Homemade Medicine

Guide to make your own simple, effective herbal remedies

Making our own herbal medicines and body care products can save money and improve our health, and it’s much easier than you may think. If you already make herbal teas, then making infusions, decoctions, tinctures, salves and poultices can quickly become part of your repertoire, too. Don’t worry if they sound confusing; you’ll soon discover how to prepare a variety of plants to make a range of simple but effective herbal medicines.

One very important note before you begin making herbal medicines: Always make sure you are using the correct plant (check the Latin name) and the correct part of the plant (flower, leaf, roots), as some parts may be toxic if used internally.

Internal Medicines

Tea Time

Making herbal tea may seem fairly straightforward, but to reap the greatest medicinal value from herbs, we need to do more than dunk a tea bag in hot water. There are two main forms of herbal tea: infusions and decoctions.

Infusions: Infusions are the commonly known form of herbal tea, in which herbs are literally infused in hot water, usually one heaping teaspoon of dried herb (or one teabag) per cup of hot water for 10 to 20 minutes. This is the ideal method for extracting the medicinal compounds in most berries, flowers, and leaves. You can also use fresh herbs, but because of their higher water content, you usually need to double the amount of herbal matter per cup of water (two teaspoons per cup of water instead of one).

Decoctions: To extract the medicinal compounds from seeds, roots or stems, you’ll want to make a decoction, which involves boiling the herbs and allowing them to simmer for about an hour, usually allowing one heaping teaspoon of dried herb per cup of water. Note that this method is less suitable for berries, flowers, and leaves because it tends to destroy many of the delicate medicinal compounds they contain. As with infusions, you can use fresh herbs, but you typically need to double the amount of herb matter per cup of water.

What if you want to make a tea from some combination of roots, berries, seeds, stems, flowers and leaves? Start by making a decoction with the roots, seeds or stems. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer to continue brewing for an hour. Turn off the heat and add any berries, flowers, and leaves. Allow the mixture to steep for an additional 10 to 20 minutes. Now you’ve extracted the best medicinal compounds from all of the herbal components you’re using.

Tinctures

Tinctures are alcohol extracts of fresh or dried herbs. They’re highly effective at preserving a plant’s active constituents. You can make a tincture from roots, leaves, seeds, stems or flowers.

To make an herbal tincture, finely chop the fresh, clean herb you are using. You can also use dried herbs. Either way, the idea is to chop the herb as much as possible, to give the alcohol as much surface area to act upon as you can. Some herbalists recommend grinding dried herbs in a coffee/spice grinder before making a tincture.

Place the chopped or ground herb in a half-quart or quart-sized glass jar. Fill the jar with as much plant matter as possible to ensure the medicinal value of your tincture, keeping in mind that you’ll need enough alcohol to completely submerge the herbal matter. Top with vodka or pure grain alcohol, making sure all of the plant matter is submerged in the alcohol to prevent mold growth. Note that different kinds of alcohol will produce different kinds of tinctures. Visit Mountain Rose Herbs for more information. Date and label the jar, and allow the mixture to sit for two weeks, shaking daily to encourage extraction. After two weeks, strain the contents through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. After most of the liquid has gone through the sieve, pull up the corners of the cheesecloth and, using clean hands, carefully wring out any remaining liquid. Store the herbal tincture in a dark glass jar or dropper bottle away from heat or sunlight to preserve its healing properties. Tinctures will usually keep for a few years. You can make an herbal tincture out of any medicinal or culinary herb that can be used internally. A typical tincture dose is 30 drops (about one dropper full) three times daily, but we recommend looking up specific dosage recommendations for the herbs you use. Avoid tinctures if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you have liver disease, diabetes or alcoholism.

Skin-Healing Medicines

Infused Oils

Infused oils are made by infusing herbs in oil, rather than alcohol as in tinctures. The infusion technique works to transfer the healing properties of herbs to oils. Infused oils are excellent for massage; as skin or bath oils; or as a basis for balms and salves, which I’ll explain in the next section. Never ingest these oils.

Infused oils are easy to make. Choose any type of vegetable or carrier oil, other than petrochemical-based oils such as baby oil or mineral oil. It is also best to avoid oils that break down quickly when exposed to heat, such as flaxseed oil. I prefer olive oil or sweet almond oil, which can be warmed to encourage the transfer of healing compounds from the herb matter to the oil.

You can make many types of infused oils, but two of the most common are St. John’s wort and calendula oils. St. John’s wort oil, made from the flowers of the plant, can be used for treating bruises, swellings, hemorrhoids, scars and sprains. It is also recommended as a topical treatment for eczema. Avoid sun exposure for a few hours after using this oil on your skin as it can cause photosensitivity. Calendula oil, also made from the flowers of the plant, aids wound healing and alleviate various skin conditions.

Making herbal infused oils is particularly suited for the delicate flowers and leaves of plants. Simply add fresh flowers or leaves to a jar and fill it with oil, such as sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, almond oil or olive oil. You’ll want enough plant matter to ensure the medicinal value of the infused oil, but not packed so tightly that the oil cannot penetrate the plant material. The plant material must be completely submerged in the oil to prevent mold from forming. Label and date the jar, including the herb and the oil used. Allow the infusion to rest for two weeks, shaking the bottle periodically to encourage the infusion process. After two weeks, strain the herbs from the oil, squeezing out any remaining oil with clean hands. Cap and label the jar, and store away from light and heat.

Salves

Salves are basically herbal balms or ointments made by thickening herbal oil infusions with melted beeswax. Most health-food stores sell plain beeswax, which can be shaved with a potato peeler or grated with a cheese grater and then melted over low heat. You can also buy beeswax pastilles, which are ready to melt. Be sure to avoid other types of wax, as they are made of petroleum byproducts.

Allow two tablespoons of shaved, melted beeswax to one cup of infused oil after the herbal material has been strained off. Melt the oil and beeswax over low heat, preferably in a double-boiler, to prevent overheating. Stir regularly. Remove from the heat as soon as the beeswax is melted and well-incorporated into the oil. Immediately pour into small, shallow jars, tins or lip balm containers. Let cool undisturbed to allow the ointment to set. Use for skin irritations and other skin conditions, and for dry or chapped lips. Similar to herbal infusions, calendula, and St. John’s wort is excellent choices to use in salves.

Poultices

A poultice is a paste made with herbs that are applied to the skin. It is typically applied while hot or warm, except when made with herbs that are naturally chemically hot, such as chilies or ginger. To make a poultice, fill a natural-fiber cloth bag with powdered or chopped fresh herb matter. Tie it closed, and then place it in a bowl of hot water just long enough to soak and heat the herb. Remove it from the water, and apply to the affected area until the poultice has cooled and until you experience some relief. Reheat and reapply the poultice. It is best to use a fresh poultice each day.

Poultices are particularly effective in soothing aching or painful joints or muscles, as is the case with ginger. Calendula helps bruises and damaged skin, while echinacea boosts the immune system to help heal long-lasting wounds.

Some of My Favorite Healing Herbs

All of the herbs listed here are safe and effective. However, before making specific remedies of your own, make sure to research the herb you plan to use to ensure you’re using the right parts and amounts, as well as contraindications that may apply specifically to you and your circumstances.

