Natural remedies to keep you well this winter 

The Good Life Letter

Friday 30th December 2011

I donít know about you, but Iíve been picking at the last scraps of turkey like a rabid dog.

If youíve been overindulging too donít worry as you can help yourself to my last half of natural remedies guilt-free!

I do hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was a real family affair where we had both sets of Grandparents on hand to enjoy the day with us.

As I sat there in the evening with a plate of turkey sandwiches, a pile of gherkins and a small tincture to help wash it down I couldnít help smiling.

In the sitting room were three generations of the family and we were all talking about our natural remedies.

Laraís mum was holding forth about the restorative benefits of activated charcoal, my dad was extolling the virtues of his mumís marmalade and even my daughter was regaling us with prowess of spitting on a dock leaf to stop nettle stings.

I think the Telegraph should have done their research in our house for their top ten natural remedies that I started to talk about last week.

Anyway itís time to have a look at the last five.

Five more home remedies for 2012

Iím not convinced that the health editor stopped to think about all of these, and they definitely missed out on some really important benefits; allow me to fill you in on the gaps in their knowledge!

1) Vinegar for sunburn

Given all of the information there is out there about the health benefits of vinegar what in the name of all that is holy made them pick sunburn?

Vinegar in general and apple cider vinegar (ACV) in particular can help control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, surely this is a much bigger benefit than calming sunburn?

Just for the record ACV has uses for detoxifying the liver and improving the excretory system; fighting off bacterial and fungal infections; strengthening nails, hair, bones & teeth and improving the bodies ability to burn fat.

The prospect of lying in your hotel room after a day in the sun smelling like an old chip maybe isnít the image to have for this often underrated health tonic.

2) Duct tape for warts

How many of you looked at the date at the top of this letter to see if I was playing an April Fool on you?

Actually this remedy has been proven by trials as published in the American Family Physician Journal in 2003. They discovered that small pieces of tape placed over a wart for six days at a time was more effective than the freeze treatments available in chemists.

Of all the remedies in the Telegraph list this was the one which surprised me most, and one I will definitely try out the next time I get one of these viral skin infections.

3) Nail polish to stop insect bites itching

This is such a cop out for a remedy.

When the body reacts to the bite it generates a flush of histamines which irritate the skin, and makes you scratch. By covering the area with nail polish it provides a barrier to scratching rather than calming the reason for it.

In my book a dab of vinegar, some spit or a little [natural bug blaster ointment] are much more effective at controlling the itch, and keeping the bugs away in the first place.

4) Talcum powder to treat greasy hair

The idea is to comb talcum powder through the hair when you donít have chance to wash it. Iím just picturing some pour soul with a pudding on their head...arenít you?

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I it was common practice to powder their hair, but they were all soap dodgers in that period of history.

Since then we have hot water in our houses and some excellent permanent grooming products available, however, nature always has the best.

Chamomile tea, nettle juice extract and baking soda all make very effective ways to de-grease hair.

By adding a little tea tree oil you will have a natural control for hair lice, and rinsing with a 1:1 mix of Apple Cider Vinegar and water is the best natural conditioner out there. See they didnít mention that as a benefit for ACV earlier either!

5) Olive oil for earache

Now this is one that we do use in the Collins household. A little warm olive oil when the kids get earache works wonder.

A combination of the heat and natural anti-inflammatories soon soothe the ear canals and help the bodyís natural processes for clearing them out.

Itís always best to have a hot water bottle handy as well for your child to lay their heads on.

Olive oil is a remarkable product which has many uses in industry, culinary and medicinal fields.

For instance it can be used to reduce cholesterol and fat in the body as shown by research from Minnesota, Madrid and Nijmegen in Holland recently, thatís why the Mediterranean diet is considered so good for us despite its relatively high fat content.

What are your health resolutions going to be?

As the end of 2011 approaches I hope you are considering what you are going to do to look after yourselves in the next twelve months.

The obvious ones of losing weight, doing more exercise and being nicer to idiots canvassing for the local elections are a given, but what about something personal to you?

There are so many things contained in my back catalogue of letters that you can find [here]

But you might also like to let a few friends in on the secret too. Send them an email with a link to sign up and share the benefits of being part of one of our happy band Ė it would be great to have a few more readers on board.

Hereís a page you can use as a link which explains a little about what they are in for, simply send them to

Yours, as always




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