Next time you’re feeling a little under the weather why not try some natural remedies? Depending on what is afflicting you, there are a multitude of ways to help you feel better quickly. If you are suffering from a cold, congestion, anxiety, sleeplessness, or feeling itchy, there are natural solutions that can healthfully get you back on your feet and we have a comprehensive guide for them all!
Nature offers hundreds of healing secrets for our bodies, we just need to learn how to best make use of them. People have been relying on natural remedies from by plants for topical and internal healing of the body and the mind for centuries, and it’s so exciting to see a renewed interest in natural healing.
Natural remedies make use of herbs, food, essential oils, and other simple ingredients, which means they are often a very budget-friendly option for dealing with your ills. On this page we’ll cover some of the basics of natural healing, and why you might want to skip the meds and head straight towards the kitchen the next time you feel a sickness coming on!
What’s the Problem with Medication?
First, it’s important to state that whenever possible we prefer natural healing options, but of course this is not always possible with serious or life-threatening conditions. Always seek the advice of a licensed medical professional before taking any natural remedy. Here are some of the reasons we promote natural healing over pharmaceutical healing.
1. Not the Right Cure: Sometimes medications are prescribed to patients even though it’s not the right fit– as when doctors prescribe antibiotics to cure a cold. A cold is a virus, and cannot be cured by antibiotics. Doctors often feel pressure to prescribe antibiotics, and research shows that only about 30% of drugs prescribed actually work for the condition.
2. Medications are used to treat only on the symptom, and do not often look at the body holistically, or work to support other necessary functions for healing. Many natural remedies are focused less on healing the symptoms and instead getting to the root cause of the issue. And sometimes even the symptom is not helped with medication, or more seriously, the medication is not fully understood and may not help the condition at all.
3. Medications have proprietary ingredients, so it’s almost impossible to know whether or not the ingredients in your medicine are allergy-friendly or vegan-friendly. Most medication– even basics like aspirin and Acetaminophen– contain ingredients that are questionable, like food coloring, food starches, gelatin and preservatives.
4. Medications are often expensive, and if they are not covered by health insurance, the out-of-pocket payment might be quite high. Choosing a natural remedy first might save time AND money!
5. The pharmaceutical industry is one focused on profit, and it’s hard to trust their motives when they are essentially required to continually find new patients, invent new diseases, and prescribe more medicine. And Big Pharma is BIG business.
“Market-driven healthcare is incentivized to keep us sick,” writes Giles Frasier for The Guardian. “For what profit is there in a healthy population? If everyone were healthy, it would be the job of the pharmaceutical companies to persuade us that we were not well, that certain things about us needed fixing, putting right (even if they didn’t).” And the fact that most doctors don’t get more than a few hours of nutrition training while in medical school is an often-touted reason as to why we’re facing our current pharma boom.
The main point of criticism is the over-medication of our society and the focus on pharmaceuticals as the only cure. There are plenty of lifestyle diseases– diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, obesity and even erectile dysfunction– and common ailments that can be prevented, treated and often cured with changes to our diet and our lifestyle or with natural remedies.
Check out this John Oliver video here to learn more about why we choose natural remedies instead of medical intervention.
Why Choose Natural Remedies?
While natural remedies are often seen as the realm of hippies, there is actually quite a significant amount of empirical evidence showing that many natural remedies are just as effective (if not more) than traditional medicines. And there are various types of natural remedies for all types of sickness.
1. Natural medicines work holistically: whether you are treating a cold, healing eczema, or trying eliminate a yeast infection naturally, natural treatments involve healing on a deeper level, helping the body function at its optimum capacity.
2. Most natural remedies are less likely to produce negative side effects: Unless there are allergy concerns, most food-based and natural remedies are less likely to cause allergic or negative reactions, although some may interact with prescription drugs, so be sure to check with a medical professional.
3. Clean Ingredients: Natural remedies made from herbs, plants, and oils have straightforward ingredient lists that are fully disclosed, and are therefore suitable to allergy-friendly and vegan diets.
Adoption of natural remedies is not as fringe as you might think: over 50% of the population has tried some type of natural remedy, and doctors are even beginning to prescribe food as medicine in clinics across the country. Previously ‘alternative’ therapies like acupuncture and massage are now available at big health care institutions, and workplace wellness programs are found at thousands of corporate offices.
The Role of Diet for Natural Wellness
Eating a clean, organic, and plant-based diet can make a big difference in your overall wellness. Eating a healthier diet can lead to better energy levels, improved digestion, clearer skin, and boosted immunity! Thinking of food as medicine means that as you put good stuff into the body you get good results and need actual medicine less and less. Building a diet based on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and plant-based proteins can make you feel your best and keep your immunity high in more ways than one.
Eating a varied, plant-based diet give you an array of vitamins and minerals (and yes, it’s totally possible to get all the nutrition you need on a plant-based diet). But perhaps most importantly, a fiber-rich plant-based diet helps keep our digestive system functioning well, and a healthy digestive tract, one that is moving swiftly and is home to a stable community of beneficial microorganisms known as probiotics, can help improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and yes, boost immunity. In fact, about 70% of your immune system actually lies in your gut, so it makes sense to keep it functioning at it’s best!
Check out our extensive list on the right sidebar of natural remedies for illness (colds, flu, yeast infections, and allergies), wellness concerns (anxiety), and skin conditions (eczema, poison ivy, and sunburn).
Please note: We are bloggers, not doctors, and the information contained herein should not substitute for the advice of a licensed health care practitioner.
Images from Shutterstock