An A-Z guide to the natural medicines sitting on your kitchen shelves
You probably don’t look inside your kitchen cabinet and think drugstore. But for untold generations, that’s exactly the role kitchen pantries have performed. You’d be surprised how many everyday staples have a successful second career as natural medicine. After all, it’s a lot quicker, simpler, and cheaper to make a paste of baking soda and water and dab it on a bug bite than it is to drive to the drugstore for an expensive anti-itch cream.
Ahead, you’ll discover the remarkable healing benefits of many familiar, inexpensive items that are already sitting right there on our pantry shelves. you’ll learn how to harness the healing power of time-tested staples like honey, vinegar, baking soda, and plain old salt. The antinausea power of ginger. The heart protection of canned salmon and sardines. Mustard’s unique ability to fight athlete’s foot; and turmeric’s potential for preventing serious chronic diseases and even cancer.
Aloe is one of the most versatile kitchen healers around but please don’t keep this one in your pantry. Instead, you’ll want to grow the spiny succulent plant on your windowsill, because its stalky leaves contain a gel-like substance that healers think of as Mother nature’s first aid kit.
Aloe is mainly used for acne, age spots, athlete’s foot, blisters, burns(minor), canker sores, cold sores, dandruff, eczema, dry hair, light wrinkles, gum problems, heat rash, haemorrhoids, nosebleed, psoriasis, razor burn, shingles, stings and bites, sunburn, ulcers, warts etc..
What’s in it?
Though aloe is 99% water, the clear gel inside the leaves contains a handy assortment of potent healing compounds, Take glycoproteins speed healing by stopping pain and inflammation. Polysaccharides moisturize skin, stimulate its growth and repair, and enhance wound healing. Aloe plans produce another substance called aloe latex, which comes from the skin of the aloe leaf. It’s a better yellow liquid that performs as a powerful laxative. Too powerful, in fact. Classified as a stimulant laxative, it can cause severe cramping and diarrhoea and can even affect your electrolyte balance, minerals that play a critical role in the body. Trust us, this is not good medicine for irregularity or constipation.
The best aloe gel comes directly from a living plant. Just chop off a nice, thick stalk, slice it lengthwise, and squeeze the gel directly onto your skin. Be sure not to get the goo on your clothes; it will leave a ugly stain. You can find aloe plants at most places live plants are sold. They respond very well to almost no attention and grow nicely on a sunny windowsill. No aloe plant? No problem. You can find pure aloe gel at most health food stores online. Just read the label carefully to make sure the product is 100% pure aloe he’ll with no additional ingredients.
Baking soda is without question the hardest working multitasker on your pantry shelf. It’s also an effective and green household cleaner and a deodorizer that de-stinks cat pans, garbage cans, refrigerator interiors, and other smelly things even feet and underarms. Baking soda is a mildly alkaline salt that reacts easily with acids, releasing carbon dioxide and creating effervescence.
Good old fashioned baking soda has recently captured the attention of kidney disease researchers. This cheap pantry time may slow the decline of kidney function in some people who have advanced chronic kidney disease. Baking soda’s ability to take the itch and sting out of a variety of skin problems comes from its alkaline nature. Baking soda meets standards as a safe food additive and can be used freely, with no critical caveats. First, anyone on a sodium-restricted diet should consult a physician before taking it internally, because it could increase sodium levels. Second, because baking soda contains sodium, don’t use it regularly if you have high blood pressure or heart failure.
People who don’t like spicy foods often think that hot-pepper lovers are savaging their mouths and digestive systems. The hotter a chilli pepper is, the more capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin short-circuits pain by depleting nerve cells of a chemical called substance P, which helps transfer pain signals along nerve ending to the brain. Because of the pain-depleting action, you will find in many prescription and over-the-counter creams, ointments and patches for arthritis and muscle pain. Capsaicin also is a metabolism booster, speeding up your calorie-burning furnace for a complete hours after eating. Finally, hot peppers contain plenty of vitamin A and C along with flavonoids and carotenoids, plant pigments that act as antioxidants.
