Alternative Medicine for Common Ailments: What to try before Turning to Drugs
Antacids for heartburn. Acetaminophen for a headache. Must of us turn to over the counter drugs for fast relief from common ailments. In fact, most adults in the US pop a pill as their first line of defense against aching joints, indigestion, headaches, and other minor health-related issues.
It may surprise you to learn that people rely on a more natural approach in many other parts of the world. For example, homeopathic remedies are very popular in France. Chinese medicine, herbal remedies, and homeopathy are even covered by standard health insurance in Switzerland. And all over the world, civilizations have relied on food as medicine throughout history.
Sure, many over the counter medications provide some degree of temporary relief, but alternative medicine often works better and gives relief that lasts. Most drugstore pharmaceuticals come with dangerous side effects too. That acetaminophen you pop for your headache could lead to liver damage and those antacids you take every night could cause vitamin B12 deficiency and an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your digestive system.
When you think about it, natural and alternative solutions and remedies are usually affordable, effective, and very easy to use, with few side effects. Many natural solutions can be found right in your kitchen cabinets. And, oftentimes, minor ailments like headaches and stomach troubles are often a signal that something is wrong. Wouldn’t it be better to address possible underlying causes with alternative therapies than just suppress the symptoms with a pill?
Using alternative medicine is a great way to take control of your health.
Let’s take a look at some common ailments, natural and alternative solutions and remedies you can try before turning to pharmaceuticals.
Sleeping pills are highly addictive, and they don’t always work. However, the simplest of natural remedies are often very useful. Lavender essential oil is an excellent way to relieve anxiety, relieve insomnia, and encourage deep restful sleep. It’s also very easy to use. Try putting lavender essential oil in a diffuser next to your bed or adding a few drops to a warm bath before bedtime. Other alternative therapies to consider include yoga and meditation.
2. Menstrual Cramps
Although over the counter drugs can sometimes give temporary relief for menstrual cramps, it usually doesn’t last very long. Consider using Chinese medicine to treat menstrual cramps instead. Severe menstrual cramps are often a symptom of an underlying issue. Chinese medicine treats the body as a whole, so it could not only relieve your cramps, but it could also treat whatever is causing them, possibly even curing your cramps for good.
3. Joint Pain
The go-to medicine for joint pain is usually ibuprofen or some other NSAID with harmful side effects, especially if taken for extended periods of time. Curcumin, a component of the popular spice turmeric, is a traditional Indian and Chinese treatment for joint pain. Curcumin works by inhibiting the body’s inflammatory response, and in many cases, it works just as well as over the counter drugs.
4. Sore Muscles
Arnica is a natural remedy that has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that are just as effective as NSAIDs. In Germany, arnica is very popular for swelling, joint pain, sprains, and muscle aches. This remedy can be used in a topical cream or gel form that’s considered to be very safe. You can also take arnica in the form of sublingual homeopathic tablets that dissolve under the tongue. If your muscles are achy after a workout, you may also want to try hydrating and stretching, along with arnica, to get relief without drugs. Therapeutic massage can also be helpful for sore muscles.
Instead of popping an antacid next time you have heartburn, try apple cider vinegar instead. Dilute a tablespoon of raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar in a small glass of water and sip it whenever you experience heartburn. This remedy stimulates the gut’s digestive juices, helping your digestive system work better. Eliminating spicy and acidic foods and alcohol from your diet may also help if the problem is chronic.
Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin come with a host of undesirable side-effects, including stomach issues, kidney and liver damage, and more. On the other hand, magnesium glycinate has no harmful side effects and works very well for headaches. Magnesium is a mineral, and glycine is an amino acid that binds to the magnesium and carries it to your cells. This combination calms your nervous system and supports the production of serotonin, which can help reduce migraines. Acupuncture has also been shown to be helpful for relieving and preventing migraines.
Whether your nausea is caused by car sickness, seasickness, or pregnancy, ginger root could be beneficial for relieving the symptoms and settling your stomach. It works by increasing the motility and tone of the digestive tract, improving digestion and soothing an upset stomach. Next time you’re feeling queasy, try sipping some herbal ginger tea or even chewing on some fresh ginger. You can also keep ginger capsules on hand for convenience while traveling.
8. Cough and Chest Congestion
Sometimes, over the counter cold medicines can make you feel even worse than the cold symptoms themselves. Next time your hacking and sniffling, try a sauna or steam room to get relief. Not only are they relaxing and healing, but they can also help loosen congestion and relieve the cough. If you can’t get to a sauna, try a steamy shower. You can also fill a bowl with hot water, add some eucalyptus essential oil, and place your head over the bowl with a towel draped over it.
Alternative medicine is a great way to take control of your health and relieve symptoms without popping a pill. The next time you’re not feeling well, consider trying one of these techniques before you resort to over the counter drugs. It may give you better, longer-lasting relief and be beneficial to your overall health in the long run.
Do you have any favorite natural or home remedy that you use? Please share your tips, opinion, and ideas with us in the comment section below. Please share this article to help spread the word of natural alternative health and wellness.