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Simple Health Tips

Sip Oolong Tea

Research suggests that people with mild eczema who drink oolong tea three times a day may show improvement in itching and other symptoms. Compounds in the tea called polyphenols appear to be responsible.

Go Herbal

For varicose veins, try horse chestnut, an herbal extract that’s been shown in studies to strengthen veins and reduce swelling. The herb is also available in topical creams, though there’s not as much evidence for these.

Rub Your Temples

Tame tension headaches by rubbing peppermint oil, Tiger Balm, or white flower oil into your temples. All three remedies contain menthol, which has analgesic properties.

Enjoy Ginger

The volatile oils in ginger have long made it a useful herbal remedy for nasal and chest congestion. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over a 1-inch piece of peeled, grated ginger; steep for 10 minutes; and strain. Add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to the water and drink as needed.

Get a Good Pair of Trainers

Is your energy lagging? Though it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re tired, exercise — even a brisk walk — can be more effective than a nap or cup of coffee at fighting fatigue.

Sniff Rosemary

According to some research, catching a whiff of this aromatic herb may increase alertness and improve memory. To stay sharp, try smelling fresh rosemary or inhaling the scent of rosemary essential oil before a test or meeting.

Embrace Bitters

Combat a yen for sugar by following a Chinese medicine approach: Eat foods such as endive, radicchio, cooked greens, and olives.

Pop a Probiotic

To keep yeast infections at bay, head for the vitamin aisle. Supplementing with “good” bacteria (for example, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium) may help restore the balance the of bacteria living in the female genital tract and inhibit the growth of yeast in women with recurrent infections. Foods such as naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, as well as yogurt with active cultures, also contain these bacteria.

Eat Bananas

People whose diets are rich in potassium may be less prone to high blood pressure. Besides reducing sodium and taking other heart-healthy steps, eat potassium-packed picks such as bananas, cantaloupe, and oranges.

Love Lavender

To ease stress and prepare for bed, soak in a hot bath spiked with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Play soothing music while you bathe to unwind further. Lavender oil is also a relief for cystitus burning when dabbed on your privates!

Keep Capsaicin Cream on Hand

For sore muscles and joints, apply a cream or ointment that contains capsaicin, the active ingredient in chile peppers, two or three times a day. The heat from the peppers has been shown to help relieve pain.

Get a Massage

Certain trigger points — spots of tension in musculoskeletal tissue — can cause back pain. Ask a massage therapist or other bodyworker who specializes in myofascial release or neuromuscular therapy to focus on these points during a massage

Go for Garlic

Adding raw or lightly cooked garlic and onions to your meals may help keep you healthy this winter. Both foods appear to possess antiviral and antibacterial properties and are believed to boost immunity

Try Tea Tree Oil

For athlete’s foot, reach for tea tree oil, an extract of the leaves of an Australian tree. It appears to have antiseptic properties and may work as well as or better than over-the-counter antifungal products. Apply a light coating of the oil to affected areas two to three times a day; continue for a week or two after symptoms disappear.

Take Tulsi

Research suggests that this Ayurvedic herb, also called holy basil, may help manage levels of the stress hormone cortisol, helping to boost your mood. Look for teas and supplements in health-food stores and follow package directions.

Eat Avocados

For dry skin, incorporate more avocados into your diet. They’re rich in monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, both of which promote healthy skin. Try them on salads and sandwiches, and even in smoothies.

Keep Echinacea Close

If you feel a cold coming on, consider reaching for this age-old remedy. A 2007 meta-analysis showed that the herb can reduce cold symptoms. Aim for three grams daily in tincture or capsule form, starting at the first sign of symptoms.

Invest in a Neti Pot

Plagued with sinus problems? Rinse your nasal passages twice a day to flush out pollen and other irritants. Put saline solution (a 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 cup warm water) in a plastic squirt bottle or a nasal irrigator, a spouted container that allows you to pour water directly into your nose. The solution should fill your nasal cavity and spill out the other nostril. Gently blow your nose afterward.

Try Triphala

Avoid constipation and stay regular with Triphala, an Ayurvedic blend of three fruits that is believed to help tone the gastrointestinal tract. Look for capsules of Triphala and follow package directions.

Befriend a Bottle

For heel and arch pain, try stretching your foot by rolling it over a rolling pin or a bottle.

Arm Yourself with Arnica

Homeopathic creams, gels, and ointments that contain arnica, a flower similar to the daisy, have long been used to relieve swelling and bruising. Rub into the affected area, but stop using if you develop skin irritation.

