Category: Natural Remedies


Does your trip to the pharmacy to pick up your usual over-the-counter medications and prescriptions cause an acute case of sticker shock? You’re not alone. Below are a list of ten common ailments and their less expensive, alternative treatments. Each tip is designed to save your health and your money! Read on.

Heartburn

 

That terrible burning. That unpleasant taste in your mouth. If you have acid reflux, you’ll do just about anything to get rid of it. If you’re currently taking over-the-counter acid suppressants, you can save money by trying apple cider vinegar. Just one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar twenty minutes before a meal can reduce the overproduction of acid in your system. The best part? Apple cider vinegar costs only 99 cents per bottle! Note: Chronic use of acid suppressants will cause your body to compensate by continuing its overproduction of acid, which will cause a dependency on the over-the-counter drug. Apple cider vinegar does not have this effect.

Acne

It’s hard to put your best face forward when you struggle with breakouts. If you’re currently using an expensive over-the-counter cream, you can save some cash by investing in a small bottle of tea tree oil. Two fluid ounces of this powerful antifungal, antibacterial oil will run anywhere from $7-$10 per bottle. The money-saver? A little goes a long way! Two fluid ounces can last anywhere from six months to a year! Note: If you have sensitive skin, do a ‘patch test’ by placing a minute amount on your inner arm to check for a reaction.

Allergies

Sneezing, watery eyes, itchy throat and nose. It’s allergy season and you’re suffering but $1 a pill for over-the-counter allergy relief is a bit much in a tough economy. So, what to do? Head to your local health food store or farmers market and pick up a jar of pure, natural honey processed in an area within 45 miles of your home. Just one teaspoon twice a day helps ease allergy symptoms by getting your system used to minute amounts of pollen in the honey. A months supply commonly costs around $10 and it’s a tried-and-true natural cure that works!

Insomnia

If you suffer from insomnia, you’re not alone. Taking an over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid may cause side-effects and dependency. Valerian is an all-natural herb designed to calm the body and mind when taken in its prescribed dosage. Unlike over-the-counter sleep aids, it is not habit forming and a three month supply of valerian commonly costs just over $6!

Caution:

Do not overdose on valerian. Even though it is a natural herb, it can cause side effects such as vivid dreams, drowsiness, headaches and upset stomach. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not use valerian. If you are currently taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, do not use valerian unless directed by your healthcare practitioner. If you have liver disease, avoid using valerian.

Stress

Between the economy and the current state of the world, all of us are experiencing more than our share of stress. The irony is; stress costs money! Anxiety, insomnia, digestive disorders, headaches, high blood pressure and depression are all common side effects of stress. Medical offices are packed with patients suffering from stress. So how can you save money and yourself? Find a healthy outlet for your stress. Write down the causes of your stress on one side of a piece of paper and some suggested solutions on the other. Having a plan of action creates feelings of empowerment, which can greatly reduce your stress. The cost? Nothing at all!

Skin rashes

Since there are different types of skin rashes, it is important to first find the cause of yours. Red, inflamed, itchy skin could be the result of stress-related dermatitis or an allergic reaction to something in your environment such as latex, alcohol-based creams or chemical-laden sunscreens. Instead of simply masking the symptoms by continuing to purchase over-the-counter creams, I suggest seeing an alternative health practitioner who can get to the source of the problem and eliminate the rash entirely. In the long run, it will be a money and skin-saving choice!

Sinus congestion

Nobody wants to be known as a mouth-breather. If you have blocked sinuses, try a neti pot. A neti pot is a small pot designed to irrigate the nasal passages with saline solution. To use: Insert the tip of a neti pot filled with lukewarm, lightly salted water into one nostril, tilt your head to the side over a sink or basin and allow the solution to drain from the other nostril. This process clear out allergens and mucus from the nose, reducing congestion and post-nasal drip. The cost? A neti pot commonly runs anywhere from $6 to $20. The savings? Unlike most sinus remedies, you only have to buy one!

