Bee pollen contains B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, essential fatty acids, minerals, and plant sterols. It has an antimicrobial effect, exhibits strong antioxidant effects, and may be anti-allergenic. It also helps fight fatigue and depression. Try just a little at first; if you develop allergy symptoms, discontinue.
Lavender soothes the body and mind and has been used historically as an antiseptic and for anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness. Its essential oil can help heal acne and rashes, relieve headache, and induce sleep when added to a bath. Lavender tea may settle the stomach and freshen breath as a mouthwash.
A member of the mint family with antiviral properties, lemon balm has been used for more than 2,000 years to heal wounds and lift spirits, promote sleep and healthy digestion, reduce anxiety, and improve alertness.
The herb passionflower is a traditional treatment for anxiety and insomnia. It can be used as a tea or tincture. Scientists believe it may increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, which reduces activity of some brain cells to induce relaxation. Don’t take passionflower if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Include flaxseeds in your diet. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber, and possess anti-inflammatory properties. Research indicates that flax may help reduce your risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some kinds of cancer. Store ground flaxseed in the freezer and add a tablespoon or two to oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, or soup, or to baked goods.
Enjoy chamomile tea, a traditional remedy for indigestion and sleep problems. It may also reduce stress and anxiety and ease menstrual cramps. As a mouthwash, it helps heal minor oral infections. Avoid chamomile if you’re allergic to ragweed.
Try homeopathic remedies for common health problems. Among the safest choices for self-treatment, they treat illnesses quickly without side effects. When colds and viruses strike, reach for Allium cepa, Ferrum phos, or Rhus toxicodendron. For bumps and bruises, add Arnica to your medicine cabinet.
Spice up your cooking with cayenne. Used as flavoring and medicine for centuries, its heat comes mostly from capsaicin, which has strong pain-relieving properties. In Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines, cayenne is used for digestive conditions, poor appetite, and circulatory problems. Topically, capsaicin cream eases arthritis.
To restore health and harmony to mind, body, and spirit, try flower essences. Stress, anxiety, and other negative feelings manifest in many ways, including acne, skin rashes, and even cold hands and feet. Specific essences can promote health by bringing equilibrium to emotional states.
Exercise every day. When storms cancel your walk or run, have a backup plan, such as yoga or tai chi. Start with simple goals and consider exercising with a partner so it’s harder to ditch your workout. From ballroom dancing to volleyball, there are numerous ways to move that are fun.
Reimagine your bathroom as a spa for natural healing. Indulge in natural soaps, organic cotton towels, and wooden bath brushes. Add a plant or two to clear the air. Feng shui experts say that lit beeswax candles increase energy, or chi.
Use all-natural hair and skin care products. Your body absorbs 60 percent of what you put on your skin and scalp, so choose products labeled Organic.
Fight stress with aromatherapy, which uses essential plant oils and is gaining attention for its potential to treat infections, anxiety, insomnia, and other problems. These oils affect us primarily through inhalation; pure essential oils can be added to the bath, to a carrier oil for massage, or to water for a room spray. If you’re pregnant or have asthma or allergies, you should avoid all essential oils.
Treat yourself to a massage occasionally. Benefits include relaxation, increased immunity, reduced stiffness and pain, and a boost in mood.
Water is the most essential nutrient for your body, so stay hydrated. It helps regulate temperature, remove waste, and transport oxygen and other nutrients. You might not feel as thirsty in cold weather, but you need as much pure water as you did in July.
If shorter days and overcast skies get you down, try full-spectrum lights. Wearing a light visor for 30 minutes a day can make a difference in your mood and energy level. Get out in the noonday sun whenever you can; just 15 minutes can boost your mood.
To cleanse your body after indulging in not-so-healthy holiday foods and drinks, try a detox; you may also shed extra pounds. Clear your system with a short juice fast, or try a cleansing kit. Then reduce your body’s toxic burden by choosing organic foods.
Be sure to get enough vitamin D. The “sunshine vitamin” is making news for benefits ranging from cancer and diabetes prevention to strengthened immunity, yet a European clinician recently reported that more than a billion people worldwide may be deficient. UV rays from sunlight trigger the body to make D, but older people and dark-skinned individuals synthesize less of it, and in northern latitudes, sunlight is insufficient from November to early March.
Sip red (rooibos) and green tea—both the focus of research for multiple potential health benefits, courtesy of their numerous polyphenols. Research suggests that antioxidants in green tea may reduce LDL cholesterol, promote fat burning, and protect against free-radical assault. In vitro and animal studies suggest rooibos has anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergenic properties.
Make a conscious effort to slow down and be present in each moment. Eat slowly, drive slowly, and complete single tasks instead of trying to multitask. Shut off your mobile device and get away from your computer on a regular basis. Being connected constantly means frequent interruptions and a barrage of too much information— a source of stress.