- Alternative & Natural Medicine
5 Natural Remedies (that actually work)
Peppermint (and all other varieties of mint, really) has numerous uses, from settling an upset stomach to increasing alertness. In a recent NASA study in which 25 college students were asked to use a driving simulator, chewing mint gum or eating peppermint candies was shown to lower anxiety by 20%, decrease frustration by 25%, and - unexpectedly - made the ride seem shorter to all involved. Peppermint is also well-known, and recommended by doctors, as a great cure for indigestion. Drinking a cup or two of peppermint tea can help settle an upset stomach immediately. It should be mentioned, however, that if your stomach ache is the result of acid reflux, mint can actually make it worse, so keep that in mind before reaching for the tea.
Cloves, particularly powdered cloves and clove oil, work as both an antiseptic and pain reliever. Tooth pain can be alleviated by rubbing clove oil on the gums, packing a cut with powdered clove will help stave off infection and numb the wound, and a bit of clove powder in the shoes and on the feet can combat athlete's foot (and foot odour!). The science behind clove working in all these ways is eugenol - a chemical compound that acts as an antiseptic and anaesthetic. Eugenol is found in several spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and basil, but is much more highly concentrated in clove.
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3. Cranberry Juice
For a long time, the jury was out on whether cranberry juice actually helped prevent and cure urinary tract infections. Recent research, however, seems to put the argument to rest: the berries contain proanthocyanidins, which have been proven to prevent E. coli from attaching to the bladder wall and causing infection.
Many of us have heard that oatmeal soothes skin, but does it really? According to doctors, yes, it absolutely does. Oats, particularly when finely ground and then either applied as a paste or poured into a bath, have an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effect. This effect can soothe several skin conditions, including eczema, sunburns, psoriasis, rashes, and swelling.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda has an almost never-ending list of uses, from cleaning to deodorizing to whitening. As a home remedy, it serves as a great tooth whitener and breath freshener: add a teaspoon to a glass of water and swish like mouthwash, or make a toothpaste out of a teaspoon of baking soda, a drop of peppermint oil, a teaspoon of water, and a pinch of salt. A gargle of baking soda and water can also help neutralize heartburn. The reason it works: baking soda neutralizes acids and has an abrasive quality, which helps to polish and disinfect.