Five Natural Treatments for Common Ailments

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The stereotype of seniors with half a dozen or more pills to take each morning, carefully organized into a “days-of-the-week” pill case is, sadly, true in many cases. But taking too many pharmaceuticals increases the chance of dangerous drug interactions and can be costly.

Many natural supplements can be used to treat or prevent conditions. While some of these are best taken in pill form, many others can be added to your diet, so you’ll receive the benefits you need in a natural way.

Before beginning any supplements into your diet, check with your primary care physician. Do not, under any circumstances, stop taking prescription medication and begin using natural remedies without checking with your doctor first.

Garlic – Whether eaten fresh in recipes or taken as an herbal supplement, garlic boasts amazing qualities for preventative health and better immunity. If you have been exposed to cold germs (such as while babysitting grandchildren or visiting a sick friend), start taking up to 4,000 mg of garlic supplements, along with Vitamin C, to help fight the cold. Add garlic to cooking at every opportunity for heart health and an immunity boost.

Cinnamon – In clinical studies, cinnamon has been shown to help the body metabolize glucose, a key in controlling blood sugar levels. Cinnamon may also lower cholesterol levels, boost immunity, alleviate joint pain and help with weight control. You can go wrong adding half a teaspoon a day or more to your diet. Sprinkle on fruit, use in salads or stir fries, or drink cinnamon tea after a meal. Cinnamon can help manage diabetes, but should not be used as a substitute for insulin or diabetes medicine.

Pure cranberry juice – Cranberry juice has long been known to be good for urinary health. Cranberry juice can prevent and treat bladder and urinary tract infections by cleansing the system and preventing bacteria from adhering to the bladder and urinary tract. Cranberry juice may also prevent bacteria from adhering to the teeth and gums, aiding in the prevention of periodontal disease. Look for 100 percent pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, typically purchased in health food or nutrition stores. Cranberry juice cocktail or cranberry juice blends purchased in grocery stores often have added sugar and may only contain 10 to 50 percent cranberry juice.

To prevent UTIs and for general health benefits, take 8 oz. of unsweetened juice three times daily. To treat an infection, you may up the dosage. Cranberries may interact with some drugs, including blood thinners, so check with your doctor before beginning a regime.

Ginger – Your own mom was right — ginger is great for treating nausea. If you experience nausea due to car sickness, drug side effects or an illness, fresh ginger, in the form of candied ginger pieces or in homemade ginger ale, helps.

Chili peppers – The capsaicinoids in chili peppers help reduce inflammation, easing the pain of osteoarthritis or injuries naturally. Chili pepper is also shown to improve insulin sensitivity and can help with weight loss. Add some to pasta sauce, taco meat, or, of course, chili, to reap the benefits and enjoy the great taste if you can tolerate hot foods.

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