6 Natural Alternatives For The Most Common OTC Meds

Written By Tyree Hicks- Perkins

Oh, us fortunate Americans.  When our bodies are in pain or suffering from an illness, we run to the drug store for quick relief, but that relief can come at a cost.  Big Pharma is betting that you won’t look for an alternative. Learn about natural remedies that won’t only relieve your symptoms, but really focus on curing the root cause.

 

HEARTBURN + INDIGESTION

Ever had heartburn (after a few whiskeys and pulled pork sliders)?  You may have used an otc drug like Prilosec or Nexium. These drugs are called proton pump inhibitors (PTP’s) and they’re designed to suppress stomach acid, but they can have pretty ill side effects. Stomach acid plays a big role in keeping you healthy. It inhibits bacterial overgrowth and helps you absorb essential nutrients. Herbal alternatives help soothe inflamed, irritated tissue, and promote digestive health. While changing your diet is most effective, consider these herbal allies for natural relief.

  • Herbal Bitter Extract - Bitters stimulate the secretion of bile and digestive enzymes, promote digestive and liver function and healthy gut flora. Best when taken 15-20 minutes before meals.
  • Licorice Root - Soothing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-viral, promotes tissue health and inhibits infection in the gut.

 

COLDS + FLU

A common cold or a case of the flu can take you out, but so can the medicine you take to combat the symptoms.  Common remedies for colds and flu are usually some combination of antihistamines, decongestants, analgesics, and cough suppressants. Despite their popularity, many studies have proven they don’t offer much more than a placebo effect. Analgesics (i.e. Tylenol), reduce fever, but in doing so they suppress the body’s healthy immune response, and that can lead to a more serious infection. Natural remedies help the body fight back, helping the body stimulate its own immune system. Hate taking sick days?  Keep these herbs in your medicine cabinet to stay in the game.

  • Echinacea Root - Immune stimulant, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory. Useful for the common cold and other bacterial infections like sore throat, swollen glands, and fever.
  • Thyme Leaf or Essential Oil -  Can be used as an expectorant, anti-fungal, reduces and thins mucus, helpful for colds and flu with excessive mucus and coughing. Can be steeped in a tea or use topically.

 

PAIN | HEADACHES | JOINT + MUSCLE PAIN

The most common over-the-counter drugs for pain are acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen. These drugs are not only toxic, but they can also make some conditions worse. Acetaminophen is responsible for more emergency room visits than any other drug. Crazy right? Drugs like ibuprofen are responsible for about 16,500 deaths and more than 100,000 hospitalizations annually. Heard enough? Good, because there are lots of good herbal alternatives for pain relief. Natural remedies focus on the real cause of pain or inflammation.

  • Lavender Essential Oil -  Lavender is an Antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, great for muscle aches and pain, tension headaches and poor sleep.
  • CBD -  CBD is definitely having a moment right now, but it’s actually been used for centuries. It’s great to treat pain relief, muscle stiffness, and joint pain, and can be used as a topical treatment, or ingested.