Back pain/inflammation

It hurts to bend. It hurts to stand. Millions of people suffer with chronic back pain. If you’re one of them, there is a natural, inexpensive treatment for the inflammation that is causing your pain. Omega 3 is a natural anti-inflammatory that has none of the side effects of over-the-counter pain relievers. And, unlike OTC pain relievers, Omega 3 helps the body to heal naturally instead of simply masking the symptoms. The savings here? A three-month supply of Omega 3 costs under $6!

Hypertension (High blood pressure)

High blood pressure is becoming more common as our stress levels increase and our physical activity decreases. The good news? This common natural treatment for hypertension is most likely already in your cupboard at home. What is this inexpensive, ultra-common remedy? Garlic! Allicin, the active ingredient in garlic, relaxes the blood vessels thereby reducing pressure and helps prevent further damage to the blood vessels. The best benefits of garlic are obtained by using it in its raw form; diced or chopped in food. However, if you prefer, garlic supplements are also effective in reducing blood pressure. The common cost of a bulb of garlic is less than $1 and a one-month supply of a garlic supplement is less than $3 per bottle. A significant savings for your health and your budget!

Constipation

Everybody gets it. Nobody talks about it. Not only is constipation uncomfortable, it can cause serious health problems if left untreated. But before you reach for an over-the-counter stool softener, which has been linked to dependency, try this instead. Psyllium fiber. Psyllium fiber is not a stool softener or a stimulant. It is a bulk fiber designed to ‘grab’ stagnant waste materials and flush them easily and gently from the body. Psyllium can be taken in whole husk or pill form. Whole husks cost less than $5 and capsules are under $7.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

heartburn © Jason Lugo

sneeze © Evah Smit

stress © Melodi T

back pain © Jo Unruh

 

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

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Occasional anxiety is a normal part of living but when it becomes chronic and/or begins to interfere with your daily life, it may be time to get some support.

Some people are reluctant to turn to the medical community for help because they do not want a prescription medication that may cause dependence or side effects. Understandable.

Below are ten natural remedies for treating anxiety.

  • Homeopathic remedy – Ignatia Amara

Homeopathy works on the principle “like cures like”. Highly diluted substances of what would cause symptoms in a healthy person are given to treat the symptoms of the ailing person. Though homeopathy eludes scientific explanation, quantum physics is moving toward shedding light on just how it works. It has been used effectively for over 200 years. Ignatia Amara is a homeopathic remedy I have been using with great success for many years. My naturopath prescribed it to me. When first trying homeopathy, I recommend consulting a naturopath first to find the correct dosing for your individual needs.

  • Natural herb – Valerian

Valerian is an all-natural herb that helps calm the body and mind when taken in its prescribed dosage. It is commonly used for insomnia but also works well for anxiety. I have been using this remedy for years with great success.

Caution:

Do not overdose on valerian. Even though it is a natural herb, it can cause side effects such as vivid dreams, drowsiness, headaches and upset stomach. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not use valerian. If you are currently taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, do not use valerian unless directed by your healthcare practitioner. If you have liver disease, avoid using valerian.

  • Supplement – Magnesium

Magnesium is vital to 300 of the body’s enzymatic reactions. One of the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency is anxiety and tendency to startle easily. Ironically, cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, causes magnesium depletion. Magnesium occurs naturally in foods such as: chicken, green, leafy vegetables, oats, cocoa, nuts and seeds and whole grains. If you choose to take a magnesium supplement, take chelated magnesium as it is best absorbed by the body.

  • Flower essences

Flower essence work to heal the body on an energetic level, much like homeopathy. Aspen, rock rose, and agrimony are helpful in relieving anxiety. Flower essences, as with homeopathy, work on an individual’s energy. I recommend experimenting with them slowly, one at a time, to see what works best for your individual needs.

