Natural remedies for Christmas ailments

December 14, 2008

With the best will in the world it is easy to overstretch and overstress yourself over the holiday period. Lots of intense activity, probably more food and drink than usual – and richer probably than your everyday diet – can all combine to put you out of sorts. Instead of the medicine cabinet, try these natural remedies to help prevent, and alleviate, those Christmas blues. It can be your seasonal ‘first aid’ kit so make sure you keep it handy.

1 Shock and bruising

Arnica is a wonderful homoeopathic remedy for shock – and you often get quite a few of those in the heat of family exchanges or unwrapping the world’s most unsuitable present. Taken as a couple of tablets under the tongue it will help you recover, and in its cream salve form it works wonders on bruises. In all that rushing about you can get bumped more than usual as your mind is distracted with all those lists and trying to remember if cousin George is still vegetarian or if that was just a short-term effect brought on by last girlfriend. Rub the cream onto the bruise – but only if the skin is unbroken – and it’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties will not only bring you relief from the pain but bring the bruising out faster so it passes quicker. As Arnica also helps restore emotional balance – which can seesaw rather violently at this time of year – it is always an excellent remedy to have on hand during the festive season

2 Healing cuts, scrapes, grazes

Under stress our nerves can show in many ways and one of the most popular seems to be picking or biting at cuticles until they bleed, or you might just not be looking carefully enough as you slice the turkey or fight your way through the crowds to get to the last ‘most popular toy of the year’ in the store. Calendula is a herb that has been used for centuries in folk medicine whenever cuts or sores need healing. It contains triterpenes which encourage new cell growth, as well as being antiseptic, and Nelson’s make a Hypercal cream which contains calendula and hypericum which can ease the pain of the wound and Boots the Chemist also make their own version. Make sure wound is clean first by bathing with warm water into which a few drops of tea tree oil have been added as this too is antiseptic and will help clear any infection.

3 Burns

As I am incapable of wresting a roast from the oven, or ironing anything at all, without burning myself somewhere I have amassed several useful remedies. My first option is another homoeopathic remedy from Nelsons, this time specifically for burns, and the second is lavender oil. Apply either immediately to the skin and you will soon feel the heat receding, use the oil neat and reapply as needed. Though if the burn is around food you might want to use the Nelson’s cream instead as lavender oil is rather pungent. If you have an aloe vera plant in the house, then that too is an excellent remedy to treat burns and scars. Just remove a leaf, cut across the tip and squeeze out the gel onto your skin. Aloe vera is one of the remedies used treat radiation burns after Hiroshima and it is very effective at quickly reducing heat and keeping the skin supple and moisturised.

4 Stomach upsets

Well first of all prevention is better than cure, so make a Christmas resolution to be kind to your liver and don’t overload it with too much food and drink – particularly rich foods and things you are not used to having regularly. Avoid things that can irritate or upset the stomach, so cut down on coffee and acid foods and try these natural remedies instead.

* peppermint tea as it soothes the stomach and aids digestion.
* ginger helps with nausea so drink ginger ale or steep ginger slices in a cup with honey and add hot water or eat some candied ginger.
* bananas soothe the stomach and counteract the acids that can cause an upset stomach. They are also easily digested and can help ease diarrhea.
* nux vom is a homoeopathic remedy that is excellent for when you have over-indulged in too much, or too rich, foods. Two tablets of 6 x potency under the tongue and repeated hourly will soon help you overcome any nauseous feelings.

5 Headaches

Lavender oil can be helpful here, just put a couple of dabs either side of your temples, just above your eyebrows and gently massage it in with a circular motion. Do not get the oil anywhere near your eyes. If the headache is very severe you can try a mixture of peppermint oil with lavender and clove in equal parts and inhale this regularly to clear your head If your head is aching then an ice pack might help, so put some crushed iced in a plastic bag, wrap it in a dry towel, and use it as a compress. Ice all been used in the drinks? No problem, just run the cold tap and soak a facecloth then wring it out, lie down and place on your forehead. Close your eyes until you feel better.

6 Emotional overload

If you find yourself weeping into the Brussel sprouts – and who wouldn’t – then keep a bottle of Rescue Remedy to hand. Just a few drops on the tongue of this mixture of floral and herb extracts helps restore emotional balance, reduces shock, calms the nerves and is my first port of call for anyone who is suffering from anxiety and stress. Lavender oil is another fast lifter of the spirit, just open the bottle and inhale, or dab a couple of drops on your wrist and keep sniffing to keep yourself calm and on an even keel – works with virtually everything but no guarantees for insufferable in laws or being left with all the washing up.


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