Go for GLA

If you’ve ruled out other causes of hair loss, such as stress, overuse of hair-care products, and certain medications and diseases such as hypothyroidism, consider supplementing with evening primrose oil. It’s a good source of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that’s needed for hair growth and is hard to get from your diet. Experts recommend taking 500 milligrams twice a day; expect to wait eight weeks to see results.

Eat Japanese Food

In addition to following good dental hygiene, you can help prevent cavities by adding more shiitake mushrooms and wasabi to your diet. Both foods contain compounds that help fight the bacteria that cause plaque and cavities.

Hydrate

To treat an acute migraine, drink a full glass of water — dehydration can trigger headaches. Even if you need to take a medication for the pain, try wrapping your head with an Ace bandage so that it covers your eyes, then lie down and breathe deeply. This often helps the pain pass more quickly.

Try Acupressure

Calm a queasy stomach with this quick acupressure trick: Use your index and middle fingers to press down on the groove between the tendons that run from the base of your palm to your wrist. Wristbands that apply pressure to this spot are available at drugstores and online.

Watch Your Carbs

Trying to reduce belly fat? Pay attention to your carbohydrate intake and avoid artificial sweeteners. Sugary snacks and other refined carbs spike blood sugar and cause pounds to settle in your midsection. Choose whole grains, beans, and vegetables instead.

Cayenne Pepper

To warm up cold feet, sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper into your socks. This folk remedy may help warm your toes by increasing circulation and improving blood flow.

Use Licorice

Treat canker sores, painful spots on the inside of the mouth, with deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), which appears to soothe mucous membranes. Buy in powder form and mix with a little water to make a paste; apply it to the sore as needed.

Call a Friend

Keeping your social networks alive and well may help benefit your ticker over the long term. Social support has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, and people who do have heart attacks fare better if they are socially connected.

Drink Cranberry Juice

Cranberries contain a substance that appears to keep bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract and has been shown to help prevent UTIs. Because cranberry cocktail is high in sugar, drink unsweetened juice diluted with water or take capsules of powdered cranberry extract.

Swab Your Soles

Are you tired of having stinky feet? Kill odor-causing bacteria quickly by soaking a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wiping your soles as needed.

Drink Mint Tea

Ease occasional indigestion by sipping a cup of peppermint tea after your meal. Peppermint improves the flow of bile, which moves food through the digestive tract more quickly. Use peppermint with caution if you have acid reflux; it can make that problem worse.

Get Your Daily D

Get your vitamin D level checked with a simple blood test. D is at least as important as calcium for strong bones, and most Americans don’t get enough. Get a minimum of 1,000 IU a day through supplements and food.

Try a Tongue Scraper

To combat bad breath, consider investing in this inexpensive plastic or metal device to remove bacteria from the back of your tongue. Some studies suggest that adding tongue scraping to your regimen may be slightly more effective at eliminating breath odor than just brushing your teeth

Find Friendly Fungi

The medicinal mushroom cordyceps has traditionally been used to promote lung strength, and some studies show that it may improve symptoms of respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Look for capsules or tinctures of cordyceps; follow package directions.

Break Out the Duct Tape

Stick it to warts with this unusual remedy. Some research found that applying the tape over problem areas for about a week helped clear up warts as well as conventional treatment. Duct tape may work by irritating the skin, triggering an immune reaction that fights the infection typically responsible for warts.

Wash Up

To fend off colds, washing your hands well and often is the best step you can take. Use plain soap and water and scrub for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday to You” twice.

Try a Tincture

For that most unpleasant of stomach upsets, diarrhea, blackberry root tincture can help. This herb contains tannins, substances that have astringent effects on the intestinal lining. Look for the tincture at health-food stores or online and take 1 teaspoon of it in water every two to four hours until symptoms subside.

Chew Some Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are considered a carminative, a substance that helps relieve gas. Chew and then swallow about half a teaspoon of the seeds after meals.

Have Some Honey

Research suggests that honey may be more effective than over-the-counter cough syrup at quelling nighttime coughing. Use a medicinal-grade variety such as manuka honey and take up to 2 teaspoonfuls at bedtime.

Eat Broccoli

For healthy gums, put this green vegetable on your grocery list. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and provides calcium as well, both of which have been linked to lower rates of periodontal disease.

Bone Up on Calcium

Studies have found that supplementing with 500 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily may ease premenstrual symptoms. Other research suggests that getting calcium from foods (low-fat dairy, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, spinach, and beans) may also ease PMS.

Seek Out Slippery Elm

To soothe a sore throat, try slippery elm, which can help ease pain by coating irritated tissue. Look for slippery elm lozenges and suck on them as needed.

Drink Green Tea

Hot or iced, green tea can help rev up your workout. Its catechins, antioxidants, and caffeine help increase the metabolic generation of heat. Drink a cup about 10 minutes before exercising.

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