For a softer health budget – Plantes et Santé
8 mins read

For a softer health budget – Plantes et Santé

In this context of inflation, health expenses weigh more and more heavily on a daily basis. Already, health insurance does not cover any plant-based food supplements. And since January 1, 2021, even homeopathic medicines are no longer reimbursed. Françoise Couic-Marinier, doctor of pharmacy and specialist in essential oils, has worked in pharmacies for thirty years and deplores the lack of interest of health authorities in preventive natural products: “A few years ago, health insurance reimbursed Anxemil based on valerian, Tanakan containing ginkgo, and Difrarel formulated with blueberry. Today, we only reimburse curative medications. »

Given the costs of certain natural products, and depending on the health issues we face, it may be appropriate toopt for complementary health insurance which reimburses, within the limit of 25 to 500 euros per year, food supplements, but also alternative medicine consultations. During world health days or as part of prevention campaigns organized by brands, it is also possible to carry out assessments or screenings free of charge.

Free screenings and assessments

There are many prevention measures to reduce your health budget.

  • Carry out a free check-up on World Diabetes Day (Federationdesdiabetiques.org) or National Foot Health Day (Sante-du-pied.org).
  • Take advantage of the low prices offered by specialty schools (osteopathy, etc.) to train their students.
  • With the 100% Health reform, benefit from audiology, optical and dental equipment fully covered by health insurance.
  • Get screened for free (colorectal, breast and uterine cancers).

Still with a view to reducing the budget, we can turn to basic natural ingredients. So, a pot of powdered clay (from 2 euros per kilo) will cost you three times less than a liquid tube. It keeps over time and can be used to combat diarrhea, make an anti-acne mask or clean inflamed sinuses. Instead of high-priced acerola tablets, stock up on vitamin C with citrus fruits, organic lemons and fruits picked from nature such as rose hips or sea buckthorn berries. By the way, a simple organic lemon can provide you with zest for a warming and anti-fatigue herbal tea, disinfectant juice to gargle against a sore throat (added with ginger) or even a detox drink by diluting the juice in a glass of lukewarm water, drink on an empty stomach.

Another preventive but also curative ingredient, all-flower honey (artisanal and organic of French origin), as long as it is pure, can be used for digestive problems and intestinal dysbiosis, to enhance a herbal tea with fresh mint leaves in case of nausea or even for constipation or flatulence when mixed with cider vinegar. In this case, mix 2 teaspoons of honey with 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar in a large glass of lukewarm water, to drink half an hour before the first meal of the day, for a week.

As for spirulina, it is often cheaper in flakes to sprinkle on your salads than in tablets (not to mention that the more it is processed, the more it loses its qualities). As a treatment (1 to 5 g per day for 3 weeks), its antiviral and immunostimulating action protects against infections, possible deficiencies and fatigue. Otherwise, make an antioxidant smoothie: blend ½ banana, 150 ml of apple juice and ½ teaspoon of spirulina flakes in a blender.

On the phyto side, several panaceas are easy to gather in nature or to cultivate, hence their generally cheap price. These are peppermint, nettle, lemongrass, bramble, rosemary, meadowsweet, orange leaf and thyme. A few stalks of peppermint are enough to concoct a digestive herbal tea. Antiseptic thyme, which acclimatizes almost everywhere, is useful in cases of respiratory ailments. If you have a cold or sinusitis, steep a dried branch in 1 liter of hot water for 10 minutes and drink 3 cups a day. Remineralizing nettle will be the perfect addition to your soups or herbal teas to combat fatigue. In the garden, the ideal is to choose plants according to the medicinal virtues that you are looking for in order to combine business with pleasure, advises pharmacy doctor and herbalist Christine Cieur.

Daylight, a powerful gift of nature

We often forget that natural elements are prodigious sources of benefits for our health, and graciously at that! Exposing yourself to daylight, for example, improves mood and mental well-being by stimulating serotonin levels. And this brightness also plays an important regulatory role on the sleep hormone: melatonin. Inserm researchers recently discovered that the wavelengths emitted by daylight were particularly beneficial to the sleep of elderly people, who are more prone to insomnia and nocturnal awakenings. As we age, they explain, the eye’s photoreceptors change and need more natural light to modulate the production of melatonin. Going outside is therefore a gentle and sober way to synchronize your biological clock.

Conversely, some plants are sold more expensively. “This is the case with flowers,” explains Stéphane Rossi, owner of the herbalist Au temps des fées in Grenoble. “Those of poppy, violet, jasmine are harvested over a short period, then they have to be sorted and dried carefully, which justifies a higher price. Price fluctuations can also be explained by a poor harvest. This is the case for mallow flowers this year, the price of which has tripled.” Plants sold deservedly dear, therefore, while others such as ashwagandha, bacopa monnieri, collagen and certain vegetable oils sometimes take advantage of fashion effects and marketing positioning to be marketed at unjustified prices. “A daisy macerate is sunflower oil with daisies macerated in it, but it is sold for a fortune by certain brands, this is not normal”, denounces Françoise Couic-Marinier.

In general, be aware that plants in their raw state cost less than when they are processed. “As soon as a plant is packaged in capsules, ampoules or enriched with essential oils, we pay more for it,” specifies the pharmacist. However, if you need specific expensive products, more and more herbalists, such as that of the Palais Royal in Paris or the Modern Herbal Store of Perpignan, are offering their products with a close expiry date, at cut-off prices.

Low-cost but highly effective essential oils

Essential oils (EO) of neroli, helichrysum, Damascus rose or Roman chamomile are effective on many ailments, but expensive. Other HEs have the advantage of being all-terrain, and at affordable prices. Françoise Couic-Marinier makes you discover them.

  • Officinal lavender EO, ​​anxiolytic, sedative but also skin healing.
  • Peppermint EO to combat headaches and nausea, facilitate digestion or calm pain.
  • Lavender and citrus EOs (petit grain bigarade, green mandarin, sweet orange), useful for their relaxing, anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties.
  • Noble laurel EO to clear, disinfect the respiratory tract and stimulate immunity.

Under no circumstances can the information and advice offered on the Plantes & Santé site replace a consultation or diagnosis made by a doctor or health professional, the only ones able to adequately assess your state of health.

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