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Since it is almost back to school time, I thought I would share what I stock in my natural medicine cabinet. In this post, I will mostly go over the essentials, but it is a good idea to locate stores near you that have homeopathic medicine, essential oils, and herbs for when you need something more specific. Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place online to buy herbs if you can't find them locally.
Be careful when taking these natural herbs and remedies, just as you would with conventional medicine. Sometimes they can affect other conditions you have or interact with medications. Also, I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice. Talk to your doctor before taking any type of medication whether that be natural or conventional.
I think it's really important to be prepared, especially when you have kids. There are so many colds, bumps, cuts that it is a good idea to have remedies on hand. To be honest though, we hardly get sick and don't have to use much medicine, natural or otherwise (probably because of our traditional, whole foods diet).
I still have many of these items in our cabinet though:
Arnica is great for aches, pain, and bruising. The actual plant is poisonous but the medicine you get at the store is a diluted, homeopathic preparation, so it is safe to consume. What it does is it reduces pain and swelling, and it can help with conditions like arthritis. There is also a topical gel that can be applied directly to the affected area.
Calendula Cream can help heal cuts, sunburn, and rashes. It is good to have with active kids around. We also use witch hazel to soothe skin.
Activated Charcoal is a black, porous substance that binds to toxins and poisons. Its used in emergency rooms for poisoning and drug overdoses. So I like to keep it around for when my kids eat things they are not supposed to. It was also helpful for us when we started the GAPS diet because it helped reduce the die off symptoms.
It can be helpful for food poisoning, whitening teeth, reducing gas and bloating, filtering water, and reducing high cholesterol. In the case of poisoning, drug overdose, or exposure to toxins you want to take activated charcoal as soon as possible. Its best to take it within an hour (and also seek medical care immediately).
I have had many urinary tract infections (UTIs) and have a lot of experience with d-mannose. You can take 500mg daily as a preventative measure or when you have intercourse. If you experience a UTI, you will want to take 500mg every 3 hours or so. Take it and don't drink anything for a half hour before or after. Then after 30-40 minutes, drink a ton of water to flush out your system.
You want to give the d-mannose time to bind to the bacteria before flushing it out of the urinary tract. Speaking of UTIs, eliminate sugars (including natural sugars) and only drink water and some pure, unsweetened cranberry juice like this one. Vitamin C is also helpful.
D-mannose binds to e coli bacteria in the urinary tract. Sometimes (less often) UTIs will be caused by other types of bacteria in the urinary tract, so d-mannose will not be helpful when other types of bacteria are involved.
The reason why I prefer the topical spray is because it absorbs the most easily through the skin. Magnesium is great for helping you to relax and to reduce anxiety. So I use it before bed and spray it on my feet typically (6-10 sprays), but you can spray it anywhere (just not in your eyes!). It will tingle a little bit when you spray it on.
If you ever experience a sudden urge to use the restroom after using any magnesium product, that means you took more than you needed and need to reduce your dose.
Magnesium is also useful for muscle aching. Sometimes I experience aches in my legs and I will spray the spray where it aches.
I keep the reacted magnesium pills around for times when anyone is constipated. As I mentioned above, if you take enough, it will help you go.
Speaking of constipation. Castor oil can be helpful in this case. Honestly though, it is my last resort because it can really make you go. I would try an enema first before the castor oil. Also, it is helpful for inducing labor.
Pronounced O-sill-o-cox-see-num, this is a homeopathic remedy that is helpful for colds and flus. For me, it helps to reduce the severity of the cold and make my symptoms more manageable. It doesn't cure your cold however.
I would keep sunflower lecithin in your medicine cabinet if you are about to have a baby or breastfeeding. It has saved me two times from mastitis. This is something I would try before taking antibiotics because it doesn't deplete your gut bacteria like antibiotics do. Sunflower lecithin breaks up the clogged milk that causes clogged ducts and mastitis. You should start getting relief within a few hours, along with other natural methods of clearing a clogged duct. See here for how to take it.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is also helpful for when you have mastitis. It is a source of omega-6 fatty acids, and its also helpful for PMS symptoms and acne (red raspberry tea is also helpful for period cramping).
I would recommend nursing moms keep fenugreek in their medicine cabinet because it can be helpful for when you are struggling to make enough milk. It seems like it is a more common thing nowadays. For more information on fenugreek, check out this article.
Oil of Oregano
Oil of Oregano is very helpful for bacterial infections. I know some people take it for viral infections, but I personally have not taken it for viral infections. The carvacrol in oil of oregano works as a natural antibiotic and will fight pathogenic bacteria.
Elderberries contain anthocyanidins which boost the immune system. This is especially important right now as kids are heading back to school. It's a good idea to keep your cupboard stocked from fall through winter. You can get premade elderberry syrup, but they can contain added sugars. This is why I buy dried elderberries and make my own syrup (I will try to get a recipe up soon!).
Diffusing thieves essential oil is also great for boosting the immune system during the fall and winter.
We keep a bunch of different teas in our pantry, but in terms of immune support, we like the Traditional Medicinals seasonal teas. They have an echinacea one which boosts the immune system. We also like the throat coat tea which contains slippery elm bark that soothes sore throats.
Homeopathic Teething Tablets
These are essential if you have little ones who are teething. Teething tablets help reduce irritation and provide relief when your baby or toddler is teething. About 5-10 years ago there were safety concerns about these tablets, but Hyland has recently reformulated their teething tablets to be belladonna free.
These are especially great for babies because you are limited in what you can give them when they are sick. Saline drops gently break up mucous to help your baby breathe easier. When you administer the drops to young children make sure to have a bulb syringe ready to help clear out the nasal cavity. There are also sprays for adults and older kids as well.
Other things we have in our home
We always have bandages, gauze, thermometers, and bulb syringes. We also keep garlic, gingerroot, and coconut oil in the kitchen which can also be helpful during times of illness, upset tummies, and for soothing the skin (like diaper rashes). Epsom salt is something we use for detoxification and soothing sore muscles. Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are excellent for disinfecting wounds. These can all be found at drug stores and/or grocery stores.
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