Best Natural Remedies for the 15 Most Common Aches, Pains and Health Complaints

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Is the economy beating you up? It’s time to get creative. Next time you have an ache or pain, forget about a costly trip to the drugstore and test drive some of your grandmother’s remedies instead. It’ll save money and be gentler on your body and the environment. Recessionistas (and Gents), welcome to the DIY medicine cabinet.

Indigestion and Heartburn

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It almost goes without saying – but consider why you’re getting heartburn in the first place. Did you overeat? Too much grease or spicy food? Eating late at night? Scout out the cause and try to stop this before it happens. Then, put down the antacids. The belching, bloat and heartburn caused by indigestion come about because you don’t have enough stomach acid to do the job right. A spoonful or two of apple cider vinegar will help break down the excess food that is causing you trouble and bring your stomach back to balance.

Sore Throat

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Sore, scratchy throats are usually a sign of a cold or flu coming on, so you don’t want to ignore this symptom, but you can relieve the pain by gargling with warm salt water a few times a day and then drinking a soothing honey-lemon tea.

Sore Muscles and Bruises

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After a hard afternoon of rowing with a friend, I resigned myself to a few days of burning muscles and soreness. But my friend saved the day with a tube of arnica cream. He rubbed it on my shoulders and voila, instant relief and absolutely no aches the next day. The humble arnica flower makes an incredible cream that no medicine cabinet should be without. Use it immediately to speed up the healing of bruises, sprains, sore muscles and other general aches.

Stop Bleeding

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You’d think it would burn, but a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on a cut will quickly stop the bleeding and actually relieve the pain.

Ear Infections

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Ear infections can become quite serious and cause permanent damage, so please see a doctor if your ear ache has become severe. But if you feel like your infection is mild and at the beginning stages, put a few drops of garlic oil or white vinegar into your ear canal and lay down on the opposite side to let those drops do their work. Garlic and vinegar create an environment that won’t support the bacteria causing the infection. Repeat a few times a day until the symptoms disappear. (If your symptoms last longer than a few days, you should definitely see a doctor!)

Burns

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So you bumped up against the stove again? Ouch. Rinse first with cold water, but then immediately apply aloe vera gel to the burn. For those of us who don’t have aloe in the house, slice a potato and rub its cool, soothing juices all over the burn. And honey, with its antibacterial properties, is also good topical ointment. If you can catch the burn immediately, mustard is also reportedly a great salve.

Athlete’s Foot

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It’s a foot fungus, and it stinks. Air those piggies, then soak them in salty water, wash them with garlic juice, or soak them with diluted white or apple cider vinegar. All of these things will help kill the fungus. But you have to be persistent, consistent and diligent: no matter what treatment you use, do it a few times a day and stick with it until at least a week after you think the symptoms are gone! Fungus excels at hiding out and coming back when you least expect it.

Rashes and Allergies

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Prescription and OTC antihistamines can cause some serious side effects. Before you head for the strong stuff, try green tea, which contains compounds with antihistamine properties. You’ll need to drink 2-3 cups a day to get the full effect.

Acne and Sensitive Skin

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First you really have to look at your lifestyle, because imbalances in your health can show up in your skin. But in the meantime, wash your face with oatmeal. It’s a gentle exfoliant and draws out oil and impurities.

Flatulence

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Some foods, like beans and raw veggies, are more likely to cause gas, but if you find flatulence to be too common of an occurrence, try taking a digestive enzyme with your meals. You can find these at any health food store. In the meantime, make use of digestive spices such as ginger, anise, peppermint, coriander and dill. You can make tea with these ingredients or incorporate them into your food.

Headache and Migraine

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Try rubbing peppermint or lavender oil on your temples and the base of your neck; sniffing these oils may also help. Rub a fresh cut lemon or lime on your forehead. Feverfew is a good herbal remedy for headaches. Have a little caffeine by way of green tea, and don’t forget to use an ice pack for 20 minutes to dull the throbbing.