  • Natural herb – Chamomile

A nice cup of chamomile tea is helpful to calm the mind before bedtime and is also used in the treatment of anxiety. For a little more potency, chamomile can be taken as a tincture or in capsule form.

Caution:

If you are allergic to plants in the daisy family, have a bleeding disorder or taking medications that would increase the risk of bleeding or if you are pregnant or nursing, do not use chamomile. Common side effects are drowsiness when combined with other sedatives. Take caution if you are on medication for diabetes or high blood pressure.

  • Supplement – Vitamin B3

Since niacin, or vitamin B3 is responsible for supporting the neurotransmission system of the brain, deficiencies in this vitamin has been linked to anxiety & depression. Foods such as salmon, chicken, red meat, tuna, milk products and mushrooms contain natural niacin. You could also choose to supplement your diet with B3 in capsule or liquid form. A common side effect of niacin is flushing if used in high doses.

  • Activity – Writing

Writing may seem like an odd ‘natural remedy’ for anxiety but it helps. If your worry comes from too much to do or financial or business concerns, getting your thoughts organized with a list is a great stress buster! Try this: write your worries on the left side of the page under ‘Stress’ and on the right side, under ‘Busters’ write down a possible solution to your problems. Having a plan of action creates feelings of empowerment, which can greatly reduce your anxiety. 

  • Activity – Meditation

When you read the word ‘meditation’ visions of silent monks crunched up into uncomfortable positions for hours may be the first thing that comes to mind. Meditation is simply a way of quieting the thoughts. Try this: find a comfortable chair in a place where you will be uninterrupted for at least twenty minutes. Close your eyes and settle back. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose 5-10 times and then, just let your breathing return to its natural rhythm and allow your thoughts to drift. Sometimes it is helpful to concentrate on a mantra, just one or two words to help clear the mind such as: “peace” or “calm”. Just ten to twenty minutes a day can work wonders!

  • Activity – Exercise

When you work out, your body releases natural endorphins called serotonin, which give you an instant mood lift and help release “nervous tension”. You don’t have to join a gym either; a brisk walk or hike, dancing to your favorite music while pumping 2 lb weights or even vigorous housecleaning can give you just the boost you need to release stress.

Note: If your anxiety is related to a recent or past trauma and/or the above steps do not make a significant improvement in your mood and well being, it is a good idea to consult a qualified therapist who may have additional suggestions for healing from panic and anxiety. If, at any time, you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, call a crisis center immediately.

Click the link below for a suicide hotline.

http://suicidehotlines.com/

I have first-hand experience with anxiety and some of the above natural remedies have worked wonders in my life. I hope they will in yours too.

For more information on how to heal your body naturally, visit: www.itoldyouiwassick.com.

anxiety © Joana Croft

cup of tea © Daniel West

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Do you have a burning feeling in your stomach, chest and/or throat after you eat? Does your chest feel like it’s on fire when you lay down to bed at night? Do acidic foods such as citrus, tomato and chocolate make your symptoms worse? If so, you have acid reflux.

Below are ten natural remedies for the treatment of acid reflux.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

While it may seem counterintuitive to put more acid into your body when you’re already suffering, there are multitudes of positive accounts of those who have used it to treat their acid reflux. Suggested use: Take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water 3 times per day or take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar twenty minutes before a meal.

Baking soda

Suggested use: If you’re having an attack of acid reflux, drinking a few tablespoons of baking soda mixed into lukewarm water will neutralize the acid and ease your symptoms.

Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal taken in pill form will absorb the excess acid in your stomach and relieve the symptoms of acid reflux.

 Caution:

If you are taking a prescription, consult your healthcare provider before taking activated charcoal, as this treatment will interfere with the effectiveness of your medication.

Digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes containing pineapple and papaya help ease the discomfort of acid reflux by helping digest proteins and promote a natural acid/alkaline balance in the body. For more on digestive enzymes, click here.

