The Best Natural Remedies For When You’re Under The Weather

At this time of the year, we all go through periods of not feeling at our best. While you might be tempted to throw in the towel and take a day of bed rest, there are a number of ways that you can get back on track and give your health a kick in the right direction. Opting for a natural remedy is a simple way to improve things without resorting to medical extremes. If you feel tired, sick or just a bit slow, try using any of these natural cures. You will be back on your feet in no time and your body will be all the stronger for it!

Sore Throat

We’ve all been there; the temperature drops and all of a sudden we feel the first signs of a sore throat creeping in. Rather than accepting the incoming illness, there are a number of ways you can soothe your scratchy throat and clear away any lingering bacteria that might be making you feel worse. Brewing yourself a cup of chamomile tea with honey will not only help make you feel better; it will also banish any bad stuff that might be contributing to your cold. Chamomile tea is a natural anaesthetic and can work to clear your system of any bacteria. Honey, on the other hand, will coat your throat, helping to ease any pain you might have when swallowing. Your throat will be less inflamed and you’ll feel all the better, all the more quickly.

Tension Headaches

If you’ve been staring at a computer screen for too long or working too hard, you might start to feel the effects of a tension headache creep in. Your best bet to get over the condition is to reduce your stress but unless you’ve got a iron clad mindset, doing so can be easier said than done. Try turning your attention to lavender oil. Step away from your computer, close your eyes and inhale a few drops of lavender oil spread onto a handkerchief. You will soon begin to destress. For the longer term, activities like yoga or meditation can really help, giving you the tools you need to relax when you’re on the go.

Congestion

Blocked airways are one of the worst side effects of a common cold and can really affect the way that you feel. In order to clear up a nasty case of congestion, there are a number of natural cures you can turn to in order to feel all the healthier. Rubbing an essential oil on the bridge of your nose or adding some to a diffuser can help to clear your breathing passages and have you feeling all the clearer. Eucalyptus and peppermint oils are the best options for the job, helping to clear up your problem quickly.

Aches and Pains

Your body can begin to ache for any number of reasons and before long, it might really start to take its toll on your wellbeing. If you need your body back on track fast, try taking a long soak in a bath filled with Epsom salts. Heat therapy is one of the most effective cures out there and can really help to loosen up any tense muscle groups. If you don’t have a bath, applying a hot water bottle to the area in question can work just as well, helping to get your movement back to normal in no time at all.

Nausea

There is nothing quite as debilitating as feeling like you’re going to throw up but not being able to go through with it. If you’re plagued by feelings of nausea, consuming certain foods can actually have you feel all the healthier for it. Both ginger and peppermint are known for their anti-nausea properties, helping to rebalance your body when you’re not feeling your best. Try brewing a cup of ginger or peppermint tea when you’re dealing with sickness or indigestion. You might be surprised at just how effective it is.

Fatigue

We all have times in which we feel more tired than others. Rather than accepting your fatigue as just another fact of life, you can try taking matters into your own hands and boosting your energy levels the natural way. While it might seem counterproductive, a bout of exercise might help to loosen up your body and give you a burst of energy to get going. Certain exercises have been shown to help ease symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Start by stretching gently and gradually up the intensity of your exercise. It might be hard at the time but afterwards, you will feel all the healthier for it.

Dealing With Skin Tags? These Natural Remedies Will Help You Out

Dealing with skin-based problems is something that most people have to do at some point in their lives. From acne to eczema, there is no end to the types of skin issues that can flare up but on the whole, there are a huge number of cures out there to tackle the biggest of problems. When it comes to skin tags, however, there is a serious lack of information about how the treat them. Flesh-colored outgrowths on the skin, skin tags are often confused as warts. While they don’t cause any pain, they are often a source of irritation for the sufferer, growing on a number of parts of the body. Although they might cause a great deal of distress, however, skin tags are easily cured thanks to a set of natural remedies. These home cures can be tried by anyone, helping to beat the issue once and for all.

