The common cold

Some of us are struck down by the common cold several times a year, hence its moniker, and there is no sure-fire way of avoiding or curing it.
But don't feel like you have to suffer in silence. Taking a course of echinacea (which is thought to strengthen the immune system) throughout the colder months, when risk of infection is higher, can reduce the odds of developing a cold by 58% and the duration of colds by a day-and-a-half, according to a University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy study. This writer also recommends eating a whole raw garlic clove (not as nasty tasting as you might think) when you have a cold coming on - works every time for me!


It's an unfortunate truth that those of us who suffer from regular headaches, and therefore have to knock back more painkillers, find that the efficacy of these drugs is reduced over time as our bodies get used to them. If you find that this is the case, or if you worry that you are taking too many drugs to control the pain, then you might want to try a natural cure.
A 100% treatment, such as 4Head, which you rub directly onto your forehead and is made purely from the painkiller levomenthol (a type of peppermint) will help relax the muscles in your head. You could also try applying a cool compress to your head or drinking more water (your headache could be caused by dehydration).

Dry skin

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Dealing with dry or broken skin can be tricky, not least because some people complain that over-the-counter or prescription remedies actually irritate their delicate skin even further.
Try aloe vera gel to soothe your dry skin - it has antiseptic and antifungal properties and will make your skin feel cooler. You can even squeeze the gel straight from the plant yourself by breaking off a leaf. If you suffer from eczema, then try applying calendula cream to the affected areas.

Stomach upsets

Our stomachs are sensitive and can be the source of numerous painful ailments, from constipation and IBS to diarrhoea and gas (nice!).
The first rule is to be careful what you put in it, avoid too much alcohol and rich food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, washed down with lots of water. Most kinds of tummy trouble can be aided by herbal remedies such as chamomile, the calming, anti-inflammatory properties of which help to keep the digestive tract healthy and limit cramping.

The herb catnip is said to be an effective treatment for diarrhoea, while peppermint or crushed mint tea will soothe stomach pain.

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Chewing on a Rennie is not your only option when the burning sensation of indigestion or heartburn rears its ugly head. Finding a remedy could, in fact, be as simple as opening your larder door.
Some experts recommend swallowing a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar when you feel symptoms approaching. Other remedies include mixing baking soda with water or eating apples, carrots, raw ginger or almonds, all of which are thought to neutralise stomach acid.

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Ibuprofen is one of the most common anti-inflammatories on the market, but if you prefer the natural approach then you will not find yourself short on options. To reduce the chances of inflammation or associated chronic conditions such as arthritis occurring in the first place, experts recommend supplementing your diet with essential fatty acids, such as those found in oily fish.
Turmeric and ginger extracts are also thought to limit the symptoms of inflammation, while arnica is widely used to treat the condition. Pineapple, meanwhile, contains high levels of bromelain, a compound which is thought to relieve painful symptoms of swelling and arthritis.

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Much has been written about the negative side-effects of some of the most widely-used treatments for depression, so once again you may feel that a natural remedy is the way to go.
Research by the Cochrane Collaboration into the efficacy of the herb St John's Wort found that the extract was more effective than a placebo in patients suffering from major depression and showed similar results to standard anti-depressants. The study also found that patients who took St John's Wort were less likely to suffer from side-effects than those on some standard anti-depressants.

Sore throat

The pain caused by a sore throat can be unbearable, but thankfully a natural disinfectant and antibacterial superfood can be found in your kitchen cupboard.
Honey has been used as a treatment for sore throats for centuries, and recent research suggests that it may be as effective as many medicines you will find in your local pharmacy. Try mixing a spoonful of honey with a cup of hot water and a slice of lemon to relieve your symptoms.


We all overindulge once in a while and there is no better way to cure a hangover than to counteract the toxins in your system with remedies that are pure and wholesome.
Your first course of action should be prevention - drinking two big glasses of water before you go to bed will help prevent dehydration and may stop you from getting a headache. If this doesn't work, however, the herb feverfew, which is available in a capsule, will keep your headache at bay, while drinking ginger tea will calm your stomach.

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Perhaps one of the most effective natural remedies available is arnica, which can be used as a cream or pills to treat bruising and swelling.
The herb, which comes from a flower, works as an anti-inflammatory and researchers in Germany found that it significantly reduced swelling following knee surgery. This writer used it to reduce swelling on her foot following the London Marathon, and it worked a treat - naturally.

wishes us well in this trying period. Step up your hygiene and always stay safe please.

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