I've always been prone to illness and annoying allergies, but in the last year or so I've managed to get my immune system under control, and breezed through cold and flu season with nary a runny nose.
This summer though, I've fallen (temporarily) under the weather a few times, whether it was from overindulging on summer junk food or getting sent into a nightmare allergy fit on a recent trip to New York. That's why I've been on the hunt for remedies that will make me feel healthier while leaning on the natural side of things.
I have no qualms with over-the-counter treatments, but it feels nice to depend on healthier alternatives from time to time, especially when they're just as effective as their drugstore cohorts.
So, here we are with my favourite remedies for what's been ailin' me, all portable and ready to be taken on whatever adventures you may have.
Urban Moonshine Digestive Maple Bitters ($7.99, urbanmoonshine.com)
The concept of bitters is what fascinated me to try out this spray: basically, in North American culture we consume more than our fair share of salty and sweet food, but rarely do we ever include bitter items in our diet (dark cacao and dark leafy greens are one way to introduce the flavour to your palate).
When we ingest bitters, like this handy little spray for instance, it gently "shocks" our digestive system, stimulating the production of digestive enzymes and bitters and helping to calm issues like bloating, gas and occasional heartburn.
Whenever I've got a burning in my throat or my stomach has bloated up like a balloon, I'll spritz Urban Moonshine's bitters on to my tongue and I start to feel better within 20 minutes. Yes, they are insanely bitter, but bearable, and I'm willing to endure the nose-scrunch-inducing taste for a happier stomach.
Lucas Papaw Ointment ($15.99, rickysnyc.com)
I mentioned above my horrendous allergy attack in New York (what is with that city's pollen?), and one of the delightful side effects of nonstop noseblowing was a Rudolph-red nose chapped and peeling beyond recognition.
Enter Papaw, Australia's favourite ointment for nicks and burns. It's fermented papaya ("papaw") base contains fruit enzymes that encourage exfoliation and new cell growth.
Applied in a thin layer to my chapped nose, it rid me of my flakiness overnight. I've also been slathering it on my lips and cuticles, and it works fabulously on scabby, dry blemishes as a smoothing, healing base before applying concealer.
Saje Wellness Peppermint Halo Headache Remedy ($26.95, saje.ca)
When the weather gets humid, I'm prone to painful pressure headaches (nosebleeds aren't uncommon) and always feel desperately in search of something to tell my sinuses to chill out.
Enter Saje Wellness' Peppermint Halo, a roll-on blend of essential oils (peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender), that soothes tension with an "icy-hot" sensation, and makes breathing easier.
Dabbed on my temples and the bridge of my nose in the midst of a particularly rough headache, I take a few minutes to breathe deeply and quickly feel the pressure easing up. I also "creatively" dabbed the blend under my nostrils on a recent bus trip that reeked of B.O. and fast food. Whoo, personal air freshener-to-go!