Dandruff

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Have you looked at the ingredients in dandruff shampoo? It seems like they contain almost everything in the Toxic Ingredients You Must Avoid list. Better to try something natural first before resorting to chemicals. Many people swear by rubbing aloe vera gel onto the scalp (leave it on for 20 minutes than rinse it out). This will certainly help with dry, itchy scalp. Another remedy is a rinse with apple cider vinegar. Try these remedies a few times before deciding if they work for you. Even dandruff shampoo requires regular use to see results, so give the natural stuff a chance!

Nausea

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The classic cure for nausea or carsickness is ginger tea or candied ginger. You can chew on the stuff raw, if you like, but it’s so spicy and strong it might just make you feel worse. Sniffing real peppermint or lavender oil can also help.

Constipation. First (and we’ll spare you a picture), drink more water and eat more fruit and salads. You’re backed up for a reason and taking lots of laxatives is not the answer. Meanwhile, drinking a few teaspoons of olive oil mixed with a bit of orange or (diluted) lemon juice can help things get moving. Another surefire remedy is 1/4 teaspoon of epsom salts drunk in 1/2 a glass of water. Sometimes calorie restriction or avoidance of healthy fats (such as the good fats found in fish, nuts and avocados) can worsen constipation. And though it’s counterintuitive, some people relieve their constipation by actually cutting back on grain consumption! True, grains contain fiber, but some people don’t digest grains very well. Other causes of constipation include stress, depression, inactivity and nutritional deficiencies. If your constipation is chronic, it may be a sign of a more serious problem, so please seek medical advice and adjust your lifestyle.

Toothache. There’s nothing so bad as the shooting pain of a toothache. You don’t want to ignore a tooth problem, because an infection that close to your brain can be extremely dangerous if it spreads. But in order to reduce swelling and pain while you wait for your dentist appointment, try putting a few drops of clove oil on your tooth and gums, and bite down on a smashed piece of garlic (which has excellent antibacterial properties). This has always worked for me.

Give some of these remedies a try – and share your own tried-and-true treatments, too.

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DISCUSSION

56 thoughts on “Best Natural Remedies for the 15 Most Common Aches, Pains and Health Complaints

  1. Pingback: Natural Remedy For Dandruff « Holistic Healing in Mexico

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  3. Pingback: Natural Remedy For a Toothache « Holistic Healing in Mexico

  4. Pingback: Natural Remedies: Arnica Cream « Holistic Healing in Mexico

  5. Pingback: Natural Remedy for Indigestion and Heartburn « Holistic Healing in Mexico

  6. These tips are good but I think eating a balanced diet and doing regular exercise is the best way to avoid any kind of body aches.

  7. Are you suffering from ear infections?nnIf you are suffering from ear infection then you should put a few drops of ngarlic oiln or nwhite vinegarn into your ear canal and lay down on the opposite side to let those drops do their work. n n

  8. Pingback: Garden”weeds” amazing to eat or use as medicine « Homeopathyginatyler's Blog

  9. When I was a child my mother always used warm oil in our ears to relieve the pain from an ear infection. It worked wonders. I have switched and now use this on my canine friends. I smash a garlic clove and place into olive oil and heat in the microwave. Let cool (so it is not too hot – just warm) and use an eyedropper to place in your dog’s ears. Works for them just like it did for me.

  10. As a farmer these are the drugs in my medicine cabinet.

    Patience is needed for these:- change plaster every day or so.

    A slice of garlic or garlic juice on a plaster will remove a wart.

    A paste of garlic juice and turmeric on a plaster will remove some moles.

    Honey on a plaster will heal cuts, scrapes and puncture wounds from barbed wire. I sometimes mix garlic with it for extra oomph.

    White vinegar will take away the pain from stings, and the itch from chigger bites.

    When my sciatica plays up after a long day on the tractor I take two ginger capsules every few hours and the pain goes away.

    Apple cider vinegar makes an amazing rinse for keeping hair thick and healthy and dandruff at bay.

