5 natural products and their surprising uses

Did you know that you can create cheaper alternatives to expensive, branded beauty products and house cleaning solutions out of things we have at home or in the garden?

By Nigel Santos

Food is for eating, right? Yes and more! There are natural foods that have some surprising alternative uses and benefits that you probably didn’t know.

Coconut oil, vinegar, coffee, and more have amazing cleaning powers.  Even better, using food-based and natural household cleaners is an environmentally conscious choice that can also help you save money and contribute to your physical wellbeing. Before you buy your next bottle of cleaning solution, read first about these brilliant kitchen items with incredible uses.

1. Virgin coconut oil

Organic coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that can help improve your health in many ways. It is considered a “good cholesterol” and is actually a great addition to your diet. Aside from that, it also fights immune system-related diseases and is a wonder in cooking because it can withstand high temperatures without breaking down or burning.

But did you know that you can use it to prolong the freshness of eggs? All you have to do is put a small amount of it over the shells, and this helps prevent exposure to oxygen and extend egg life for up to two weeks. You can also use coconut oil as a mouthwash. Its antibiotic properties can destroy the bacteria in your mouth and help prevent tooth decay. Mix equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda, then just add a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and voila—you have a homemade natural mouthwash.


2. Lemon

We already know that lemons have the power to add flavor to some of our favorite recipes, and to cure colds and flu by adding it to our hot tea. Apart from their aiding in our physical wellbeing, did you know they are also very useful in the house? They can get rid of unpleasant odors in your refrigerator or garbage bin. You can also use them on cutting boards, bowls, and wooden rolling pins.

Another hack is to spritz lemon juice on surfaces to keep insects away. You can even create your own air humidifier/purifier for your kitchen using lemons. Put a few slices in a pot, cover with water, and let simmer for an hour. Another lemon hack: Throw in old and rusty cutlery in the pot since lemons are also known to clean and remove rust from stainless steel.


3. Aloe vera

Also known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe vera is the go-to remedy for sunburns. Aloe leaves secrete a clear gel that can heal wounds and soothe skin.

Various studies have shown that aloe vera has special antibacterial properties, vitamins, and minerals that treat hair and scalp problems, and even more serious skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and skin ulcers. Aside from that, it also aids in digestion and helps relieve mouth sores if you chew pieces of its fresh leaves. It can even help in treating gum diseases!

For beauty and skincare, you can use it as a natural makeup remover, shaving cream, and hand sanitizer.


4. Apple cider vinegar

There are so many benefits to taking apple cider vinegar—from helping to ward off symptoms of a cold, to aiding weight loss and easing a cough—so it’s always a good idea to have some in your kitchen cupboard.

If you have an upset stomach, try mixing one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water. Apple cider vinegar has pectin that helps soothe intestinal spasms. It is also one of the best remedies to stop a hiccup. Its sour taste stimulates the nerves in the throat that are responsible for the spasms.

It’s a powerful tool to get rid of dandruff, too. Its acidity changes the pH level of the scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Just mix ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup of water. Put the mix in a spray bottle, and then spritz on your scalp.


5. Coffee

For coffee lovers, drinking a cup of coffee every morning is a must. But did you know that coffee also has uses apart from being an awesome energy booster?

The coffee grounds can still be useful after you’ve had your morning fix. Because coffee is high in nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals, it makes for good fertilizer. Small amounts of coffee grounds can be added directly to the top soil. It is recommended to use in plants that prefer high acidity in soil like roses. Because of coffee’s strong odor, it can also be used as an insect repellant.


Try to go natural in whatever you do. Mother Nature has provided us with an abundance of “products” that we can use. Besides, some synthetic chemicals used in consumer products such as shampoo, makeup and perfume among many others “may contribute to some 91,000 to 107,000 premature deaths a year among people ages 55 to 64 in the United States, a new study found,” CNN reported in October 2021.

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