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If you walk down the pharmacy aisle at your local drug store, you'll see countless types of medicines and remedies for everything from the common cold to high blood pressure.  But what about some natural ways to keep you and your family healthy?


Chrystle Fiedler, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Natural Remedies, answers your questions.



Q:  How do natural remedies compare to over the counter drugs or even perscription medicines?  Do you think people should use natural remedies instead? (question by MagdalencaC)

A: I think natural remedies can be a good alternative if you aren’t getting the results you want from OTC or RX drugs. They tend to be safer and have minimal side effects. Try them for simple things at first like a cold.  

Q:  Piggybacking MagdalenaC's question, do you believe there is a place for both traditional and Western medicines in society today? Or does it have to be one or the other? (question by Deej)

A: Both have their place. I would never say nix Western medicines because some of them are very helpful. I use both when necessary!

Q:  Are there some herbal and/or organic ingredients you should never mix together that can be harmful to the human body?  (question by seattlite)

A: That is a huge question. Not sure I can cover that here. You will find warnings in my book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Remedies when things are contraindicated although it is by no means exhaustive.  

Q:  Are there any good "all-purpose" natural remedies (meaning, generally good for boosting your immune system, have multiple health benefits, etc) we should work into our daily routines? (question by stins)

A: I love lavender. It’s a great tension reliever. You can take a bath in it or put a dab of essential oil on your pillow. When we are less stressed it can only improve immune function.

Q:  Is there an effective natural sleep aid out there that does not have the sideffects that prescription drugs have? I have tried melatonin and valerian unsuccesfully. Is there another one I am not aware of? (question by eris)

A: A good brand is the Revitalizating Sleep Formula by Enzymatic Therapy. All natural, very effective! You can buy it on Vitacost.

Q:  When I was a kid, my mom used to make me take echinacea every time I was getting a cold.  Does it really do anything? (question by Alejandro)

A: It has been shown to stimulate the immune system into action and so may help to shorten a cold’s duration.  

Q:  I've taken to drinking kombucha a lot...but primarily it's just because of the way it tastes!  What exactly is the deal with probiotics? (question by stins)

A: Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that repopulate the gut. Good to take especially if you have been on a course of antibiotics since they wipe out gut bacteria – both good and bad! Some holistic doctors also recommend taking them for general good health.

Q:  I play hockey about once a week and often have sore muscles afterwards.  What are some good natural remedies for that?  Are there any preventative measures I can take? (question by nightmancometh)

A: Arnica is awesome when it comes to sore muscles. You can get a lotion – Weleda – is a great brand. Put it on after you take a shower and let it absorb into your skin.  You can also Arnica in homeopathic pills for bruises. Epsom salts are also effective.