Natural health tips for women

There are many health conditions that can affect women at different times in their lives, some more than others. Here are some natural remedies to help alleviate the pain and discomfort that can result from some of them.

Natural health tips for women

1. Restore healthy bacteria

Anything that disturbs the normal vaginal environment can trigger an attack of thrush, a common infection caused by an excess of the yeast Candida albicans. The symptoms include a discharge and itching.

  • To restore healthy bacteria to the digestive system, eat yogurt that contains acidophilus cultures.
  • Choose low-glycaemic index carbohydrates to slow the release of sugars into your bloodstream.
  • Eliminate the possibility that you have a food allergy as this has been shown to worsen the symptoms.
  • Try to avoid stress, which can contribute to the condition.
  • When washing after intercourse, use plain water, not soap.
  • Don't wear tight trousers, shorts or underwear and avoid synthetic materials. Loose cotton underpants are best.

2. Treating side effects of the pill

If you're taking contraceptive pills for reasons other than contraception, consider the following drug-free alternatives to these common ailments.

  • Acne: Apply one drop tea-tree oil to blemishes. Try a herbal steam to deep-cleanse your skin: boil 10 mL (two tsps.) each of dried red clover and chamomile in 500 mL (two cups) water. Take it off the stove and pour it into a bowl. Tent your head with a towel and steam your face for 10 minutes.
  • Cramps and heavy bleeding: Chaste tree is a herb that is particularly effective when taken in tablet or capsule form or as a tea. If you suffer from heavy bleeding, ask your doctor to check your iron levels.
  • Headaches: Feverfew tablets may reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

3. Combat cystitis

To help fight cystitis, make up this infection-fighting blend of herbs from your health food shop, to sip when you feel an attack coming on.

  • Take five mL (one tsp.) each of these dried herbs – uva-ursi, goldenseal and echinacea.
  • Pour 500 mL(two cups) boiling water over the dried herbs.
  • Steep and strain.
  • Drink up to four cups a day.

4. Managing menopause

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often used to balance the lack of estrogen after menopause. If you prefer not to interfere with natural processes or suffer from side effects, here are some earth-wise alternatives to consider.

  • Eat more soy foods for the phytoestrogens they contain. These are plant substances that behave like natural estrogen in the body and help reduce symptoms. Also try drinking licorice root tea for its estrogenic properties.
  • Stock your medicine cabinet with black cohosh for hot flushes.
  • Try powdered maca (from health food shops), a root vegetable used as food and medicine by Peruvians. Anecdotal evidence suggests it may help menopausal symptoms. Because it seems to affect hormones, ask your doctor before using it.
  • Ease night sweats by sponging your face and chest with a facecloth dipped in lavender water. Simply add two to five drops lavender essential oil to 250 mL (one cup) water.
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