Essential oils are common ingredients in natural medications and aromatherapy, but they're not safe for everyone. Some people become more sensitive to essential oils as they get older, and they can also interact with other medications.
Fortunately, there are various natural remedies without essential oils. The remedies on this list are usually safe for older adults, but it's still a good idea to check with your doctor or the health care team at The Gardens at Barry Road before adding them to your diet.
If you're a fan of spicy dishes, you're probably already familiar with turmeric. This common cooking ingredient contains curcumin and has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for inflammatory conditions. Therefore, it could be helpful for older adults living with arthritis, metabolic syndrome and other common health issues.
A 2012 review of the scientific evidence surrounding curcumin concluded that this cupboard staple has powerful anti-inflammatory and oxidative properties. Furthermore, researchers discovered that combining turmeric with black pepper increases its bioavailability by as much as 2,000%.
So, how can seniors reap the benefits of turmeric? Unfortunately, simply adding a sprinkle of turmeric powder to your meals and drinks is unlikely to provide significant effects because it doesn't contain high enough levels of curcumin. Instead, you could try adding a turmeric supplement to your daily routine.
Many people with muscle pain, rheumatoid arthritis and neuralgia (nerve pain) find topical capsaicin provides effective pain relief. Capsaicin is a natural substance found in hot chili peppers and comes in creams, lotions and patches.
You can purchase certain capsaicin products over the counter at your local pharmacy. However, you'll need a prescription for stronger capsaicin patches designed to relieve neuralgia. If you think prescription-strength capsaicin could be a good pain management option for you, you can speak to the health care team at The Gardens at Barry Road, Kansas City, or schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
There's also some encouraging evidence that eating chili peppers could provide other health benefits. A 2016 review concluded that consuming capsaicin could help you maintain a healthy weight, stabilize insulin levels in people with diabetes and reduce the symptoms of common airway issues, such as non-allergic rhinitis. Some researchers also believe capsaicin could help prevent and treat certain cancers, but the evidence is inconclusive.
If you ever touched poison ivy as a child, chances are your parents rubbed calamine lotion onto your skin to reduce the itchiness and irritation. Calamine (zinc oxide and ferric oxide) is a natural ingredient that soothes skin inflammation and can help dry out oozing, irritated patches.
Although it's best known as a remedy for rashes caused by poisonous plants, calamine can reduce the symptoms of a broad range of skin complaints. The Cleveland Clinic recommends using calamine lotion to treat:
Calamine lotion is generally safe for people of all ages when applied to the skin, but it can be dangerous when swallowed. Manufacturers produce the cream by mixing calamine powder with a liquid to form a suspension. Therefore, it's worth giving the bottle a vigorous shake before each use to distribute the active ingredients evenly.
If you regularly find yourself feeling more anxious as an older adult, you're not alone. According to the National Council on Aging, around 4% of adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder in seniors.
You've probably heard people recommending a cup of chamomile tea to soothe the feelings of edginess or over-alertness associated with anxiety disorders. However, some data suggests chamomile's reputation as a soothing ingredient could have a solid scientific foundation. According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming chamomile products such as chamomile tea could provide effective short-term relief from anxiety symptoms.
Chamomile is generally safe when used in moderation, but it can increase the chance of bleeding if you take blood thinners. Furthermore, some people experience allergic reactions to chamomile. Therefore, it could be worth checking with your health care provider if you take medication or have a history of allergic reactions to other plants in the chamomile family, such as daisies and marigolds.
Most people contract colds and other respiratory tract infections from time to time. Still, frequent illnesses can get in the way of enjoying a vibrant lifestyle. Your health care provider should be the first port of call if you're worried about recurring infections, but it could also be worthwhile to add echinacea to your wellness routine.
Echinacea is a plant native to North America commonly used as a dietary supplement to reduce the frequency and severity of colds and other infections. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that echinacea is unlikely to shorten the duration of an established respiratory tract infection. However, research shows that taking echinacea could reduce the chances of catching a cold.
There's also some tentative evidence that taking echinacea regularly could help prevent and treat other conditions. For example, a 2005 study discovered that echinacea has anti-aging and anti-cancer properties when given to mice. However, more research is necessary to determine whether echinacea offers the same protection in humans.
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