When we seek out relief from pain, athletic enhancement, mood-boosters, or need to relax, many of us reach for something man made. We take pills of pain-relief, drink alcohol to relax, or consume sugary & processed food and drinks to boost energy levels. But did you know – these processed substances can actually do more to harm than help? Everything we need can actually be obtained naturally, and most of what we need may be in the last place we expect. Right here in our homes.
So here are just a few natural things that are healthy, handy and healing that you might just have at home. (If not, you might want to go and get some of these things….)
- Helps to cure feelings of nausea – use it as a natural antidote to travel sickness
- Aids in digestion
- Helps to reduce flatulence
- If you’re suffering from stomach cramps, ginger can help to soothe the pain
- Ginger helps to improve the absorption of essential nutrients in to the body
- The Ayurvedic texts even suggest that ginger has aphrodisiac properties! (As does asparagus, maca, and the herb Ashwagandha – although making a meal from those ingredients could prove to be interesting!
Apple cider vinegar does just about everything
- Aids digestion, and is best drank before or with a meal
- Becomes alkaline when you drink it (just like lemon juice) and therefore balances the ph of the body; many of us are way too acidic due to a diet consisting of processed and acidic foods
- A natural antiseptic – use it on your skin if you have acne as it kills off the bacteria (use a 1:3 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water and dip in a cotton ball, apply directly to any blemishes and leave over night or use several times throughout the day for 10 minutes at a time.)
- Use as a natural household cleaner
- Help to ease with the pain of arthritis or gout, reducing swelling and inflammation.
- They contain melatonin, a hormone which really aids in helping us get to sleep; other foods containing good levels of the sleep-inducing chemical include kiwis and walnuts.
- Supremely underrated, banans are cheap, come in their own wrapping, and provide lots of energy.
- They have high levels of tryptophan, which is converted in to serotonin (the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter) so they help to boost our mood! *Studies have even shown them to help overcome symptoms of mild depression
- They protect against muscle cramps, so it’s a good idea to eat one before exercising (since 2 bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous 90 minute workout), or before bed if you suffer from restless-leg syndrome.
- Bananas contain high levels of electrolytes, which the body needs to thrive. When Summer roles around and we begin to sweat more and therefore lose electrolytes – boost your levels with a smoothie of coconut water, banana and peanut butter (since these all contain high levels of electrolytes)
- BONUS FACT: 50% of human DNA is identical to the DNA make up of a banana!
- A natural antiseptic and antibiotic, and containing antibacterial properties, honey can be applied to cuts and burns to help the healing process. Be sure to use Manuka honey or raw honey for this. (I know this works from personal experience, as I seem to burn myself whenever I attempt to cook anything!)
- Use honey to help soothe a sore throat. A great tea to help with colds and flu contains ginger, lemon and honey – which can also be taken daily as a tonic to help cleanse the body.
- Obviously honey is sweet – and substituting sweeteners such as refined white sugar (which has an unbelievable amount of negative effects on the body) for honey, allows you to reap honey’s health benefits instead of sugar’s toxic elements while retaining a lovely taste.
- Although it contains natural sugars, honey helps to regulate blood sugar levels
- Honey gives a natural boost of energy, and other bee products such as bee pollen are said to even improve athletic performance.
- Manuka honey has especially medicinal properties, helping to majorly boost the immune system, and can be applied to wounds to help naturally heal them. Taking one spoon full a day can do wonders for your health.
Brilliant for boosting the immune system, garlic is so powerful that supplements can even be taken to boost the immune system. (Probably more of a popular choice than swallowing a strong-smelling garlic clove every day!)
Squash and Pumpkin seeds
- Magnesium is especially important for the body to maintain good muscle and nerve function and can help to prevent fatigue and anxiety.
- Squash and pumpkin seeds provide high levels of magnesium, as well as zinc which helps to strengthen the immune system.
- These little seeds also raise levels of LDL or ‘good cholesterol’, and help to reduce post-menopausal symptoms in women.
- Used widely in Indian cooking, Turmeric is one of those herbs which should be used regularly because of it’s powerful healing benefits.
- It is an anti-inflammatory, so use it to treat cases like arthritis, and IBS because of the curcumin, which gives Turmeric its yellow colour and is the healing element of the herb. Although a controversial subject, Turmeric can actually help to prevent cancer from forming within the body as it replicated healthy cells and helps the body to destroy mutated cancerous cells. It really is a very important herb to look in to – turmeric supplements are even available to take as a daily dosage.