• Calendula (Flowers): Skin healer extraordinaire
• Chamomile (Flowers): Relaxant and dental antimicrobial (use tea as a mouthwash)
• Dandelion (Roots or Leaves): Osteoporosis preventer and anticancer powerhouse
• Echinacea (Roots): Immune booster
• Feverfew (Flowers and Leaves): A headache and migraine alleviator
• Garlic (Cloves) Amazing germ buster
• Ginger: (Root): Muscle and joint pain healer
• Horsetail (Leaves): Nail, teeth and bone builder
• Juniper (Berries): Urinary tract antimicrobial
• Lavender (Flowers): Anxiety and depression alleviator
• Licorice (Root): Chronic fatigue syndrome solution
• Nettles (Leaves): Allergy remedy
• Oregano (Leaves): Antimicrobial antidote
• Peppermint (Leaves): Headache remedy and sinusitis aid
• Red Clover (Flowers): Relieves menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes
• Rosemary (Leaves): Memory booster
• St. John’s Wort (Flowers): Anxiety antidote and anticancer therapy; skin healer
• Thyme (Leaves): Cough and antibacterial medicine

Echinacea Benefits to Support Your Health

Echinacea is a powerful and beneficial herb used by people around the world to maintain good health. Every part of the plant, from the roots to the flower petals, is bursting with vital nutrients. With a reputation as a natural cold remedy, many people enjoy echinacea in one form or another, whether as a tea, a supplement, or even the raw plant. Here, we’ll look at ten impressive ways echinacea can support your health.

What Is Echinacea?

A flowering plant native to North America, echinacea has dotted the American landscape in one form or another for hundreds of years. Initially prized by the Native American Sioux Indians as a remedy for snakebites, colic, and infections, it went on to become a wellness staple until the advent of antibiotics. Today, echinacea remains one of America’s most beloved and widely used herbs. Natural cold remedies, cough drops, and organic supplements all cite echinacea as a key ingredient.

Like other herbs, the health benefits of echinacea are owed to its diverse makeup of nutrients, which includes polysaccharides, alkylamides, flavonoids, polyphenols, vitamin C, selenium, and zinc.

10 Health Benefits of Echinacea

Americans spend millions of dollars on echinacea supplements every year to support their health. With a long history of therapeutic use, there is a treasure trove of research to support its popularity.

1. Boosts the Immune System

Echinacea can have a powerful impact on the immune system; over 14 clinical trials have confirmed its ability to encourage good health all year long. Other studies show echinacea to be among the most effective supplements for seasonal wellness.

2. Reduces Redness and Swelling

Systemic swelling, redness, and discomfort in the body can have multiple sources, including an unhealthy diet or strenuous exercise. Consuming echinacea or applying skin care products that contain echinacea essential oil can help reduce and alleviate tissue irritation.

3. Promotes the Health of Cells

Consuming echinacea promotes the health of protective cells in your body. Many of the compounds in echinacea support immune cells and encourage healthy cell growth.

4. Facilitates Oxygen Transport

Echinacea may improve oxygen levels in the blood. Echinacea increases erythropoietin production in the bone marrow, this, in turn, promotes red blood cell production and increases the capacity of the blood to transport oxygen.

5. Supports Oral Health

Echinacea has been evaluated in combination with other herbs like sage and lavender and found to reduce bad breath. It’s believed this effect is partly due to echinacea’s ability to neutralized the harmful organisms that cause bad breath.

6. Alleviates Physical Discomfort

Native Americans used echinacea to reduce aches and pains. Today, research has shown its potential for promoting comfort following surgery.

7. Encourages Normal Skin Health

Echinacea supports a normal complexion by helping to discourage blemishes and irritation. Other studies found that it helps hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

8. Promotes Upper Respiratory Health

Echinacea is among the best herbs for supporting upper respiratory health, even in children. One double-blind placebo-controlled study found that air travel passengers who took echinacea tablets before and during a flight experienced fewer respiratory issues.

9. Provides Antioxidants

Echinacea is a source of antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids, selenium, and zinc. One study found that a particular echinacea tincture had more antioxidant activity than Gingko Biloba.

10. Supports Normal Aging

Although human research is necessary for confirmation, the results of animal studies suggest that echinacea could offer anti-aging potential. In one study, supplemental echinacea was attributed to helping extend the lifespan of aging mice.

Using Echinacea

Echinacea supplements are available in many forms. If you have access to the plant itself, you can make a pure, organic tea which doubles as an incredible home remedy for the flu.

Echinacea Tea

Below is an easy recipe for echinacea tea. Make sure only to use organic or wildcrafted echinacea that’s free of pesticides. For flavor, you can add natural sweeteners like honey, but I prefer it plain.

  1. Heat 8-16 ounces of distilled or filtered water over medium to high heat.
  2. Add a mixture of flowers, roots, and leaves.
  3. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Strain and enjoy hot or cold!

Side Effects and Precautions

Echinacea is generally considered safe, however, people who are sensitive to pollen should exercise caution. Echinacea comes from the same family of plants as daisies, marigolds, and ragweed. Some common side effects include dizziness, dry mouth, and mild nausea. While it is a favorite herb taken by many women, more research is needed to determine its safety for expectant or breastfeeding mothers. Before you try echinacea yourself, consult with your trusted healthcare provider.

Atrial Fibrillation: Natural Treatments, Remedies, and Tips

The heart’s upper chambers normally beat in a regular, coordinated rhythm with the heart’s lower chambers. In atrial fibrillation, the heart’s upper chambers can quiver out of rhythm.

The result is an irregular heart rhythm that can cause symptoms, such as shortness of breath, weakness, and heart palpitations. The condition can also lead to blood clots developing in the upper chambers, which can cause a stroke.

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) treatments can vary based on the symptoms that people experience. While it’s important for people to follow a doctor’s advice related to A-fib treatments, they might also choose to supplement medical treatments with natural ones.

Natural treatments

Acupuncture
Acupuncture may help control the heart rate of people with A-fib.

Although natural treatments are often not widely studied, there are several treatments and activities that may help to reduce the symptoms and effects of A-fib. Some of these treatments may include the following:

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine approach, may help those with A-fib control their heart rates, according to a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Acupuncture involves applying small needles to specific points on the body to promote energy flow. The acupuncture point is linked with controlling heart rhythm problems, but more research is still needed.

Yoga

Yoga is the practice of deep breathing, meditation, and body postures. Regular yoga practice for 1 hour, 3 days a week has been shown to reduce the amount of A-fib episodes, according to one study.

While the exact way that yoga reduces the incidence of A-fib isn’t known, researchers suggest that yoga could reduce stress and inflammation that damages the heart as well as reduce a person’s resting heart rate.

Herbs and supplements

One of the natural herbs reported to reduce A-fib and its symptoms are the Chinese herb extract Wenxin Keli (WXKL).

In a review of current studies regarding WXKL and its proposed effects, the authors found that taking the herb could have the following effects:

  • reduce changes to the heart that can occur as a result of A-fib
  • improve the maintenance of regular rhythm
  • have similar benefits as the beta-blocker sotalol in maintaining regular heart rhythms
  • reduce symptoms associated with A-fib, such as chest tightness, palpitations, and difficulty sleeping

However, the researchers noted that there are not a significant amount of studies or recommendations regarding a dosage for WXKL.

