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Top 10 Natural Cures & How They Can Help You

When I was growing up there was a rule in the house imposed by my mother, and that rule was ‘if you don’t have a temperature of 105 you are going to school’. It didn’t matter how bad you said you felt, you were given something ‘herbal’ and sent packing. In the adult world I often find myself looking back on those funky tasting pills, and when I get a cold or start feeling run down, wonder exactly what my mother was putting into me. With that in mind here is our guide to those magical natural medicines that mothers all over the world seem to know about, while the rest of us remain blissfully ignorant.

10. Arnica

Used as a natural treatment option for over 500 years, Arnica is an extremely versatile natural remedy. In the same biological family as the common sun flower, this plant has proven incredibly effective in treating, and reliving pain associated with, bruises, arthritis, sore muscles, sprains, and minor cuts and scrapes.

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Arnica was a big hit in my house, mom used it for everything. Got a cut? Here’s the Arnica. Sprained your ankle during the game? Here’s the Arnica. Run into a wall? Here’s the Arnica. Running into the wall tended to happen quite a bit in our house, probably more than normal, but the arnica was always at hand, ready to be smothered on the offending painful area.

Arnica is picking up quite a bit of mainstream recognition as a quick natural pain reliever, and as it becomes ever more available, it may be useful for you to have a stock on hand.

9. Aloe/Aloe Vera

Aloe is also an extremely powerful laxative
, and scraping the juice out of the hard part of the leaf and then ingesting it will help remove any blockages you may be experiencing. However, using the plant in this way can cause extremely painful cramping and is usually only recommended if nothing else has worked.You could easily be forgiven for not being persuaded to love the Aloe plant at first glance. Short, spindly and squishy, Aloe has a dark – puke green color. But this is not to say that the plant does not have its uses. The juice/gel from the Aloe leaf is an extremely effective remedy for minor cuts and burns, so effective in fact that many people have taken to growing Aloe and keeping plants around the house. Most commercial burn remedies will contain Aloe Vera, and the gel from the leaves has also proven to be an extremely good moisturizer, leading to many cosmetic products including it in their ingredients.

8. Papaver Rhoeas and Papaver Somniferum – Poppy plant

Traditionally the poppy was used to treat a number of conditions such as coughing, insomnia, sore throats, and hemorrhaging. But today this humble flower is relegated to the position of the world’s ultimate pain management system, and due to the fact that all by-products of this plant are extremely addictive it has been declared illegal, or placed on controlled substances lists all over the world, and its for this reason that the Poppy only makes number 8 on this list.The poppy has been a key natural medicine since 1200 BC when the Greeks began to grind up the flowers and create very effective pain relieving tablets. Nowadays the poppy has received a lot of bad press as it is the key ingredient in both Opium and Heroin; however the plant still continues to provide a valuable service to the medical world in the form of Morphine.

Needless to say, this was one natural remedy that could not be found in mom’s supply. On an interesting side note however, the USA buys approximately 80% of the annual poppy crop in both India and Turkey and the poppy (in the form of Morphine) appears on the WHO’s list of essential medicines.

7. Echinacea

Echinacea has been the subject of many debates as to the actual benefits of the plant. However, studies conducted in June 2007 state that taking an Echinacea pill can reduce an individual’s risk of developing a cold, and in the event that a cold developed the duration of the illness can be lessened by up to a day and a half.While my mother may not have stocked up on poppies, she most definitely did have an abundant supply of Echinacea pills and teas. Echinacea, or the Purple Coneflower, only grows natively in North America and has been used by indigenous inhabitants of the continent for hundreds of years, mainly in relation to preventing colds and flu’s.

While the plants properties as an immunostimulator (something that stimulates the immune system) have not convinced science 100%, there are still a large number of supporters out there who claim that Echinacea is the best natural cure available. Dubious test results mean that this plant is relegated to the upper count of the list leaving Echinacea at number 7 on the countdown.

