Why Not Give Natural Remedies A Try?
Take a look at the inside of an average medicine or beauty cabinet and you might not see anything that really surprises you. Pots, bottles, and containers all full of creams, scrubs, and serums that all claim to do wonders for our skin and hair. Or, you may find yourself looking at bottles of liquid medicine or packets of pills for every ailment you can think of.
All this adds up to a lot of chemicals, many of which are man-made. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this – after all, many man-made discoveries have benefitted us in more ways that one. But a lot of people are skeptical about just how reliant many of us are on medicines and beauty products, many of which contain hundreds of different ingredients. If you looked at the ingredient list on your face wash or your cough syrup, for example, would you actually recognize half of what’s in there? For many of us, this can be a bit unsettling, as we continue to fill our bodies with more and more chemicals that we really don’t know all that much about. Sometimes, going back to our roots is the best way to look and feel better and healthier, and this is where natural products come into play.
What Does Natural Really Mean?
Retailers have sold us the ‘natural product’ line for years, as they are well aware of its appeal. Aiming at those people who want to strip back their health and beauty regime in order to feel rejuvenated, they add a type of plant or leaf into their product and use this as it’s sole USP. In reality, the natural product in the medicine or beauty product may actually only account for a very small part of it.
The marketing, however, would have you believe otherwise. This is why there is a lot of uncertainty about which companies produce genuinely natural products. But the only way the general public can avoid being duped in this way is to go down one of two routes. Firstly, you can source out the raw natural product yourself and use it in a way that benefits either your health or your physical appearance, depending on what your priorities are.
Or, you can avoid major international retailers and instead look at smaller companies which focus solely on producing nature-based products and herbal medicines. Here are a few ways you can start to incorporate parts of the natural world into your everyday routine and feel much better for it too.
When we are feeling sleepy or sluggish, our productivity can be drastically affected. As so many of us these days are in demanding, high energy job roles, there simply isn’t room for this (in most cases). For this reason, a lot of people may find that they become more tempted to grab an easy fix for this tiredness – in the form of energy drinks. Energy drinks are a huge market and are available in nearly every store or major retailer, making them easy to grab on the go. Plus, they do what they say on the tin – giving you a sudden burst of energy and alertness which enables you to focus again.
But is it all really without its risks? Energy drinks are very high in sugar along with human-created ingredients like manufactured taurine. There is also evidence to suggest that prolonged use can lead to the risk of heart attacks or an irregular heartbeat. If you live a lifestyle which means you are often reliant on energy drinks, why not switch to some herbal remedies instead?
Both licorice and the herb eleuthero are famed for their energy-boosting properties. The benefit of these natural products is that they release energy slowly over time, rather than giving you a sudden boost then bringing you back down to earth.
One of the biggest beauty markets across the globe is the skincare market. Primarily targeted at women (although the men’s market is growing) most products produced are aimed at either clearing up skin breakouts or preventing the effects of aging. It can seem that nearly every week a new TV advert arrives, quoting a mystical ingredient no one has really heard of and promising to solve all your skin problems.
Often, these adverts are dubious as it is, with unreliable focus groups and airbrushed models. So what can the average woman turn to in order to free her skin from unnecessary chemicals? Well, thankfully there is a whole range of products direct from Mother Nature herself that can solve most common skin ailments. You can either buy these products in ready-made mixes from health stores, or you can find them in their raw forms and get creative!
Tea tree oil has long been known for its benefits for human skin, especially when it comes to calming down a breakout of acne. Witch hazel is known to have similar properties, and Vitamin E is essential for maintaining supple, healthy skin. You can either buy refined oil or take vitamin E in capsule form to keep your skin looking young and radiant.
Cold and flu
As far as common illnesses go, it doesn’t get more regular than the good old cold and flu combination. Most of us suffer an episode at least once a year, but usually more. The flu is a viral infection which tends to lead to a whole range of symptoms including a sore throat, weak muscles, runny nose and a headache. Pretty nasty stuff – which is why it’s no surprise that so many of us head straight for the medicine cabinet when we feel the flu coming on. But, many commercial cold and flu treatments may not all be what they seem.
Most of them, rather than being preventative, are simply ways to relieve your symptoms – which essentially means that they are painkillers. If you are concerned about your tablet intake, you may be better off resorting to more natural cures which are less likely to give you any side effects, such as lethargy. The classic cold and flu cure is honey, lemon, and ginger.
Ginger and lemon are both full of immune-boosting antioxidants, which will help you to fight the infection faster. As well as tasting great, honey soothes the throat by providing a protective layer on it – great if yours is feeling particularly sore. If ginger isn’t really your thing, try adding cinnamon for a similar effect. Garlic is also natural product full of antiviral properties, so try adding some to your drinks or, if you are feeling brave, eating a whole clove.
Hands up who doesn’t get enough sleep? That will be most of us then. Juggling parenthood with a full-time job and trying to fit the gym around that too is quite the challenge, even for the most organized of people. Trying to fit too much into our 24 hour days is the common reason behind why so many of us don’t get enough sleep. You might run for a week or so on 5 hours a night and not think all that much of it. But this is simply not sustainable in terms of a long-term lifestyle choice. That’s how natural remedies help.
A huge proportion of the general public also suffers from insomnia, or an inability to switch off at night and relax. Sleep deprivation can lead to desperation, which is what drives so many of to reach for manmade sleep aids such as sleeping pills. Whilst these aren’t particularly problematic if used rarely and in the right situation (such as sleeping on an airplane, if you are afraid of flying) they can be dangerous if you start relying on them.
No one really knows what is in them, and some of the compounds can lead to a whole host of different side effects. Difficulty getting your balance, daytime drowsiness and changes in your appetite are just three examples of these. If your sleep routine is getting out of hand and it is impacting your ability to function during the day, you may want to consider some more natural remedies to help you drift off. The herbal extract valerian is said to help induce sleep without the side effects of man-made aids such as benzodiazepines. Another very popular natural sleep aid is chamomile.
Chamomile is a flower and the most popular type is German chamomile. You are probably most familiar with it being used as a tea infusion. Try having a cup before bed to help induce a sleepy state. It’s calming properties should help you to relax, meaning that you are in a better frame of mind for getting a solid 7 or 8 hours. Just be mindful of the time at which you drink it, as otherwise your sleep may be interrupted by trips to the bathroom!
Living a purer, healthier life can easily be achieved by switching to natural remedies rather than relying on chemicals and tablets all the time. You may find that you feel closer to nature as well as appearing and feeling great – a winning combination.