Another study studied the effects of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs compared with prescription medications in treating A-fib.

traditional chinese medicine herbs
Traditional Chinese medicine herbs may help to treat females that are younger than 65 who have A-fib. However, research on the use of TCM herbs is inconclusive.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers made the following conclusions:

  • The TCM users had a reduced risk for stroke (1.93 percent) compared with non-TCM users (12.59 percent).
  • TCM users who were female or younger than 65 experienced the greatest stroke reduction benefits.
  • Those older than age 65 did not experience a significantly reduced stroke risk.

However, it’s important to note that one Chinese herb called Dan Shen can interact harmfully with warfarin, a blood thinner that doctors often prescribe to people with A-fib.

The researchers noted that there were several limitations to the study. For example, they did not track any of the participants’ lifestyle factors that could have affected their risk. The participants could also have been using other herbal medicines that the researchers weren’t aware of.

Other herbs and supplements that may help treat Afib, according to the Journal of Thoracic Diseases, include:

  • barberry (berberis)
  • cinchona
  • hawthorn
  • motherwort
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • shensongyangxin

Substances to avoid

Lifestyle habits and eating certain foods and drinks can potentially trigger episodes of A-fib. One such habit is smoking. Other examples include:

  • Drinking alcohol excessively: no more than 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks for a man each day and no more than 1 drink per day for women. People older than age 65 should have no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day. Moderate to heavy alcohol drinkers were 1.35 times more likely to have A-fib than non-drinkers.
  • Consuming excess amounts of caffeine. About 400 milligrams of caffeine is a safe upper limit for adults on a daily basis. This is roughly the same as four brewed cups of coffee.
  • Taking cough and cold medicines that contain stimulants, such as dextromethorphan or promethazine-codeine cough syrup.
  • Eating more than four servings of “dark” fish per week. According to one study, eating more than 4 servings of dark fish, such as salmon, swordfish, bluefish, mackerel, and sardines can actually increase the risk for A-fib.

Some people are more sensitive to medications and additives than others. If a person notices that eating a certain food or drink increases the incidence of irregular heart rhythms, they should talk to their doctor.

Lifestyle tips for living with A-fib

Many people with A-fib have a condition called sleep apnea. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea, which causes a person to stop breathing for brief periods while they are asleep.

Sleep apnea can weaken the heart because the heart has to start working harder to make up for the lost oxygen when a person stops breathing.

Symptoms that suggest a person could be experiencing sleep apnea include:

  • being told they snore
  • waking themselves up at night with snoring or irregular breathing
  • having excessive daytime sleepiness

Anyone with these symptoms should see their doctor or a sleep medicine specialist.

A healthful lifestyle overall tends to promote heart health. As a result, a person may experience a reduced incidence of A-fib or lessen the risk of their symptoms getting worse.

Examples of healthful habits to follow include:

  • eating a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • exercising regularly
  • managing high blood pressure through both medications and natural treatments, if desired
  • avoiding excess intakes of alcohol and caffeine
  • managing long-term conditions that could contribute to or worsen A-fib

Long-term conditions that could contribute to A-fib include high blood pressure, sleep apnea, thyroid disease, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

According to the American Heart Association, a person with A-fib is five times more likely to have a stroke than someone who does not have a history of heart disease. By working to prevent cardiac complications, a person can live a healthier life with A-fib.

Ten Alternative Cold and Flu Remedies to Try

Homeopathic medicine has great potential when used in conjunction with conventional medicine. Here are ten simple remedies you can try to help stop colds and flu symptoms in their tracks.

lemon-essential-oil1. Lemon

Even though lemons taste acidic, their juice helps to alkalinize the body. Lemons are loaded with vitamin C, which is known to support the body’s immune system. Lemon, as well as lime, is reported to decrease the strength of the cold and flu virus in the body and reduce phlegm.

How to use: Drink the juice of a lemon, or a few drops of lemon essential oil, squeezed into a cup of water or tea every few hours to build resistance or speed up healing.

garlic-for-cold2. Garlic

Garlic is great in treating sore throats and infections. Garlic contains the immune-boosting compound allicin, also known to relieve cold and flu symptoms.

How to use: Crush five cloves and mix with half a cup of honey.  Let it sit for a couple of hours and the mixture will become runny and thin. Take a teaspoonful at a time, as needed. If you’re worried about a severe odor or taste, crush a couple of cloves of garlic and “steep” them in hot water. Drink it like a mug of tea.

cinnamon-stick-powder-1309093. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is known as a natural antibiotic, is a powerful antioxidant.

How to use: A teaspoon of raw honey and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon can knock out a cold within a day or two.

turmeric4. Turmeric

Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin, which has a strong cold and flu-fighting properties. Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and turmeric tea has been used for extensively worldwide for colds, congestion, headache, and sore throats.

How to use: Stir a teaspoon into a glass of water or use it in your cooking. In addition, the combination of honey with turmeric powder is an excellent remedy for a cough.

cayenne-pepper-metabolism_15. Cayenne pepper

Peppers are a heart-healthy food with the potential to protect against cancer, as well as common cold and flu viruses. Cayenne pepper is a natural remedy for a sore throat that can often precede a cold or flu.

How to use: A mixture of hot red chili powder and orange juice is an effective remedy for sore throats and congestion. Or take a teaspoon of pepper in a glass of water immediately when you feel a cold or a sore throat coming on. Its strong stimulatory effect can be enough to knock a cold out in the early stages.

oregano-herb6. Oregano

Oregano is one of the best herbs for a cold. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory that contains phenolic acids, flavonoids, and color compounds that increase resistance and boosts immunity. Oregano is known for its antibacterial, antivirus, anti-fungus, anti-tumor, anti-inflammation, and anti-parasitic properties.

How to use: Oil of oregano is even more potent, and traditional healers since ancient times have used oregano extract to treat respiratory issues such as coughs, colds, flu, sore throats, and bronchitis. Add three to 10 drops of oil to a glass of water twice a day and continue until symptoms subside.

ginger-essence7. Ginger

Ginger is a stimulant that will also warm you if you’re feeling chilled with your cold. It’s best used fresh rather than as a powder.

How to use: Peel and grate a small piece of ginger root and place in a cup of boiling water. Allowed it to steep for five minutes, sweeten with honey if desired, and sip whenever needed to soothe a scratchy throat or a cough.

peppermint-oil8. Peppermint

Peppermint can clear blocked noses and sinuses. It can also help the body fight off illnesses.

How to use: Enjoy it as a stimulating tea or add some peppermint teabags of it to your bath. A few drops of peppermint essential oil in a glass of water, or diffused, can also work wonders.

apple cider vinegar9. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can fight off infection, ease digestion, reduce inflammation, kill fungus, regulate pH balance, and wash toxins from the body. It’s also known to restore alkaline acid balance.

How to use: Add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a tablespoon of honey and a cup of hot water to create an elixir to help ward off cold and flu symptoms.

honey-lemon-tea-a-800-dm10. Honey

A daily dose of honey can help you to feel energetic and stay healthy. It also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, so, if you do develop a sore or scratchy throat, honey will soothe and help heal. Research shows that children who take a spoonful of honey before bed, cough less and sleep better than those who take over-the-counter products for coughs and colds.