Tea Tree Oil

A wonder oil against acne and oil build up, tea tree oil can be used for a range of complexion-based issues. When it comes to skin tags, it’s no different, either. Packed full of antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, the oil can safely and effectively get rid of skin problems, helping the complexion to return to normal health. Primarily a drying oil, tea tree can work with skin tags to dry the issue from the inside out. Working its way slowly beneath the skin’s surface, the oil gets to work on the skin cells, helping to remove the issue painlessly over a course of two weeks. Simply rub the oil on the affected area every night, leave it to sink in and watch as your complexion returns to normal.

Oregano Oil

While you might be more accustomed to using oregano as part of your cooking, it can just as easily be used as part of a healthy skincare routine. Oregano oil is an effective natural remedy, helping to get rid of a whole host of issues. The aromatic leaves are packed pull of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, known for helping in the build up of skin tags. While it can take between 2 and 4 weeks, the treatment can be very effective. You need to mix the oil with coconut oil, apply the ointment three times daily to the area and wait for your skin to clear up!

Castor Oil

While castor oil is often an ingredient in common oil-based products, it can safely be incorporated into a balanced skincare routine. When used as a singular ingredient, the oil helps to prevent the growth of bacteria that are associated with skin tags. To treat your complexion with the antibacterial oil, combine it with bicarbonate of soda in order to form a sticky paste. If it’s not pliable enough, try adding in a little citrus oil to reduce the tacky texture. Apply the paste to the area for ten minutes twice a day to let it get to work. Alternatively, you can leave it on overnight, covering the area with a band-aid.

Lemon Juice

Naturally acidic, lemon juice works well as a disinfectant against unwanted bacteria. Thanks to its cleansing properties, lemon juice is an effective agent against the build up of skin tags, helping to improve the quality of the skin. The citric acid in the juice works inside the cells, helping to decompose them as they grow into a new tag. As a powerful disinfectant, the juice can also stop the growth of new cells, helping to keep your skin clear and tag-free.

Apple Cider Vinegar

When it comes to natural cures, apple cider vinegar takes some serious beating. Loaded with antiseptic properties, it can help to fight off a number of skin issues that might build up over time. Apple cider vinegar works to destroy the skin cells that are growing within the tag, helping to get rid of it before it’s even formed. Better yet, it can also get rid of any bacterial overgrowth that might result in itchy skin. To use it as a part of your routine, dab a little onto the affected area with your finger or a cotton ball. It might sting at first, but try to leave the apple cider vinegar on for a few minutes before you remove it. Once it dries, you can wash it off.

5 Ways To Naturally Maintain Your Weight Loss

You’ve stuck to the diet, you’ve done the exercise and now you’ve finally lost all the weight that you set out to do. What’s next? While the process of losing weight can feel like the hardest step, actually knowing how to go on with your life afterwards can be just as big of a deal. Going forwards with no plan or outline to follow is a very scary thing indeed and before long, you might find yourself back where you started all over again. Maintaining weight loss takes a little getting used to but by adapting your routine, it can be easily done. Rather than looking to extreme fixes to show you the way, you can keep a healthy figure through a series of balanced lifestyle changes. You lost the weight in the first place, you can keep it off into the future.

Don’t Call It A Diet

Going on a crash diet and then expecting your life to go on as normal is not likely to happen. Eating routines that promise unhealthily fast results can never be maintained for a long period of time and unfortunately, they often are built up to fail. If you’re serious about leading a healthier life, then try thinking about your eating habits over the long term. Aiming for a healthy and nutritious spread of food can serve you much better, helping you to lose weight gradually over time. Calling something a diet means that it comes with an end point. Instead, think of your new eating habits as lifestyle changes. You can look into new recipes, plan out your meals and research what you’re eating. You’re in it for the long haul.

