natural remedies

When I'm not feeling well, I'll admit that I very much rely on medicine to help me get better. But in more mild instances, I'll choose a more natural method, which can help me get better and gives me peace of mind. Natural remedies don't rely on chemistry, but rather nature, to have positive effects on us and our bodies.

One of the most important natural remedies for general health is to drink enough water! It's a generally promoted rule to drink 64 ounces a day, but because everyone is different, so is everyone's required water intake. The more you drink, the better. But you can drink too much water. When you're out in the sun for a prolonged period of time, be sure to get electrolytes in your system along with enough water. Too much water and not enough electrolytes can have a negative effect on you. Ask my boyfriend, who can tell you about his saline IV drip after a music festival last summer.

And I've noticed that when I start to feel random ailments, drinking more water helps to get rid of headaches, sinus problems and general blah-ness.

Green tea is another great natural remedy. It has some caffeine, but not as much as coffee. Because I drink tea much more often than coffee, I can tell that green tea gives me a morning boost without the jitters that coffee gives me. And I get some of my daily water intake from my morning cups of green tea. Tea has many antioxidants and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and may help reduce the risk of different types of cancer.

Vitamins are great, natural ways to get nutrients that your body needs, but that you may not get enough of through food. There is a huge variety of vitamins available that can help with just about anything you need. I regularly take a daily multivitamin, an iron supplement and hair/skin/nail vitamins with biotin. And let me tell you, hair/skin/nail vitamins work. When I switched to a vegetarian diet a few years ago, I noticed my nails were more brittle than ever before. After taking vitamins, I noticed how much stronger my nails were becoming. And my hair grows faster and is shinier. I recently began taking Ginkgo Biloba supplements in my process of de-hotmessing myself. (I didn't enjoy being more absent-minded and forgetful than I used to be!) So far it seems to be helping!

Next up: bruising. I tend to bruise very easily and regularly have mystery bruises. I'm sure it's due to diet and a lack of iron (a big reason I take iron pills and a daily multivitamin). A few years ago, I sustained a bruise I consider on the level of roller derby bruises, thanks to someone basically stepping on my leg. It took a solid month for traces of the bruise to go away. Fast forward to this summer in Hawaii, where I tripped and fell on a rocky hike and got another roller-derby-level bruise on my leg. (This follows the Caitlin Law of Luck…anything good is trumped by anything bad. In this case, amazing Hawaii tan trumped by giant mother of a bruise that can't be covered by shorts.)

I have been tired of the constant mystery bruises, I was not ready to give up my Hawaii tan to this thing, and previous natural remedy attempts have failed me. (Namely: Vinegar does not work. You'll just smell like salad dressing.) So, after this bruise, I looked up other natural bruise remedies. My search turned up bromelain and the arnica herb. Arnica comes in a cream or gel or tablet form.

I visited my local Vitamins Plus and asked which of the two was better at treating bruise discoloration. The guy said that arnica was much more popular and showed me the different forms it came in. I ended up getting a bottle of homeopathic Arnicare gel that also came with a tube of dissolvable oral tablets.

Now, think what you will about hippie-dippie homeopathic treatments, but I am 100% convinced the arnica gel sped up my bruise healing. Two weeks to the day after sustaining the bruise, I couldn't see any more traces of it on my leg. Cut the healing time in half!!

There's a whole world of natural and homeopathic remedies out there for whatever ails you. Instead of instantly reaching for the medicine cabinet, do a little research and find a natural alternative. You might be surprised how well something more natural works, and won't leave you with weird side effects!

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