  11. Hi everyone, let me preface this by saying i absolutely do not participate in or condone recreational drug use.
    what i do condone is using what has been in my experience the absolute fastest and most effective way to cure headaches, stomach pains, nausea, anxiety, cramps and muscle pains: smoking cannabis.
    this is the medicine of the future. smoking cannabis is not that bad for you, because unlike nicotine, the chemicals in marijuana do not contain carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). in fact, some studies show that smoking a small amount of cannabis throughout life actually significantly reduces the risk of some cancers.
    think about it. it’s simply a plant with medicinal qualities, just like aloe or goji berries. if smoking doesn’t work for you, you can bake with it too and get very satisfactory medicinal effects.
    this isn’t about getting high anymore. this wonder-plant needs to be legalized so that we can heal ourselves organically and without all the big pharma products.
    thanks for reading, ask me questions:
    michael.stellpflug@gmail.com

  12. When I was a child my mother always used warm oil in our ears to relieve the pain from an ear infection. It worked wonders. I have switched and now use this on my canine friends. I smash a garlic clove and place into olive oil and heat in the mircrowave. Let cool (so it is not too hot – just warm) and use an eyedropper to place in your dog’s ears. Works for them just like it did for me.

  13. When I was on holiday and tried to buy some medicine for a bad case of diarrhea, the pharmacist told me to buy an apple, grate it up and eat it immediately (before it goes brown).

    Works better than anything else, and totally natural.

  14. Mint is also great for mild nausea and sour stomach too. If you’re out and about, chewing mint gum usually does the trick!

  15. another 2 cents worth:
    eat some raw celery or celery salt in a pinch ;>)
    for headaches & pat Yourself on the head six times
    [according to TraditionalChineseMed, the latter releases the excess energy]

  16. Pingback: Best Natural Remedies For Common Aches and Pains. | a bowl of fun

  17. Really like this article. I wanted to add a couple of things: For minor burns or scalds (in addition to the suggested aloe), try an organic lavender essential oil direct – I use the dropper and allow 1-3 drops to fall directly on the burn (depending on its size). I’m not kidding, it’s a natural analgesic – the pain is gone in just a few seconds and it lasts ages. The other thing I wanted to mention was how potent tea tree or lemongrass essential oils are on athlete’s foot. If you add a few drops to a foot bath, a few drops to some carrier oil and massage into the toes etc., and a simple neat drop on any nail fungus, you’ll be amazed at the results. Cheers!

  18. Pingback: ***The GirlieGirl Army*** » Blog Archive » Pill Pop And You Don’t Stop: FDA may ban Vicoden and Percocet!

  19. The garlic in the ear really does work for an ear infection! I don’t use the oil though, I just chop a sliver off a garlic clove and stick it halfway into my ear. It’s a very cheap, easy and effective remedy for an ear infection.

  20. ~

    Hey Simmons, something else that is effective for hot/spicy food relief is plain yogurt. Much better than cold water or anything, dairy seem to neutralize the heat in food. But keep ‘er plain.

    Courtney, I know that for diarrhea what works is to grate an apple and eat it. That works because the grating brings out the pectin and it’s the pectin that helps.

    Arnica has been used in Europe for centuries. It’s great on bruises.

    Witch hazel is good to have on hand as well. Nice on the skin after shaving. And will actually prevent hemorrhoids

    This isn’t a remedy but more of a tip: If you need a personal lubricant, shaving gel, massage gel etc. take some flax seed, soak them in boiled water for about 15 min. then simmer for about 15 min. let settle and strain whilst hot. store in a jar in the fridge with a bit of hydrogen peroxide in it to keep it fresher longer – it does go off. handle with clean utensils.
    I use about 2 parts water to seed, but experiment to get the thickness you want.

    Hydrogen peroxide is also a great thing to keep on hand.

  21. this was one of the best articles I have ever seen, great pictures to compliment the great advice.

  22. Thanks for the post, you think these simple remedies would be something everyone would know but in today’s world of over the counter fixes it’s easy to forget.

