Making the switch to holistic medicine is a change that can benefit both you and your family. Otherwise known as “complementary and alternative medicine,” holistic therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, and massage therapy among others. However, holistic practices also avoid pharmaceutical-grade chemicals in favor of natural healing remedies. If you’d like to learn more about all-natural medicine and which items can offer relief, keep reading—we’ve curated our top essential picks to have on hand when times are rough.
- Immunity Boosters
At the first sign of a cold, having vitamins C and D on supply in order to boost your body’s immune system and ward off sickness can be a life saver. Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant, is helpful to many bodily functions, and can be found in citrusy fruits such as oranges. Vitamin D supplements are especially helpful during winter months when sun exposure is low—and germ contamination is high—because it enables your body to produce over 200 antimicrobial peptides, which are indispensable for fighting off a wide range of infections.
- Flu Relief
If you do succumb to a flu or cold, have peppermint essential oil available to help with nausea. A few drops into tea have proven to alleviate upset stomachs, while inhaling the scent of peppermint oil can trigger a sense of fullness and suppress the appetite. Massaging several drops of oil into the inner wrists can sooth general nausea or motion sickness, and rubbing it into the soles of your feet may help break a fever. Eucalyptus—in either loose leaf or essential oil form—is great for soothing coughs and clearing lungs. When inhaled through steam, it can help clear out your sinuses and congestion. I recently read a great article about how zinc can also be a great natural flu remedy.
The next time you experience digestion issues such as heartburn or acid reflex, try taking ginger capsules as an antidote; ginger root is one of the best natural remedies for treating acute stomach problems. You can also consume ginger in a number of recipes to add a delightful kick to food (which is also great for your health!).
- Pain Meds
Arnica montana is an all-natural homeopathic healer that has been used for centuries to treat bruising, swelling, and pain associated with soft tissue injury. Arnica pills are essential for when you need relief for painful strains or sore muscles. The plant can also be applied topically to treat insect bites, arthritis, muscle or cartilage pain, chapped lips and acne.
- First Aid
There are a number of natural medicines to use for first aid treatment. Cayenne is a powerhouse that should be stored in tincture or powder form. It can be rubbed into wounds to stop bleeding (beware of burn!) and, when consumed, rapidly dilate blood vessels through increased circulation. Aloe Vera is a plant most people are familiar with for its effectiveness at treating burns. Look for gels that are free of added chemicals and preservatives for when you need cooling relief.
- Acne Infections
When your skin is infected with the P. acnes bacteria strains that lead to break outs and blemishes, turn to your trusted tea tree oil. This miracle worker has strong antimicrobial properties that can kill bacteria long after it’s applied, offering a natural skincare solution. Be sure to dilute the oil with water before swabbing it onto your skin, however, or you could risk irritation.
- Anti-Stress Support
Located in the pantry instead of the medicine cabinet, chamomile is your go-to herb when you need to lower your stress levels. Its flavor is great to cook with, and has a calming and relaxing effect. When drank in a warm tea, chamomile can sooth anxiety and sleep difficulties, too. Lavender is another flower great at promoting relaxation; sprinkle some into a soothing bath for an aromatic soak.
- Multi-Vitamins and Minerals
You should always have an ample amount of multi-vitamin and mineral supplements in supply. Look for a comprehensive formula that can help improve your health and vitality all year long. Depending on your current condition, look for labels that promote:
- Nutrient absorption
- Sustained energy levels
- Bone strength and support
- Collagen production
- Cellular growth
Nature offers a solution for the most common ailments in our day to day lives. If you’ve decided to forego the chemicals found in pharmaceutical products, give these holistic treatments a try! As always, refer to your doctor for the best advice regarding your health.