Research suggests that people with mild eczema who drink oolong tea three times a day may show improvement in itching and other symptoms. Compounds in the tea called polyphenols appear to be responsible.
For varicose veins, try horse chestnut, an herbal extract that's been shown in studies to strengthen veins and reduce swelling. The herb is also available in topical creams, though there's not as much evidence for these.
Tame tension headaches by rubbing peppermint oil, Tiger Balm, or white flower oil into your temples. All three remedies contain menthol, which has analgesic properties.
The volatile oils in ginger have long made it a useful herbal remedy for nasal and chest congestion. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over a 1-inch piece of peeled, grated ginger; steep for 10 minutes; and strain. Add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to the water and drink as needed.
Is your energy lagging? Though it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're tired, exercise -- even a brisk walk -- can be more effective than a nap or cup of coffee at fighting fatigue.
According to some research, catching a whiff of this aromatic herb may increase alertness and improve memory. To stay sharp, try smelling fresh rosemary or inhaling the scent of rosemary essential oil before a test or meeting.
Combat a yen for sugar by following a Chinese medicine approach: Eat foods such as endive, radicchio, cooked greens, and olives.
If you suffer from dry eyes, up your seafood intake. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which the body uses to produce tears, among other things. Research suggests that people who consume higher amounts of these fats are less likely to have dry eyes.
To keep yeast infections at bay, head for the vitamin aisle. Supplementing with "good" bacteria (for example, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium) may help restore the balance the of bacteria living in the female genital tract and inhibit the growth of yeast in women with recurrent infections. Foods such as naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, as well as yogurt with active cultures, also contain these bacteria.
Studies are mixed, but some have found that bilberry, a relative of the blueberry, may improve night vision. During World War II, fighter pilots reported better night vision after eating bilberry jam. Take 25 to 50 milligrams of bilberry extract; expect best results within the first few hours.
People whose diets are rich in potassium may be less prone to high blood pressure. Besides reducing sodium and taking other heart-healthy steps, eat potassium-packed picks such as bananas, cantaloupe, and oranges.
To ease stress and prepare for bed, soak in a hot bath spiked with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Play soothing music while you bathe to unwind further.
For sore muscles and joints, apply a cream or ointment that contains capsaicin, the active ingredient in chile peppers, two or three times a day. The heat from the peppers has been shown to help relieve pain.
Certain trigger points -- spots of tension in musculoskeletal tissue -- can cause back pain. Ask a massage therapist or other bodyworker who specializes in myofascial release or neuromuscular therapy to focus on these points during a massage.
Adding raw or lightly cooked garlic and onions to your meals may help keep you healthy this winter. Both foods appear to possess antiviral and antibacterial properties and are believed to boost immunity.
For athlete's foot, reach for tea tree oil, an extract of the leaves of an Australian tree. It appears to have antiseptic properties and may work as well as or better than over-the-counter antifungal products. Apply a light coating of the oil to affected areas two to three times a day; continue for a week or two after symptoms disappear.
Research suggests that this Ayurvedic herb, also called holy basil, may help manage levels of the stress hormone cortisol, helping to boost your mood. Look for teas and supplements in health-food stores and follow package directions.
For dry skin, incorporate more avocados into your diet. They're rich in monounsaturated fat and vitamin E, both of which promote healthy skin. Try them on salads and sandwiches, and even in smoothies.
If you feel a cold coming on, consider reaching for this age-old remedy. A 2007 meta-analysis showed that the herb can reduce cold symptoms. Aim for three grams daily in tincture or capsule form, starting at the first sign of symptoms.
Plagued with sinus problems? Rinse your nasal passages twice a day to flush out pollen and other irritants. Put saline solution (a 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 cup warm water) in a plastic squirt bottle or a nasal irrigator, a spouted container that allows you to pour water directly into your nose. The solution should fill your nasal cavity and spill out the other nostril. Gently blow your nose afterward.
Avoid constipation and stay regular with Triphala, an Ayurvedic blend of three fruits that is believed to help tone the gastrointestinal tract. Look for capsules of Triphala and follow package directions.
Engaging in casual conversation with others may help keep you as sharp as doing a word puzzle, according to some studies. Just 10 minutes of daily chatter appears to improve mental function and preserve memory.
For heel and arch pain, try stretching your foot by rolling it over a rolling pin or a bottle.
Homeopathic creams, gels, and ointments that contain arnica, a flower similar to the daisy, have long been used to relieve swelling and bruising. Rub into the affected area, but stop using if you develop skin irritation.
If you've ruled out other causes of hair loss, such as stress, overuse of hair-care products, and certain medications and diseases such as hypothyroidism, consider supplementing with evening primrose oil. It's a good source of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that's needed for hair growth and is hard to get from your diet. Experts recommend taking 500 milligrams twice a day; expect to wait eight weeks to see results.