In general, a viral infection usually comes with other symptoms, like muscle aches and fatigue, along with your sore throat, says Chester Griffiths MD, an otolaryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. With a bacterial infection, on the other hand, the pain is usually more focused on your throat and the soreness tends to be pretty severe, Dr. Griffiths says. You may also have intense pain when you swallow, along with a high fever.
A stiff neck results from slowed circulation and lymph flow to muscle tissues. Use contrast hydrotherapy—a quick blast of hot, then cold water—to get the blood pumping again. In the shower, first run hot water over your neck for 20 seconds to increase blood flow, then switch to cold for 10 seconds to constrict blood flow. Alternate three times, always ending with cold. When you get out of the shower, your body will send the blood back out to the skin, which results in a final dilation of blood vessels and—voilà!—a looser neck.
Try relaxing magnesium (200 to 400 mg) to reduce the muscle tension and spasms that can cause your noggin to throb. But not any type will do. Make sure the supplement contains at least 200 mg of active elemental magnesium. Because magnesium is more preventive than curative, the treatment works best on, say, premenstrual headaches because you can predict when they're coming and take a dose a day in advance. Those with kidney problems should consult a health care practitioner before taking magnesium. (Here are 3 more natural remedies for your headache.)
Sip a faux hot toddy. Cut a vitamin C–rich lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half into a cup. Studies show that vitamin C taken before the onset of a cold shortens its duration and severity. Drop the lemon half shell into the cup. Add boiling water and a teaspoon of organic raw honey, an immunity booster that also coats painful throat tissues. Breathe in the healing vapor to open sinuses, and sip a cupful two or three times daily to fight the bug. (To make a traditional hot toddy, add a half shot of brandy.)
Soak feet nightly in 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water to eliminate odoriferous bacteria. Or take a daily foot bath in strong black tea (let it cool first) for 30 minutes. Tea's tannins kill bacteria and close the pores in your feet, keeping feet dry longer; bacteria tend to thrive in moist environments. You'll see results in a few days to a week. One caution: Do the soak only when your feet are free of cuts.
Believe it or not, your toothbrush may be perpetuating—or even causing—your sore throat. Bacteria collect on the bristles, and any injury to the gums during brushing injects these germs into your system. As soon as you start feeling ill, throw away your toothbrush. Often that’s enough to stop the illness in its tracks. “Changing your toothbrush is often recommended for patients with bacterial throat infections to eliminate the spread of infection,” Dr. Abramowitz says.
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Sepel recommends warm water with lemons in the morning: “One of my top tips is warm lemon water. I enjoy this hydration boost every morning to prepare my body for digestion and detoxification. Probiotics are also essential, whether it’s in supplement form or probiotic-rich foods like fermented vegetables, tempeh and organic yoghurt. I also encourage my clients to cut gluten for a few weeks as it causes bloating and digestive discomfort for so many,” she said.
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Two naturopathic doctors, Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, explain how natural therapies are used to treat common health conditions. In "The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," they provide tips for living a healthy lifestyle and using supplements and botanical medicines. The doctors give examples of how holistic medicine can be effective, using information from scientific studies.
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Black tea is chock-full of astringent compounds called tannins that can help deflate and tighten the bags under your eyes. (Not to mention black tea is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.) Activate the tannins in a tea bag by dipping in a cup of hot water for several minutes. Cool in the fridge, then apply the damp bag as a compress to the closed eye for 10 minutes.
In her recently released book, Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal, Registered Herbalist Rosalee De La Forêt has one mission: to teach readers how to transform everyday ingredients into natural remedies. More plainly put, she wants to show you how to heal your body with foods and ingredients you already have in your kitchen cupboard.
Chlorophyll is the dark green pigment found in plants, and has a molecular structure to hemoglobin (the substance that’s responsible for transporting oxygen around the body.) Add a tablespoon to your bottle of water to boost red blood cells, improve oxygen, increase energy, help body odor, protect from cancer, help regulate bowel movements, and increase your intake of magnesium, vitamins, folic acid, iron, calcium and protein.