Don’t Associate Food With Emotions

We’ve all been there, face first in a tub of ice cream after a long and tiring day, but could there be another way? So many of us associate what we eat with how we’re feeling and by doing so, we fail to recognize the importance of what we’re putting into our bodies. Eating to make yourself feel better is only going to warp your relationship with food, making it harder for you to select healthier choices. Rather than cutting out your emotional attachment entirely, try instead changing it up. You should thinking about your food as a source of nourishment and energy, rather than comfort. The more nourished you want to feel, the better you will eat!

Work Out Your Stress Elsewhere

Just as food is often used as a tool to make us feel better, so too can it be used to get through moments of stress. Eating your way through a problem might seem like a good idea but over time, it can simply have negative ramifications. There are other sources of comfort at your disposal. Working through stress via conversation, exercise or meditation is a better use of your time and will have a more effective long term effect. If stress if really getting you down, try making sure you’re getting enough rest, and are following a naturally balanced diet. Your wellbeing starts from the inside out.

Forget About Cheat Days

When you label food as either being “good but uninteresting” or “bad but tasty”, you make a very dangerous distinction. Assuming that because food is healthy, it’s boring will lead you more likely to “cheat” by eating things that simply aren’t good for your health. Allowing yourself cheat days also validates the fact the healthy food you are supposed to be eating really isn’t what you want to be eating, setting up yet another tricky relationship. If you’re struggling to find recipes you really like, try extending your search. There are a ton of simple recipe books out there that include healthier versions of your favorite meals. Just because a dish is healthy, it doesn’t mean that it can’t taste great.

Choose An Activity You Love

Feeling forced to go to the gym is a sure fire way to lose interest in fitness. Loathing working out only makes getting fit a whole lot more difficult and over time, you simply won’t be able to keep up your routine. If you’re struggling with the gym, try taking your exercise elsewhere. You can try signing up for exercise classes, taking up a new sport or even using Youtube videos to work up a sweat. The key is to find something that you really like. Once you do, it will be so much easier to keep on going.

These Essential Oils Could Eliminate Your Stress

Stress. It’s a part of life that many of us would rather do without. However, with hectic working lives and jam packed social calendars, increasing numbers of us are forced to live with constant feelings of anxiety and over time, we might fail to remember what life was like before. Over time, the secondary effects of stress can build up, resulting in chronic health issues and imbalances in psychology. It’s time to make a change. While the foods you eat and the lifestyle you follow can significantly impact your feelings of wellness, there are a number of natural cures that can really help.

Essential oils are an often overlooked area of the health industry but, when used in the right way, their benefits can be numerous. Using certain types of oils as part of a healthy routine can help you to nip your anxiety in the bud and before long, you might be feeling better than normal. Stress might be a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be forever. You can make a change and improve your health for the better.

Rose

If everything is getting too much, a few moments with rose essential oil ought to set you right. Renowned for its calming and uplifting properties, the natural product can effectively help to diminish feelings of stress, making it easier for you to work through your troubles. If you’re going to be facing a particularly stressful day, try dabbing a little of the oil on a handkerchief or piece of cloth. When things get too much, you can take a deep breath. Things might look all the more rosy in no time at all.

Lavender

A classic calming oil, lavender has been used for years as a way of dealing with moments of tension. The most popular and renowned calming essence out there, lavender is most effective in moments of extreme tension or anxiety, offering a brief respite from the situation. If you’re dealing with chronic stress, adding a few drops of the essential oil to your bath can help your body and mind to relax. Doing this over the course of a few days might help to clear your mind and help you to solve any problem that comes your way!

Cedar Wood

When you’re feeling tense, you hold the world on your back. Tension in the mind can often lead to tension in the muscles and over time, it can start to affect the way that you hold yourself. When you’re looking for a way to really relax, essential oils can be all that it takes. Cedar wood is particularly effective in matters of the body, helping to soothe your muscles and work out any knots that might have built up. Put a few drops in a bath or on your pillow before you go to sleep. You will drift off like a baby and wake up feeling seriously refreshed!

