By Rahila Ovais

Natural remedies for common ailments

It wasn’t that long ago when I was younger and I remember how my grandmother (dadi maa) would have a home remedy for everything from acne to sinus congestion. Whenever I was hit by a cold and sinus congestion, she would swiftly boil a pot of water, mix in a teaspoon of Vicks vaporub and then have me lean over it with a towel over my head to make a tent and let me inhale the steam. Then she would give me this special brew of tea before tucking me in to bed.  In the morning I would feel so much better as I could breathe through my nose again!

Today medical, nutrition and beauty specialists are also recommending the same old time granny cures for common ailments. Here are some of my tried, tested and true tips from my grandparents.


Eating one avocado a day as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle can help lower cholesterol as suggested by a new study.   Avocadoes contain 60% more potassium than bananas and are sodium and cholesterol-free. Avocadoes are higher in fat content however those are healthy fats when consumed moderately.


A recent study shows that eating blueberries daily might be helpful in lowering blood pressure in women with high blood pressure as blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants.


A spice used to enhance heat, color and flavor in our dishes contains high levels of capsaicin which is thought to have pain-relieving properties.


To temporarily soothe a toothache, place a clove between your affected teeth. This old-fashioned remedy really works.


From as long as I can remember my grandfather used to have a clove of garlic daily before breakfast. He died two months short of his 100th birthday without any serious illness except hypertension. His blood test results always surprised his family doctor.

Recent studies show that consuming fresh garlic has the power to regulate blood pressure as well as strengthens your immune system to fight against allergies, and viral infections like common cold.

natural remedies for common ailments


Ginger snaps or even fresh ginger is found to be effective for morning sickness during pregnancy. Ginger root has been used in Chines, Japanese and Indian medicine since the 1500s. Its oil is often used in digestive aids and cough suppressants.


…Honey, in it there is a cure for people. – Qur’an 16:69

Take a teaspoon of honey before bedtime to calm a nagging cough (do not give to children under 1 year of age).  Research shows that honey works better than any other over-the-counter cough suppressant for relieving childrens night-time cough.

Honey mixed in with warm water and consumed in divided doses is also very effective for diarrhea.


To cut a cold short, mix in juice of half a lemon and honey in warm water and sip two to three times a day.  Studies show that vitamin C taken before the onset of a cold shortens its duration and severity.

Olive Oil

Abu Huraira narrated that Allah’s messenger ( SAWS) said: “Use olive oil as food and as ointment, for it comes from a blessed tree.” (al-Tirmithi.)

Applying olive oil directly to irritated skin is the best natural moisturizer.

About the Author:

Rahila Ovais is a Pharmacy Technician working at the Ontario College of Pharmacists. A mother to four, she’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself.

Images: 123RF