Monday, March 24, 2014

Do you need aspirin for that headache?

Have you ever seen one of those commercials which advertise drugs "guaranteed" to cure whatever ails you? They sympathize with our pain and tell us that the use of their product will help us lead a pain-free, productive life. Taking the medicine is always easy ... just pop a pill and, like magic, we are smiling.

A headache can be cured without aspirin.
A headache is trying to
tell you something.
The problem is, popping a pill for instant relief often prevents us from looking at the cause of our discomfort. It can cover up, rather than cure, a problem.

Am I saying that we shouldn't use medications? Not at all! I firmly believe that there is a place, and a need, for medicine. But, many times our discomfort can be relieved in a simple, natural way.

Here are some of my favorite natural remedies:


A headache is trying to tell you something. Perhaps you haven't had enough sleep or have waited too long to eat. It might signal tension or that you aren't breathing deeply enough. Here are a few things to try before taking an aspirin:

  • Drink a glass of water (headaches are often caused by dehydration).
  • Eat something (even a small amount can cure a headache if it's been awhile since your last meal).
  • Take 5 slow, deep breaths (it can release tension and change your mood).

Upset Stomach

An upset stomach can signal a serious issue and, if it continues for more than 24 hours, one should consult a physician. Often, however, it's caused by a virus, flu, or something we ate (as Scrooge says, "an undigested bit of beef"). These cures might give you instant relief:

  • Cure a stomach ache with peppermint.
    This sweet treat can
    ease stomach aches.
    Let a peppermint candy slowly dissolve in your mouth (peppermint calms and numbs stomach muscles so that the flow of bile (used to digest fats) is improved and food can travel more quickly through the body).
  • Drink a cup of ginger tea (ginger has antispasmodic, anti-nausea, and digestive properties). Note: This is not recommended for children under two years of age.

Bee Stings and Bug Bites

Spending time outside usually means bug bites. Unless one is allergic, bugs bites and bee stings are more painful than anything else (seek immediate medical help if you are allergic to bee stings). After removing the stinger, use these tips to relieve the pain:

  • Apply mud (dirt mixed with water) directly to the bite. Let the mud dry and then wash off with cool water. Works every time!
  • Apply ice (ice reduces pain and swelling ... be sure to wrap the ice in a cloth to avoid direct contact which could damage skin tissue).
  • Pour a little vinegar directly on the affected area. If it doesn't work, try the next tip.
  • Use Aloe for burn relief.
    Every home needs Aloe!
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the bite.
  • Cut a leaf from your Aloe plant (you all have Aloe plants, right?) and apply the gel directly to the bite.


Minor burns or sunburns can be treated effectively and naturally. Try these ideas:

  • Apply cool water to the burn to reduce the heat (do not use ice because it will damage the skin tissue).
  • Dab Witch Hazel on the area (Witch Hazel is an astringent and has been shown to give long-lasting anti-inflammatory relief).
  • Place tea bags (soaked in water) on the affected area (tea contains tannic acid which eases pain).

Our bodies offer us many clues to health. Discomfort signals a problem which can often be prevented or cured naturally. Medicines do have a place in a healthy lifestyle but it's best to try to understand the cause of a problem, and fix it naturally if possible, before finding instant relief with over-the-counter drugs.

What are your favorite natural home remedies?

Sneak Peek: We asked if you could live off the grid. Tomorrow we'll reveal your answers!

The information presented in our holistic living series is not, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical advice.