9 Science-Backed Natural Remedies to Keep on Hand

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 11/20/2023

Natural remedies have been used for centuries to prevent and manage various ailments and medical conditions, including bacterial infections, digestive problems, and muscle aches. 

Using natural ingredients can offer an effective alternative to prescription medications and reduce the risk of side effects and drug resistance.

Let’s look at nine science-backed home remedies you should keep on hand.

Selection of natural home remedies

Nine natural remedies you should keep on hand

Natural remedies are naturally occurring substances with medicinal properties that promote health and well-being. 

The use of natural remedies dates back centuries, and various cultures across the globe utilized medicinal herbs, plants, spices, and extracts to cure sore muscles, respiratory tract infections, hot flashes, and skin issues.  

The advent of modern science allowed for a deeper understanding of the health benefits of various home remedies, which are now commonly utilized in complementary and alternative medicine protocols.  

Here are nine science-backed natural remedies.

1. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has long been used in traditional folk medicine to manage digestive issues, blood sugar control, and microbial infections.

ACV is a rich source of acetic acid, a natural acid with several health benefits. Acetic acid helps acidify the digestive tract and supports healthy stomach acid levels, which promotes effective digestion and prevents potentially harmful microbes from entering the body.

ACV has been found beneficial for individuals with poor blood sugar regulation and those at risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Research published in Complementary Medicines and Therapy suggests ACV promotes balanced blood sugar levels by delaying gastric emptying and stimulating insulin secretion.

The study found that individuals who took 1/2 ounce (15 ml) of ACV daily had markedly better blood sugar control than those who didn’t regularly consume ACV.

2. Garlic 

Garlic has potent antibacterial and antimicrobial effects, which explains why garlic can be a highly effective home remedy for infectious conditions such as sore throat, food poisoning, and urinary tract infections. 

Garlic is a rich source of allicin, which is activated when garlic is chopped or crushed. Allicin has been found to directly inhibit microbial energy production, which essentially kills infection-causing bacteria. 

This has been confirmed by evidence published in Emerging Microbes & Infections that suggests that garlic is among the most potent natural antibiotic agents and effective against various pathogenic microbes, including the common cold and flu virus, E.coli, and Salmonella.

Combining garlic with other natural antibiotic foods such as ginger, turmeric, ACV, lemon juice, raw honey, and extra virgin olive oil creates a powerful natural antibiotic drink that targets a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.                 

In addition, allicin can also help prevent the growth and proliferation of Candida albicans, a common type of yeast linked to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, urinary tract infection, and thrush.

Ginger shot

3. Ginger

Ginger is a rich source of gingerol, the compound responsible for ginger's distinct spicy taste. 

Gingerols are potent phytochemicals that can profoundly benefit immune system functions, metabolic pathways, and digestive health. 

Regularly consuming fresh ginger can enhance digestion and lower the risk of infections, and taking ginger shots can bring immediate relief from motion sickness and pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. 

An extensive review study published in Nutrients investigated several claims about ginger's health benefits and confirmed that ginger can help alleviate menstrual pain, knee osteoarthritis, and digestive disorders.

In addition, ginger has potent anti-inflammatory effects, which may explain why ginger intake is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, certain types of cancers, and inflammatory skin conditions. 

4. Magnesium 

Magnesium is an essential mineral that regulates muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.

Magnesium is needed to relax muscle fibers and is an effective natural remedy for muscle cramps, stiffness, and muscular pain. 

Research published in Scientifica found that magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system and can help manage conditions such as anxiety, depression, and migraines.

Consuming magnesium-rich foods or taking magnesium supplements also promotes healthy sleep and can be an effective alternative to sedative sleeping pills for individuals with insomnia.

Turmeric root and powder

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice used in herbal therapy to manage infections, lower inflammation, and promote strong immune defenses.

Turmeric root has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been found effective against microbial infections, arthritis, digestive disorders, and skin problems. 

A study published in Foods investigated the health benefits of turmeric and concluded, “Turmeric aids in the management of various inflammatory conditions and may help alleviate exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness.” 

Turmeric can be used to make golden turmeric milk to fight infections and stimulate bile production, which supports the digestion of fats, helps reduce bloating and gas, and can improve indigestion and acid reflux.

6. Bile salts

While bile salt supplements aren’t considered a traditional home remedy, they can be an incredibly effective natural strategy to promote healthy digestion and enhance detoxification.

“Bile salts are naturally produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder and play a crucial role in the absorption of dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins,” explains Dr. Berg. “A lack of adequate bile salts can impair fat digestion and nutrient deficiencies.”  

Taking bile salts can be especially beneficial for individuals with poor liver or gallbladder function and those who had their gallbladder removed

A study published in Neurogastroenterology and Motility recommends that bile salts should be considered a standard treatment for individuals with irritable bowel syndrome, especially for cases characterized by persistent diarrhea.   

7. Green tea 

The amazing health benefits of green tea are well understood, and regular consumption is associated with improved brain function, a healthy weight, and a lower risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

What’s less known is that applying a mixture of green tea and baking soda to the armpits can be an effective home remedy to control body odor. 

Green tea has antimicrobial effects that help eliminate odor-causing bacteria and contains bioactive compounds that shrink sweat glands and reduce perspiration.

In addition, research published in Cosmetics suggests that topical application of green tea can significantly improve dry skin and help reduce redness and wrinkles.  

Colloidal silver in water

8. Colloidal silver

Colloidal silver contains microscopic silver particles suspended in water or an oil-based solution such as olive or coconut oil. 

Colloidal silver has powerful antimicrobial properties, which makes it an effective remedy for many bacterial infections. 

Evidence published in Antibiotics confirms that colloidal silver inhibits and eliminates pathogenic microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, and yeasts, by disrupting their cellular respiration and energy-making processes. 

