From allergies to aches and skincare to gut health: Here are seven holistic helpers for an overall healthier lifestyle.
Holistic health is an approach to wellness that focuses on a person—physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually, sometimes even occupationally and financially. This ancient concept is founded on the belief that in order to maintain an overall good quality of life, one must adopt a positive lifestyle; in addition to the incorporation of naturally cultivated preventive therapies. Take a look at these seven holy grails for epitomizing an all-embracing well-being.
Echinacea is a plant derived from the purple coneflower (in the daisy family) that helps to boost your immune system.
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Immune System Support
As an anti-infection agent, echinacea is great for preventing viruses. It is available in number of different forms—tablets, tinctures, extracts, teas and lollipops.
2. Herbal Tea
Composed of herbs, spices, seeds, roots or fruits and steeped in hot water, brewed herbal teas are a unique combination of antioxidants and vitamins.
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Herbal tea contains calming properties that have been proven to relax and refresh the mind. Depending on the blend, tea can act as a mild medicant and treat certain mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Drinking herbal tea as a home remedy for symptoms related to the common cold or flu is an age-old antidotal practice. Some of the best teas for providing congestion relief are green tea, lemon-ginger tea, elderberry tea, echinacea tea, peppermint tea, eucalyptus tea, turmeric tea and herbal tea with honey.
Menstrual Pain Reduction
A painful menstruation can make completing a simple task incredibly dreadful. Luckily, those pesky period pains can be soothed by drinking herbal tea with peppermint, ginger, fennel, cramp bark, dandelion root, turmeric or cinnamon.
Digestion and Detoxification
There are a variety of herbs and roots that can be brewed or boiled in order to cleanse the body of toxins. For digestion and detoxification purposes consider drinking ginger tea, lemon tea, oolong tea, peppermint tea, dandelion root tea, licorice root tea, black tea and green tea.
Honey is a nutritious, natural sweetener with the ability to reduce inflammation, improve immune function and promote healing.
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Whether it’s remedied orally or topically, honey is commonly used for its healthfulness. Its anti-inflammatory properties makes it quite the healer for infections and injuries.
Several studies have suggested that honey may be more effective at taming nighttime coughs than some over-the-counter cough medicines. Many cough medicines are not safe for younger children to take, so honey may be a good alternative for children over the age of one.
Honey is a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial agent. It contains hydrogen peroxide and glucose oxidase and has a low pH level, which means it can kill harmful bacteria and fungi.
Researchers believe the “healing powers” in honey come from its ability to nourish surrounding tissue. Manuka honey, alone, would suffice as a facial mask to clear acne and heal acne scars.
High-quality honey contains many important antioxidants. Antioxidants have been linked to reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer; in addition to lowering blood pressure and improving cholesterols.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has an abundance of healthful attributes, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.
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Apple cider vinegar is a popular preservative. It has been used for years as a pickling agent because of its acidity’s ability to preserve foods and inhibit microorganism growth.
The main substance in apple cider vinegar—acetic acid—can kill harmful pathogens or prevent them from multiplying. Its potency is the reason it is used for cleaning, disinfecting and treating bacteria-causing contagions such as nail fungus, warts and ear infections. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar to clean wounds more than 2,000 years ago.
When diluted and applied topically, apple cider vinegar can rebalance the skin‘s natural pH and improve the skin’s protective barrier, which can help treat a number of skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and eczema. The general recipe is to mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water and pour onto a cotton pad then gently smooth into skin. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to try a patch test on your hand with a more diluted solution before directly applying it to your face.
An apple cider vinegar hair rinse is often done to cleanse the scalp, strengthen hair and improve hair luster. This rinse can also help with scalp irritations and infections such as dandruff, psoriasis and lice. To make the rinse, mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water and massage the mixture into your hair; leave it in for a few minutes before washing it out. If you have sensitive skin, then you should try doing this with a weaker dilution first, as the vinegar is quite acidic.
Although there is very little research to prove apple cider vinegar to be a magical fat melter, it does seem to posses properties that could potentially support one’s weight-loss efforts. For instance, in quite a few studies, it was revealed that apple cider vinegar has the ability to increase feelings of fullness, which can lead to a person consuming fewer calories, ultimately, reducing belly fat.
Blood Sugar Management
Research suggests apple cider vinegar can treat type 2 diabetes and regulate blood sugar and insulin levels after meals. A small study in people with diabetes reported that consuming 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime reduced fasting blood sugar by 4% the following morning.
A common dosage for apple cider vinegar ranges from 1 to 2 tablespoons (15–30 mL) per day, either used in cooking or mixed in a glass of water. Some dietitians recommend using organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that contains “the mother”. Bragg’s seems to be the most popular option; however, several other varieties are also available.
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an amazing superfood that contains a unique combination of fatty acids (an important source of body fuel) that widely benefits your health. In order to experience all of its perks, be sure to choose organic, virgin coconut oil rather than the refined versions.
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Scientists suspect that coconut oil can reduce hunger. Its interesting effect on hunger may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized.
