I love exploring various home remedies, and am a strong believer in everyone raising a patch of medicinal herbs in the yard, on a balcony, or even in a row of pots on the windowsill. Mint, rosemary, sage and lavender are all easy-to-grow, delicious-smelling herbs with a variety of uses, both medicinal and culinary.
But are you aware of the fact that not just herbs, but many staples which you almost certainly have in your kitchen, can also be used in a variety of safe, effective and healthy home remedies?
Baking Soda – while I mostly use baking soda as a cleaning agent, it can also be used as a quick, temporary treatment for indigestion. Just mix a little baking soda (a ¼ teaspoon) in a glass of water. A paste made of baking soda and water is good for taking the itch out of insect bites.
Lemon – add some lemon juice, or a few slices of lemon, to a cup of warm water (or tea) and honey for a soothing, antiseptic drink when you have a cold, cough or sore throat. The vitamin C in the fruit will also give your immune system a boost.
Olive oil – the health benefits of olive oil are innumerable. A tablespoonful of olive oil in the morning on an empty stomach helps to relieve constipation; a drop or two of warm olive oil will relieve earaches; in addition, olive oil can be applied directly, in small amounts, as a powerful moisturizer for very dry, chafed skin. It is an ingredient in many homemade skin care products.
Salt – these plain grains of salt can really come in handy on various occasions. Gargle a solution of warm salty water for sore throat relief, or use it to rinse your mouth for help in cases of inflamed gums. A mixture of salt and olive oil makes a great moisturizing scrub. A warm salt bath is wonderful for soaking tired, swollen feet at the end of a long day.
Vinegar – apple cider vinegar is famous for its health benefits, but plain distilled white vinegar has many uses as a home remedy as well. Apply it to skin or toenails to treat fungus; use it on your scalp to treat dandruff and head lice (the acid in the vinegar aids in separating nits from hair, which makes combing easier). Applying vinegar also helps reduce the irritation and itchiness caused by insect bites.
Black tea – the astringent properties of tea are wonderfully soothing when used on tired, inflamed eyes. Pour boiling water over two teabags, let cool slightly, squeeze excess liquid, and place the warm teabags over your closed eyes for a few minutes. Teabags can also be placed on superficial cuts and scrapes to reduce swelling and bleeding, as well as applied to boils and cold and canker cores at the start of an outbreak. Drinking warm, unsweetened black tea can improve gum health.
To sum it up: your herb garden and kitchen cabinets are a veritable pharmacopeia for a variety of minor complaints, which can usually be resolved at home without the need to run to the drugstore. Don’t be afraid to explore your possibilities, but be sure to consult your physician for any serious symptoms.
Image: black tea leaves. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna and her husband live on a plot of land in Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna's books are on her Amazon.com Author Page. Connect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blog. Read all Anna's Mother Earth News posts here.
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