Understanding Natural Remedies and Their Immense Potential to Improve Your Health
Long before humans manufactured pharmaceuticals, we used natural remedies to treat our health conditions. In fact, most pharmaceuticals in use today are based on or derived from natural products. For instance, aspirin was inspired by the activity of a compound called salicin, which is found in the bark of willow trees and can treat pain and headaches in the same way.
While pharmaceuticals are touted as cure-alls for every ache and pain and every health condition from weight loss to improving the male libido, there’s a natural remedy that might be able to help. What’s more, those remedies often have fewer side effects and cost a fraction of what a prescription does.
Unsure what natural remedies are, where they come from, or what they can help? We’ll explore what you need to know in this guide.
What Are Natural Remedies?
Natural remedies, sometimes called holistic remedies, natural supplements, or herbal remedies, are precisely what they sound like. They’re herbs and minerals sourced directly from the natural world that have an impact on human health and wellness. Some of the most basic examples of natural remedies include:
- Certain types of mushrooms
- Leaves from specific trees
- Herbs and combinations of herbs
- Specific vegetables and fruits
- Minerals (usually unadulterated and minimally processed)
If you’ve ever used beeswax to treat chapped lips, soaked your aching feet in Epsom salts, or rubbed tea tree oil over acne bumps, you’ve used a natural remedy. And chances are good that you experienced relief from your symptoms and maybe even reversed the condition.
The History of Natural Remedies
The history of natural remedies is as old as humanity, perhaps older. Chimps have been spotted eating specific leaves and plants to rid themselves of intestinal parasites, so chances are good that humanity’s ancestors did too.
Archaeological evidence shows that human use of medicinal plants dates back at least 60,000 years to the Paleolithic age. Ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Indian sources date natural remedies to at least 3,000 BCE, and the Sumerians were concocting herbal remedies as long as 5,000 years ago.
From that point forward, herbs and minerals have been our best defense against everything from bad breath to arthritis. It was not until the 19th century that scientists began synthesizing chemical compounds found in natural remedies for use as pharmaceuticals. Today, most pharmaceutical research begins in the natural world. For instance:
- Acetyldigoxin is sourced from foxglove.
- Adoniside is derived from red chamomile.
- Codeine comes from poppies.
- Demecolcine, which is used to fight tumors, comes from the autumn crocus.
- L-Dopa, an anti-Parkinson’s drug, is derived from velvet bean and cowage.
- Taxol, another anti-tumor drug, comes from the Pacific yew tree.
- Thymol, an anti-fungal, is derived from the common herb thyme.
You get the idea. Most drugs are at least inspired by natural remedies, and many of them are sourced directly from plants and minerals found in the natural world.
Exploring Natural Remedies: Treatments for What Ails You
We’ve used herbs and minerals for tens of thousands of years to treat heartburn, pain, and even depression. However, much of that knowledge is now hidden from us behind a wall erected by modern medicine. Doctors are trained to prescribe medications, not use natural products to treat their patients.
Those who benefit most from this arrangement aren’t the doctors or medical centers, but the pharmaceutical companies, which have a vested interest in keeping the flow of prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs flowing.
The good news? You don’t necessarily have to take pharmaceuticals to treat what ails you. Chances are good there’s a natural remedy that can help or even alleviate your symptoms. In this section, we’ll explore some of the thousands of natural remedies out there and what they can be used to treat.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affects millions of Americans. It can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. If you’re diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), your doctor will likely prescribe a drug, such as an ACE inhibitor or alpha-blocker. You can also use natural remedies that help lower blood pressure, including:
- Celery seeds
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Green tea
You can also combat high blood pressure through behavioral and lifestyle changes. Reduce your consumption of alcohol, limit your sodium intake, double down on getting the right amount of sleep, and try to reduce stress through yoga or meditation. Exercise can also help you reduce your blood pressure naturally.
Osteoporosis literally means “hollow bones”. It primarily affects older people and is more common in women than in men. However, everyone suffers from bone density loss as they age. That can make it more likely that you’ll break a bone when you slip and fall.
Doctors often turn to drugs like bisphosphates, alendronate, or ibandronate to treat osteoporosis, but there are natural solutions. One of the simplest is to just get more vitamin D (preferably through sun exposure). Exercise can also help jumpstart your body’s own bone-development process, and taking a calcium supplement may also help.
You should also limit your alcohol consumption and stop smoking, as both can inhibit your body’s ability to process calcium, which will lead to weaker bones overall.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most frightening diagnoses you can receive. Ultimately, the disease erases your past and your personality, leaving you changed and untethered. Almost 7 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s in the US alone, and 10% of those over the age of 65 have it. Other forms of dementia can also lead to dramatic memory loss and behavioral/personality changes.