More healing herbs which you’ll either have already or can easily grow include:
Lemon Balm – soothes the nervous system and helps to calm symptoms of anxiety
Echinacea – An immune booster and cold – curer
Lavender – We know of it’s calming properties, and just smelling the herb has proven to reduce anxiety and induce and feeling of sleepy calmness. It has antiseptic properties too so can be applied to cuts and bruises
Parsley – While it’s handy to chew on to keep your breath smelling fresh, parsley is also an immune-booster, encourages digestion, and is great for detoxing the liver.
Hot chilli peppers
- The carcinogens in chilli peppers help to speed up metabolism
- Chili peppers can help to sharpen the mind and reduce the onset of diseases such as Aulzheimers or dementia
- They’re also very high in antioxidants; the ‘hotness’ of the pepper is determined by the amount of capsaicin they contain, and the hotter the pepper, the higher amount of antioxidants it contains.
- While you may not think of them as pain-relievers, the capsaicin in cayenne pepper can help to reduce the pain of psoriasis, fibromyalgia, shingles, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- One more reason to love chilli peppers?; They release endorphins. When a person gets used to the initial fiery-ness, it becomes pleasant, (for most people) and the ancient Aztecs and Mayans considered it chilis an aphrodisiac too!
- Drinking warm lemon water in the mornings is a great way to cleanse and detoxify the body before the day ahead
- Lemon contains antibacterial properties, so can be used as an all-natural cleaning ingredient too
- For a quick morning detox, and to get your digestion off to a good start; try a table spoon of apple cider vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, a teaspoon of raw honey and half a teaspoon of cinnamon in warm water.
**Don’t throw away the lemon peel!
- If you buy unwaxed lemons, you can use the zest in tea, stirred in to porridge or in smoothies.
- The peel contains around 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the actual juice!
- Lemon zest can help to lower blood pressure, improve bone health, reduce symptoms of mild depression and anxiety, and help to reduce bad cholesterol, to name just a few of the benefits.
- Famously high in antioxidants, blueberries can help to reduce effects of arthritis
- They’re helpful in improving memory
- Due to their antioxidants, the properties in blueberries help to ward off free-radicals in the body, keeping the body healthy and protected from illness
- Most dark barriers are great sources of antioxidants, especially blackberries, which also include very very high doses of vitamin C
This is worthy of a whole post of it’s own, you’ll be able to find dozens of ‘101 ways to use coconut oil’ lists, but here are a few especially useful (and money-saving) ways:
- Moisturiser for body and face
- Face cleanser
- Hair oil or leave-in conditioner
- Mix it with other ingredients to make a natural chemical-free deodorant [LINK]
- Cooking oil (coconut oil is actually the very best thing you can cook with!)
- Use as a base for face masks
- Has a small amount of UV protection, so you can use as a very light sun cream
- Apply a little under the eyes to reduce dark circles and puffiness
If there’s one ‘must have’ for all-round usefulness, it has to be coconut oil
- Many people have stated that including hemp seeds in their diet has been life changing’, and they’re probably right – as these little seeds provide so much energy.
- They contain high amounts of protein – just 3 tablespoons gives you 11g of protein
- They’re one of the most digestible seeds on the planet
- Hemp seeds contain all 10 amino acids and are a great source of omegas 3 and 6
- They basically provide all the nutrients you need for optimum health
* If you’re using processed protein powders before or after a workout, consider swapping to natural hemp seeds or hemp powder; They help to build muscles and give you tonnes of energy.
- Contains natural antibacterial properties, so when mixed with honey it’s useful as a facemask to help fight acne
- Helps to balance blood sugar and aids in stabalising your energy levels and mood
- Aids in digestion
- Reduces levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol
Tea tree oil
- Tea tree oil can be dabbed on the face to treat acne
- Use it as an antiseptic for cuts and burns
- Use it to clean your yoga mat! Combine 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, add some lavender or another calming essential oil to leave your mat smelling lovely
- A large handful of Cashews have the same anti-depressant properties as a prescription dose of Prozac.
- Yes, it’s true; one big handful contains one to two thousand milligrams of tryptophan, which works just as well as prescription antidepressants. Tryptophan is the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which gives us a feeling of calm and wellbeing. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain so that serotonin can then be produced.
- Lentils, walnuts, brazil nuts, beans, oats, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and bananas are just a few other good sources of mood-enhancing tryptophan.
- We’re constantly being told by scientific studies that consuming a healthy amount of nuts is good for us and can lengthen our life span, so you’re really doing two amazing things for yourself by choosing natural nuts over pills and chemicals.
There are so so many more natural products you have lying around your house which can be used to cure an array of illnesses; herbs are especially potent, so stocking up on those is a must for anyone wanting to take their health in to their own hands. Don’t rely on doctors or chemicals when you feel discomfort or want to boost your energy levels. You know your body better than anyone else, just listen and it’ll tell you what it needs.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
– Jim Rohn