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Natural Remedies for Common Ailments

So, I thought i would take yet another break from my normal posts to talk about home remedies.  Everyone deserves to treat things naturally. There are already so many chemicals shoved down our throats in the form of medicine, food, and even cleaners.  In my personal opinion, I would much rather do anything natural before even considering something unnatural and chemical.  So here is my list of natural remedies that I have either used personally or that I’m fairly sure may work based on the properties of the plant or item.

Ginger

Ginger is great for nausea. You can create a tincture from it and then freeze it. The resulting ice cubes can help you get through pregnancy and the nausea after surgery.

If eaten regularly it can boost the immune system and help prevent colds. It is also supposed to have anti-inflammatory properties….so even if you don’t eat it, you may benefit from supplements. Just ask your doctor first.  And girls…the anti-inflammatory properties will help with cramps as well.

Sugar

Two teaspoons of sugar for hiccups works great. Really you can use any coarse substance as the granules rest the irritated nerve, but sugar tastes the best.  Another option for hiccups is to drink with a pencil in your mouth. You end up being so focused on not spilling it all over yourself that you stop hiccuping. It works for me when sugar isn’t available…even if it sounds silly.

Garlic

Garlic has many great uses.

First you can mix six pressed garlic cloves in water. Gargle twice a day for a sore throat.  You can also do this with salt, but I prefer garlic. It taste better by my personal opinion.
Garlic can also be applied directly to the face to help treat acne.

Eating garlic regularly can help prevent illness as it is packed full of immune boosters and antioxidants.

Crushed garlic diffused in warm water is supposed to be a great treatment for fungus in the feet or under nails. I’ve never tried this one, but I plan to. Right now I just apply vicks vapor rub and it mostly works.

Lindon Flower Tea

Great for lowering fever it also dilates blood vessels and stimulates the hypothalamus to better regulate temperature.  Buy or grow the dried herb yourself and diffuse in water with a steeper or reusable tea bags.  Cheesecloth works as well.

For a higher temperature you can also take a bath in tepid (not cold) water to lower your body temp.  Just make sure you bundle up and get back to water once you’re done. http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/natural-home-remedies/reduce-fever

Aloe Vera

Keep a plant on your window sill (it’s really hard to kill) and crack a piece open for any burns, heck even sunburns.  We used to have one and I’ve been meaning to get another one.

Use it to condition your skin. Just harvest the juice and use as you would a toner.

Drinking aloe vera juice aids in natural cleansing of the digestive system. There are many food substances that can cause fatigue and exhaustion, which you can combat by drinking aloe vera juice. When consumed regularly, aloe vera juice will also help increase your energy level and help you maintain a healthy body weight.

I have been told that you can use it to treat gum disease, but I haven’t tested this nor do I have a reason to yet. But if you try it let me know how it works out (and yes it is safe to ingest).

Peppermint

Peppermint is good for reducing flatulence. It kills bacteria and relaxes the intestinal muscles for smoother digestion.

Odor Killers

You can soak your feet in white vinegar or water and baking soda to get rid of stench.

You can also make homemade deodorant in a pinch by making a milky mix of baking soda and water.

Black tea is also supposed to be good for this though I haven’t tried it.

Raw Honey

Put some in your tea, but make sure it’s raw honey from your area. It can help you reduce allergic reactions to pollen and allergens specific to your religion or city.  Why does it work? (http://www.diynatural.com/local-honey-for-allergies/)

It has to be raw because raw honey still contains all the living enzymes needed to protect your body from a histamine overdose. It has to be local because it has to be the pollens causing your reaction. There is no magic number for how close the producer needs to be to your home. Finally, it needs to be harvested around the same time your allergies affect you. If you have fall allergies a summer harvest honey isn’t going to do you any good. It’s not the same pollen, hence not the same allergies.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda is a wonder. While I’m not sure it will cure cancer there are claims that it can do so (or at least help), but here are the things I know it will work for.

First you can use it as a natural teeth whitener and toothpaste.  Second, you can gargle it to get rid of bad breath.  Third, as an antacid with a bit of water.

Olive Oil

Great for chapped lips. It takes a few days, but will help them to heal.  Can be used to moisturize and heal dry and cracked skin.

When it comes to hair care products, you simply cannot ignore olive oil. Packed with fatty acids, several antioxidants and vitamin E, olive oil works as a great moisturizer for your hair. It can help treat dry and damaged hair by sealing the cuticles or the outer layers with moisture. Olive oil is the right solution for hair problems like split ends and frizzy hair. It can even strengthen and add shine to your hair.

To nourish dry tresses, give yourself a hot olive oil head massage.