Caution:

Digestive enzymes can sometimes produce a laxative effect as the body cleans out toxins. This is part of the healing process. Begin slowly at first to see how you’ll react.

Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera Juice helps to sooth the irritation in the throat and esophagus of those suffering from acid reflux. Suggested use: Take ¼ cup twenty minutes before a meal.

Caution:  

Use only Aloe Vera juice made for internal use. The use of a leaf directly from a plant has a powerful laxative effect and should not be used for this purpose.

Extra Virgin Pine Nut Oil

Extra Virgin Pine Nut oil is used in Russia, Europe and China for a wide array of digestive maladies including acid reflux. Extra Virgin Pine Nut Oil has a powerful anti-inflammatory property and offers a soothing, protective effect on the digestive system.

Yogurt 

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are part of the three main necessities of good digestion (the other two being digestive enzymes and fiber). Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that help the body to digest, absorb and assimilate food properly. Probiotics also help “crowd out” harmful bacteria in the gut which can interfere with digestion.

Ginger

Ginger has a soothing effect on the digestive system by helping regulate and normalize the flow of digestive juices. If your natural stomach acid is regulated, you have less of a chance of occurrence of reflux.

Slippery elm 

Slippery Elm is a “demulcent” or soothing herb with powerful anti-inflammatory and healing properties. When taken internally, this herb soothes the irritated tissues of the digestive system and promotes healing.

Chewable DGL

DGL is a licorice herb that has had the glycyrrhizin removed so that it could be used without causing water retention or hypertension (high blood pressure). Chewable DGL is enzymatic therapy designed to support the stomach lining and intestinal tract.

Remember, acid reflux is a sign that your natural digestive process is out of balance. Taking over-the-counter acid pills, chewable antacids and/or prescriptions will only mask the symptoms and, in the long run, make the problem worse. If you can get to the source of the problem and get your digestive system back in balance, your acid reflux will disappear naturally as your body heals.

As always, if you have serious health problems and/or have medical questions, please contact your healthcare provider.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Julia Freeman-Woolpert

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms?

  • Chronic diarrhea/and or alternating with constipation
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety/Irritability
  • Brain fog
  • Bloating
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore intestines
  • Gurgling intestines
  • Anal itching
  • Yeast infections
  • Itching on the soles of the feet
  • Fowl-smelling gas
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Palpitations (indicates hookworms)
  • Coughing bloody sputum (in some cases)

Then you might have parasites. According to research, over 50% of Americans are infected with some type of parasite. Not only can parasites be picked up from eating undercooked meat, walking barefoot in gardening soil and sexual contact, they can also be transmitted through your pets, a mosquito bite (they carry dog heartworm) or simply by breathing or drinking tap water! In other words, it’s very easy to get them! So how can you get rid of them?

The following are the most effective natural methods for getting rid of parasites:

  • Black Walnut Hulls
  • Wormwood
  • Cloves
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Pau D’Arco
  • Male Fern
  • Garlic
  • Cranberry Powder
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Fennel
  • Sage
  • Thyme

The three most important methods are the first three, Black Walnut Hulls, Wormwood and Cloves.

Black Walnut Hulls oxygenates the blood, which helps kill parasites, and acts as a laxative to help expel the worms from the body. Wormwood asks as an anesthetic to the worm, which helps loosen its grip on the intestines so that it can pass from the system. Cloves are antibacterial, antiparasite and antifungal and are most effective when fresh.

The parasites are gone. Now what?

Now it’s time to help your body heal. Introduce a good probiotic to your diet (live acidophilus requiring refrigeration is best) to help rebuild healthy intestinal flora. Turmeric is also useful in this. Use a bulk fiber (such as psyllium) to flush wastes and toxins left from the die-off of parasites. Milk thistle is good for healing and rebuilding the liver and pure aloe vera juice will soothe the irritated digestive tract.

