Bodies are funny things; one day you can feel great, full of energy and ready for anything, and the next, you can wake up feeling nauseous, lethargic, or battling a sore throat. For times like these, it’s far too easy to take a couple of painkillers and get on with your day, but taking these every time you feel a bit under the weather is not recommended. As our bodies get used to painkillers, they become less and less effective, leaving us struggling to cope with some of the common ailments that cause us grief every day. Using nature’s gifts is the best way to help your body recover naturally before reaching into the medicine cabinet.
Suppress nausea with ginger
Ginger is not only a great addition to recipes, adding a fresh flavor and depth to delicate dishes, but it has long been used to suppress nausea in people suffering from sickness due to a whole host of medical reasons. Ginger snaps or frozen ginger chips are the perfect on-the-go snack for holding off nausea when you really don’t have time to pause.
Keep hiccups sweet with sugar
We’re often told to avoid excess sugar, however it can actually be good for us – in small doses of course! The dry granules in sugar can reset the irritated nerve that causes the diaphragm to spasm, freeing you of those exasperating hiccups.
Soothe a sore throat with garlic
Another multipurpose ingredient is garlic. Not just great at enhancing pasta dishes and salads, research has shown that fresh garlic juice has antimicrobial properties that fight pain-causing bacteria. Gargling twice a day with a solution of six pressed garlic cloves mixed into a glass of warm water for about three days will help rid you of that pesky pain.
Cool down a burn with Aloe
Accidentally touching a hot iron or catching your arm on a hot oven are daily incidences. Anti-inflammatory Aloe Vera gel creates a barrier – or ‘second skin’, protecting it from the air which can irritate exposed nerve endings. Apply the gel as often as needed to help speed up healing.
Relax a bloated tummy with peppermint
Peppermint contains relaxant and antispasmodic properties that kills the bacteria which causes bloating and relaxes gastrointestinal muscles for smoother digestion. Alleviating problems like bloating, stomach gas and flatulence, drinking a couple of cups of peppermint tea or taking peppermint capsules can aid in a more pleasant digestive experience.
Stave off a common cold with vitamins
Vitamins are key for helping cut short a cold. Studies have shown that ingesting vitamin C before the onset of a cold shortens its duration and severity, while the infection-fighting properties in honey help to fight off bacteria. Cut a lemon in half and add the juice to a cup of water, add in a teaspoon of organic, raw honey, and voila, you have an immune-boosting drink that tastes great – and helps coat painful throats.
Hydrate dry lips with olive oil
Not just good for the frying pan, olive oil is a staple ingredient in many natural moisturizers. Chapped lips pop up throughout the year, thanks to changes in weather. Slapping on a bit of olive oil a couple of times a day will soften, soothe and lubricate lips to give you a glorious pout. Some research has also suggested that applying extra virgin olive oil to skin after sunbathing could help prevent skin cancer.
Put insomnia to sleep with cherries
If you’re suffering from insomnia or disturbed sleep, a handful of cherries or a glass of tart cherry juice can help give you sweet dreams. According to scientists, cherries are full of melatonin – the same hormone that is created by your body to regulate sleep patterns. Cherries are an underrated superfood, with research suggesting it can help fight off cancer, gout, and reduce belly fat.
Hydrate dry skin, rashes, and eczema with oats
Oatmeal has long been advocated as a natural skin soother, however researchers have only recently recognized that the avenanthramides (Anthranilic acid amides) in oats are key compounds that can calm inflamed, itchy skin. Make your own skin-soother by putting whole oats in a small, clean pillowcase, seal up the open end with a rubber band, and pop it into a warm bath. Lay back for around 15 minutes, and you’ll be left with soft, supple skin.
Kill a cough with chocolate
We’ve saved the best until last. Eating a square or two of dark chocolate can suppress persistent coughs – according to researchers. Chocolate's theobromine compound was found to be more effective than codeine at suppressing persistent coughs, with the added bonus of no side effects, such as drowsiness and constipation.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, these may not always work. However it’s always worth giving them a try first – after all you may be surprised at what Mother Nature has tucked away in her closet.