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11 Natural Prescription Alternatives You Need to Know About

Great news! Science shows nature’s remedies are just as effective as their pricey Rx counterparts — and they can give you all the relief with none of the harsh side effects. Keep scrolling for 11 natural prescription remedies you need to know about! 

Dodge Headaches with a Walk

If head pain seems to sideline you more often this time of year, you’re not alone. Rising temperatures make flare-ups 36% more likely. Luckily, Swedish scientists have found that 40 minutes of exercise three times a week prevents headaches as effectively as the prescription migraine medication Topamax. Even relaxed walks prompt the release of painkilling endorphins.

Say Goodbye to Brain Pain with Ginger

A study in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that supplementing with 250 mg of ginger (equivalent to a generous pinch of grated ginger) at the first sign of a migraine provides as much pain relief as a 50-mg. dose of the headache Rx Sumatriptan. Keep ginger tea bags on hand for an easy migraine dodge.

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Prevent Heartburn with Nature’s Sleep Aid

Stop indigestion before it starts with 3 mg. of melatonin at bedtime. Though it’s known for ushering in sound sleep, melatonin has also been proven to strengthen the valve that keeps stomach acid from creeping up into the esophagus. In fact, a study in the journal BMC Gastroenterology found that the supplement calmed heartburn for 83% of women within two months, results on par with prescription remedies.

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Soothe Soreness with Juicy Cherries

When yard work makes your joints achy, take heart: Mother Nature’s secret to easing pain is as easy as snacking on a handful of cherries! These gems contain compounds called anthocyanins, which Michigan State University researchers found dampen inflammation three times faster than aspirin. The study-proven dose: about 20 cherries a day.

Banish Muscle Pain with a Cup of Joe

Sore muscles? Sip a coffee and you could feel better in 20 minutes, the same results you’d get from OTC pain relievers, say University of Georgia scientists.

Tame High Cholesterol with Bergamot Extract

Consider keeping your cholesterol levels in check by supplementing with 1,000 mg. of bergamot extract each day. Bergamot, a vibrant citrus fruit known for giving Earl Grey tea its unique flavor, has potent flavonoids that nourish the liver and regulate its cholesterol output. And that’s something Italian researchers have shown can trim up to 87 points off your cholesterol within one month—a bigger drop than most prescription statins offer.

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Keep LDL Levels Down with Fruit

An apple a day does keep the doctor away! Ohio State University researchers found that enjoying the fruit can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol by 40% in four weeks, outperforming some cholesterol-lowering medications.

Send Happiness Soaring by Heading Outside

For a natural way to keep your spirits up, try treating yourself to “sunshine therapy.” Whether you prefer gardening, having a picnic in the park or sunbathing in your backyard, catching 30 minutes of UV rays a day lifts mood more effectively than antidepressants, according to a study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Scientists suspect light exposure helps reset the brain’s biological clock, prodding it to release more of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin.

Relax with Lavender

When an unexpected expense spikes your stress levels, let lavender create calm. It soothes overactive areas of the brain, lowering anxiety by nearly 50%—the same results you’d get from the prescription drug Ativan—according to a study in the journal Phytomedicine.

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Sleep Like a Baby with a Foot Massage

Humid evenings making it harder to sleep? Take five minutes to massage your soles, applying pressure to the balls of your feet and the base of each toe. Elaine Wilkes, Ph.D., author of Nature’s Secret Messages, says that stimulating these pressure points tamps down stress-hormone production, helping you doze off faster and get 22 more minutes of sleep a night— the same effect you’d get from insomnia medications.

Catch Some Z’s with Kiwis

Eat two kiwifruits before bed and Taiwanese scientists say you could sleep 40 minutes longer—the same effect offered by over-the-counter sleep aids.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine. 

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