Caution:

You may experience “die off” or flu like symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, diarrhea, chills, fever, body aches and excess mucus in the nose and chest as your body releases toxins. This is temporary and part of the healing process. Start off slowly, with the lowest dose of the remedy/remedies to see how your body will respond. If you have a serious medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before embarking on a parasite cleanse.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

You are what you eat, or so the old saying goes. But if you’re not digesting what you’re ingesting, your health is suffering.

Eating whole, raw foods helps start the process of digestion so your body only needs to supply a little of its own natural enzymes. The problem is, most people eat processed, overcooked foods and the pancreas has to work overtime to digest them. This places stress on the system as it spends more energy processing food than doing what it’s supposed to do; repairing damaged cells and keeping the immune system strong.

This is why over-the-counter antacids and other stomach remedies are immune from the economic downturn. We’re so used to eating foods our body has difficulty processing we think that flatulence, indigestion and irregularity are normal!

Not so.  And this is where supplementing your diet with digestive enzymes comes in. They help the body break down, absorb and assimilate the nutrients in the food we eat. This gives our pancreas a break, which, in turn, allows the body to heal.

I’ve personally experienced the wonders of digestive aids.

Even after eliminating the foods I was intolerant to, I still suffered from stomach distress, muscle/joint inflammation, headaches, sinus congestion and post-nasal drip. Compared to the pain I had been in, this was still a great improvement but when I ran across an article three years ago touting the benefits of digestive enzymes, I decided I’d give them a try.

The difference was like night and day.

The stomach cramping and gurgling I always experienced after eating went away, I became regular for the first time in my life and the constant low-grade muscle pain that had been in the background twenty-four hours a day all but disappeared. Because of digestive enzymes, I’m no longer limited to a diet of brown rice, steamed vegetables and plain chicken. Other than wheat, gluten, corn, beans and peanuts, I can eat just about anything I want.

The added bonus is since I’ve started taking digestive aids, my immune system has healed which, in turn, makes my body better able to assimilate, process and absorb foods on its own!

Digestive enzymes have been known to help people who suffer from acid reflux, food allergies, Crohn’s disease, sinusitis, irregularity, flatulence, candida (yeast) and much more.

If you have a weakened immune system or an autoimmune disease, you will definitely benefit from the use of digestive enzymes. Your body will spend less time struggling to process the food you’re eating and all that extra energy will go toward helping you heal.

And while you’re at it, trade in a few of those Big Mac’s for salads filled with dark, leafy greens, organic chicken, nuts and your favorite dressing. Your body will thank you. 🙂

Caution:

If you have never used a digestive enzyme before, start out slowly to see how you react. Some may experience loose stools as the body rids itself of toxins. This is especially true if your diet is rich in processed food. If you have an acute medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before trying any new supplement.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

So you’ve done yard work for the first time in months and you just know you’re going to be sore when you wake up in the morning. Just reach for some menthol-heavy cream and ibuprofen right? Not necessarily.

There’s a more natural (and less expensive) way of easing your aching muscles. Plus, there are some great added benefits!

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate; an element our bodies need but do not absorb enough of through diet alone.

Just a fifteen-minute soak in a hot bath filled with 4 cups of Epsom salt draws toxins from the body, relieves stress and reduces inflammation. Another benefit is Epsom salt’s ability to regulate the body’s electrolytes. This improves nerve system function which alleviates anxiety and induces a deeper, more restful sleep. The sulfate in Epsom salt also stimulates digestion and improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

I’ve used Epsom salt for years to help with anxiety and ease inflammation due to my body’s autoimmune response. It’s real medicine and it works.

At less than two dollars a pound, you can’t go wrong with this tried-and-true folk remedy!

Caution:

If you haven’t done an Epsom salt soak before, use 1 cup of Epsom salt to start. Soaking in magnesium sulfate can cause feelings of lightheadedness and it’s best to begin gradually to see how you’ll react. Do not soak in Epsom salts if you are pregnant or allergic to sulfur. If you have a specific medical concern, seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner before using Epsom salt.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved