Fighting sickness with home remedies

The start of fall unfortunately means the start of cold and flu season.

It is inevitable that many students this fall and winter will be experiencing not only colds but also a number of other minor ailments such as headaches, stomachaches and insomnia, which frequently accompany the stress of college.

Fortunately the research and information on homeopathic and home remedies have gained popularity alongside increasing concerns about processed foods and the pharmaceutical industry.

To help you through the cold season, we’ve researched these common health problems and the foods that will help cure or at least reduce the severity of the symptoms.

These natural remedies will save you a trip to the pharmacy, keep your wallet happy and get you feeling better in no time.

Handle your headaches

Eliminate the throbbing and pounding of headaches with home remedies to treat the symptoms.

Some common reasons that bring headaches on are quite simple like dehydration, lack of calcium and stress. So sending your headache packing can be easier than you think. Try having a glass of water or a slice of watermelon to combat dehydration.

You can also snack on some Greek yogurt to add some extra calcium to your diet. Also practice stress management and add some avocado, dark chocolate and red wine to your shopping cart — all have been shown to lower blood pressure and relieve stress.

Soothe your stomach aches

The three big players to soothe away stomach aches are peppermint, ginger and chamomile tea. The ginger and chamomile tea both have anti-inflammatory properties that help them settle stomachs.

According to Peppermint for Stomach Aches on, “Peppermint derives its stomach-soothing properties from the volatile oil in its leaves, which is composed of menthol and menthone.”  So whenever you start to feel that all-too-familiar ache in your tummy, grab some ginger ale, candied ginger, peppermints or chamomile lavender tea. You will be back in tip-top shape before you know it.

Kick heartburn to the curb

Not everyone experiences heartburn, but those who have know how painful it can be. Heartburn is when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus and causes a burning sensation.

So the next time you overdo it on the fried foods or Coca-Cola, try reaching for dill pickle juice. It sounds strange and maybe a little gross but drinking a little bit of dill pickle juice is a well-known quick fix for heartburn.

Some recommend drinking milk to help heartburn, but this will only be a temporary fix increasing the very same stomach acid giving you pain in the first place.

According to Natural Home Remedies for Heartburn on, “While it’s true that milk can temporarily buffer stomach acid, nutrients in milk, particularly fat, will stimulate the stomach to produce more acid.”

Karate chop that common cold

The common cold seems to strike a person at the most inconvenient time and often happens when you least expect it. If you find yourself coming down with a cold, there are several foods that can help reduce the symptoms, namely foods high in zinc and vitamin C.

Of course we all know that oranges and strawberries are amazing for vitamin C but you might be left wondering what foods are a good source of zinc. It turns out that beef, salmon, cashews, almonds and sunflower seeds are great sources of zinc.

Never underestimate the power of a glass of ice water and bowl of chicken noodle soup as well. The water will help flush out your system while the chicken noodle soup has lots of steam to help ease congestion.

Ditch a bad cough

Stuck with a bad cough that won’t seem to go away? Try sucking on candy and drinking hot tea. Drinking hot tea will help soothe your throat and loosen up mucus while sucking on hard candy will help soothe an irritated throat by producing more saliva.

Drinking lots of water will also help loosen any mucus you may have and will help boost your immune system in the process.

Beat insomnia to get some sleep

If you are tossing and turning the night before an exam and need some quick relief, try turning to foods that aid your brain in producing a hormone called melatonin.

Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone because it helps us sleep and calcium is its best friend because it helps along its production. This is why people often drink warm milk before bed to fall asleep.

If warm milk isn’t your thing, you can try having some cottage cheese or yogurt before bed to help lull yourself into a sound slumber. Both are packed with calcium and you’ll be snoring before you know it.

Fight back at PMS

This one is for the ladies because we all know how tough it is to manage the Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms, especially when you are already stressed with the prospects of deadlines and final exams.

Interestingly enough, magnesium might be the key to reducing the physical and mental symptoms associated with PMS. According to PMS/PMDD and Two Therapeutic Nutrients on, “Increasing dietary magnesium often decreases menstrual cramping as well as PMS. Calcium causes muscles to contract, while magnesium helps them to relax.”

So next time you feel PMS coming on, try snacking on something high in magnesium such as bananas, pineapples, black beans, spinach or brown rice. By eating these foods you’ll reduce cramping and anxiety associated with your monthly visitor.

Lastly, drink up!

A common theme found in almost all research that was collected for this article was the importance of drinking water for your health.

Not only does it boost your immune system, but also it keeps your body working properly. Not to mention, dehydration can cause some pretty unpleasant side effects.

If you can’t stand the taste of water, try adding lemon, lime or flavored mixes to it such as Crystal Light or Mio.

In the end, we all have to deal with headaches, stomachaches and the common cold. Lucky for us there is a boatload of home remedies out there for almost anything you are going through.


Photo | Danielle Duval, Photo Editor