Because of its potent antimicrobial properties, colloidal silver can help with conjunctivitis and has been a popular antibiotic remedy to manage bacterial ear infections for more than 100 years. 

9. Essential oils 

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that contain various aromatic compounds and bioactive plant chemicals with health-promoting properties. 

There are many essential oils, each with a unique chemical composition, which explains why essential oils have a wide range of therapeutic and medicinal applications. 

The National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health released a statement recommending the use of essential oils for managing various conditions, including musculoskeletal issues, anxiety, and sleep disorders. 

Here are some of the most popular essential oils and their uses:

  • Tea tree oil - its antimicrobial properties can help manage acne and fungal infections

  • Lavender oil - calms the nervous system and helps relieve anxiety, stress, and tension

  • Rosemary oil - can help stimulate hair growth and relieve muscle and joint pain

  • Peppermint oil - helps boost energy, improve digestion, and relieve headaches

  • Rapeseed oil - stimulates hair growth and may prevent hair loss 

Watch the video below to discover the best homemade remedy for a cough and sore throat.   

The Best Homemade Remedy for a Cough and a Sore Throat

Why use natural remedies?

Natural remedies can enhance the body’s natural healing processes and tend to address the underlying root cause of health issues such as microbial infections, inflammation, or digestive issues. 

In comparison, pharmaceutical drugs often only manage the symptoms of a health condition and can lead to side effects and drug interactions. 

There also is evidence that specific natural remedies have comparable therapeutic effects to conventional treatments, offering a natural alternative to commonly prescribed medications, including steroid drugs and painkillers. 

Using natural remedies to manage microbial infection can help to reduce the need for antibiotics linked to weight gain, diarrhea, and antibiotic resistance, which remains an ongoing challenge for healthcare providers worldwide.

Selection of essential oils

Potential downsides of using natural remedies 

While natural remedies can help prevent and manage certain health conditions, some important factors should be considered before incorporating them into your wellness routine.  

Natural remedies shouldn’t be used as a replacement for appropriate treatment protocols, and it’s crucial to consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication or medical treatments.

It’s equally important to note that natural remedies can also cause side effects, especially if taken in high doses, and may trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Essential oils, in particular, can cause sensitivities and skin irritation and should never be applied directly onto the skin without diluting them with a suitable carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. 

In addition, certain compounds in natural remedies can interact with prescription drugs, and it’s crucial to discuss the use of home remedies with your doctor if you are taking prescription medications or have an underlying medical condition. 

Here are some natural remedies that can interact with commonly prescribed drugs:

  • Garlic - excessive amounts can impact the metabolism of blood-thinning drugs

  • Colloidal silver - may interfere with the absorption of thyroid medications

  • Turmeric - high doses can interact with antacids and proton pump inhibitors

  • Magnesium - can impact the effectiveness of blood pressure medications and diuretics

To reduce the risk of side effects, it’s vital to choose well-researched natural remedies and opt for high-quality products from reliable and reputable sources so you don’t end up with a product with questionable ingredients, contaminants, or inconsistent dosage.

Woman holding tray with antibacterial foods

Key takeaways

Natural remedies can help prevent and manage a wide range of health conditions, and research confirms that certain bioactive compounds in garlic, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, ginger, and green tea have potent medicinal properties. 

In some cases, natural remedies can offer an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, which reduces the risk of side effects and long-term health consequences such as antibiotic resistance and liver damage.  


1. What are the best natural remedies?

Some of the best natural remedies include garlic, apple cider vinegar, ginger, turmeric, magnesium, green tea, bile salts, colloidal silver, and essential oils. 

These remedies contain various bioactive compounds associated with a wide range of health benefits, including enhanced immune functions, improved digestion, and antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.   

2. Which natural remedies should I keep on hand?

There are several natural remedies that can be helpful to keep on hand for minor ailments, such as garlic, apple cider vinegar, green tea, ginger, and turmeric.

In addition, keeping a small selection of antimicrobial essential oils and colloidal silver in your medicine cabinet can be particularly beneficial for managing symptoms of ear infections, conjunctivitis, sore throat, and fungal skin infections.  

3. Do natural remedies work?

Yes, certain natural remedies can be highly effective in managing infections, lowering inflammation, promoting strong immune defenses, and enhancing digestive functions. 

Research confirms that various bioactive compounds in natural remedies can profoundly impact immune cell functions, inhibit the production of inflammatory molecules, and help eliminate potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi.  

4. How can I thin my phlegm naturally?

Ginger and garlic can loosen mucus and help manage symptoms of respiratory infections, allergies, and sinusitis.  

In addition, gargling with salt water can be helpful to thin phlegm naturally, which makes it easier to expel persistent mucus.

5. What is the meaning of “natural remedy?”

Natural remedies are natural substances, such as herbs, plants, spices, or minerals, that contain bioactive compounds that are beneficial for various health issues, such as infections, inflammatory conditions, and digestive issues.   

Certain natural remedies can be used as an alternative to pharmaceutical medications and have been part of traditional medicine practices for centuries.

6. What are herbal remedies used for?

Herbal remedies are natural treatments derived from plants, herbs, or botanicals that are commonly used to manage health issues such as coughs, colds, and digestive problems and can be beneficial for preventing microbial infections by promoting strong immune defenses.  

7. Are natural remedies safe?

Natural remedies are generally considered safe when used correctly and in appropriate doses. 

However, it's important to note that natural remedies can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals and may interact with certain medications, and it's crucial to discuss their use with a healthcare provider if you are taking prescription drugs or have an underlying health condition. 


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243436/

  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10594976/

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637834/

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/

  6. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2982.2011.01772.x

  7. https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/9/5/96

  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315945/

  9. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/aromatherapy

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