Not only are some over-the-counter medications costly, many contain compounds that can cause side effects like slow liver or thyroid function, or even become addictive if taken too long. Fortunately, you can skip the pharmacy picks, cure what ails you and save double with these all-natural remedies that offer two-in-one benefits for those bothersome health hassles.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice soothes heartburn and sharpens memory.
OTC heartburn remedies like Zantac and Tagamet contain compounds that have been linked to stomach pain, headaches, nausea and even lowered resistance to Covid-19. Consider deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) instead. It lessens inflammation in the esophageal lining, reducing heartburn, and it’s been shown to be as effective as Zantac. Bonus: Research shows DGL may slow the memory loss associated with aging. Look for a brand that contains 400 mg. per dose, like Natural Factors DGL (Buy at iHerb.com, $10.49).
Butterbur ends allergies and prevents migraines.
Some 50 million of us spend weeks sidelined by seasonal allergies each year. But the antihistamines we rely on to ease the misery, like Benadryl, contain compounds that can cause drowsiness, light headedness, and nausea. The natural Rx doctors prefer? Butterbur. Research shows the plant extract works as effectively as antihistamines without the side effects. Bonus: In one study, butterbur slashed migraine frequency by 60 percent in four weeks. One to try: Vitacost Butterbur Extract 75 mg. (Buy at Vitacost.com, $6.42).
Bergamot extract lowers cholesterol and foils covid-19.
For the 40 million Americans who take statins to lower cholesterol, muscle aches and fatigue are possible side effects. But bergamot may be just as effective. The citrus extract that gives Earl Grey tea its flavor does wonders for keeping triglyceride levels in check without causing pain. In fact, taking 500 mg. daily lowers triglyceride levels by 23 percent, according to research at Rome’s San Camillo Forlanini Hospital. Credit goes to flavonoids, natural compounds that inhibit the activity of enzymes involved in triglyceride formation. Bonus: George Washington University research suggests lowering your triglycerides can also reduce the risk of severe Covid-19 complications by 73 percent. Find the extract in Naomi Citrus Bergamot (Buy at NaomiW.com, $35).
Pesto sauce speeds slimming and heals skin.
Weight-loss pills remain popular among women who want to drop extra pounds — but they can sometimes be dangerous. To release up to one pound of trapped fluids weekly, enjoy a few tablespoons of pesto sauce daily. Stanford University researchers say the healthy fats in pine nuts and the vitamin K in leafy greens like basil ramp up the liver’s ability to flush out bloat-triggering toxins and fluids. Bonus: A daily dose of plant fats and vitamin K encourages skin healing.
A 20-minute walk cures constipation and erases wrinkles.
Constipation can be uncomfortable, but taking laxatives to keep things moving only masks the problem. Over time, our body becomes used to the medications, making it impossible to “go” without them. Instead, a brisk 20-minute walk can move sluggish bowels in one hour and cut the risk of constipation in half if you get out daily. The reason? Moving the large muscles in your hips and thighs gets the muscles in your lower intestine moving. Bonus: Done daily, that same dose of exercise can erase eight years off your appearance by kick-starting the production of skin-firming growth hormones.
Lavender improves sleep and boosts happiness.
Instead of reaching for sleep remedies like Advil PM or Unisom, which contain the anticholinergics diphenhydramine and doxylamine, try lavender! In one study, people who inhaled the scent at night spent more time in deep sleep than those who didn’t, and they felt 50 percent more energetic in the morning. Bonus: In one study, when depressed women inhaled the soothing scent, their scores on a test that measures depression improved by 56 percent in four weeks. One to try: Plant Therapy 100% Pure Lavender Essential Oil (Buy on Amazon, $6.95).
Wintergreen oil massage nixes knee pain and quiets cravings.
Frequent knee pain affects more than a quarter of Americans, and opioids are often prescribed to help ease their symptoms. But data about the dangers of these prescription pain pills continues to mount. The good news: Canadian researchers say you can cut achiness by 60 percent in 10 days with twice-daily massages using wintergreen oil (just mix eight drops into two tablespoons of lotion). Credit a compound in the oil (methyl salicylate) that relaxes tight muscles and calms overactive pain nerves. Bonus: The minty smell of wintergreen oil can eliminate cravings for 90 minutes. One to try: Gya Labs Wintergreen Essential Oil (Buy on Amazon, $6.99).
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, The 101 Best Home Cures.
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