Natural Health Remedies

Natural and conventional medicine are much more similar than most people think, says "Grow Your Own Drugs" author and ethnobotonist James Wong. Try his simple, plant-based remedies for minor everyday complaints as a helpful complement to traditional medicine.

James's Natural Pantry
James stocks his "drug" pantry with these somewhat unusual ingredients, many of which you may already have in your kitchen cupboards or growing in the backyard.

Beeswax and emulsifying wax
Emulsifiers are used as a binding agent in lotions and creams; they attract and trap water and oil, and add a thickening effect. Beeswax is a natural, antibacterial emulsifier taken from honeycombs that can be used as a skin softener, soother, and moisture retainer.

Essential oils
Essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, clove bud, eucalyptus, and peppermint are a natural way to add fragrance to almost anything. However, they are extremely concentrated and should not be taken internally; if undiluted oils get on your skin, wash them off immediately.

Powdered gelatin
A clear, thickening and settling agent, gelatin is often found in over-the-counter products for sore throats and intestinal disorders and is used in creams, lotions, and syrups. Powdered gelatin is easiest to use; dissolve in cold or slightly warm water, as boiling water makes it more difficult to settle.

A clear, odorless liquid, glycerin can be used to make tinctures (solutions usually made with alcohol and water) for children, though these tinctures do have a shorter shelf life than their alcohol-based counterparts. Glycerin is often used in over-the-counter products for sore throats and intestinal disorders, and can be used as a thickener and preserving agent in creams, lotions, and syrups.

Vitamin C powder
Vitamin C powder is a powerful antioxidant that acts as a natural preservative and is commonly used in skin creams.

Items such as olive oil, sunflower oil, and almond oil are high in vitamin E and can be great for topical use. Oils can go rancid quickly, so always choose fresh, good-quality oil that has been stored in a cool, dark place.

The versatile lavender plant contains antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory chemicals. Lavender has proven antianxiety effects, can be used to treat a range of everyday afflictions from athlete's foot to insomnia, and is James's top plant recommendation.

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Comments (3)

  • CreationSolutions 10 Dec, 2013

    Hello, great health tips. Here are a few more I thought I would just throw out here. Diatomaceous Earth, D.E., heals arthritis, depression, ulcers, kills bacteria and viruses. fixes constipation, aids weight loss, and much more. Essiac Tea heals Cancer and Diabetes and much more. Lobelia/Skunk Cabbage Liquid Herbal Extract, made by Herb Pharm, cleans out mucous in system, including pnuemonia. Horseradish Pills heals sinus infection and sinusitis and allergies. There are more... Thanks.

  • allabode 6 Feb, 2013

    It depends what kind of essential oils you use. If you use therapeutic grade essential oils (from a company like Young Living Essential Oils) you will be able to safely ingest certain oils. And use them topically as well. I mean, peppermint is an edible plant, so it should be able to be ingested if the oil is pure.

  • Dan C 19 Aug, 2012

    I'm not sure I agree that natural and conventional medicine are somewhat similar either conceptually or in practice. Dr. Alan Christianson is a natural healthcare proponent and actually thinks there's a lot wrong with conventional medicine - you can see how he makes the case that Americans need to take charge of their own health, starting with lifestyle modifications, instead of popping pills @ Inspiyr.com http://inspiyr.com/the-problem-with-western-medicine/

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