As awareness about the possible dangers of chemical products grows, so does our ability to find creative natural substitutes. Here is a list of natural cleaning, beauty and health solutions so good that only nature can provide them.
The lemon fruit was considered an exotic fruit in the Middle Ages, but now it is commonly found and grown all over the globe.
At Home: Lemon can be used as a natural cleanser and disinfectant for a number of surfaces due to its high level of acidity (a pH level of 2.3) that creates prime conditions for killing off bacteria. Lemon can also be used as bleach, both for clothing and other surfaces, although you will need a lot of it in order to reproduce the strength of chemical bleach.
Skin Care and Beauty: Because lemon is high in vitamin C, it can be used to remove sun spots from your skin and to tighten the skin against acne breakouts. It can also be combined with cream to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, a kind of natural Botox. Lemon juice can also be used as a natural hair highlighter, but make sure you follow any lemon treatments with a conditioning mask so that your hair doesn't dry out.
Dietary and Health: Adding lemon juice to your diet has been proven to aid in weight loss and fat-burning as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Lemons are very low in calories and have good amounts of iron, calcium and vitamin B6, so they can work to improve your digestion and strengthen your immune system. Finally, lemons are the age-old remedy for sore throats and sinus blockage and can be added to teas, water or eaten whole to give you that much needed boost of vitamin C.
For many years, coconut oil was deemed dangerous for consumption in the West as part of a campaign against saturated fats. Today nutritionists and doctors alike praise the oil's miraculous health and skin benefits.
At Home: Coconut oil is rich in saturated and complex fats, which automatically makes it a natural moisturizer for wooden surfaces and a great replacement for WD40. It can also be used to remove water spots and residue in showers, sinks and tubs.
Skin Care and Beauty: The Coconut's natural moisturizing properties make it a fantastic natural hair serum for dry or damaged hair, a wonderful treatment for chapped lips, and an inexpensive (yet just as effective) wrinkle cream. Coconut oil is also a surprisingly good substitute for deodorants because of its naturally luxurious scent.
Dietary and Health: New studies are constantly being conducted to reveal the amazing health benefits of a diet rich in coconut oil. For instance, it has been shown that coconut oil helps boost metabolic function by raising body temperatures. It has also been suggested that the oil could minimize and even reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease and diabetes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This vinegar, made from apples, has become increasingly popular as an at-home health and beauty remedy.
At Home: Due to its highly acidic level and pungent smell, apple cider vinegar can be used on pets to fend off fleas. It can also be used as a disinfectant and cleaner as well as a natural deodorizer for spaces and laundry.
Skin Care and Beauty: When all of your aloe vera runs out, apple cider vinegar is an excellent way to ease sun burns or minor burns, or even as a substitute for massage oil to ease muscle tension. ACV is a natural aftershave, a great natural shampoo and an excellent skin tightener and teeth-whitener.
Dietary and Health: ACV has been proven as an excellent fat-burning mechanism in a number of studies on obese and severely over-weight subjects. Taken as a shot or mixed together with water, ACV is a natural solution to high-blood pressure, yeast infections or even as a preventive measure against the common cold.
This is a natural oil made from the castor plant, although it is used in a number of chemical substances.
At Home: Castor oil is a natural way to deter rodents because it has an asphyxiating or suffocating effect on mice and rats. It can also be used as a lubricant for door hinges as well as a restorative remedy for dying plants.
Skin Care and Beauty: Castor oil is extremely rich in vitamin E, minerals and proteins which aid the health of the hair and skin. It's dense concentration can be difficult to remove, but it will beautifully restore the health of eyelashes, split ends, cracked skin and weathered cuticles. It can also be used to stimulate hair growth and treat scalp conditions like dandruff and eczema.
Dietary and Health: The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant powers of castor oil make it an excellent remedy for skin irritations, relieving minor pains and headaches, as well as a solution for menstrual pain. The oil has also proven an effective laxative and muscle relaxer.