Local remedies are a touchy subject on a blog devoted to travel health. There is always a fine line between sound medical advice and concoctions that don’t have concrete data supporting their use. Of course, we are not doctors and we always advise our readers to have a real consultation with a doctor that specializes in travel health. That said, local remedies are worth discussing, and sometimes, worth using. We will talk about some of the more notable ones in this post.
The strength of local remedies lies in their history
Most of the reputable local and natural remedies have been around for generations and in some cases, hundreds of years. They are not a fad or a short-term experiment. They have stood the test of time for a reason – they work. In some cases, there may be modern medicines that are more effective, but there also instances where there aren’t, or where the side effects of modern medicine prohibit their use. Here we will explore 4 different local remedies for different ailments and conditions. Keep in mind, this is just a glimpse – there are many others!
Used by indigenous populations in Latin America for centuries, Coca leaves can help to relieve altitude sickness in addition to providing a modest boost of energy. Coca has alkaloids that are a natural stimulant (in higher quantities, these alkaloids actually form the basis of the drug cocaine). These alkaloids can help settle your stomach and ease high altitude headaches. Coca leaves can be consumed in a tea or they can be chewed with an alkalizing agent, such as sodium bicarbonate.
A staple in traditional chinese medicine, ginger is also a popular ingredient in dishes around the world. Fresh greated ginger in a cup of hot water is the most common mode of consumption for medicinal and health purposes. The health benefits are numerous. It can help with digestion and nausea, it has anti-inflammatory properties and it has long been touted in cancer prevention. Ginger is also considered to have immune-boosting effects as anti-viral and anti-bacterial substance — really an all around all start when you think about it!
Inside the leaf of an aloe vera plant, is a semi-clear gel that has numerous health benefits. Applied to the skin, aloe vera gel can hydrate and repair. It is excellent for the treatment of sunburn, for example. Few people realize, however, that aloe vera gel can actually be consumed. I personally started consuming aloe vera (as an addition to smoothies), because it helps with heartburn. But it also has numerous vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It can also help with digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Aloe vera is great for the skin, but it’s also a very healthy plant substance to consume.
A tree species found in Morocco, the oil derived from argan trees has been shown to have multiple health benefits. Argan oil is similar to olive oil in many ways, but it may pack an even bigger punch. Applied topically, argan oil can repair and hydrate damaged hair and skin. Consumed orally, argan oil is rich in antioxidants and it has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, it may be able to lower blood pressure and ward off health problems related to obesity. It’s also worth noting that it has a wonderful nutty taste that is great for salad dressings and other dishes.
Manuka is a unique type of honey that originates from New Zealand. It is produced from pollen collected from the Manuka tree which grows in the East Cape area. It has long been highly prized for its significant medicinal qualities, particularly for its ability to promote the healing of wounds and the prevention of infection. This is due to its particularly high content of antiviral and antibacterial properties. A number of studies have been carried out in New Zealand, the US and the UK which have demonstrated that this honey does indeed have a powerfully healing and antiseptic effect. It is also classed as a ‘superfood’ due its high concentration of active phytonutrients which are beneficial to overall health. Additionally, even when diluted Manuka still maintains its potency, so just a spoonful in a cup of tea can still be worthwhile. This is why many Manuka users regularly add it to both their food and drinks. It’s an easy way to give your body an extra boost and ensure that you remain healthy and active. For a wide selection of Manuka honeys have a look at Manuka Honey from Holland & Barrett for skincare preparations and body care products. Each product listed also gives detailed information, allowing you to easily select the most appropriate options for your health and dietary needs.
Feel free to share your own experiences with local and natural remedies in the comments below!
This post was made possible by Holland & Barrett
Photo credit: flickr users juicebox013, jthuston, artizone, itmpa, moosicorn and cb-photography