By Helen Chiang

In a sudden mood to organise my kitchen cabinets after binge watching Marie Kondo on Netflix, I realised that I had so many natural remedies just lying about amongst my ingredients, which I must say, I have been taking for granted, all these years.

Now recognised as natural remedies for a variety of common ailments, these commonplace items in your pantry give you the option of choosing to go natural, without having to constantly resort to over-the-counter options.

From green tea, to garlic, oats, turmeric and yoghurt, these items can be commonly found in just about everybody’s kitchen cupboards.

Green Tea

Green tea acts as a great protection against cavities, gum disease and bad breath. It also acts as a great mouthwash when cooled, as it inhibits bacteria, especially those causing mouth odour, and helps soothe sore gums due to its anti- inflammatory effect. Tests have shown that green tea powder was more effective than mints and chewing gum at freshening breath.

Yoghurt

When lactose in milk is fermented using live bacteria, lactic acid is produced. This causes milk proteins to curdle, giving yoghurt it’s texture and flavour. The healthy bacteria in your gut, uses this live bacteria to protect you against disease. Be sure to check the label on your yoghurt to ensure that it contains effective probiotics which helps assist digestion.

Turmeric

Turmeric powder contains curcumin, a compound which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. When it is combined with black pepper and some fat, it is effectively absorbed by the body. A curry will be an ideal way to combine the three ingredients.

It’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce joint pain and may also help slow down Alzheimer’s if consumed regularly – possibly by preventing the formation of brain plaques that lead to dementia.

Oats

Oats contain anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which can help treat dry skin and remove dead skin cells. They help to gently remove dirt and oil that clog pores and exfoliate the skin as they contain saponins which are natural cleansers.

Mix a handful of oats with chamomile flowers  (use a chamomile tea bag), in a muslin square and soak in a warm bath. Squeeze the bag to release the milky liquid, which has a gentle moisturising effect that helps to calm down dry and itching skin.

The anti-inflammatory properties helps to calm irritated skin and the mild pH helps  restore the pH balance and soften dry skin.

Garlic

The active ingredient in garlic is a compound called allicin, which is released when garlic is chopped or crushed.  Allicin makes platelets less likely to clump together and stick to artery walls, thus acting as an anti-coagulant and reduces the risk of heart attacks.

Allicin is reduced in power by the cooking process, so raw garlic has the most potent blood- thinning effect. But care needs to be taken by those with bleeding disorders or taking blood- thinning medication. They need to take their doctor’s advice.

Another compound found in garlic is diallyl sulfide, which acts as a powerful antibiotic – useful against fighting the Campylobacter bacterium.