How to use: Adding a little lemon to the honey will increase its anti-microbial effect. Honey and lemon can also be combined with hot water to make a soothing tea.

Natural Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that greatly reduces a person’s quality of life, and can cause disability and premature death.

It affects an estimated 1.5 million people in the United States, and more women have it than men.

To understand the natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it is important to know what the disease is, what causes it, and what natural remedies can do to help.

Treating RA

The aims of any treatment for RA are to:

rheumatoid arthritic hands holding a mug
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints, often in the feet and hands first.
  • Educate people about the disease
  • Reduce pain and swelling
  • Help people stay active and feel better
  • Slow damage to the joints

Treatments may be medical or nonmedical, and they are often used in combination.

Since RA is a progressive disease that gets worse without intervention, treatment tends to be aggressive.

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often prescribed within 3 months of diagnosis, to reduce disease activity and prevent the joints from deforming.

People with RA should work with a specialist to discuss medical treatment, and talk about other remedies that can reduce discomfort and improve mobility and quality of life.

Natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis

According to clinical guidelines found in Orgão Oficial da Sociedade Portugue sa de Reumatologia, physical therapy may help people with RA.

Physical therapy can involve stretching, exercise, heat and cold, and balanced rest.

Stretching

Stretching the muscles surrounding the affected joints may provide relief from symptoms of RA.

A study posted to Health Technology Assessment found that simple stretches and strengthening exercises on the hands can bring relief to patients with RA.

Results suggested that a stretching and strengthening program to relieve symptoms in the hands and wrists may be an effective supplement to conventional care methods.

People with RA should talk to a doctor or physical therapist before beginning any stretching regimen to make sure it will not put the joints under any undue stress.

Exercise

In addition to stretching, a low-stress workout program may help. Dynamic, low-stress activities, such as swimming or cycling can strengthen the muscles around the affected joints, reduce the impact on joints, and slow the progression of the RA.

Heat and cold

There is conflicting medical evidence on the effect of applying heat or cold to areas affected by RA. However, some people may find temporary relief through heating or cool the sore areas of their bodies.

In the home, heat packs or ice packs can provide relief to sore wrists and feet. Ultrasound heat and cold sprays can also be used to deliver heat or cold to a deep level of tissue without changing the temperature of the skin too much.

Balanced rest

Rest is an important treatment for aching joints, but it must be balanced with exercise, as too much rest can make aching joints worse.

It is important to work closely with a doctor and physical therapist to ensure there is a balance between rest periods and strengthening exercise.

Diet

Since inflammation is one of the main symptoms of RA, an anti-inflammatory diet may help to reduce symptoms.

Fruit and vegetables
Studies suggest a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables alongside grains and nuts may help to reduce inflammation.

A study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine looked at 600 participants who followed a plant-based diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

The researchers found that most participants had a reduction in a specific protein, which is known to be active in causing inflammation.

People who followed this anti-inflammatory vegan diet appeared to have significantly reduced systemic inflammation.

People with RA should consider a healthy anti-inflammatory diet to reduce pain and support their overall wellbeing.

Supplements

Specific supplements may help promote a healthy lifestyle. Fish oil from cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, cod, and herring contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and block inflammatory receptors in the body. These can help as RA is an inflammatory disease.

A meta-analysis posted to The Nutrition Society compiled research on fish oil and RA. Their findings indicate that people who used fish oil and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a long time had less tenderness in their joints. The researchers concluded that fish oil may be beneficial as a supplemental therapy for people with RA.

Boswellia, or frankincense, is another powerful anti-inflammatory supplement, which may help relieve symptoms of RA.

Turmeric shows promise as a natural anti-inflammatory. In a study posted to Arthritis and Rheumatology, researchers found that a specific extract of turmeric reduced joint inflammation in people with arthritis.

Increasing turmeric consumption by adding the spice to food could help without causing any side effects. Turmeric supplements should be used with care. People who also use blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin should avoid turmeric.

A recent study published in the journal Nutrition found that treating patients with a specific probiotic, L. casei 01, improved both disease activity and inflammation in patients with RA.

If further research confirms these results, probiotics could become part of the treatment for RA. Rather than using supplements, people with RA can get all the probiotics they need from foods, such as yogurt, pickles, and cheese.

Some supplements may help with RA, but it is important to discuss these with a doctor before taking any as they may have adverse side effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate herbs and supplements. As a result, the doses of supplements can be irregular; some could be high and others low.

Lifestyle changes

Reducing stress on the body and mind is likely to help people with RA.

Regular mindful meditation, Tai chi, yoga, and qigong are all gentle ways to bring balance and relaxation to both the body and mind.

Overview of RA

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease in which the immune system attacks the individual’s own body tissues.

three generations
Although the exact cause is unknown, rheumatoid arthritis may be hereditary.

Symptoms most commonly appear in the joints, where RA creates inflammation and causes the lining of the joints to thicken. It can affect other parts too, such as the lungs.

Unchecked, this inflammation can damage the cartilage and bones. Early diagnosis and treatment can help.

The joints most commonly affected are the small joints in the hands, and feet although other joints can be affected too, usually, both hands and or feet are affected similarly.

Causes and symptoms

The exact cause of RA is unknown, but it appears to involve genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors.

Symptoms often begin in middle age and are more common in older people. They include inflammation, stiffness, pain, and swelling around the affected areas. Fatigue and weight loss can also occur because of the inflammation in the body as a whole.

Symptoms vary from person to person and can come and go over time. If untreated, RA tends to damage the joints where there is inflammation.

When to see a doctor

It is always important to speak with a doctor before beginning any treatment, including natural remedies. If a person wants to use herbs and supplements as part of their treatment, they should discuss this with their doctor. This is particularly important because the FDA do regulate herbs and supplements.

If inflammation or other symptoms become worse, it is important to consult a doctor.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with RA should learn about the options and make appropriate lifestyle changes to support a healthy future and reduce pain as far as possible.

Natural Remedies for ADHD

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder, typically first diagnosed when an affected individual is elementary school age.

It is identified by behavior that makes it difficult for affected individuals to function effectively, or mature and develop as other children normally do. In general, people with ADHD behave in ways that show a pattern of:

  • Hyperactivity: Extremely high and changeable levels of agitated actions
  • Inattentiveness: Distracted, unfocused, unable to complete activities
  • Impulsivity: Acts hastily, without thinking of what could happen as a result

While most children and adults may occasionally behave in ways that seem hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive, it is the intensity and consistency of this sort of behavior that could result in an ADHD diagnosis.

List of natural remedies for ADHD

General interest in complementary and alternative medicine continues to grow. Particularly in light of concerns about the safety and effectiveness of standard medical treatments, half of all parents of children with ADHD use alternative treatments in some way, according to studies cited in Neural Plasticity.

From taking supplements and avoiding food coloring to breathing exercises, a wide variety of natural remedies have been used to address ADHD and the symptoms that accompany it.