Some of the fatty acids found in coconut oil can reduce one’s appetite, while others may promote increased fat burning, helping with weight loss. In a 12-week study in 40 women with abdominal obesity, those who took 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of coconut oil per day had a significant reduction in both Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference.
If you have dandruff or dry hair, coconut oil is full of fatty acids that can improve these conditions. A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil is the only oil that can prevent hair damage and protein loss because it penetrates inside the hair shaft.
Teeth & Gum Protection
Ever heard of oil pulling? It’s the act of swishing oil around the mouth as a method of cleansing bacteria and healing periodontal disease. Basically, the oil lifts and removes the bacteria from the surfaces within the mouth, reducing the risk of gum disease. Experts recommend coconut oil pulling 3 times a week for 5-10 minutes a day to protect your mouth and its valuable contents.
Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin. It has a natural SPF of 4-5 and contains antioxidants that help protect the skin from the sun’s harmful radiation.
There are many life-enhancing uses for coconut oil but one of the most fun takes place in the bedroom. Because it is anti-fungal and antibacterial, it does a great job at preventing yeast infections—unlike riskier foods (e.g. whipped cream). As with any oil, coconut oil shouldn’t be used with latex condoms because it will weaken the latex, resulting in breaks, tears and potentially children.
Coconut oil can help in maintaining an important balance of hormones because it contains lauric acid (a saturated fatty acid often found in vegetable fats that has crazy good healing effects). Studies have suggested that coconut oil may have a positive effect on estrogen levels and also may be an excellent fat to consume during menopause.
Microbial Growth Control
Around half of the fatty acids in coconut oil are lauric acid. Lauric acid is particularly good at killing bacteria, viruses, and fungi; therefore, it’s great in helping the body fight off infections when used externally. When you ingest coconut oil, it reacts with enzymes to forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin. This substance has been shown to kill the bacteria and very dangerous pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, which causes staph infections and the yeast, Candida albicans, which is a common source of yeast infections.
A spoonful twice a day will keep the doctors away. If swallowing a tablespoon of lard is too daunting, you can melt it down and pour it into your coffee, tea or smoothie. Another option is incorporating it into your meals by spreading it on toast or using it as a cooking/baking medium.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is the thick, short-stemmed medical plant best known for treating skin injuries, but it has several other uses that could potentially contribute to your health.
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Aloe vera has a long history of preventing infections and treating sores and burns, particularly sunburns. Studies suggest that it is an effective topical treatment for first and second degree burns. Preliminary studies found that aloe vera can reduce the healing time of burns by around 9 days.
There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that topical aloe vera gel can help the skin retain moisture and improve skin integrity, which can benefit many skin conditions. Studies have also suggested that topical aloe vera gel can slow aging of the skin and improve skin elasticity.
Extracted from the leaves of the plant, aloe vera juice can be a low-calorie alternative to sugary drinks and fruit juices. The juice can be consumed directly or mixed in with other beverages. However, be sure to check the labeling for the nutrition facts and ingredients before purchasing.
7. Breast Milk
Breast milk, or “liquid gold,” is mother nature’s wonder-food and can be a great alternative to traditional medicine, thanks to its antimicrobial properties.
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Breastmilk soap is especially useful for babies whose skin is sensitive to commercially produced soaps. Breastmilk soap makers often add coconut oil, essential oils, glycerin and honey to the mix. Because it is made with natural ingredients, it is gentle on sensitive skin.
Some moms say “just squirt some breastmilk on it” anytime a cut or rash appears on a baby’s skin. However, that can get messy and doesn’t always stay on for long periods of time, which is where the creamy balm comes in. As a lotion, breastmilk can be more effectively applied to the skin to help clear up eczema, acne, diaper rashes as well as minor cuts and scrapes.
- Teething: Breast milk ice lollies, or “momsicles,” are a delight when it comes to teething breastfed babies. They work best with baby ice pop molds or you can use an ice cube tray and top each one with a pacifier for the handle. They can last in the freezer for about six months, too.
- Insect Bites: Because of its soothing and antibacterial properties, breast milk can be used to treat those pesky little bug bites. First, add some water to your breast milk to make it “cloudy.” Then, apply a breast milk ice cube directly on the affected area for some cool relief.
- Eye Infections: It’s quite common for newborns to get eye infections and pink eye (conjunctivitis). However, a little-known midwifery secret has been to directly treat the affected eye with breast milk a few times a day, as needed.
- Ear Infections: Break milk has also been believed to help heal ear infections.
- Application: You can either squirt a little right into baby’s eye/ear or you can put some expressed milk into a dropper and administer it.
- Acne: While there are mixed reviews, some mothers have had success with using breast milk to treat their pregnancy acne and their baby’s acne.
- Diaper Rash: A 2013 study in the journal Pediatric Dermatology found that breast milk was just as effective as hydrocortisone on babies with diaper dermatitis, a.k.a. a diaper rash.
- Cradle Cap: Aside from using it for skin inflammations, mothers find that breast milk can help with their baby’s scaly scalp. So, cheers to a clear future!
Now, that you know my top seven natural remedies, tell me yours in the comments!
Have A Beautiful Day ✨