Before bedtime, eat a handful of cherries (or drink tart cherry juice), which scientists discovered are jam-packed with melatonin, the same hormone created by your body to regulate sleep patterns. Then steep yourself in a hot bath to relax your muscles and your mind. In bed, rest your head on a lavender-filled pillow—the fragrance induces sleepiness. (Bonus: Cherries can help prevent gout attacks.)
If part of the reason you’re breathing through your mouth is because your nose is clogged, use an over-the-counter medicated decongestant nasal spray or drops to open up airways, such as Afrin or Vicks. “Nasal decongestants work well at eliminating congestion in your nose and drying mucus out,” Dr. Abramowitz says. “This can help you feel better and also decrease postnasal drip.”
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.
If you are interested in learning more about herbal medicines and natural remedies—either to grow and harvest your own herbs or solely to further your knowledge—we’ve put together a curated list of our favorite books currently on the market. Some include recipes, others contain information about identifying herbs in their natural environment, but they all are comprehensive, straight-forward, and written by experts in the field.
Sip linden flower tea, which works in two ways: It stimulates the hypothalamus to better control your temperature, and it dilates blood vessels, inducing sweating. Steep 1 tablespoon of dried herb (available in health food stores) in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, then sip. Drink three to four cups a day. If you still run hot after a day of sipping tea, seek medical attention.
To reduce the tickle in your throat, try an astringent gargle -- such as tea that contains tannin -- to tighten the membranes. Or use a thick, viscous gargle made with honey or honey and apple cider vinegar. Seep one tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of hot water; mix with one teaspoon of honey. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before gargling.
To the elderly, who are suffering cardiovascular disease, liver cirrhosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, constipation is even more dangerous as a straining and difficult bowel movement can increase blood pressure, a risk of cerebral embolism, shortness of breath and so on, which may cause sudden death. The stagnation of stool in the colon for long days also cause intestinal obstruction or facilitate the development of harmful bacteria, promoting the risk of other diseases and infections.
Acid reflux—which occurs when acids produced by your stomach make their way into the throat—is a common cause of a sore throat, Dr. Comer says. That means anything you do to stoke acid reflux could prolong or worsen a sore throat. For that reason, Dr. Comer recommends avoiding soda, fried foods, and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Also, skip food altogether for an hour before bed. Eating before you lie down can promote reflux and heartburn.
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.
Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration, and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat. If you're so congested that you can't sleep at night, try a hot toddy, an age-old remedy. Make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add one teaspoon of honey and one small shot (about 1 ounce) of whiskey or bourbon. Limit yourself to one. Too much alcohol will inflame the membranes and make you feel worse.
For many generations, Eastern and Western medicines were at odds. Few practitioners used both. That’s not the case so much today, with many healers and doctors combining both approaches. "Between Heaven and Earth" is a guide to help you understand why ancient Chinese medicine can still be valuable today and how it can be used with more modern Western practices.
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Kayti Christian (she/her) is an Editor at The Good Trade. Growing up beneath the evergreens in the Sierra Nevadas, she returns to California after a decade split between states—including three years lived abroad. With an MA in Nonfiction Writing, she’s passionate about storytelling and fantastic content, especially as it relates to mental health, feminism, and sexuality. When not in-studio, she’s camping, reading memoir, or advocating for the Oxford comma.