Cayenne pepper is available in the spice section at the supermarket. It is also known as ground red pepper. Fresh cayenne pepper can burn or irritate the skin. Wear rubber gloves when handling fresh hot peppers, don’t touch your eyes or nose, and wash hands after preparing them. Same goes for the spice use a utensil to measure and add to recipes, not your fingers. If you use topical capsaicin creams, be sure to follow label directions. Because cayenne shrinks blood vessels in your nose and throat, it helps relieve congestion when you sprinkle some into hot soup. Or shake in as much as you can tolerate of hot sauce or other fiery condiments for the same congestion-busting effects.
When the day has frazzled your nerves to the extent that you feel like pulling your hair out, it’s time to sit down and have a nice cup of chamomile tea. This herb is wonderful for easing digestive distress, skin irritations, and occasional mild insomnia. Chamomile tea is made from the tiny daisy-like flowers of a lazy leafed plant that now grows all over the world. Back in the day, chamomile tea provided a medicine chest’s worth of useful remedies. Its lists of treatable conditions included cold-related symptoms, stomach and gastrointestinal problems, toothache, convulsions, and insomnia. People used chamomile as a gargle or antiseptic wash and inhaled the tea’s steam to reduce congestion and clear up irritations throughout the respiratory tract.
Chamomile contains a handful of major healing components. Among them are chamazulene and alpha-bisabolol. Chamazulene, formed during the heating of the tea or extract, has proven anti-inflammatory activity. Alpha-bisabolol is antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory and can promote the healing of ulcers, burns, and eczema. Chamomile may cause an allergic reaction among those sensitive to ragweed and other members of the aster family, including chrysanthemums. To be on the safe side, avoid taking chamomile if you have asthma. The flowers contain pollen and may cause dermatitis, although allergic skin reactions are rare. Chamomile may increase the effects of sedating drugs and blood-thinning drugs.
You’ve got to love modern science, especially when it comes up with excellent reasons for people to indulge in delectable dark chocolate. Now we know that chocolate once considered a sinful indulgence, actually contains the same disease fighting antioxidants found in red wine and in many fruits and vegetables that are linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. The cacao beans used to make the chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder found in chocolate products are chock full of flavonoids. These powerful antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that damage cells and cause disease. Its flavonoids increase the body’s levels of nitric oxide, a gas that causes blood vessels to relax and expand, which in turn promotes healthy circulation and blood pressure. It is made up of three kinds of fats in roughly equal amounts. One is oleic acid, a heart-healthy fat also found in olive oil. The others are stearic and palmitic acids, which are forms of saturated fats.
Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate – look for cocoa content of at least 60 to 75%. The higher the percentage, the more bitter the chocolate will taste, but the richer it will be in antioxidants. Milk chocolate hasn’t been proven to have similar health benefits, and it contains milk fat, which is highly saturated. Chocolate is rich in phenylethylamine, a naturally occurring compound that has effects similar to amphetamine. It can trigger migraine headaches in susceptible people.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of a small tree native to Asia and it’s been revered for its healing power for nearly 5,000 years, making it one of the world’s oldest natural remedies. Chefs around the world rely on cinnamon for the distinctive flavour that enhances dishes, both sweet and savory. Cinnamon is rich in essential oils that contain active medicinal compounds, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol. Cinnamaldehyde prevents blood platelets from clumping, which means that cinnamon can help protect you against strokes and heart attacks. It is also known as a powerful antioxidant that helps lessen inflammation.
Recently, scientists discovered that cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels in people who have type 2 diabetes and reduces heart disease risks for overweight people. It is also a powerful antiseptic is no longer simply a matter of folk wisdom. Cinnamon sticks are simply pieces of bark that have been stripped from young trees and curl as they are dried. Pulverizing the dried bark produces cinnamon powder. Sprinkle cinnamon freely in cream, yogurt, stews, and baked goods. Aim to get at least half teaspoon per day for a therapeutic benefit. Some people can be allergic to cinnamon, but the amounts used in cooking are generally considered safe. In large doses, cinnamon as cause gastrointestinal problems and kidney damage. Cinnamon essential oil can cause redness and burning when it comes in contact with the skin. Never take the oil internally – it can cause nausea, vomiting and kidney damage, Pregnant women and people with stomach or intestinal ulcers should not use cinnamon medicinally.