  1. Apply warm olive oil thoroughly on your scalp and hair shafts.
  2. Using your fingertips, massage the scalp for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover your hair with a warm towel and leave it on for 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
  5. Do this once a week.

 

Witch Hazel

Use it for cuts to kill bacteria. It’s also great for clearing acne. Just apply to face daily as a toner.

  • The big one for me: Spot and blemish control. Witch hazel can reduce the inflammation on a pimple. …
  • Soothe and heal diaper rash. …
  • Shrink bags under the eyes. …
  • Soothe and reduce external hemorrhoids. …
  • Varicose vein relief. …
  • Soothe poison ivy and poison oak. …
  • Treat chicken pox blisters. …
  • Heal your bruises faster.

 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is my favorite household product. It is good for your health, cleaning, and a number of other things.

First, it can be used in a sinus rinse (a drop or two) to help kill a fungal infection in the sinuses. It can also be drank by itself or mixed in water to achieve the same result (though not as quickly).  Just a warning on the rinse though…it does burn like the dickens, so be careful. I’d only use that one if you are just so down right miserable that a little more pain won’t matter.

You can use it to clean product from your hair.  Just pour a cup and rinse your hair with it before you get out of the shower. And if you don’t want to smell like apple cider for the rest of the night you can use lemon juice afterwards. it will naturally lighten your hair and I know it has some other hair properties….I just can’t remember them. Some recommend mixing it with water, but I have no problem using it straight. It will also kill any fungi that may be attacking your scalp. I just suggest only doing it once or twice a week.

It is a natural teeth whitener when gargled and it will also kill bacteria in your mouth. i mix it with baking soda, which will do the same thing. Honestly they taste better together than apart in my opinion and packs a double whammy.

A small dose of raw ACV can be used to treat constipation and supposedly aids in weight loss….we’ll see. I’m taking it for sinuses….so I’ll let you know if I see any significant change here.

When applied to the skin it can be used to treat skin blemishes.  Some even say it helps diminish wrinkles and fine lines. I’ve not ascended to the crone, so if any of you wonderful wise women out there try this let me know how it works. I would love to know.  I was told just to apply it as a toner. I can attest that it does help with acne.

It can be mixed with honey and warm water to soothe your throat and end a cough caused by a cold.  It will also help your body fight off infection.

Eggs

The whites can be used as a face mask. Just let it dry and then peel it off.

You can take the yellows to use for a dry scalp treatment….just be sure to wash your hair with cold water unless you want egg bits in your hair.

There are tons of natural remedies out there if you only seek them out. Many of them work far better than their toxic companions that you would otherwise buy in the store.  And there are tons of sites dedicated to the topic as well. The ones I’ve shared here are just ones I”ve tried or heard about from others.  I hope you benefit from them as much as I have.
Blessed Be.

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Going Green as a Family: An intorduction

So, if I hadn’t mentioned it already, I’m going to start aiming for three articles a week. If I can create more content than that, I will, but I have to make sure I actually have time to practice what I preach.

I will also let you in on another little secret: Not even I can take all the steps listed here. I know that time and money constraints do limit what families can do.  Just take your time and add one thing at a time as you can.

I’m going to be mentioning a lot of information from various sites, but if you’re looking to go green before your baby is born, let me recommend this book that I found at the library: Growing Up Green.  I do have it linked later on in the article.

We’ve mentioned before that everyone wants to do what’s best for their child.  We want to keep them safe. Unfortunately, that can mean a lot of different things to different people. It includes many things for me, but I’m here to talk about one in particular. For me one of the dangers of modern society is all the chemicals in our lives.

Part of this is providing healthy food that isn’t overly processed with chemicals that have potentially been linked to all sorts of health issues. Harmful toxins permeate our houses in the form of bleach, chemical cleaners, and other substances we use to manage dirt and unwanted pests in our homes among other things.

While I know I cannot eliminate them from my life entirely, I can work to eliminate as many of these potential dangers as possible and I can usually save some money in the process.  I read everyday about the rise of disease in this country. Today I was reading Growing up Green, and they talked about the rise in pediatric cancers, asthma, and obesity. The first chapter said that 1 in 6 children now have a learning disability and that approximately 1 in 150 have Autism.

While we know that this may be partially generics, until we prove otherwise, we must also admit that at least a part of these problems may be due to these chemicals and toxins in our lives that are never tested as thoroughly as they should be. I could cite and discuss all sorts of practices by companies peddling us products that are both bad for the earth and bad for us, but anyone looking and reading can tell you about that.

Just look at companies like Monsanto, who produce genetically modified crops. Their products are often studied for six months or less. Definitely not enough time to determine health issues in the long run.  The same can be said of many other companies. This is just one example.

