Simple, effective natural health fixes that will boost your health and well-being in no time. Get started today!
Have sex twice a week to protect against flu, say researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. They found that regular nookie increased defence levels of the body’s bug-fighters (antigen immunoglobulin A, or IgA) by as much as 30%.
Avoid touching your face, especially the nose, mouth and eye areas, if you’re around someone with a cold or have been touching surfaces in a public area.
Wondering what makes a food a ‘superfood’? ‘Foods such as cacao beans; blue/green algae (spirulina) and even maple syrup contain so many of the nutrients needed by humans, in near perfect ratio, that they are considered “super”,’ says the Fresh Earth Food Store’s nutritional chef, Matthew Ballenden. Spirulina is available in tablet or powder form from leading health shops and pharmacies or online from freshearth.co.za.
- If you must rub your eyes, use your knuckle. It’s less likely to be contaminated with viruses than your fingertips – and eyes are the perfect entry point for germs.
- Stick your toothbrush in the microwave on high for 10 seconds before brushing to kill cold-causing germs.
- Get rid of dandruff with that all-rounder, tea tree oil. Add 1 drop of tea tree oil to 10 drops of a carrier oil (such as almond) and massage gently into your scalp before shampooing your hair as normal.
- Soothe that ache. Bromelain is an enzyme extracted from the stem of the pineapple and has been used in Central and South America to reduce inflammation and pain. Arnica gel reduces pain and improves flexibility in osteoarthritic hands. Use on joints last thing at night, but don’t use on broken skin.
- Devil’s Claw is an African herb used for its anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxing properties.
- Get some lovely sleep. Put lavender on your bedside table to help ease mild insomnia. After four weeks, volunteers who used it said their sleep problems were halved, according to researchers at the University of Southampton.
- Ask your partner to give you a quick squeeze… with this acupressure sequence: Lie back and ask him to press the space between your eyebrows for about a minute. Now, down to your feet – he should squeeze the little hollow between the base of your first and second toes until it starts to ache slightly. Then press on the sole of your foot, about a third of the way between the toes and the heel; hold for a couple of minutes. Finally, massage your ears until you nod off.
Essentials reader Edel Cheasty, 38, loves detox foot patches. ‘After sticking these on the soles of my feet before bed, I slept better and had more energy.’
- Tummy trouble-shooters. Schweden Bitter is rated as excellent for combating the results of poor digestion – it stimulates the elimination of waste and helps headaches and nausea. It’s also great for gout, rheumatism and hangovers. Most common digestive problems can be reduced if you take your time when you eat. Increase the flow of bile (which helps food in transit) by taking artichoke extract.
- Nauseous? ‘Find the point between the two main tendons on the inside of your wrist. Measure three finger-widths up from the wrist crease, towards your elbow, and press for a few minutes,’ says Marian Casey from the British Acupuncture Council.
- Get softer skin. If you have very dry skin, bring it back to life by applying a rich body moisturiser after your bath or shower. While skin is damp, slather on a good emollient.
- Hard skin on your feet? Steep a chamomile tea bag in a bowl of warm water, then pop your tootsies in for a soak.
Essentials reader Sue Bean, a 42-year-old mom of four, finds manuka honey helps her eczema. ‘I’ve tried all sorts of things, from Chinese herbal medicine to steroid creams and over-the-counter remedies, but nothing really helped, until I tried manuka honey. I put it on my hands before bedtime, wear gloves overnight and wash it off in the morning. After just two weeks, my eczema had cleared up, apart from a few dry spots. I now take it in my tea to prevent any flare-ups and use the honey on my hands once a week.’