Common health conditions and minor illnesses, such as mild headaches, digestive problems, and muscle pain, pop up in our daily life without warning. Many have tried at least one home remedy at some point to reduce the effects of these ailments. Age-old tonics like chicken soup and hot tea are usually found in our kitchen cabinets – but which ones actually work?
Though there are laboratory-made medicines that target aches and pains, natural remedies are gentler on the body and are scientifically proven to work. If you’re looking to save a trip to the doctor, it’s worth trying home remedies and practicing immune-boosting activities first.
Natural remedies can also be used in conjunction with western medicines. In fact, many patients who want to get better faster combine homeopathic and traditional healing methods with their doctor-prescribed medication.
Below is a list of natural, plant-based home remedies that are backed by research and science.
Natural Remedies for Cough and Sore Throat
Having a sore throat can be such a discomfort. Oftentimes, scratchy, itchy, and painful throat is accompanied by cold or flu symptoms, like post-nasal drip and swollen tonsils. During the early stages of a sore throat, herbal remedies can curb these irritating symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse.
Garlic, honey, and salt have been proven to help. Next time you want to kick a sore throat, grab these items from the grocery store.
Drinking a warm cup of tea can be very soothing, especially when you have a sore throat. One of the best natural remedies for sore throat is chamomile tea, which has been proven to help relieve symptoms of a cold, including a sore throat. Aside from consuming this as a hot beverage, you can also inhale its steam.
Other benefits of drinking chamomile tea is boosting the immune system and aiding in digestion and stress relief.
Honey is one of nature’s best home remedies for sore throat. It has naturally occurring antibacterial properties that help with the healing process. You can add honey to tea or consume a spoonful daily to boost your immune system.
Eating local honey may also help with allergy symptoms by exposing the body to local pollen. Research also shows that honey is as effective (if not more effective) than traditional cough suppressants!
Note that children less than a year old should never be given honey.
Gargling warm salt water is one of the most powerful natural remedies for sore throat. It helps wash away the mucus that causes throat irritation and reduces inflammation. It also kills bacteria and prevents yeast and fungi from growing, which often happens when there’s an illness brewing.
Mix ½ teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water, then gargle and spit until the glass is empty. Researchers recommend adding a bit of baking soda to increase effectiveness.
Garlis is also one of the best home remedies for sore throat. It serves more as a preventative measure because of its natural antibacterial properties. Garlic contains allicin, an antibacterial compound that can kill the same bacteria known to cause a sore throat.
Adding raw garlic to your daily diet can help prevent common colds. Suck on a raw garlic clove like a lozenge, chew and swallow it normally, or soak chopped garlic in hot water and drink as a tea!
Humidifiers are excellent home remedies and natural cures for sore throat. They help to loosen mucus and moisturise the throat. When kept clean and used in the correct sized room, they’re safe and recommended for children with upper respiratory issues.
When used properly, humidifiers can prevent sore throat symptoms caused by dry, indoor air. When air is too dry, it allows dust to float freely, which irritates the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Humidifiers restore a healthy humidity to indoor spaces.
Natural Remedies for Headaches
For many of us, headaches are a common bother. Medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen target headaches, but they’re tough on the liver and kidneys. This is one of the reasons why home remedies for headache during pregnancy are preferred over conventional medicines.
Wondering how to get rid of a headache naturally? We’ve created a list of scientifically-backed options worth giving a shot. Check out these 7 natural remedies that are proven to ease headache pain.
A Cup of Water
One of the simplest home remedies for headaches is drinking more water. When the body is dehydrated, tissues and vessels shrink up. In the brain, this causes tension and pain, often described as a headache. Dehydration headaches feel like a dull, throbbing ache on both sides or all over the head.
For this reason, staying well hydrated is one of the most effective home remedies for headaches. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially after drinking alcohol or doing physical activity.
Essential oils contain strong levels of plant extracts and have a number of health benefits. There are studies that suggest that certain oils, like peppermint and lavender, can act as natural remedies for headaches through the use of aromatherapy.
Add a few drops of essential oils to bathwater, massage on the temples, or add to an oil diffuser. Make sure you buy the correct kind of oils – some are intended only for aromatherapy and should not be ingested or used on the skin.
Similar to icing sore, aching muscles, you can apply a cold pack on your head for headache relief. It’s also one of the most convenient home remedies for migraine headache.
When applying a cold pack, it’s best to use the 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off method. Wrap an ice pack, ice cubes, or frozen vegetables in a towel and place the cold compress on the forehead for up to 15 minutes at a time.
Tea or Coffee
Coffee and most teas contain caffeine, which eases headache pains if taken in moderation. Caffeine restricts blood vessels, which alleviates some pressure and pain of migraines. Additionally, caffeine provides a boost of energy – much needed when you have a cold.