6. Lobelia – AKA: Puke weed

The plant was traditionally used by Native Americans to help treat asthma and other respiratory disorders, and in the modern world Lobelia is still considered extremely effective in clearing mucous and other congestants from an individual’s lungs, bronchial tubes, and throat.Probably one of the cooler sounding names on this list, the term Puke weed was coined when 19th century physicians used the plant to induce vomiting, purging the patient’s body of toxins and purifying the digestional tract.

Lobelia contains lobeline, a natural substance that acts much in the same way as nicotine (stimulating nerves and the central nervous system). Historically the plant was smoked in the same way as tobacco and due to the smoother respiratory effects was actually touted as an alternative to traditional tobacco products (cigarettes, etc.). However, in 1993 the US FDA prohibited the sale of Lobelia products designed for inhalation as there was no conclusive proof that individuals who smoked the plant would stop smoking cigarettes.

Lobelia can be found in the medical traditions of cultures all over the world, and its inclusion as one of the 50 herbs fundamental in Chinese medicine (Bian Ban Lian) helps it to its position on this list. The lack of any major scientific studies on this plant however, means that it goes no higher than 6.

5. Garlic

Garlic was used by the French gravediggers in the 1700’s (they drank a garlic infused drink to prevent the Plague) and in both World Wars to prevent gangrene. Today garlic is known to have a number of positive health benefits such as decreasing the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, regulating blood sugar levels, acting as an immunostimulator to help fight illnesses such as the common cold, and there are studies that point to garlic as being a crucial factor in the fight against cancer.France and Italy have loudly, proudly, and extremely pungently, proclaimed the brilliance of this bulbous herb to the world; but they have good reason to do so. Garlic has made an appearance as both a tasty addition to meals, and a vital medicine, in cultures all over the world for over a thousand years. As a member of the onion family (albeit the smelly uncle who lives alone in the corner), Garlic has made a resurgence into mainstream medicine in recent years as science continues to uncover more about this wondrous herb.

New studies are being preformed on this herb every year, and more and more is becoming known about how garlic acts in helping your body stay healthy. So even though you may think that it is extremely stinky, and may not enjoy the taste that much, as my mother always said ‘eat it, its good for you’.

4. Grapes

The French paradox is so named due to the fact that the French tend to eat large amounts of high cholesterol and fatty foods (cheese and red meat), however the incidence of heart disease in France is relatively low. Studies have shown that this is due to the high quantities of red wine drunk throughout the country. Red wine (in moderate quantities) has be shown to reduce the chances of an individual developing any form of heart disease, and this is due to a compound found in many types of grape called resveratrol, and for those of you who are too young or who simply don’t enjoy alcohol, purple grape juice is said to have the same effects.For about 6000 years cultures around the Mediterranean have been eating grapes and drinking grape products as a way to stay healthy. From the Ancient Egyptians, to almost every nationality and culture in the modern world, grapes have long been heralded as one of the best ways to stay healthy and fight illnesses. A key example of the health benefits offered by grapes is evident in what modern science refers to as ‘The French Paradox’.

In fact, the antioxidants in grape juice tend to linger in an individuals body longer than the antioxidants contained in wine, so essentially you get more bang for your buck when you drink the juice. However, wine is more likely to increase the amount of good cholesterol in your body than grape juice, so it may be a case of having to drink both!

There is an emerging market in grape-based beauty products as more and more is discovered about the health aspects of this fruit. High Cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer and pancreatitis are all conditions that are believed to be vulnerable to grapes and their byproducts. So if you haven’t yet, why not go out and by a bottle of red wine today; just remember to drink in moderation.