According to studies reviewed in Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics, the natural supplements with the most evidence to support their use are:

  • Polyunsaturated fat supplements: For heart health and a possible reduction in inappropriate behavior and speech
  • Melatonin: May help with problems going to sleep
  • Iron and zinc: Could help to reduce ADHD symptoms when children are not getting sufficient amounts in their diets

Other clinical trials have found that a number of herbal treatments and nutritional supplements may be helpful in treating ADHD, according to a 2016 study. This include:

  • French Maritime pine bark extract, or pycnogenol: May increase visual-motor coordination and reduce hyperactivity and inattentiveness
  • Ginseng: Could reduce hyperactivity and inattentiveness
  • Ningdong: A Chinese medicinal that may be as effective at reducing ADHD symptoms as Western prescription medication
  • Bacopa: An Ayurvedic treatment, which preliminary studies suggested could reduce restlessness and improve self-control in children with ADHD

Combination therapy, in which one or more natural remedies are used in combination with each other or prescription medication, shows promise in addressing the many ways in which ADHD can affect individuals.

However, more research is needed to determine its efficacy and safety, as well as the strength at which it can be used safely in humans if found to be effective.

Lifestyle changes that can help

Some practices – such as biofeedback, exercise, and connecting with nature – are widely considered to be calming. Researchers are studying these activities to see if they really do reduce symptoms of ADHD.

Neurofeedback, in which individuals with ADHD learn how to perform tasks while trying to maintain typical, and not hyper-aroused, brainwave patterns, has shown promising results. However, it is an expensive process and is only in the early stages of development.

Some studies have suggested that studying yoga, particularly it’s breathing, focusing, and relaxation components, can help to relieve certain symptoms of ADHD. Yoga and regular exercise of any kind are also regarded as a helpful and stress-reducing activity for parents and children with ADHD to pursue together.

Other studies have suggested that children with ADHD saw an improvement in their ability to concentrate after spending time in a green space. More research is needed to know how much time individuals need to spend in green spaces to see improvements, and how long these improvements can last.

Diet plan

Parents take their children for a walk.
Children with ADHD may be better at concentrating after spending time in a green space.

Conventional wisdom may link eating lots of sugar with hyperactivity in children, but research does not show this to be the case. Yeast is also not considered a likely culprit in ADHD.

However, eating a healthful, well-balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables is beneficial for everyone. Individuals dealing with a complex brain disorder like ADHD will benefit from a sound diet.

Some researchers suggest avoiding the following foods:

  • Soft drinks
  • Fast food
  • Processed meat
  • Potato chips
  • High-fat dairy products
  • Red meat

In addition, since some children may be extremely sensitive to artificial food coloring and preservatives, avoiding exposure to these substances could help to address symptoms of ADHD.

How do recommendations differ depending on age group?

Most individuals with ADHD are diagnosed when they are children, but the condition can continue to affect individuals throughout their lives.

Creating systems for getting ready for school and other regular activities can help children with ADHD to learn how to recognize and feel comfortable following routines. Even something as simple as organizing storage for toys and clothes can help young people to learn how to manage their ADHD.

Adults with ADHD may find that organizational guidance from professionals can help them to manage their lives more effectively. Learning how to use calendars, lists, and reminders to keep on top of events can help to keep people focused and on schedule.

Just as with ADHD in children, treatment for adults with this condition seems to be most effective when it combines medication with therapy focused on changing behavior.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of therapy in which therapists work with patients to alter thought patterns in order to change behavior, has shown encouraging results in trials with adults.

Reasons why people may wish to avoid medical treatments

People with ADHD, as well as their families, may be reluctant to use traditional medical treatment and use prescription drugs due to:

  • Difficulty dealing with side effects
  • The prospect of long-term use of a drug that affects a child’s thinking
  • Worries about becoming dependent on a drug
  • Concerns about potential illegal use of their medication

Stimulants are often prescribed to address behavioral problems associated with ADHD, and this approach is effective in 70-80 percent of children, according to a study published in Neural Plasticity. However, some individuals cannot handle the side effects of these drugs, which can include:

  • Nausea
  • Twitching muscles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Anxiety

Since most people are diagnosed with ADHD when they are children, starting medication at this time could mean that children are taking mind-changing drugs for several years, if not their entire childhood. Many parents are not comfortable with this.

Some medications for ADHD can lead to addiction in certain individuals. People with ADHD and their families may be reluctant to use these drugs because they don’t want to risk becoming dependent, or “hooked,” on the medication. Some people may also fear that their medication will be stolen because of its abuse potential.

Individuals with ADHD and parents of children with ADHD are encouraged to discuss their concerns about medication with their healthcare providers and inform their physicians about “alternative” treatments they may be considering.

Overview of ADHD

A child makes a mess of his breakfast cereal.
ADHD is a common disorder that can lead to hyperactivity and impulsive actions.

In 2011, 11 percent of children aged 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD, making it one of the more common brain disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Diagnosis of ADHD is made after a medical professional gives an individual a thorough evaluation. Medical evaluation and diagnosis usually happen during the elementary school years, although symptoms can appear in 3-year-olds and continue into adulthood.

The disorder is most often treated with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy, which is counseling designed to help people change the way they act. ADHD is not the sort of condition that can be cured, although it can be managed.

It is not a contagious disease, although it may run in families due to a possible genetic link.

Symptoms

The key problems associated with ADHD reveal themselves in a variety of ways. For children, these can include:

  • Inability to pay attention in class
  • Difficulty completing assignments
  • Easily distracted
  • Inability to easily play quietly
  • Frustrated by waiting to take a turn
  • Fidgeting and moving around inappropriately
  • Interrupts games and play activities
  • Squirms in seat
  • Frequently loses things needed for assignments

As children mature, their ADHD symptoms usually begin to moderate and change. In adults and older teenagers, ADHD symptoms are often different from the more common behaviors seen in children. They may appear as:

  • Difficulty organizing activities
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Interrupting people’s conversations
  • Frequently talking too much
  • Finding it difficult to keep still
  • May avoid projects that call for sustained mental focus

Herbs may help strengthen and tone the body’s systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your healthcare provider before starting treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, or teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.

Several herbal remedies for ADHD are sold in the United States and Europe, but few scientific studies have investigated whether these herbs improve symptoms of ADHD. One or more of the following calming herbs may be recommended for people with ADHD:

  • Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Chamomile may cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to Ragweed. Chamomile may have estrogen-like effects in the body and therefore should be used with caution in people with hormone-related conditions, such as breast, uterine, or ovarian cancers, or endometriosis. Chamomile can also interact with certain medications; speak with your doctor.
  • Valerian (Valerian officinalis). Valerian can potentially interact with certain medications. Since valerian can induce drowsiness, it may interact with sedative medications.
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Lemon balm may interact with sedative medications.
  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). Passionflower may interact with sedative medications.

Other herbs commonly contained in botanical remedies for ADHD include:

  • Gingko (Gingko biloba). Used to improve memory and mental sharpness. Use gingko with caution if you have a history of diabetes, seizures, infertility, and bleeding disorders. Gingko can interact with many different medications, including but not limited to, blood-thinning medications.
  • American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) and gingko. One study suggests that gingko in combination with ginseng may improve symptoms of ADHD. Use American ginseng with caution if you have a history of diabetes, hormone-sensitive conditions, insomnia, or schizophrenia. It can interact with several medications, including but not limited to, blood-thinning medications.

