During pregnancy, many of the standard over-the-counter remedies are off limits. The good news is that plenty of home remedies are safe to use during pregnancy. Try some of these kitchen pantry cures the next time you're feeling under the weather. These cures are safe for children, too, though consult your pediatrician to be sure. (Don't substitute home remedies for medical attention. Before treating any health condition, consult your health care professional.)
Apple cider vinegar
What it's for: Easing sore muscles
What it does: Apple cider vinegar helps ease muscle soreness, though research is unclear exactly how it works.
Soak a cloth with apple cider vinegar and wrap it around the muscle for 20 minutes; the pain should disappear within a few hours. Reapply every three to four hours for continued relief until the pain is gone for good. You can also pour 2-3 cups of apple cider vinegar in your bath.
What it's for: Bug bites, poison ivy and other skin irritations
What it does: The alkaline in the baking soda counteracts the acidic swelling.
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with water to make a thick paste. Spread it on bites and irritations and let dry. You can also add a cup of baking soda to your bath water.
What it's for: Nosebleeds
What it does: Cayenne pepper helps blood clot.
Pinch your nose while keeping your head upright. Wet a cotton swab, then sprinkle cayenne on it. Dab it on the inside of the nose, on the location of the bleeding. The cayenne won't burn, we promise!
What it's for: Mild swelling, including puffy eyes
What it does: Cucumbers are cool, which helps them soothe hot, swollen skin.
Place two slices on your eyes after a long day, or place a few slices on any body part that feels swollen and flushed. Replace with another slice when those become warm.
What it's for: Pregnancy sickness and nausea
What it does: Ginger stops the stomach twitches that tell you you're feeling nauseated.
Add a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger to four ounces of boiling water and let it steep for a few minutes, then drink. (Remove the ginger if you like, or drink it with the tea.) Add a bit of honey if you find the ginger too pungent. You can also buy crystallized ginger and ginger-flavored candy. Pickled ginger, like you get with sushi, can also help. Find it in the Asian section of your grocery store.
Honey and lemon juice
What it's for: Sore throat
What it does: Lemon dries up congestion, and honey coats a raw and achy throat.
Mix a tablespoon each of lemon juice and honey, then microwave it for about 20 seconds (until warm). Swallow it a teaspoonful at a time. (Note: Do not give honey to children under one year old.)
Bonus uses for honey:
Honey has antibacterial properties, so spread a dab of it on minor scrapes or burns twice a day.
What it's for: Heat rash or other skin irritations
What it does: Oatmeal helps reduce irritation and swelling.
Mix oats with water until you form a thick paste. Apply to irritated skin. Allow to dry on skin. Flake off extra but don't wash away the residue, which will continue to work. Reapply only when you start to itch again.
What it's for: Muscle or stomach aches
What it does: When heated, the rice stays warm and helps soothe pain.
Fill an old sock with uncooked rice and sew or tie the top closed. (This is a great use for all those socks that mysteriously disappear in the dryer!) Heat the sock in the microwave for a minute or so, until it's warm. Place the sock wherever you're sore. When the sock cools, heat it again. This trick works with other grains, too. (Just don't plan on eating the grains after they've been used in the heat pack!)
What it's for: Congestion
What it does: Salt water helps ease congestion and dries up nasal passages without causing irritation.
Mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1/2 teaspoon non-iodized salt. Use a neti pot or bulb syringe to pour the mixture into one nostril while leaning slightly forward. Breathe through your mouth. The salt water should flow out the other. Repeat on the opposite side.
Learn more about natural remedies from the Holistic Mamas Mommy Team!