Many teas are effective herbal remedies to headaches. Chamomile tea reduces inflammation and stress that can cause headaches and other health issues. Ginger tea contains powerful antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation, which causes headaches.
We’ve all heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, perhaps a banana a day keeps headaches away? Bananas are high in magnesium, which is found to help prevent and treat migraines.
Here is a list of other magnesium-rich foods which are also known to be effective home remedies for migraine headache pain:
- Chia Seeds
- Peanut Butter
- Black Beans
- Pumpkin Seeds
Yoga is an excellent way to promote a healthy balance of mind and body health. Not only does it improve flexibility and muscle strength, yoga also reduces stress and overall body pain.
Adding yoga to your routine, along with other natural home remedies, reduces the severity and frequency of headaches. Certain yoga poses like Child’s Pose and Viparita Karani reduce tension in the neck and chest area and help prevent migraines more so than other poses.
Take a Quick Nap
Prioritising sleep and getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours every night is among the many effective home remedies for headache treatment. Taking a 15 to 30-minute nap also helps combat against headache pain and allows the body to recharge itself.
It is important to keep a regular sleep schedule and limit nighttime distractions so you can have a healthier internal clock and avoid having headaches, among other health conditions.
Getting too much or not enough sleep can have serious health effects. Oversleeping is linked to obesity, headaches, and back pain. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, increases the risk of diabetes, high-blood pressure, memory issues, and mood swings.
Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure
Once your doctor tells you that you have chronic high blood pressure, they usually provide a long list of lifestyle changes along with your prescribed medicine to get your blood pressure under control. Incorporating healthy habits into your daily life is essential in lowering your blood pressure and keeping it down so it doesn’t lead to heart attack.
Here are natural remedies for high blood pressure that you can include in your diet whether you’re looking for ways to prevent this condition or lower your blood pressure.
Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea made from a tropical, red flower. This beverage has a tart flavor similar to that of cranberries, and you can drink this hot or cold.
Packed with antioxidants, iron, and certain phytochemicals, hibiscus tea is used as a natural treatment for lowering blood pressure. Several studies show that drinking 1 cup of this herbal remedy every day is an effective way to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D
It’s not widely known, but a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to high blood pressure. One home remedy is to eat foods rich in vitamin D, combined with other healthy lifestyle habits and spending time in the sun.
Here’s a list of foods rich in vitamin D:
- Breakfast Cereals
- Powdered Milk
Experts recommend 600 IU of vitamin D per day for adults, and 800 IU for those above 70.
When combined with other healthy habits, incorporating avocados into your diet is thought to be one of the natural remedies for high blood pressure. Avocado is a rich source of:
- Vitamin K
- B Vitamins
- Healthy Fats
All these nutrients play an important role in heart and overall health. For example, potassium helps the body get rid of salt (sodium), and reduces pressure on the blood vessels.
Harvard studies found that eating 30 calories of dark chocolate (at least 60 percent cacao) every day lowered the blood pressure and cholesterol of patients with hypertension.
Because it’s made from cacao beans, dark chocolate contains flavonoids — a phytonutrient known to reduce inflammation and work as an antioxidant. Given their positive impact on heart health, foods with flavonoids, including dark chocolate, are one of the most recommended natural remedies for high blood pressure.
Berries of Any Kind
Berries come in different shapes and sizes, but there’s one thing they have in common — they all contain antioxidants which decrease the risk of heart disease. They also contain high amounts of vitamin C and so many other important nutrients. If you’re looking for natural home remedies for high blood pressure, add a cup of berries to your daily diet.
Remember, heart health requires healthy habits in all areas of life, like diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management.
Stress plays a huge role in one’s blood pressure. In a state of stress, adrenaline and cortisol are released, the heartbeat quickens, and blood vessels constrict.
Interestingly, studies have shown that listening to calming music, like Mozart, has a significant impact on lowering blood pressure. Listening to soothing, lyricless music, is one of the home remedies for high blood pressure that you can try to manage your stress level and lower your blood pressure.
Another way to manage stress is through mindful meditation. Meditation is relaxing and makes us better at controlling our blood pressure in stressful situations. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body rest and slow the heart rate.
This is one of the natural remedies you should definitely try — meditate daily for 10 to 30 minutes. Start with a guided video until you get the hang of it!
Home Remedies for Constipation
Constipation can leave you bloated, feeling sluggish, and suffering from abdominal pain. Like other health concerns, managing constipation requires healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise, having a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding stress. There are several tried and true home remedies for digestive problems – but remember that all habits contribute to one’s overall health.
One of the most prevalent digestive disorders is constipation. Read on for 4 all-natural at-home treatments for constipation.
Fibrous vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and leafy greens, are the most widely recognised natural remedies for constipation. Fiber makes bowel movements larger and more durable, which makes it easier to pass through the colon. At the same time, fiber also cleans the colon. Since stools with fiber are larger and more solid, they act as a scrubber in the large intestine!
