Your kitchen is full of food that can double as medicine, and should be your first port of call when looking to prevent and treat common ailments.
Natural remedies are often overlooked in favour of modern medicines however, many food based treatments have been around for centuries and have been proven to work time and time again. Many conventional drugs mimic the action of plant or food based natural remedies, and the good thing about using a natural treatment is that there are often far fewer side effects and will almost always include nutrients that assist with the treatment of the issue but also support your health overall.
Here are my top 5 natural treatments to add to your first aid box:
Fantastic for settling an upset or gassy stomach. The oil in the peppermint leaf has a calming effect on the digestive system and allows gas to pass more easily, helping to reduce the bloated or overfull feeling sometimes experienced after eating.
You can use both dried peppermint tea or fresh leaves. Brew a nice strong cup and enjoy 30 minutes after your meals, or when needed.
Lemon is a health superfood, and one of its many great properties is its acidity. You can use lemon juice to stimulate your own stomach acid production which is important because a lack of stomach acid can lead to reflux, bloating, gas, and digestive discomfort.
Try having the juice of half a lemon with 2-3 tablespoons of warm water 30 minutes before your meals.
Ginger has been proven time and time again to be an effective treatment for nausea, and studies have shown that it works better than modern nausea drugs without any side effects. Dried ginger can be added to baking and cooking while fresh ginger can be added to juices, smoothies, and teas. You may also like to suck or chew on some thin slices of raw ginger to help relieve nausea caused by travel sickness, stomach bugs, or pregnancy.
Ginger has also been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Studies carried out on people suffering from arthritis have produced overwhelmingly positive results, showing a reduction in pain, stiffness and swelling. The exact mechanism by which ginger works is not fully understood, but it is thought that some of the substances in the ginger act as potent antioxidants reducing the free radical damage in the tissues and allow for recovery of the tissues. If you suffer from arthritis you may like to try adding ginger into your daily routine.
In New Zealand, we are very lucky to have a great supply of honey, it is not hard to find local hives selling raw honey. Honey is a natural antibacterial agent due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide — a substance which inhibits bacterial growth.
For centuries, cultures have been using honey to treat skin wounds, and more recently NZ companies have produced medical grade honey that can be used in the treatment of eczema, rosacea, and open wounds. To find out more about honey suitable for skin treatment click here.
You can also use honey to help treat and soothe sore throats and mouth sores. Add 1 teaspoon of honey into your tea or eat suck straight off the spoon.
Coconut oil is something that I use almost every day. If you have any dry patches of skin or are just looking for a natural moisturiser then coconut oil should be your first choice. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are easily absorbed and incorporated into the structure of the skin, helping to hydrate and protect the skin.
Coconut oil also makes a great cleanser because ‘like dissolves like’, meaning that the coconut oil can dissolve the oil on your skin. As it cleanses the oil from your face it will also remove dirt, makeup and any grime from the day. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is known for its powerful antibacterial properties, helping to protect the skin from harmful problem causing bacteria. Coconut oil is mild enough to use every day, simply rub into your skin and remove with a warm face cloth.