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