Medical Reference Guide:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; University of Maryland Medical Center

 

Natural Home Remedies for Sore Throat

Sore throats are one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor and they tend to affect children the most. A sore throat is usually considered a minor complaint until you have one and every swallow induces pain—pain that may seem unbearable. Unfortunately, the only option is to treat the symptoms and rest until you recover. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies that can soothe a sore throat and there’s a good chance you already have many of them in your home.

Common Sore Throat Causes

There are many potential causes of a sore throat, viruses are the most common. In fact, viruses account for about 95% of sore throats in both adults and children under the age of 5. Other common causes of a sore throat include:

  • Allergies
  • Dry air
  • Pollution
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to people with a sore throat
  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Strep throat (bacterial)
  • Tonsillitis
  • Weak immune system
  • Acid reflux

Common Sore Throat Symptoms

Isn’t a sore throat a symptom itself? Yes, but as you probably already know, not all sore throats are the same and some are more severe than others. You might have one that only makes your voice a little hoarse, or it might be a serious impediment to your ability to breathe comfortably. Some of the most common symptoms of a sore throat are:

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry and itchy throat
  • Swollen glands around the neck and throat
  • Hoarse voice

A sore throat is also a first symptom of the common cold and flu, but you might have other symptoms such as fever, runny nose, congestion, headache, abdominal pain, or vomiting. Consult your trusted healthcare provider if your sore throat lasts longer than one week.

Best Home Remedies for Sore Throat

1. Drink Warm Fluids

If you have a cold, make sure you’re taking in plenty of fluids. Nothing feels better than warm tea and thin soup when you’re sick. When your throat is raw and inflamed, drinking warm beverages keeps your throat moist and comfortable. Black tea might be the obvious choice, but give green or oolong tea a chance if Earl Grey just isn’t your, well, cup of tea.

2. Gargle Salt Water

For fast relief from sore throat pain, gargle 8 ounces of warm water with half a teaspoon of salt. You may have heard of this practice before and dismissed it as an old wives’ tale, but it does work and many people swear by it.

3. Use a Humidifier

If there’s anything that can make a sore throat even worse, it’s harsh, dry air. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air around you. In one study, using a humidifier reduced the severity of sore throat pain. If you’re experiencing other symptoms like upper respiratory congestion, try adding an essential oil like eucalyptus oil to the humidifier to loosen and help expel excess mucus.

4. Honey and Black Seed Oil

Honey may not be suitable for vegans, and it’s dangerous for children under the age of one. However, honey does offer many benefits. Add a teaspoon of honey to your tea, or take a spoonful by mouth to sooth your sore throat. As an added bonus, research indicates that honey significantly improves cough symptoms in children.

You can spike your honey with therapeutic spice by adding 2-3 drops of black cumin seed oil (also called black seed oil) to your honey. Like herbal teas, black cumin seed oil is an anti-inflammatory and can help soothe the pain.

5. Cold Food

Drinking or eating something cold soothes an irritated throat almost immediately. Instead of ice cream or ice pops, opt for whole fruit sorbet or make your own fruit pops to soothe the irritation.

6. Herbal Tea

Many varieties of herbal tea are effective at soothing a sore throat. Chamomile, lavender, echinacea, sage, ginger, peppermint, and licorice root tea all have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Peppermint, in particular, relieves upper respiratory congestion by improving lung function and the ability to breathe through your nose. If you need to add a little sweetener, stir a teaspoon of honey or elderberry into your herbal tea.

7. Essential Oils: Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Myrrh

Myrrh and eucalyptus are effective for soothing a sore throat but don’t take them as a tea. Instead, inhale the vapors by using a diffuser or humidifier. You can also gargle with myrrh like a mouthwash.

Apply one or two drops of lavender oil, specifically and exclusively from the Lavandula angustifolia species, to the back of your tongue or throat, to relieve the pain from a dry, scratchy throat. The taste isn’t overwhelming and the only side effect is fresh floral-smelling breath.

8. Spices: Cayenne, Turmeric, Ginger, and Clove

Cayenne might seem counterintuitive for a sore throat but, after the burn, it provides relief by numbing the pain. To make, add one tablespoon of cayenne pepper to a quarter cup of warm water. Mix in the cayenne completely, take a mouthful, tilt your head back, and gargle. If you can’t handle a lot of spice, this might not be the best solution.

Turmeric and ginger both have long histories as therapeutic plants. Drinking ginger juice alleviates sore throat pain. You can also make a tea with fresh ginger. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is very soothing. You can make a turmeric gargle to soothe a sore throat, just like cayenne, but without the sting.

Make a clove tea, clove calms inflammation and eases the discomfort associated with a sore throat.

9. Propolis

Research indicates that propolis offers multiple health benefits, especially for those suffering from an upper respiratory infection. If you’ve never heard of it, propolis is made of plant material, beeswax, and, well, bee saliva. It is useful against most types of harmful organisms, even the flu virus. Take it by adding 5 drops of propolis to a teaspoon of water.

10. Honey and Elderberry

Honey with elderberry is my favorite combination. Research suggests that elderberry reduces the severity of the common cold and flu symptoms and may shorten the duration of the illness. Add a little elderberry syrup to your honey and stir into your tea or simply take it by mouth. If you use fresh elderberries, make sure to cook them thoroughly; raw elderberries are not safe to eat.

How to Prevent a Sore Throat

The best strategy is to avoid catching a sore throat in the first place. Reduce your chances by washing your hands and limiting your exposure to sick people. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke, which may irritate your throat. Strengthen your immune system by eating cruciferous vegetables and carotenoid-rich tomatoes. For more tips, check out our How to Stay Healthy During the Winter article.

There are, of course, many types of lozenges, sprays, gargles, and, recently, pain strips but be careful with OTC medicine as it may have very real side effects. Conversely, most of the remedies described in this article do not have unpleasant side effects.

Natural Allergy Remedies

‘Tis the season for sniffling, sneezing and itching. Breathe easier with these medically proven natural allergy remedies.

Allergies plague millions of people, and many only get marginal relief from drugs, which can also have frustrating side effects. Natural allergy remedies, however, often have fewer side effects, and can combat allergic reactions to plants. if you or someone you know are among the more than 26 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies (or the estimated 50 million who suffer from all types of allergies), you may be focused more on pollen counts, the first freeze, and stocking up on tissues and allergy meds than on harvesting tomatoes.

If you or someone you know are among the more than 26 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies (or the estimated 50 million who suffer from all types of allergies), you may be focused more on pollen counts, the first freeze, and stocking up on tissues and allergy meds.

Members of the sniffling, sneezing and itching allergy demographic typically rely on numerous drugs and sprays for relief — often with mixed results. Many pharmaceutical treatments relieve sneezing and itching, but do little to treat congestion, and vice versa. In fact, at a recent meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Dr. William E. Berger reported that nearly a third of allergy patients think their medications don’t work. Plus, pharmaceutical remedies are often expensive and frequently come with unwanted side-effects, such as drowsiness and nasal irritation. The sedative effects of these drugs can impair driving ability and cause a mental disconnect that many users find irritating.

Annual bouts with pollen aren’t just uncomfortable, they also take a toll on mental well-being. Studies have shown that during ragweed season, allergy sufferers often experience a general sense of fatigue — especially mental fatigue — and are more prone to feelings of sadness. People who suffer from allergies also are up to 14 times more likely to experience migraine headaches than those who don’t have allergies.

Given these statistics, you might want to pull the covers over your head and wait until the whole season blows over. But it is possible to step outdoors safely without first loading up on allergy medications, even when ragweed is in full bloom. Here are several natural allergy remedies that are medically proven to help control the condition so you can breathe easier, even when pollen counts are at their worst.

Understanding Allergies

pollen134

When you understand what’s happening during allergy attacks, treating them naturally seems like plain common sense. First, picture a grain of pollen — it looks something like a spiny sea urchin. Now imagine this prickly invader entering your nasal passages and latching onto soft mucous membranes. These mucous membranes line our bronchial and nasal passages and contain immune cells, called mast cells, which are loaded with histamines. Receptors sit on top of these mast cells, and when an allergen trigger — such as pollen, mold or pet dander — lands on top of the receptor, it alerts the mast cells, which respond by releasing histamine and other chemicals. The histamine initiates a series of reactions designed to help the body get rid of the intruder, including sneezing, watery eyes and itching. For some people, particularly those with asthma, this reaction may also include swelling in the bronchial tubes that make it difficult to breathe.

Natural Remedies

Most allergy medications attempt to treat the symptoms your body instigates to get rid of the allergen. But doesn’t it make more sense to shore up your defenses before your body goes into attack mode? Many of the natural remedies discussed below are designed to prevent a reaction before it occurs.

A few minor lifestyle changes also can go a long way toward keeping symptoms under control:

  • Avoid using window fans to cool rooms, because they can pull pollen indoors.
  • Keep windows closed when driving, using the air conditioner if necessary, to avoid allergens.
  • Limit your time outdoors when ragweed pollen counts are highest — from mid-August until the first frost.

Here are more things that can help head off allergies before they start, as well as some drug-free ways to treat symptoms when they do arise.

Neti Pots. What could be simpler than rinsing away allergens with saltwater? Neti pots, small vessels shaped like Aladdin’s lamp, have been used in India for thousands of years to flush the sinuses and keep them clear. It’s an idea that takes some getting used to for most Westerners, but it’s a bit like using nasal spray. A little douse of saltwater can rinse away those prickly pollen grains and help treat allergies and other forms of sinus congestion.

Just last year, an Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that nasal flushing was a mild and effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines.

neti-potYou could simply use your cupped hand instead of a neti pot to rinse sinuses, but netis are inexpensive, and many people find them much easier to use. To flush your sinuses, mix a quarter to a half teaspoon of noniodized table salt into a cup of lukewarm water and pour it into the pot. (You can adjust the amount of salt, depending on what feels most comfortable.) Lean over a sink with your head slightly cocked to one side, then put the spout of the neti into one nostril and allow the water to drain out the other nostril. Use about half of the solution, then repeat on the other side, tilting your head the opposite way. Gently blow out each nostril to clear them completely. Neti pots are widely available online and at natural food stores. Use your pot about twice a day during allergy season, especially in the morning and after spending time outdoors. You also can use a neti pot before bed to prevent snoring caused by allergies and promote optimal overnight breathing.

Quercetin. A natural plant-derived compound called a bioflavonoid, quercetin helps stabilize mast cells and prevents them from releasing histamine. Quercetin also is a natural antioxidant that helps mop up molecules called free radicals that cause cell damage, which can lead to cancer. Citrus fruits, onions, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, and wine are naturally high in quercetin, but allergy sufferers will most likely need to use supplements to build up enough of this compound to prevent attacks. The recommended dosage is about 1,000 milligrams a day, taken between meals. It’s best to start treatment six weeks before allergy season. Those with liver disease shouldn’t use quercetin, so please consult your doctor before using this or any other supplement — especially if you are pregnant or nursing.

Allergy-Fighting Foods. A German study, published in the journal Allergy, found that participants who ate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer allergy symptoms than those who didn’t regularly eat these foods. Omega-3s help fight inflammation and can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts and flaxseed oil, as well as grass-fed meat and eggs.

To help keep airways clear when pollen counts are high, add a dash of horseradish, chili peppers or hot mustard to your food — all act as natural, temporary decongestants. It’s also a good idea to avoid foods that you’re slightly allergic to until the air clears. Fighting off allergies can render the body hypersensitive to those foods, causing more severe reactions than usual.

Stinging Nettle. If you decide you need an antihistamine but want a natural option, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) behaves in much the same way as many of the drugs sold to treat allergies, but without the unwanted side effects of dry mouth and drowsiness. Nettle actually inhibits the body’s ability to produce histamine. It’s a common weed in many parts of the United States, but the most practical medicinal form is a freeze-dried extract of the leaves sold in capsules. Studies have shown that taking about 300 milligrams daily will offer relief for most people, although the effects may last only a few hours. You also can make your own tinctures or teas with stinging nettle. (Contact with the stinging hairs on fresh nettle can cause skin inflammation, so wear protective gloves when handling it.)

nettleButterbur. Derived from a common weed in Europe, butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is another alternative to antihistamines, though it may be hard to find in the United States. In the days before refrigeration, its broad, floppy leaves were used to wrap butter during warm spells, hence the name butterbur. A Swiss study, published in British Journal of Medicine, found that butterbur was as effective as the drug cetirizine, the active ingredient in Zyrtec. Even though cetirizine is supposed to be a nonsedative antihistamine, researchers reported that it did cause drowsiness, though butterbur did not. Participants in the study took 32 milligrams of butterbur a day, divided into four doses. A word of caution, though — butterbur is in the same family as ragweed, so it could worsen allergy symptoms in some cases. Effects of taking butterbur over a long period of time also are unknown.butterbur

Sublingual Immunotherapy. Specific immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots, has been used widely to inject patients with diluted doses of certain allergens to help build immunity over time. However, allergy shots can take three to five years to be effective, and a small percentage of people suffer severe reactions to this treatment. Though it remains popular in North America, the practice fell out of favor in the United Kingdom during the late 1980s, when strict limitations were imposed after several adverse reactions occurred.

New studies have found a gentler way to acclimate the body to pollen and other allergens. The latest form of this therapy is called sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), which has been used for the past 20 years in Europe. In SLIT treatments, patients put drops of a very small dose of the allergen (initially a 1:1,000 dilution) under the tongue for two minutes, then swallow. The daily therapy begins before peak pollen season for seasonal allergy sufferers, but also can be used to treat year-round allergies, though treatment must be specific to the type of allergen.

A recent study in the United Kingdom found that patients who used SLIT for two years were nearly seven times less likely to suffer runny noses, and almost three times less likely to experience sneezing, than those who took a placebo. Because an allergy extract has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States, check with your doctor and insurance provider before considering SLIT therapy.

7 Natural Diuretics to Eat and Drink

Diuretics are used to rid the body of extra fluid or salt. People with high blood pressure, heart failure, swollen tissues, and kidney disease often use diuretics to treat these conditions.

Extra fluid in the body makes it hard for the heart to work properly and can make breathing difficult. Prescription diuretics are commonly called water pills and will increase urination, to begin with.

Fast facts on diuretics

Here are some key points about diuretics. More detail and supporting information are in the main article.