Jasmine

Dealing with a “to do” list as long as your arm when you feel stressed can be a huge hurdle. Feelings of stress and heavy work schedules can cancel each other out and before long, you might be staring at your pile of work with no idea as to where to start. Essential oils can help you out. Jasmine is one of the most effective natural products in the fight against inactivity, giving you a push to get going. The oil is believed to give users a feeling of productivity and happiness which can be conducive to an effective work mentality. A few drops of the stuff on your pressure points can be all that it takes to help you get going!

Sandalwood

If fears of the future are clouding your judgment, you need to turn to sandalwood. Naturally clarifying, the oil is believed to help to clear the mind and promote a sense of harmony. Better yet, sandalwood can help in the fight against your fears and bring about a mildly sedative effect. If you’re trying to get over a point of worry, sandalwood is the answer for which you’ve been searching!

The Natural Way To Relieve Stress

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(source: pexels.com)

With daily pressures mounting up, it’s easy to let stress get the better of you. Taking time out in which to relax and breathe might not be something you get to do regularly and as a result, becoming accustomed to tension is incredibly easy to do. While acclimatizing to stress is a perfectly normal part of modern life over time, it can have adverse side effects on your health, putting unnecessary pressure on both your body and mind. Luckily, however, there is another way. If you’re looking to realign your inner calm, then it might be time to take a few tips from mother nature. Simple, accessible and entirely natural, these stress relievers will have you feeling better in no time at all, no medication required.

Meditation

A relaxation method on the rise, meditation has become increasingly popular in recent years. If you’re new to the whole thing, you can try listening to mindful meditation podcasts, which will talk you through the breathing process and help you to get your mind to focus elsewhere. Better yet, taking recorded clips like this with you on the go means that you can tap into your little area of calm, wherever you might be. Simply by practising meditation for 10 minutes every day, you can significantly reduce your levels of stress and deal more effectively with anxiety in the future. A little meditation and you might be ready to take on anything the world throws your way.

Exercise

Naturally raising your heart rate is one of the best ways to increase the levels of endorphins in your body and release any tension you have built up over the day. Getting involved in endurance sports like running or swimming can help to relieve your body of any stresses and enable your mind to focus more effectively, making solving any problems much more simple. Exercising after work can be one of the best ways in which to unwind from the day’s stresses and prepare yourself for the rest of the week. Good for your body and better for your mind, exercise really can be a miracle cure!

Chamomile Tea

There’s nothing like a cup of tea and when you’re feeling stressed, chamomile can be just the ticket. Components in the plant are known to help calm feelings of stress and tension by attaching themselves to receptors in the brain. Better yet, people who take chamomile supplements over a period of time have been found to have decreased levels of anxiety and a boosted sense of well being. When you feel tension rising, reach for the tea pot.

Passion Flower

Do you have trouble switching off at night? You might just need the healing power of passion flower. While the supplement is often used as a cure against insomnia, it has also been found to be incredibly effective against anxiety and tension, helping to relieve symptoms of sufferers. When taken once a day just before you go to bed, passion flower can help your brain to wind down and your body to relax, leading to a more restful night’s sleep. Better sleep might just lead to a better you!

Lavender

Just one sniff of fragrant lavender and you might be feeling remarkably less stressed. Known as an “emotional” anti-inflammatory, the flower can effectively help to alleviate feelings of tension or anxiety in sufferers, leaving them with clearer minds. While you might like to leave the flower around your house, you can also inhale the plant through its natural oil in times of stress. For a calming boost when you’re on the go, try dabbing a handkerchief or item of clothing with a little of the oil; you might find dealing with stress a whole lot more easy.

While stress is something that we all have to deal with, it doesn’t have to be a part of everyday life and simply by incorporating these natural cures into your regime, you can lessen the effects of anxiety in your daily life. Tension gets the best of all of us but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be beaten. All you need is a little natural calm in your life and things might begin to look remarkably more rosy. Simple!

