Throughout the world, different cultures have their own unique remedies for treating ailments and staying healthy.
It’s easy to believe that the strongest and most effective medicine comes from drugs prescribed by a doctor, but there are a number of natural remedies out there which may be just as effective at relieving your seasonal cold or aching joints.
Scientists are beginning to turn their attention to indigenous peoples around the world to learn about the local natural remedies these populations have used for generations. This knowledge is proving useful for treating many types of sickness, and preventing many others.
Some people may scoff at herbal remedies as silly folklore, but many natural remedies are continually proven by science to be just as effective as manufactured drugs. There are hundreds of thousands of plants around the world, and most, if not all, may be of use to us when it comes to improving our health.
If you’re looking for a more natural approach to healing, check out these fascinating ingredients provided by Mother Nature that many people around the world swear by.
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Natural Remedies Around the World
The fleshy part of the fruit that comes from the Synsepalum dulcificum plant has the ability to change the flavor of foods. Known as the miracle berry, the fruit is native to West Africa but has made its way into stores around the world.
It is often sold as a fresh fruit or in freeze-dried form, and is just beginning to be grown commercially in places like Queensland, Australia. But what does it actually do?
Consuming the miracle berry causes sour foods to taste sweet, making you believe a wedge of lemon tastes as sweet as a peach. A molecule in the fruit attaches itself to your tongue’s taste buds, creating the pleasant sour-to-sweet altering effect for up to 30 minutes.
While this may seem like just a bit of fun, it is proving to be seriously important for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
A nasty side effect of chemotherapy is dysgeusia which often distorts a patient’s sense of taste. Cancer patients often lose their desire to eat due to many foods becoming unpalatable and metallic tasting.
Consuming miracle berries has shown to return taste buds back to normal for many patients and help them to enjoy food again, thus aiding them in maintaining a healthy body weight. The berries are also high in antioxidants and can help to curb peoples’ desire for sugary foods.
Image: MiracleFruitFarm [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons
While it may have an ominous name, Devil’s claw is actually an effective natural remedy, native to Southern Africa.
The tuberous roots of Devil’s Claw are said to bring relief to osteoarthritis sufferers due to its ability to reduce joint pain and inflammation. Consuming devil’s claw has also helped many with lower-back pain and is just as effective as certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Devil’s claw usually doesn’t present serious side effects for most individuals, but a low percentage of people may experience slight diarrhea with prolonged use.
A newer herbal extract to hit the worldwide market is kratom. It comes from the leaves of the SE Asian evergreen tree known as Mitragyna speciosa.
Kratom is is often sold as an extract, powder, or in capsule form. You can use kratom powder to brew a tea or simply swallow the capsules to experience the many supposed benefits.
While residents of Borneo, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea have been using kratom in traditional medicine for hundreds of years, it is just now starting to be sold in shops around the world and online. You can purchase many different strains of kratom on websites like kratom crazy, which offer quality-checked products at affordable prices.
So what’s all the hype with kratom?
The natural remedy helps people suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain, combats lethargy, enhances your appetite, and boosts your libido.
In Southeast Asia, kratom is used extensively to treat intestinal infections, ease diarrhea, help heal minor wounds, act as a local anesthetic, and is sometimes used as an intestinal deworming agent.
Elsewhere around the world, kratom is often sought for its ability to improve mood, give quick energy, and help with opiate addiction. In addition to being a dietary supplement, kratom is also used for aromatherapy and making soaps.
Because little research of the natural remedy, including its benefits and side effects, has been carried out, it is important to make sure you research whether it is legal in the country you’re buying it in.
A number of countries and around a dozen states in America have banned the sale or use of kratom as a dietary supplement, however it does remain legal on a federal level in America and many countries around the world.
Ginkgo trees are native to China, Japan, and Korea, but have been introduced to other regions such as Europe and the United States. One of the world’s oldest living trees, dating back hundreds of millions of years, single trees can live to be over a thousand years old.
Ginkgo leaves are used to make teas, capsules, tablets, and extracts that are said to alleviate many aliments and disease. Gingko has been proven useful for treating Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, vision problems, anxiety, and poor blood flow.
Ginkgo often improves blood circulation and acts as an antioxidant. Long-term use of gingko may not be good for the liver though, and it can interact with blood thinners. Gingko seeds can also be poisonous if ingested.
The many benefits of aloe vera are no secret to most people around the world. This well recognized plant is native to the Arabian Peninsula but has been naturalized in regions all around the world and is widely cultivated.
Aloe vera has been used for centuries for its ability to heal cuts quickly and soothe burns, especially sunburn. It is the gel found within the plant’s leaves that contain the antioxidants and healing properties.
It is often used topically as creams or sprays, and sometimes ingested as a juice. Aloe vera is often added to a wide range of soaps and skin care products.
Aloe vera has been shown to reduce dental plaque, sooth canker sores, relieve constipation, slow the aging of skin, and inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria.
Its many healing qualities are what have helped it become one of the world’s most recognized and accepted natural remedies.
Another widely used and effective natural nutritional supplement is turmeric. Native to India and parts of Southeast Asia, turmeric is a spice that is used in many savory Asian dishes including curries.
It is a natural remedy for hay fever, helping to ease congestion and reduce sneezing. Those with kidney disease may see a reduction in itching after consuming turmeric and it has also been used to treat depression and those with high cholesterol.
Another natural remedy that has a similar name but is very much different is Javanese turmeric. Native to the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia, the roots of Javanese turmeric are used to develop medicines that can help treat indigestion, IBS, bloating, and intestinal gas.
Javanese turmeric may also help stimulate bile production.
Tea Tree Oil
The Land Down Under brings us a natural remedy that has long been used by Aboriginal Australians. Tea tree oil comes from the Australian native tree known as Melaleuca alternifolia, which has led to the oil also being called melaleuca oil.
The oil is extracted by crushing the leaves of the tree. It works as an antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes, can help sooth insect bites and stings, may reduce dandruff, kills bacteria and fungus on the skin and nails, and helps fight acne.
The oil is to be used topically or inhaled. However it is poisonous if consumed and should not be used on children under two years of age.
Tea tree oil also makes a great natural deodorant, natural hand sanitizer, and natural insect repellent. It can also be used as a household all-purpose cleaner that kills all kinds of germs.
Most of us have likely heard of chamomile tea, but did you know the many healing properties and health benefits attached with it?
Chamomile tea comes from the dried flowers of daisy-like plants that grow throughout Western Europe, parts of Asia, and more recently across the United States where it has become abundant.
When it comes to the healing powers of chamomile tea, the stronger the tea the greater the health benefits. It is said to help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps, has been seen to lower blood sugar in some people with diabetes, and may slow or stop osteoporosis.
Chamomile tea is also loaded with antioxidants and may lower your risk for cancer and heart disease. But many simply drink Chamomile tea to relax and fall asleep more easily.
In addition to tea, chamomile is also used to flavor some food products and may be found in skin creams, soaps, and cosmetics.
As you can see, there are many natural remedies and ingredients out there for people not inclined to use more mainstream medication. Just as therapy and counselling is to mental health (click here if you or someone you know is struggling with mental issues), natural remedies can be a great way to stay away from prescriptions.
While there may be side effects associated with some of these natural remedies, many harmful side effects and addictive qualities are also associated with modern medications prescribed by doctors.
It is at least worth familiarizing yourself with alternative natural remedies which may provide more effective results when other prescribed medications fail to produce a desired outcome.
As stated before, you should always consult your doctor before deciding to treat yourself with one of these natural remedies.