  • Diuretics can affect the levels of certain minerals in the body
  • Doctors can prescribe diuretic medication
  • There are also many foods and drinks that work as diuretics

Seven natural diuretics to eat and drink

There are several foods, drinks, herbs, and spices that work as natural diuretics in the body. Unless someone has a certain condition that causes their body to retain fluid, they should not increase their intake of diuretics.

Using diuretics for weight loss will only cause dehydration. Once the body is rehydrated, the weight will return.

1. Nigella sativa

[Nigella Sativa]
Nigella sativa, also known as a black seed, is one of the more effective natural diuretics.

Nigella sativa also called black cumin, black seed, or black caraway, is a natural diuretic shown to be as effective as a popular prescription diuretic. Nigella sativa increases urine output and in turn, reduces sodium and potassium levels.

The seed has a strong peppery flavor and used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Nigella sativa is being studied as a possible treatment for high blood pressure. High doses of Nigella saliva may cause liver damage.

2. Hibiscus

The Hibiscus sabdariffa plant works as a natural diuretic and also prevents the body from getting rid of potassium.

Hibiscus sabdariffa is also known as roselle or red sorrel. It is often used as a medicinal supplement or made into a tea. Hibiscus tea is made by steeping the dried petals of the hibiscus flower in hot water.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol is a well-known diuretic that works by increasing urine output. However, alcohol has many adverse health effects and should always be consumed in moderation.

4. Dandelion

A common wildflower found in many parts of the Northern hemisphere.

5. Ginger

[coffee and beans]
Caffeine has a diuretic effect, although it is mild and short-term.

Both dandelion and ginger are popularly used in drinks and teas claiming to be detoxifying because of their diuretic qualities. No sound human studies have proven their effects, however.

6. Parsley

A study found that parsley seed extract given to rats increased their urine volume significantly. Parsley has been used as a home remedy diuretic for many years.

Parsley is often used as a spice, either fresh or dried, and pairs well with Italian cuisine, chicken, or fish.

7. Caffeine

Caffeine may have a mild, short-term diuretic effect. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks. People who regularly have drinks with caffeine can develop a tolerance to caffeine and will not see any difference.

Theophylline, a compound found in tea, enhances the diuretic effect of caffeine.

Who uses diuretics?

Swelling caused by excess fluid in the body’s tissues is known as edema. While mild edema often goes away on its own, some cases need to be treated with diuretics.

Fluid retention can be caused by many different medical conditions, as well as some drugs. Anyone who is thinking of using diuretics to get rid of extra fluid should discuss the possible causes of fluid retention with a doctor first.

Taking diuretics can be helpful for people with kidney disease whose kidneys cannot filter potassium. This can cause a buildup that leads to serious health issues.

Diuretics can also alter the body’s levels of other important minerals such as magnesium.

It is important to have sodium, potassium, and magnesium levels frequently checked when using diuretics. It is also important for people to have their kidney function and blood pressure tested regularly while taking diuretics.

[swollen foot]
Mild edema usually goes away on its own but some cases require treatment with diuretics.

Side effects of prescription diuretics can include:

  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Frequent urination
  • Thirst
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash

Considerations for using natural diuretics

People should consult their physician before trying any natural diuretics, especially if they are already taking a prescribed diuretic.

Using natural foods like ginger or parsley as a spice or tea in food is considered safe. However, supplements are not regulated and may or may not contain what they claim.

Long-term use of diuretics can cause mineral deficiencies. As a result, mineral levels should be closely monitored while taking diuretics.

Some diuretics can lead to low levels of potassium in the blood. Symptoms of low potassium levels include:

  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Muscle cramping
  • Heart rhythm problems

If diuretics are being taken to lower high blood pressure, a number of other medications can be taken if they are not effective enough. This include:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers

As mentioned earlier, diuretics are not helpful for losing weight. Anyone who wishes to lose weight should follow a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Heal Migraines With Natural Remedies.

People practicing natural remedies firmly believe in one principle – one disease, one cause. This means that our body will cure itself provided it is cleansed of all toxins and supplied with the correct nutrients. While they believe that every disease has its origin in the cells, health restoration begins from the gut. As far as migraines are concerned, we are aware of four basic things – the problem involves the vessels, is accompanied by inflammation (vessels and nerves), results in poor serotonin levels and may be a result of toxicity due to heavy metals.

Boost Serotonin

Everyone suffering from migraines have a common symptom – the serotonin levels drop prior to a migraine attack. Our gut contains beneficial bacteria, which make 80% of serotonin in the body. Therefore, improved gut health and higher serotonin production help to lessen or avoid migraines. One can attain this by removing Candida and all bad bacteria from the gut and colonize it with helpful bacteria. In addition, the diet should contain lots of prebiotic and probiotic foods.

Reduce Inflammation

Another factor for migraines is inflammation. One can eliminate or reduce inflammation by avoiding all foods that result in allergic reactions, such as processed and defined foods. Instead, consume foods that include natural omega 3 fatty acids – for instance, uncooked fresh vegetables and fruits.

Supplement with Vitamins and Minerals

B-vitamins promote vascular health and are also essential for nerves as well as nervous tissues. Instead of simply taking one B-vitamin for any duration, you ought to take a B-complex vitamin. In addition, vitamin C and D, in addition to calcium, selenium and magnesium, are also useful for vascular health. Also take omega 3 oils, which facilitate the body to absorb B vitamins.

Heavy Metal Toxicity

Chelating heavy metals may also prove to be helpful in alleviating migraine problems. In fact, several people have got relief from migraines after they removed their mercury fillings.

Ginger

As far as treating migraines is concerned, ginger is a miraculous herb. It is advisable that people susceptible to migraines should take ginger immediately when they think they are facing a migraine attack, for instance during when they experience an aura or the start of pain. You may extract the juice of fresh ginger root and drink it, or mix it with fruit juice. Taking a blend of ginger root juice with apple and carrot is said to be effective. Ginger can also be taken in other forms, but the most bio-available form is fresh ginger root.

Ginger is also useful for treating nausea, especially when the migraine attack has already happened.

Essential Oils

Inhaling peppermint, lavender and basil essential oils are known to lessen migraine pain.

Stress

Like any other disease, stress is also responsible for migraines. Hence, it is crucial to know how you can mitigate stress, because chronic stress often has an adverse effect on one’s biochemistry. So, look at your life style and see if you need to make any changes. If you desire to reduce your level of stress, you need to be trained to take deep breaths, breathe properly and naturally. Therefore, learning to meditate and exercising daily is important.

Start Grounding

Often, electro magnetic fields (EMFs) may become intense and promote migraine attacks. So try earthing for some time, getting connected to the earth. You may walk barefoot or even sit on the open ground.

The Most Effective and Quickest Migraine Cure

Inhaling cayenne pepper helps to treat migraines. While this may be painful, migraine attacks are even worse. In fact, this will produce immediate results.

Irrespective of migraines occurring too often or sporadically, the pain is devastating indeed. No individual should suffer from migraine attacks. In order to ensure that migraines don’t occur in your life, you need to modify your diet. Stay away from all prescription as well as other drugs, including OTC medications, sustain the normal balance of the gut flora, and mend your nervous system. If you are of the view that you are taking a healthy diet, but still suffering from migraines, it is important to take another look at it. First of all, you need to eliminate Candida and, undergo a complete detoxification program.