We see words like natural and essential on labels all the time, as we shop at our favorite retail outlets or online. But are they really natural and essential? And are their cure alls that the conglomerate pharmaceutical companies rather we didn’t use? The answer to both questions is yes. Now I am by no means any sort of expert or guru on any of this stuff, but I know what I have tried and I know what works. So I’ll make a short list.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I keep this stuff in my cabinet. I used to by the generic brand of whatever store I was currently shopping in, but now I purchase Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother. For the longest time I wonder, what the hell is the mother? The mother consists of strands of protein, enzymes and good bacteria that make the vinegar looks cloudy and murky. White House makes a brand that includes the mother as well. On to the question, why do I keep it in my cabinet? It can be used for cooking, but I keep it to fend off urinary tract infections. Most women are familiar with this pain, uncomfortable fact of female life. Not to say that men don’t develop them, too, but they are far more prevalent in women. When I was just out of college, I was broke, with no insurance and a reoccurring urinary tract infection. I went to the emergency room and accrued an outrageous bill just for peeing in a cup and getting a prescription. After finishing the course of antibiotics, within a month, I was back in the emergency room, accruing another outrageous bill for a cup and a script. Three weeks later, when I awoke early in the morning with the tale tell burning and discomfort, I was nearly at my wits end. At that time, the internet was still fairly new to me for random research, but I didn’t know where else to turn. It was there that women across the land heralded the benefits of apple cider vinegar for clearing up urinary tract infections. So I got a glass of water, far more vinegar than I needed and choked it down. It wasn’t fun or nice, but three glasses a day for two days and by Monday morning, I was in fine shape, and didn’t have another UTI for nearly 10 years after. Bacteria thought twice before darkening by door again. I have treated my boyfriend with it, as well as my six year old when she mentions some minor burning during urination, but I add a little honey to hers, just to make it more palatable.
Since then, I have found that it helps to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. Now I wouldn’t say drink a bottle of apple cider vinegar and a cup of saturated fat every day and you’ll live to be 100. Let’s not be crazy. Try to have a healthy balanced diet, of course and exercise, but I think adding this to your regiment couldn’t hurt.
Lavender Essential Oil
I discovered essential oil in general about a year ago. But I was particularly drawn to lavender because it smells so wonderful. Just inhaling the fragrance can have a relaxing calming effect. I have rubbed it on my hand and inhaled, for five minutes to ease headaches and menstrual cramps. And even more important than that, it acts as six year old kryptonite. I spread a little on her forehead and chin, at bed time, to aide in relaxation. After fifteen minutes, she’s yawning and after thirty minutes, she is sound asleep. Rubbing some of this wonderful oil on her solar plexus when she had a GI bug also works to reduce nausea; it even helps to relax the abdomen of an IBS sufferer; at least temporarily easing the symptoms.
I have ganglion cysts on either wrist that can cause from mild discomfort to burning pain. After having them diagnosed, I was given the option of having them drained, but I really didn’t want any poking around the delicate structures of my wrist with a needle, so I sought a more natural remedy. I purchased some lemongrass oil to go in our diffuser at home. It’s proclaimed to have an antimicrobial effect, which we needed since every school germ imaginable came home with our child. The air smelled like fruit loops, which was reminiscent of a childhood favorite and rather nice. When I started using it on my cysts, the results were amazing. After a week of daily use, the cyst decreased until I could no longer feel it. I have sensitive skin, so those of you like me, be warned, it did temporarily stain my skin yellow and later began to itch.
I was introduced to this oil by a lady I used to work with. She talked about how it worked well to treat her ADHD and give her added focus. I am fortunate that my daughter does not have ADHD, but she could use some additional focus. So I tried it. I would rub the oil on the big toe, instep and the ball of each foot. Those days when I oil her feet, she had fewer instances of disciplinary problems or occasions where she had difficulty staying on task. Her father professed having an easier time focusing, when he used to oil as well.
I understand that all of this is anecdotal evidence, but it can lead us to one conclusion. The pills pedaled y the pharmaceutical companies are not the end all of medical treatment. Modern medicine has made amazing strides in screening, preventative care and treatment of a whole host of illness, but there are few far from terminal medical problems that can be handle by age old remedies that date back generations, used by current and ancient civilizations. Do you own research and see it would be worth it to put away a pill bottle and indulge in aromas and tastes, not always pleasant, but natural and essential all the same.