Last Update: January 21, 2021
We’ve taken Hippocrates’s maxim: “Let food be thy medicine” to another level with these 10 DIY recipes to treat common ailments. They’re simple to make, free of artificial additives and chemicals found in conventional over-the-counter medications, and—even better—but most of the ingredients can be found in your kitchen cabinets. That means you don’t have to venture out when you’re feeling under the weather. From headaches to hangovers, we’ve got you covered.
Who knew you could tame an incessant cough with three simple ingredients? Raw honey is the potent ingredient in this recipe. Studies have shown that it’s as effective as dextromethorphan (DM), the active cough suppressant in many over-the-counter cold medications.
When that annoying tickle in your throat threatens to turn into a full-blown cough, pop one of these. Soothing coconut oil, anti-inflammatory cinnamon and calming raw honey and lemon are just what the doctor ordered.
Congestion relief is just 15 minutes away with this potent chest rub. Unless you have beeswax pastilles and an array of essential oils on hand, you may want to make this remedy in advance and keep it on hand for those nights when a stuffed nose threatens a good night’s rest.
The anti-inflammatory and soothing properties of fresh mint and chamomile tea, respectively, can also be used externally to treat sunburn. This calming compress takes over an hour to make so plan accordingly.
Zap the stinging pain from sunburns with this soothing treatment made from ingredients you probably have on hand. Keep it on the skin for at least five minutes before rinsing off with cool water.
For immediate sunburn relief, grab your bottles of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil for this two-part remedy. First, douse a damp washcloth with the vinegar and dab the affected area to instantly ease the pain. Follow it up by gently rubbing coconut oil into the burn.
The last thing dry, irritated skin needs are harsh chemicals. This all-natural cream uses soothing shea butter, coconut oil, and honey for instant relief. Tea tree oil and lavender essential oil lend healing properties as well as a beautiful scent.
To treat cuts naturally, keep a jar of this healing, antimicrobial cream in your medicine cabinet. You may not have all of the ingredients needed for this 5-ingredient recipe (beeswax and witch hazel aren’t exactly kitchen staples) so don’t wait until you have a boo-boo to try to whip this up.
When you have a hangover, there are probably certain symptoms that are more pressing (literally!) than your dull and puffy skin. But you don’t have to look as bad as you feel. While you wait for activated charcoal and water to work their magic on your pounding head and churning stomach, prepare this revitalizing face mask. Lavender and bergamot essential oils can help brighten your skin and your mood.
You’ve probably heard that sweat is a good way to help rid yourself of toxins. But when an intense workout or steamy sauna session doesn’t sound appealing, a good soak can also do the trick—just be sure to add baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate has a neutralizing effect, which is perfect when things like an acidic diet, infections, or other irritations have your body feeling out of whack. Use baking soda alone, pair with essential oils, or try our DIY bath bomb and bath solution recipes to take your bath to the next level.
Long-term use of over-the-counter pain relievers can cause some nasty side effects so taking a more natural approach to treating headaches is a good habit to get into. Inhaling diluted lavender oil vapors or special solutions made with cayenne pepper or basil oil can sometimes do the trick. For chronic headaches, diet interventions and supplements like riboflavin and feverfew can be helpful.
Stopped up? We feel you. Dehydration, overindulgence and even stress can throw your body off its normal rhythm. Chronic constipation can be a symptom of a fiber-deficient diet or a health condition so be sure to explore these possibilities with your doctor if this is a recurring issue. Regardless of what’s causing it, these natural remedies are often all it takes to get things moving again. Try taking a shot of olive oil, aloe vera or diluted baking soda in the morning. Herbal treatments like buckthorn, senna, and slippery elm are also effective.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont
Melinda writes about health, wellness, and food for the Thrive Market blog. She started her career as a financial journalist in NYC and has written for Where Magazine, Worth, Forbes, and TheStreet.com. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys working out, sketching, and playing with her daughter and mini-dachshund, Goliath.
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