3. Peppermint

Peppermint has been shown by modern science to be one of the best digestive aids available in the world and individuals who suffer from digestive problems are often told to use peppermint products for short term relief. From flatulence, menstrual cramps, gallstones and viruses, to skin irritation, itching, and colds, peppermint is a key ingredient in healthcare and beauty products used by many people everyday. In fact this herb is so versatile that it has moved away from purely being a food product and can now be found in everything from toothpaste to shaving cream.In the holistic medicine world peppermint is often referred to as the world’s ‘oldest medicine’. I know mom loves her peppermint tea in the evening, but I never quite understood why. Apparently the stuff is really good for you. Outside of the fact that peppermint smells extremely nice (the plant contains menthol which is used extensively as a taste enhancer), peppermint has been shown to provide an great amount of relief to individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, improve digestion, soothe upset stomachs, and can relieve tension and headaches.

So if you are suffering from a digestive condition that you just can’t seem to shake, or if your life has become a little too stressful, peppermint may just be the answer that you are looking for.

2. Willow Bark – aspirin

The historical use of Willow bark as a medicine dates back to the time of Hippocrates (the same person who is responsible for the Hippocratic Oath) in, about, 400BC. Since then not much has changed for this natural cure and it, or medicines based on it, have been in use ever since.Before the days of commercially mass produced pain relieving drugs cultures all over the world used the bark from Willow trees as the way to treat and cure a number of ailments. In fact the use of Willow bark to treat conditions such as headaches and inflammation was so prevalent that one of the first mass produced pain relievers in the world was a chemical relative of the tree, and you probably know it as Aspirin.

Willow is used to relieve pain and reduce inflammation/swelling associated with an injury, and it did such a good job at this that the French chemist Charles Gehardt developed a synthetic, easily producible, form of the main ingredient in Willow Bark; Scalicin. The primary difference between willow extract medicine and Aspirin is that willow has a higher tendency to irritate an individual’s bowel while the synthetic/diluted products lessen that effect.

Willow bark has proven extremely effective in treating headaches, pain of the lower back, arthritis, menstrual cramps, ful, fever, and tendonitis. In addition to providing relief for these conditions Scalicin has also been proven to prevent heart disease, and doctors recommend that for people who are more likely to develop (or who have already developed) a serious cardiovascular condition, they should take an aspirin a day.

Willow has the historical clout and versatility to make number one on this list, however the serious side effects, such as the irritation of an individual’s bowel and the fact that a significantly high proportion of the population is allergic to Scalicin related products relegates this cure to a close second.

1. Cannabis Sativa/Cannabis Indica

Ancient civilizations in Asia, Africa, North and South America all used the cannabis plant as a veritable ‘wonder drug’. Cannabis was used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, headaches, and as a pain reliever. In the modern world Cannabis is still being used in much the same way, however science has come up with a range of new uses for the plant.The top natural cure on this list is definitely not one that my mother would approve of, mainly due to the incredible stigma that has blown up in conjunction with it use in the latter half of the 20th century and the early part of the 21st. However, leaving the entire legalization/recreational aspect of the Cannabis plant aside, historically it has been used for approximately 4,800 years as a viable treatment option all over the world.

‘Medical Marijuana’ initiatives are in place in countries all over the world, and prescriptions are usually given to individuals and patients who are in a large amount of pain due to conditions such as cancer or glaucoma. In addition to these medical schemes medicines are being developed from cannabis that are totally independent of the plant (non-smokable, and do not cause the ‘high’ that is associated with regular marijuana). Sativex, for instance, is a spary developed using the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) from the cannabis plant and has been cleared by a number of governments around the world for the treatment of the symptoms and pain associated with Multiple Sclerosis.

In addition to the Sativex, cannabis based medications are already being developed for the treatment of such illnesses as Parkinson’s Disease and Muscular Distrophy, and with more and more research being preformed on the plant and its chemicals, cannabis based treatment options are likely to grow.

The fact that cannabis has been used throughout human history to help treat such a wide range of conditions gives it the staying power to make number one on our list of natural cures, even though my mom will give me a lot of grief when she reads this.

There you have it, the top 10 natural cures and treatments in the world. Some of the ‘cures’ we have listed above are readily available on the open market while it may take some time to find others. If you are thinking about using a natural cure or alternative therapy for your medical condition you should talk to your doctor first and understand the full impact of the treatment.

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