, grapeseed oil is excellent for massages as it glides well on the skin.

How Can I Use Grapeseed Oil to Improve My Hair?

Like other oils, like olive oil, grape seed oil is an effective natural conditioner, offering the hair moisturize and vitamins. Regular use of grape seed oil as part of your regular hair care regime has shown to produce stronger, healthier hair. Because grapeseed oil is lighter than olive oil, it does not leave a greasy feel and lingering scent.

To use grapeseed oil on your hair, simply coat your hair in the oil and let it sit for ten minutes. Rinse with cold water.
The nutrients found in grapeseed oil can also be used for treating dry scalp and dandruff. When coating your hair as described above, really massage the grapeseed oil into your scalp in a soothing, circular it sit for ten minutes.

Not surprisingly, grapeseed oil can also help with reducing hair loss. The antioxidants found in grapeseed oil may block the production of DHT, which is a hormone that causes hair loss. Simply rub a few drops of grapeseed oil on your scalp to treat for hair loss.

Brittle and weak hair can also benefit from the use of grapeseed oil. Lineolic acid, a fatty acid found in grapeseed oil, promotes hair and skin growth. By using it on your brittle and weak hair, your will find that it can help restore its natural strength and shine.

Coat your hair and massage your scalp with the grapeseed oil that has been warmed. Wrap your hair in a towel and let it sit overnight. In the morning, wash your hair out.
Though many home remedies for healthier, shinier hair flood the internet, grapeseed oil is certainly one to consider. With its extensive health benefits, not just for your overall health but specifically for your hair and skin, it is no wonder that grapeseed oil is popular beauty secret.