Healing Foods, Herbs & Spices
I put chicken soup at the top of the list because it has for so long been used as the general practitioner of home remedies for generations upon generations before us. The reason is that it actually works. It’s the ultimate comfort food when you’re feeling bad. Studies show it can ease cold and flu symptoms and help you get rid of them sooner… also curbs swelling and clears out nasal fluids.
Like baking soda, ginger serves up relief for a host of ailments and discomforts. Ginger’s wide range of properties—antifungal, antispasmodic, anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antiseptic and antibacterial—make it the on-call remedy for everything from soothing an upset tummy to easing menstrual cramps. Ginger has been a primary ingredient in Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years.
In folklore, garlic keeps vampires at bay. But even if there are no toothy villains lurking about in the night, eating garlic fights other evils—like cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in the blood. Garlic is antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and it helps boost immune functions. Eating actual garlic works far better than taking garlic supplements.
Prunes and natural plum juice are packed with fiber, which makes them an ideal remedy for constipation. They also help promote weight loss. Skip the harsh laxatives from off the shelf at the pharmacy. Be sure to get all-natural plum or prune juice, not the processed kind that has many of the beneficial ingredients cooked out.
Taking a green tea break not only helps melt away tensions, it’s a great source of powerful antioxidants that help protect your body’s cells from damage and fights off disease. Green tea may lower your odds of getting heart disease and can help fight certain kinds of cancer—skin, breast, lung and colon.
Raw honey (not processed) not only is a healthy natural sweetener in place of sugar, it serves up soothing relief for coughs, sore throats and bronchitis. Mix it with lemon, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic or pepper for added effectiveness. Apply honey to cuts and scrapes for a natural bandage that, when it dries, fights bacteria growth and promotes wound healing.
In India, turmeric is considered “holy powder” for its ability to prevent infections. A study in the Biochemical Journal found that curcumin in turmeric can stop bacteria from multiplying. You can dab turmeric directly to a superficial cut or scrape, using a few drops of water to make a paste. It is also believed to help relieve arthritis knee pain and the skin rashes that occur after radiation treatment for cancer.
I’m sure you know that eating oatmeal is good for your heart, but did you know it’s also a great skin healer? Oatmeal is chock full of phytochemicals that can reduce inflammation from eczema. New York dermatologist Dr. Kavita Mariwalla suggests soaking in an oatmeal bath to soothe itchy inflamed skin. Grind up 1/3 cup plain oatmeal to a fine powder in a blender and mix it into lukewarm bath water. Or make a paste with 1/4 cup oatmeal in a little water to apply directly to the skin.
Some not-so-familiar remedies sitting on your kitchen shelf don’t get the press they deserve:
Sea salt—Has thick grains, which makes it a great exfoliator for dry skin. Mix 1 cup sea salt with 1/2 cup massage oil.
Avocado—For inflammation, mash up an avocado and apply it directly to the affected area. Avocados are filled with vitamins C, E and carotenoids, which can calm both redness and inflammation.
Cranberries—To fight urinary tract infections and protect your kidneys and bladder. Cranberries provide proanthocyanidins, compounds that ward off bacteria and prevent them from sticking to the walls of your bladder. Drink only unsweetened, real cranberry juice.
Coffee—To relieve headaches, take a coffee break. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, which reduces the pressure that causes headaches.
Tuna—To relieve anxiety. Canned tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.
Cabbage—To soothe ulcers. The composition of cabbage helps heal the stomach lining. One of its ingredients—sulforaphane—is also found in broccoli, is anti-cancer and kills bacteria that cause gastric and peptic ulcers.
Turkey—For insomnia. Turkey contains L-trypto phan which stimulates the body’s production of serotonin, which in turn stimulates production of melatonin to help you sleep soundly.
Peppermint oil—Helps with irritable bowel syndrome that causes cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. May also help relieve headaches. A few drops in boiling water, and the steam coming off will open up sinuses as well as horseradish.
Yogurt—To prevent yeast infections. Yogurt contains probiotics (friendly bacteria) that keeps yeast in check and helps maintain normal pH levels.
Vodka—Use vodka to tighten your pores, tone your skin, cure poison ivy itch, dry out cold sores, fight foot odor and soothe toothaches. As a bonus, vodka also handles numerous household chores, from cleaning jewelry to refreshing laundry to fighting mold.
Thanks To The Bob Livingston Newsletter –