Miracle Maker: The Health Benefits Of Aloe Vera

These days, there are even more of us than ever looking to get on a health kick and thanks to a boosted interest in clean living, active lifestyles and enhanced wellness, getting on the healthy straight and narrow has never been easier. When it comes to healthy lifestyles, then you would be hard pressed to find a plant as good for your body and mind than aloe vera. Great for your skin and even better for your body, aloe vera is practically a miracle worker and whether you incorporate it into your diet naturally or through supplements, making it a part of your routine could pay off in big ways down the line.

Still not convinced? This might just change your mind.

Promotes Healthy Digestion

Do you ever get that sluggish feeling after eating a big meal when your food seems to be sitting on top of your stomach? Feelings of bloatedness could be related to poor digestion in the gut and, when left to manifest for long periods of time, they could lead to a dip in energy levels, pain in the abdomen and poorer health. If you’re on the hunt for a plant that can really work, then aloe vera might be the thing for you. Known to help soothe the digestive tract and reduce inflammation in the gut, the plant can significantly improve poor digestion and leave you feeling decidedly healthier down the line. Decreasing bad bacteria in the gut and keeping things working smoothly, aloe vera is a great natural cure both against IBS and acid reflux.

Improves Heart Health

Want to keep your ticker in tip top form? You might just need to enlist the help of aloe vera. Although recent studies are still in their infancy, they have suggested that when it is injected into the blood, aloe vera extract can massively enhance the oxygen transportation efficiency in red blood capillaries, in turn leading to a healthier, more oxygenated blood stream. Team that with the fact that the plant can help to regulate blood pressure and blood circulation, and you’re on to a real winner.

Boosts The Immune System

There comes a time of year when no matter how healthy a lifestyle we might follow, we begin to pick up a number of coughs, colds and flu viruses. Maintaining a healthy immune system is all part and parcel of staying in good form and while picking up a seasonal cold here and there is something that is hard to avoid, we can boost our ability to fight off infection at a more effective rate by making aloe vera a part of our routines. Known to help boost the production of white blood cells inside the body, aloe vera can help to improve health by increasing our body’s illness-fighting powers. Better yet, the plant is known to be high in antioxidants which work wonders in preventing against diseases by fighting off free radicals inside the body. A better level of general health? Yes please!

Soothes Skin Problems

Suffering from persistent acne or burns on the skin’s surface can feel like a losing battle and no matter the number of chemical cures on the market, actually finding something that works can feel like a full time job. Enter aloe vera. Packed full of nutrients that help to heal wounds, soothe the skin and relieve pain and itching, the plant can really transform the quality of your skin. That’s not all, either; the plant can help to stop bleeding from cuts and grazes, improve the elasticity in the skin’s surface and help to keep your body well moisturized. That’s no mean feat for a little plant.

Detoxifies The Body

Want to boost your all round health? Aloe vera will do it for you. Known as a gelatinous plant food, aloe vera can help to absorb any toxins that might be hanging around inside your gut and digestive system, effectively removing them from your body through the colon. Taken on a regular basis, aloe vera can help to regularly flush any nasty extras from your body, boosting your internal health and enhancing your feeling of wellness.

Good for your skin, great for your heart and working wonders on your internal systems, aloe vera might just be the plant that has it all. The only thing left is for you to make it a part of your diet and see the benefits for yourself!

Beware the Beauty Products

Chemicals in cosmetics and beauty products can wreak havoc on your hormones.

 

What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. Even if you buy your groceries at Whole Foods, get your pesticide-free produce at the local farmers market and have purged your kitchen cabinets of artificial flavors, you may still be exposing yourself to hazardous chemicals everyday. Many cosmetics and personal care products contain endocrine system disruptors, which may lead to health issues like allergies, infertility, and even cancer.

The endocrine system is made up of all the glands in the body that produce hormones. These hormones control our sexual function, reproduction, metabolism, growth, development, tissue function, sleep, and mood. Endocrine disruptors interfere with the normal functioning of hormones and can affect the reproductive, neurological and immune systems.

Although numerous government-funded studies have linked a variety of health problems to endocrine disruptors, the Food and Drug Administration still claims they are safe. These chemicals are widely used in cosmetics, fragrance, hair products, soaps, toothpaste and sunscreens. They probably show up as ingredients in many of the lotions and potions sitting in your medicine cabinet right now.

