Did you know that in 2017, the United States spent a whopping $3.5 trillion in health care alone? That’s an average of $10,739 per person.
Medications alone account for about 10% of that spending. Every year, the average Joe or Jane shells out $1,200 on prescription drugs.
With that kind of money on the line, it’s no wonder that more people are seeking alternatives. There’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine, for instance, including the use of all-natural remedies. More than 30% of U.S. adults use some form of CAM.
What are these remedies, and do they work? If so, what health conditions and ailments can they help with?
We’ve rounded up (and explained) seven of these natural medicines below, so be sure to keep reading!
1. Hemp Plant
Hemp is different from marijuana, but they come from the same cannabis sativa plant species. That’s why hemp benefits are similar to the medical benefits of marijuana.
The main difference is that unlike marijuana, hemp doesn’t induce the same intoxication. Hemp (and its derivatives) contain less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is one of the active compounds that creates the “high” marijuana is known for.
Like marijuana, hemp contains considerable amounts of cannabidiol (CBD). It’s also an active compound found to have many health benefits, such as pain relief. It appears to affect the nerves and pain pathways, and in doing so, helps reduce inflammation too.
It’s no wonder that many people with arthritis and fibromyalgia turn to CBD products. Cancer and multiple sclerosis patients also turn to CBD products for pain relief.
Other studies have shown that it’s a much more powerful antioxidant than the C and E vitamins. In that way, it may help boost immune functions and may even prevent signs of aging!
While hemp is not a “miracle” plant per se, its benefits are backed by research. If you’re looking for herbal remedies that scientists say have potential, hemp may be your best bet.
Garlic doesn’t just make dishes tastier and tangier. It may also be able to help combat hypertension!
Many studies, like this one, found that garlic supplements reduce high blood pressure. Researchers believe that this is due to the bulb’s high antioxidant content. These include “organosulfur” compounds and flavonoids that can protect cells from oxidative damage.
Other studies also found that garlic supplements can combat high cholesterol levels. These products showed a significant reducing effect on serum triglycerides.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is one of the most popular natural remedies for treating burns, sunburns, and wounds. According to studies, this may be due to the plant’s growth hormone called glucomannan.
Glucomannan has shown to speed up the healing of wounds. It also appears to increase the breaking strength of scar tissue. In that way, the plant’s medicinal properties can help prevent wounds from re-opening.
Aloe Vera is also widely used in skin care products because of mucopolysaccharides. These carbohydrates help bind and keep moisture in the skin, which hydrates the skin, makes it more elastic, and also reduces wrinkles.
Echinacea, a member of the flowering daisy family, is another popular herb for colds and flu. You may know this plant as the “American coneflower”.
Echinacea has a complex mix of active compounds, some of which appear to be antimicrobial. Others appear to interact with the human immune system.
According to researchers, echinacea extract can lower the risks of respiratory infections. These include tonsillitis, pneumonia, and even ear infection.
Moreover, scientists suggest that the herb possesses antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. These effects also appear stronger in people with greater susceptibility to such conditions.
5. Calamine Lotion
Do you remember the pungent pinkish stuff your mom doused you with after getting all those bug bites? That’s calamine lotion, which is a mix of various minerals, including zinc and ferric oxide. It’s been in use since 1500 BC, but not only for pesky, stinging insect bites.
Modern science proves that your mom was right, as it does have skin-soothing properties. It relieves itching and discomfort left by bug bites, poison ivy, and even chickenpox. Moreover, its main ingredient of zinc oxide is an antiseptic, so it can help keep infections at bay.
Aromatherapy is a natural holistic healing treatment that primarily uses natural plant extracts. These extracts are in aromatic oil form, also referred to as “essential oils”. This practice has roots dating back to at least 3,500 years ago.
The oils used in aromatherapy are extremely concentrated plant extracts. You can inhale them using a diffuser or as a topical application when mixed with a carrier oil.
One study found that essential oils, such as lavender, can help combat sleep problems. Lavender oil has also shown to ease anxiety in patients with heart conditions.
Acupuncture is one form of alternative medicine that doesn’t use medications. Instead, it uses very thin needles to create an effect on specific body points. Today, there’s also a version that utilizes electrical stimulation.
Modern science has also proven the effectiveness of this ancient Chinese practice. Even the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved its safety and efficacy, so it’s not surprising that many insurance policies now provide coverage for acupuncture.
Acupuncture has shown to benefit the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. It also improves cardiovascular and digestive functions. In doing so, this practice can help ease pain, improve sleep, protect the heart, and boost digestion.
Try out These (Lower-Cost) All-Natural Remedies for a Healthier You
The seven all-natural remedies we’ve talked about are scientifically-backed, so there’s no need to be on the fence about them. Speak to your doctor and let them know that you want to try these remedies so you don’t have to worry about allergic reactions, especially if you’re taking prescription meds, which may interact with some herbal remedies.
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