    I know a few of these remedies I will be doing tonight to try and get over this horrible cold I’ve been battling!

  23. the apple a day saying, is there now the science to explain why. Great fibre and vitamins but is there more to it than that

  24. Pingback: Natural Remedies for Common Health Problems « Thriftify

  25. After watching my father, I believe dandruff shampoo may cause dandruff. Hmm. I cannot back such a claim with science.

    S.Smith’s last blog post..Manners

  26. really awesome post there. i did not know that about cayenne. you would think that would burn like crazy.

  27. Great tip on apple cider vinegar. It sounds like a vinegar substance might exacerbate heart burn, but it really does work to help ease digestion and make everything run a little more smoothly.

  28. Some of these natural remedies are very effective and I’ve tried some of them.
    Thanks for the complete list.

  29. I found that while I was pregnant, I was constantly plagued by “morning sickness.” My mother told me to try ginger-anything…tea,cookies,candies, ect. However, my mother-in-law had me try peeled apple slices (they have to be peeled, not sure what it is about the skin but it actually made it worse). Both of these worked WONDERS for me. I had morning sickness for 4 1/2 months but everytime it would flare up, I’d do one of these and they really helped. Just thought I’d add this, in case it helps anyone else.

  30. i constantly have heartburn from spicy foods. i will certainly try the apple cider vinegar.

  31. You’ve got some great tips here, but I can add that not only will gargling with warm salt water help soothe and ease the pain of a sore throat, it can also knock the cold or flu out of your system entirely. Actually, in order to lessen the severity and duration, the water needs to be a hot as you can handle it, but if you gargle with this mixture at the very first sign of a cold or flue, it can prevent you from getting it full on. Try it out, I promise it works.

    Matt Mahowald-New PFC’s last blog post..Supplements That Help Slow Down the Aging Process

  32. i swear by arnica cream, it’s really amazing stuff. though i’ve got to say that toothache almost always results due to a small problem with a tooth and a quick visit to a dentist should solve your problems. a small filling now could stop there being a larger problem in the future.

  33. Honey works the best on wounds in which the skin has been removed or otherwise peeled away.

    This is because it is high in sugar so it draws moisture away from the wound inhibiting bacterial growth. The sugar also provides nutrients for new cell growth that will look pink and is called granulation.

    We have a dog who ripped the skin off her toe trying to jump out of her kennel. We used honey and her toe/foot healed up perfectly. You can barely tell anything happened. And there was no infection.

  34. Ginger tea really is the best thing for upset stomach. I keep a concentrated version of it in my fridge, and when I need it, dilute a little with hot water. Of course, you could also just keep tea bags around :)

    K.Rae’s last blog post..Music of 2008

  35. Don’t ever put honey on a burn. It will actually increase the amount of damage done.

  36. I have found that lemon juice is actually the best burn remedy I’ve ever found. Works way better than aloe from my experience.

  37. This is a great article. I can vouch for a few of these that I’ve already used (arnica cream, honey-lemon tea, green tea) but most of these natural remedies were unknown to me and probably to most people.

    I sometimes get earaches so am looking forward to trying the garlic oil remedy for that.

  38. Another remedy (that works for me) for dandruff is tea tree oil-rub a drop into your scalp, wait 20 minutes, then shampoo (weekly) or add a few drops to shampoo. :)

  39. If by “spicy” foods you mean foods spiced with hot peppers, jalapeños, etc., they do not cause indigestion. As a matter of fact, in some countries they are used as a cure for heartburn.

  40. Great post, you can never bet natural remedies.

    The same goes for eating. If man made it, don’t eat it.

  41. Very useful information. I know I sure could make use of several of these. It’s also a great idea to keep these on hand for future use.

  42. These are great suggestions, Sarah! Thanks for compiling them all into a really informative post.

  43. Great post, Sarah – you really covered it all! I’ve tried some of these in the past but there are some new ones I need to add to my toolbox. ;)

 

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