In recent years, the total dominance of big pharma has become increasingly challenged by demand from the public and medical professional for more focus on natural medicine and complementary therapies. You are now just as likely to hear of acupuncture being recommended for back issues and the health benefits of hemp oil as you are the traditional pharmaceutical remedies on which we’ve all long relied.

Alternative medicine is growing in popularity due to the choices it can offer to prescribers and patients. On both sides, awareness is growing of the fundamental impact such treatments can offer – and the importance of a holistic approach that doesn’t just attempt to mollify the latest symptom, but to see health and the body as the single entity it is, and treat illness more sympathetically.

Alternative medicines also allow the patient a more active role in their own treatment – a sense of agency in their wellbeing which can be as powerful as the medicine itself. Where once the practice of alternative therapies and remedies was regarded with suspicion, now it’s becoming understand that these ancient treatments are frequently safer and just as effective as anything conventional medicine has to offer, and that their previous position in the sidelines was much more the result of the political and economic aspects of healthcare than to do with their own efficacy.

Patients, increasingly tuned into the planet they live in are looking for new ways to support their health, and less invasive approaches which don’t involve drugs and side effects or a high cost of patented medicines. The role of alternative treatments in working alongside pharmaceuticals is also increasingly being investigated, as part of longer-term and more preventative approaches that can sit alongside immediate remedies.

If you want to start experimenting more and stocking the medicine cabinet with some homeopathic and more natural cures, these ones are well worth looking into…

Arnica

One of the simplest and most ancient home remedies, Arnica is a highly versatile natural medicine which has been in use for over five hundred years. It’s most well known for it’s treatment of bruising, but it’s also incredibly effective at relieving muscle pain, sprains, cuts and scrapes and even conditions like arthritis. As a quick, natural pain reliever, most pharmacies now stock arnica, so it’s relatively easy to get hold of. Stock up your medicine cupboard and keep it on hand, especially with young children around.

Aloe Vera

If you like your remedies straight from the source, growing an Aloe Vera plant at home could be well worth a try. There are several uses to this succulent plant. Firstly, it has a greatly soothing effect on skin complaints. Sunburn, nappy rash, scars and reddened, sensitive skin can all be soothed. Most commercial aftersun and burn remedies already contain aloe as a key ingredient. What most people don’t know is that aloe juice is also a highly effective laxative – scrape out the juice from a leaf and swallow it, and any blockages you have will soon be on their way. It’s also a highly effective moisturiser, so those with dry skin and eczema can be well served by this all-natural remedy.

Garlic

Yep, your favourite ingredient for pasta sauce could have a lot more to offer than just flavouring your cooking. Garlic is recognised as having a number of positive health effects, including decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and stimulating the immune system to help your body better fight illnesses such as colds. It is thought that garlic may also have a role to play, incredibly, in the fight against cancer, and increasing numbers of scientific studies are now focusing on this unassuming bulb which can be found in most people’s kitchen cupboards. It’s pretty easy to include garlic into your weekly diet, so now you have a good – if pungent – excuse to indulge.

CBD Oil

If you look at ancient civilizations from Africa, Asia, and the Americas, their traditional medicine has included cannabis as a treatment for pain, insomnia, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders and many other illnesses and this controversial plant is now coming to light as a valuable medicine, with many American states now making it legal for medicinal use. CBD oil is the part with medicinal properties, and this is very distinct from the better known psychoactive element of the substance. New methods mean that CBD can be ingested for health reasons without the ‘high’ popularly associated with the plant. Cannabis based medications have been used successfully in the treatment of illnesses like Parkinson’s Disease and Muscular Dystrophy, and those applications are only likely to increase, with more and more research focusing on the plant and pressure easing with the decriminalisation of the drug for medical uses.

Chamomile

Chamomile tea is widely available at any grocery store, but not many of us realise quite how good it is at helping relieve the symptoms of one of the growing problems in modern society – stress and anxiety. We are a generation paralysed by low-level mental ill health, living in uncertain times, but a support could be at hand with a simple herbal remedy. Chamomile has been scientifically proven to reduce some of the main symptoms of stress and anxiety and improve the quality of our sleep – whilst also being easily accessible and very inexpensive. It works by reducing the level of a hormone called Cortisol in our bodies, which is produced when we experience stress and is responsible for a whole heap of unpleasant side effects, from weight gain to an increased susceptibility to disease. Used as either an essential oil or a tea, it’s an easy addition to your life which can make a big difference.

Nux Vomica

One to keep on hand, this herbal remedy is highly effective at suppressing vomiting and nausea, as its name suggests. It can be the ideal hangover cure or a remedy for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. Always consult your healthcare professional before taking Nux Vomica and  restrict your dose to 30c no more than twice a day. It can also help to settle upset stomachs and calm flatulence, whether pregnancy related or not.

Stocking up on these all natural remedies can be a great support to your health. If symptoms become unmanageable, you should still make sure you see a doctor and follow any prescribed conventional treatment, while making them aware of any homeopathic medicines you’re taking as well.

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