By Suzanne, Chief Health Officer, holistic health coach, and resident grandmother
This new year, instead of making the usual resolutions that we’ve given up on by the end of January, we decided to break it up by dividing some big goals into manageable chunks.
Each month, we will invite you to overhaul one aspect of your life to reduce toxins, improve health, and increase your peace of mind. Our promise is that these changes will be easy to implement, and we hope will help you avoid the typical resolution overwhelm!
Making Your Medicine Cabinet Healthier
I am sure that my medicine cabinet doesn’t look like many 67-year-olds! I have been on a health quest since my mother died early in life when I was just 17 years old. Unlike my mother, I have lived to see my children grow up and I am now a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren. Certainly some of that is good luck but I often wondered how my genetics might have cut my life short had I not made the changes I did.
Still, even the most health-conscious of us will get illnesses and have health issues from time. I am not opposed to Western medicine, but it does almost always come with some side effects, so I usually start with natural remedies if the illness doesn’t seem serious.
This month, I invite you to take a look in your own medicine cabinet and exchange some of your conventional medications for natural remedies. Of course, I am not a doctor so check with yours before making these changes.
Here are some treatments you’d find in my medicine cabinet.
Vitamins & Supplements
Science clearly shows that vitamins and minerals themselves are important to health, but it has also shown that the best way to get vitamins is from our food. I look for vitamins and supplements that are made from organic sources and food-sourced. Here are three that we like. (And here’s another post on vitamins for kids.)
2) Natural Remedies for Colds & Flu
Urban Moonshine remedies (there are many of them!) are made from only herbs. My favorite is the elderberry Immune Zoom, which I take at the first sign of a cold. For more specific symptoms related to upper respiratory issues, Urban Moonshine makes a Throat Spray as well as a Clear Chest Syrup. All of these are effective and bring relief when you need to get through an illness.
Farmaesthetics Lavender Rub is a must-have if you want to stock your cabinet with natural remedies! It’s great for colds, asthma, and allergies, and for strained muscle relief. It utilizes the heat-producing essential oils of ginger, rosemary, and eucalyptus to relax and release upper respiratory tightness. We use this instead of Vicks and Maia’s oldest son always requests it when he’s sick.
Umcka Cold Care is the cold and flu remedy that Maia swears by. She uses Umcka and I use Urban Moonshine Immune Zoom when we get a cold and we both have had success so either one is helpful.
I also stock up on these Throat Lozenges whenever I have a cold. I use them as cough drops instead of sugar-laden lozenges you’ll find in most drugstores.
3) For Cuts, Bruises & Boo Boos
Cuts usually heal on their own, and recent evidence even suggests that dirt contains beneficial bacteria that may help them heal. However, I generally rinse my cuts with water. Sometimes the children won’t let me, they just want a bandaid.
I keep different containers of Green Goo in my medicine cabinet at all times for various issues and mishaps. My favorite are:
for treating dry, cracked hands and feet, insect bites, scrapes, chafing, poison ivy, sunburns, and cuts.
for sunburns, sun spots, puffy eyes, wrinkles, scars, dark circles, and minor burns.
Green Goo Dry Skin for dry, cracked hands and feet, itchy flaky rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and dry red bumps.
If you have a baby in the house I recommend keeping:
Green Goo Baby Balm to relieve symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, cradle cap, cuts and scrapes, diaper rash, and dry skin. You can massage it into baby’s skin head to toe!
4) Strained Muscles
Farmaesthetics Deep Lavender Rub, which I mentioned above as a great natural remedy for chest colds, is also great for muscle aches.I use it as a lineament for stiff or strained muscles, as it contains tons of lavender with its relaxing, antiviral, antibacterial properties to quiet the whole system.
You can also try an arnica rub for sore muscles.
5) Pain Relievers & Fever Reducers
If I have pain from a headache or muscle strain that’s not tolerable, I reach for old-fashioned aspirin, since ibuprofen and acetaminophen seem to come with a greater chance of long-term side effects. Of course, you can’t give a child aspirin, so in general I try to avoid treating fevers at all. (Here is how Maia decides whether or not to treat a fever.)
The natural remedies below aren’t found found in your medicine cabinet, but they are so effective that I want to share them with you.
When Maia was a baby I had a holistic doctor who helped me avoid antibiotics. There were three natural remedies for ear aches that I applied under his suggestion. One was a rocking chair because my doctor said that sometimes just by rocking a baby or child we move the fluid and stop the earache.
The second remedy was daikon radish tea. Maia hates daikon radish to this day because it reminds her of being a sick kid! You can grate daikon radish and pour hot water over it to make a tea. You can add a bit of Tamari for flavor.
The third natural remedy is one that Maia now employs for her own children. When she would get an earache, I would bake an onion that I had sliced in half until it was warm. I would then wrap the onion in a cloth and place it on the outside of her ear while rocking her in the chair.
A Note on Antibiotics
Just because I try to avoid antibiotics does not mean I think they are all bad. In fact, I think they are wonderful for bacterial illnesses, and am so grateful that we have them when we actually need them! However, I become concerned when people want to take antibiotics for the common cold virus, flu, or other viruses. I am sure I don’t need to tell you that antibiotics don’t do a thing for viruses, and of course come with side effects.
Finally, you might want to consider working with an MD who is certified in integrative holistic medicine. Our local doctor uses Western medicine, but his primary focus is on trying to adjust your lifestyle and diet to get you off medications and avoid surgery.