Even if you’ve unknowingly used products containing these hazardous chemicals for years, you can quickly reduce their levels in your body by cleaning up your medicine cabinet and detoxing from dangerous beauty products. A recent study shows that taking even a short break from using products with endocrine disruptors can lead to significant decreases in their levels in the body.

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas gave 100 teenage girls personal care products claiming to be free of endocrine system disruptors. Urine samples were analyzed before and after a three-day period in which the teens used the chemical-free products. After just three days, there were considerable reductions in the levels of the chemicals in the subjects’ bodies.

Metabolites of a phthalate used in fragrances dropped 27 percent after the 3-day period. Both triclosan and benzophenone-3 fell 36 percent. Methyl and propyl parabens decreased 44 and 45 percent respectively.

“Seeing the drop in chemical levels after just three days shows that simple actions can be taken, such as choosing products with fewer chemicals, and make a difference,” said study co-author Maritza Cárdenas in a news release from UC Berkeley.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors in the personal care products you use.

1. Learn what to look for on labels, then read carefully.

Always examine the list of ingredients before buying. Look out for the following:

Phthalates: Sometimes referred to as “plasticizers”, phthalates are used in PVC plastics, solvents, and synthetic fragrances. They’ve been linked to reproductive system problems such as low sperm count, decreased sperm motility and genital abnormalities.

Parabens: Used as preservatives in makeup and beauty products, parabens have been detected in breast cancer tumors and are known to mimic estrogen in the body by binding to estrogen receptors. Be careful – if an ingredient has “ethyl,” “butyl,” “methyl,” and “propyl” in the name, it’s from the paraben family, even if “paraben” isn’t explicitly written out.

Triclosan: Commonly found in products labeled “antibacterial”, triclosan is added to many products to decrease the risk of bacterial contamination. It may contribute to liver toxicity and thyroid dysfunction. Also beware of triclocarban, a cousin of triclosan.

Oxybenzone: A chemical that is nearly ubiquitous in sunscreens, oxybenzone penetrates the skin and may cause allergic reactions. Like parabens, it is estrogenic and mimics estrogen in the body. Animal studies have shown that oxybenzone alters sperm production. It’s also associated with endometriosis in women.

2. Do your research before you buy.

Two helpful websites are the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Skin Deep and GoodGuide. Each site rates tens of thousands of beauty products according to the safety of their ingredients. They also list the ingredients in each product and indicate which may be harmful and why. The Good Guide ranks each product not just for health safety, but also its societal and environmental impact.

3. Skip the scent.

Synthetic fragrances often contain phthalates. If you absolutely must have scented products, opt for those made with essential oils only.

4. Avoid “antibacterial”.

Antibacterial products are a double whammy: they expose you to the dangers of triclosan and the FDA has warned consumers that they encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Basically, they’re a lose-lose.

5. Ditch big-name manufacturers and buy artisanal beauty brands.

Small-batch cosmetics and personal care products are often made by hand and use only natural, organic ingredients.

6. Discover how to DIY.

Become your own small-batch beauty products manufacturer! There’s no better way to know exactly what’s in the products you use than to make them with your own two hands. Do a little digging on the internet and you’ll find many recipes for homemade makeup, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, moisturizer and soap.

7. Look for the EWG VERIFIED™ mark on the label.

To carry this mark, the company that manufactures the product must provide EWG with additional information beyond what’s on the label. EWG’s strict vetting process ensures that the product is free of toxins and preserved properly, and that the company is transparent with customers about ingredients and manufacturing procedures.

 

Article sources:

Darbre, R. Journal of Applied Toxicology, January-February 2004; vol 24(1): pp 5-13.

EWG: “The Trouble with Sunscreen Chemicals”

FDA: “FDA Taking Closer Look at ‘Antibacterial’ Soap”

FDA: “Parabens”

NIH: “Endocrine Disruptors”

News release, University of California, Berkeley