Remember that fiber works by absorbing water, so be sure to drink lots of water whenever you eat fibrous foods.
Coconut oil is thought to act as a bit of a laxative. Internal medicine specialist, Dr. Arielle Miller Levitan, found that eating 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day could help the stool to move more easily through the intestines. Coconut oil also contains medium-chain fatty acids that assist in digestion and stool softening.
Prolonged constipation causes serious stomach pains. Try adding coconut oil to your diet as a natural remedy for upset stomach.
Prunes and prune juice are one of the most popular home remedies for constipation. Aside from being rich in fiber, prunes also contain sorbitol, a laxative that combats constipation by attracting water to the bowels and softening the stool.
Eating prunes not just helps alleviate constipation and promote regular bowel movements, it may also prevent colon cancer. Don’t forget to add exercise to your lifestyle, drink more water, and allow yourself plenty of time in the bathroom.
Senna is a shrub that is common in Africa and India. It is sold in various forms and works as a natural laxative by stimulating muscle movement in the lower abdominal area. Senna should be used only after other herbal remedies and methods have been tried, because long-term use can disrupt normal muscle functioning in the bowels.
Take the recommended dose before bed and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Note that it should only be taken for 3 days in a row at a time. In case you experience cramping or diarrhea, you shouldn’t take it again.
Home Remedies for Bloating
Bloating is an uncomfortable swelling of the stomach caused by trapped gas. It feels tight, full, and often pretty painful. Bloating can be caused by a number of things, including hormonal changes (menstruation), lack of fiber, and eating certain foods. As a general rule, prioritising gut health is the best way to avoid bloating. Take probiotics and prebiotics, fibrous vegetables, and fermented foods.
If you’re experiencing bloating, natural remedies such as the ones enumerated below can help soothe your pain.
Peppermint works as a muscle relaxer, which prevents the painful cramping and muscle spasms during digestion. Consuming peppermint, whether it be tea, oil, or capsules, relaxes the area and makes bloating less painful. Peppermint oil is praised in the IBS community for reducing almost all symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Try adding peppermint to your daily diet as a natural remedy for bloating.
Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar
Here are easy-to-prepare home remedies for bloating — apple cider vinegar and lemon juice mixed with warm water.
Apple cider vinegar is helpful if bloating is caused by bacteria or low stomach acid content. Add roughly 1 tablespoon of ACV to a warm cup of water and drink on an empty stomach.
Lemons are a natural diuretic and a gentle laxative. Warm lemon water helps reduce the amount of salt retained in the body and help with bloating.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Advantages of Using Natural Remedies?
Our bodies know how to heal themselves – as long as we give them the tools. The most important “natural remedies” is living a healthy lifestyle to set your body up for success and reduce the likelihood of illness arising.
Using natural remedies are more affordable than conventional healthcare. They are also more accessible, as most natural treatments are available in grocery stores (and in nature, of course). Also, most natural treatments treat the cause of an illness rather than just managing the symptoms.
What Is the Best Natural Remedy for Anxiety?
There are a handful of ways to manage anxiety without medication. It varies from person to person, but you can learn more by reading this article, Natural Remedy for Anxiety. Here are a few ways to get anxiety under control on your own:
- Meditate regularly
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Talk with a licensed therapist
What Are Natural Remedies to Help You Sleep?
Sleeping affects more than your energy levels – inadequate sleep has significant consequences on physical health, mood, and productivity. If you’re looking for a Natural Remedy for Sleep, look no further. Here are a few home remedies:
- Exercise regularly
- Limit light exposure at night
- Take melatonin tablets (but not everyday)
- Aromatherapy with chamomile or patchouli
- Listen to soothing music at night
What Are the Home Remedies for Cold?
If you’re wondering, “what are the home remedies for colds?” you’ve come to the right place.
Gargling salt water: As discussed above, gargling salt water cleans the throat of bacteria and reduces discomfort caused by post-nasal drip.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is essential to helping the body heal. It also supports regrowth of body tissues. Take vitamin C at the first signs of a cold for the best results.
Raw garlic tea: As previously stated, garlic has natural antibacterial properties and kills harmful bacteria, including those that contribute to colds.
Eating soup: Soup contains vegetables and water – two crucial ingredients for the healing process.
Honey: Not only is honey soothing to the throat, it’s also an antibacterial.
How Does Nature Help Your Mental Health?
Spending time in nature does wonderful things for the mind, body, and spirit. Nature tends to encourage calm, thoughtful feelings and can lower stress and high blood pressure. Not to mention, the sun is our primary source of vitamin D, which supports our bones, teeth, and overall mood!
For more information about nature as a natural treatment, read this article on the benefits of grounding.