We have many, many drugs designed to help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Some of the most frequently prescribed include Aricept, Exelon, Namenda, and Reminyl, along with donanemab. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
All these medications have the potential to cause side effects, some of which can be quite severe. However, there are natural remedies that may help slow the progression of dementia, too. These include the following:
- Ginkgo biloba
- Fish oil
- Folic acid
- Vitamin C
- Coconut oil
- Memory and orientation exercises
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) covers several conditions, all of which cause inflammation in the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease is perhaps the most recognized, but there’s also ulcerative colitis (UC) and microscopic colitis. Symptoms of these diseases include pain and discomfort, but also weight loss, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and fatigue. In some people, it can become a life-threatening condition.
There is currently no cure for IBD, but doctors use several medications to treat it, depending on the type. Humira, Cimzia, Imuran, Remicade, and Rinvoq are just some of the pharmaceuticals developed to help treat symptoms. However, each of these comes with a list of potential side effects, which may make some people leery of taking them.
Natural remedies that may help with IBD symptoms include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Ginger root
- Oat bran
- Marshmallow root
- Digestive bitters
- Limiting or cutting out dairy products
- Regular exercise
- Fighting stress with relaxation techniques
Immune System Support
Your body’s immune system is responsible for protecting against everything from the common flu to allergens. However, it’s not always up to the task. And in some cases, your immune system may attack the body itself. This is the case with conditions like asthma and type 1 diabetes, as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
Some of the most common pharmaceuticals prescribed to help with the immune system include immune globulin and hyaluronidase. However, you may be able to achieve the same results with natural remedies, which include the following:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Reishi and turkey tail mushrooms
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases in the world. It can be the result of damage due to exposure to toxins or other substances, but it can also be an autoimmune condition. Asthma can range from barely noticeable to life-threatening conditions that require rescue inhalers and regular nebulizer treatments.
However, you may also benefit from natural remedies that treat the inflammation that causes asthma. Because asthma can be life-threatening, speak to your doctor before trying a natural treatment. Some options available to you include the following:
- Papworth breathing method
- Buteyko breathing method
- Belly breathing
- Supplements that reduce inflammation, including garlic and ginger
- A plant-based diet to reduce overall inflammation in the body
- Herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
Exploring Additional Natural Remedies
We’ve covered just a handful of the conditions treatable with natural remedies. Some herbs and minerals can treat heart and blood conditions, muscle and joint diseases, brain and nerve conditions, ear/nose/throat conditions, endocrine system disruption, and so much more.
Finding the right remedy takes time and an understanding of how various herbs, minerals, lifestyle changes, and dietary alterations work though. For instance, vitamin D can help with conditions ranging from osteoporosis to dementia, but it does not do so overnight and it’s important to use it in conjunction with other steps and tactics, like taking it with vitamin K to help maximize absorption.
We recommend working with a trusted source that can provide guidance on health conditions, as well as herbs and minerals that may help mitigate symptoms. At The Hidden Cures, our goal is always to provide you with accurate, up-to-date information about natural treatments for humans and even for your pets.
Do Natural Remedies Cause Side Effects?
While natural remedies are often seen as being safer than pharmaceuticals, that does not mean they will never cause side effects or that there are no risks involved with taking them. The most common issue is negative interactions with prescription medications you might be taking. For instance, if you take birth control pills or antidepressants, you should not take St. John’s Wort, as it can cause anxiety and upset stomach.
In other situations, natural remedies may cause harm to the body, particularly at high doses. For instance, kava has been used to treat anxiety and other conditions for a very long time. However, high doses of the herb also cause liver damage.
Yohimbe is another example. This is a popular herb for treating erectile dysfunction, but it also elevates blood pressure and increases your heart rate, so those with high blood pressure may be in danger from taking the herb.
So, most natural remedies are safe and effective. However, they may not be safe for everyone all the time. If you currently take prescription medications to manage chronic health conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.), check with your doctor about possible negative interactions.
It’s also important to speak with your doctor about any natural remedies you take before being prescribed new medications or having medical procedures. For instance, many herbs affect blood pressure and clotting, which can lead to complications if you’re having surgery.
This doesn’t just apply to more exotic natural supplements, either. It also applies to things like common vitamins and minerals you take, such as calcium. Too much calcium can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Ultimately, natural remedies can be effective in treating the symptoms of many chronic diseases and health conditions. These are herbs and minerals that humans have used for millennia and they’re still out there, waiting for you to discover them.
Of course, finding the right herbs, supplements, and alternative health solutions can be challenging on your own. At The Hidden Cures, we’re committed to helping everyone achieve better health, naturally. Our in-depth guides break down what you need to know so you can make informed decisions regarding your healthcare.
We firmly believe that natural solutions have a central place in treating virtually all health conditions. However, we always recommend that you speak with your doctor before starting a new supplement to ensure that it will not adversely interact with medications you may be taking or become a problem if you undergo a medical procedure. Remember – natural remedies can be effective and safe, but they should be used with respect.