When you’re fighting a cold, a headache or other minor ailment, home remedies can offer powerful support. Through research, education and lots of trial and error, I’ve built up quite a supply of natural remedies, and my medicine cabinet is overflowing with ingredients to help me and my family through everything from digestive complaints to cold and flu season.
Here our the top 10 natural remedies to support your health and the health of your families and friends.
Responsible for the metabolic function of over 350 enzymes in the body, magnesium is a crucial mineral and a powerful remedy for many ailments. For constipation, headaches, menstrual cramps and muscle aches, take 2 capsules of Magnesium or use magnesium flakes or epsom salts in a bath. Magnesium oils and lotions are also available for direct application to the affected area, which is great for kids who may not be able to swallow capsules. To improve constipation and support relaxation, a teaspoon or two of Natural Calm works wonders when stirred into a cup of warm water at bedtime.
Oil of Oregano
A derivative of the oregano plant’s leaves and flowers, oil of oregano is a potent antimicrobial which can help fight off infections of all kinds—from a common cold to a yeast infection to parasites. Oregano oil can be taken orally (4 – 6 drops diluted in 6 – 8 oz of water) or applied topically, diluted in a 50/50 ration with olive oil or coconut oil and massaged into sore muscles. Due to its strength, oregano oil is not intended for long-term use.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is released in cycles throughout the day to synchronize our circadian rhythm, so that we are alert during the day and at rest during the night. Our rhythms can easily get off-track from working late at night or even just exposure to night-time light and blue screens of digital devices. Melatonin can be a huge support to help us get back on track with our natural rhythms. Melatonin is also helpful for jet-lag and when traveling. Start with a 3 mg dose or try the Be Well Sleep Formula which also includes the relaxation and sleep-promoting herbs Valerian, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, and Passion Flower. For children, try 2 tablespoons of melatonin-rich tart cherry juice diluted in water for a child-friendly dose of melatonin.
A wonderful anti-nausea remedy for carsickness or flu, ginger also inhibits bacterial growth and helps the body to combat viruses. When you feel a cold coming on, simmer 1 cup of filtered water with a 1-inch piece of chopped ginger and 2 chopped garlic cloves, and a squeeze of lemon. Strain and add a teaspoon of honey to boost your immunity.
Apple Cider Vinegar
With many possible applications and benefits, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an essential home remedy. Rich in natural enzymes, ACV mixed into water makes an excellent tonic, and it helps to balance the PH of the body and support your lymphatic system. If you’re suffering from indigestion, gas or bloating, try one to two tablespoons of ACV in a glass of water before eating to stimulate your body’s own digestive juices and kick-start the digestion process. In a 1:4 ratio, ACV mixed with water can be used as a hair rinse to increase shine and as a toner and exfoliant for your face. With a pH similar to skin, ACV’s acid “digests” dead skin cells and promotes cell turnover.
With its ability to trap toxins and chemicals, activated charcoal is a powerful detoxifier that flushes toxins from the body through adsorption—the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface. Take 1000mg when you’ve accidentally ingested a food you’re sensitive to, or you are eating unhealthy, processed foods or consuming alcohol. Be sure to choose activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources, and drink plenty of water when taking charcoal as it can cause dehydration. Do not take charcoal with other supplements or medications because it can block the absorption of those substances.
A popular ayurvedic remedy, Triphala has been used for centuries to support digestive health as it helps to combat constipation. Additionally, triphala supports the organs of detoxification—liver, kidneys, and gallbladder. Available in either powder or capsule form, experiment with the dosage to discover what works for you, and your symptoms.
Requiring very little care, an aloe vera plant is attractive and extremely useful as a home remedy. The rich gel in the leaves of the plant are excellent for soothing sunburns, minor skin burns and itchy skin. Taken internally, aloe vera gel or aloe vera juice, which can be purchased at a health food store, is soothing to the digestive tract and can be used for occasional reflux, indigestion, and upset stomachs or as part of an ongoing digestive healing protocol.
Elderberry is available in powder, tincture or syrup and offers immune system support, which is helpful with colds, flu and hayfever symptoms. Tasty and long-lasting in the fridge, elderberry syrup can be easily mixed into hot water with lemon for a quick boost when fighting a cold. Rich in both Vitamin C and flavonoids, elderberries have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and are capable of preventing cell damage.
Chinese medicine and ayurvedic healers have been using the Andrographis herb for over 1,000 years for a multitude of ailments including fever, colds, snake bites, ear and skin infections and gastrointestinal conditions. Often combined with other immunity boosting herbs such as Echinacea and Astragalus into potent cold season remedies, Andrographis can stave off or shorten the duration of the illness and support the immune system in fighting infection.