We do know that many diseases have environmental factors. We also know that genetics plays a role, but which one plays the larger role? Honestly, I would say that it depends on the disease. Something like Tay Sachs is obviously genetic, but asthma may not be depending on your family history.

While some doctors are claiming these diseases are caused by genetic epidemics or massive changes in DNA, we know that DNA does not change that quickly. It takes centuries or more for traits to rise and fall in a single species. Which means that most likely many of these diseases are caused by environmental factors.  However, we are not currently researching what environmental factors could be causing many of these diseases and sometimes possible culprits are ignored by greedy companies more concerned with money than the health of our children.

Dr. Frederica Perera, director of Columbia Univesity’s Center for Children’s Environmental health said: “Genes alone do not explain these increases, but they do play a role with other factors. We have to think about all these factors together.” So to understand the root cause of these rising childhood health problems we have to look outside of our DNA as well. With us seeing such a rise, logic would indicate that the cause is the damage we have done to our world and to ourselves through toxins in our food, water, cleaning supplies, etc.

Scientist are just barely beginning to scratch the surface on the effects of environmental factors on our genetics.  For example, only 5-10% of cancer cases can be attributed to genetics. Part of the problem is that it is highly unlikely that one exposure or even one chemical causes the problem. It could be a combination of many of them.  We may be damaging our DNA, which will only affect our grandchildren and their children down the line.

The bottom line is that our best line of defense is to try to prevent exposure in the first place. We can’t eliminate all toxins from our lives, but we can minimize our exposure by minimizing their existence in our homes.

The Basics of Going Green

1. Exercise. It’s a great natural detoxifier and its healthy. The more you sweat the more you get out. And of course, drink lots of water. I know, I have trouble with this one too, but it will also teach your child healthy life habits.

2. Start to decrease or eliminate your intake of any drugs.

3. Probably the most obvious tip is to clean up your diet. Cut out the frozen processed foods and opt for more natural options. Also try to avoid GMO’s.

Greening Your Home

1. Green your shopping: The more of us who band together and buy as many green products and foods as we can, the more likely the market is to change toward that trend. Just watch out for false green items. Read the labels and when you have time, research the companies.  There are already states making minor headway towards complete GMO labeling and in Europe it is a reality and it all started with a few families rebelling and sharing their stories.

2. Green your clean: The healthiest moments in my life occurred during high school, and no, it wasn’t just because I was young. My parents were using a set of products from a company called Maleleuca. Everything was organic and based in natural products, but it was prohibitively expensive, which led to me seeking my own homemade alternatives. For example, I clean the kitchen floor with a mix of water, apple cider vinegar and some lemon or orange oil. The vinegar is a natural antibacterial as are the oils and you only have to use a few drops. It saves me a lot of money on cleaning supplies. I plan on one of my future posts being entirely comprised of these sort of recipes.  If you only knew what all the chemicals in our house have already been proven to be linked to, you’d be disgusted. Just look at this link from Sustainable Baby Steps to learn more about bleach.

Here are some safe alternatives. GTC (Greening the Cleaning), Seventh Generation, and Sun & Earth. However, I find many of them too expensive. Hence why I make my own. And trust me there are plenty of articles out there. Here is just one example from Keeper of the Home. It just takes some research to be able to save yourself some money and make your cleaning green.

3. Greening your Kitchen: Step one is a water filter if you don’t already have one. Right now I’m lucky to live with my parents. My mom has a really nice Japanese one that her doctor prescribed her to use. I wish I could afford it. It is called Kangen Water. However, any filtration you can add to your water will help.  Public water is not purified very well at all and often contains fluoride, which while good for your teeth is not proven safe in large doses.

Second, next time you have to break down and buy a new appliance pay a few extra dollars for the energy efficient model.  It will save you on the energy bill later.  Third, opt for stainless steel when your non stick pan wears out. Recent studies indicate that overheated teflon may be a risk to our health. Why take the risk?

Greening your kitchen also includes better food for your family. I know we can’t all afford to go organic. Heck, I can’t even go organic, but I can opt for healthier meals and buy what I can. Particularly be careful of aspartame (which is actually the poo of a bacteria turned to a sugar like substance, corn syrup, excess of sugars, and artificial sweeteners as they have been linked to cancer and other health issues. If you can, also be wary of where your meat products come from as many farms overuse antibiotics, growth hormones and other dangerous toxins. This is one I wish I could do easier in my area, but was so much easier in Louisville.

In my next article we’ll dig a little bit deeper into other ways to go green as a family. Like I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m no saint when it comes to these concepts either. I do the best I can with the resources I have. And I’m constantly trying to add more steps to my repertoire while maintaining my own sanity and a little bit of free time to myself. I would love to do more, but sometimes such things are simply unfeasible. However, even implementing a few of them will help protect your child from potential dangers in your own home.