Once upon a time, not too long ago, humans used the original, natural medicine. Today that medicine is called alternative medicine. For thousands of years, natural medicines have been employed successfully in maintaining and restoring our health. Chemical medications were discovered only about 100 years ago.
Unfortunately, there are no fairy godmothers with magic wands to help us with our health, so it’s up to us to decide how we want to doctor ourselves. If you have any concerns about the overuse of prescription meds, or the ingredients in over-the-counter medications and their potential side effects, perhaps you already have your own natural medicine cabinet. And if not, perhaps you’ll be interested in building one.
And by the way, I’m not negating the life-saving impact that man-made antibiotics and other medications have provided in the last century. I’m just saying that we have done very well as a species by applying traditional, natural approaches, for prevention and curatives. So why not continue in that modality until, or if, otherwise needed?
“The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hands of man.” ~ Author unknown
What’s in your first aid kit and medicine cabinet?
Sandwiched between “Once Upon a Time” and “Happily Ever After,” is an array of natural ways to protect your immunity.
I’ve slowly built a natural first aid kit and medicine cabinet to include some tried-and-true things. Along the way I’ve replaced some conventional products with natural alternatives, added some things for preventatives, and included others for remedies. So I thought I’d share them with you. Maybe you have other ones that you’d like to share too.
Here are some of my favorite ways to stock a first aid kit and a natural medicine cabinet:
Charcoal does an excellent job absorbing and neutralizing toxins. It is used in the healthcare industry for treating poisonous overdoses. It is also effective for upset stomachs, indigestion, food poisoning, and uh, the rare occasion of too much alcohol. Take 2 capsules with water.
It is also used for making poultices to draw out toxins, such as a bug bite or an infection. Empty a capsule or two, and add just enough water to make a paste and apply, covering with gauze or a bandaid. Repeat as needed.
Activated charcoal also makes a great natural tooth whitener.
Click here for more detailed information about the amazing uses and benefits of activated charcoal.
I use aloe vera mostly on the skin to help heal burns and wounds. I look for aloe products that don’t add chemicals or preservatives. I also keep an aloe plant at home.
I take 1- 2- tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water daily, to help alkalinize, and to replace important electrolytes like potassium. I also use it as a facial toner. There are so many health-giving benefits of this ancient elixir. In the 4th century, it was used by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, to successfully treat a variety of ailments. It is truly one natural remedy that has stood the test of time. “Organic apple cider vinegar is the #1 food I recommend to maintain the body’s vital acid-alkaline balance,” says Gabriel Cousins M.D., author of Conscious Eating.
This is what I keep on hand for muscle pains and injury, as well as for bruising. It’s a great topical gel for life’s little injuries.
This clay is detoxifying, disinfecting, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic. And I drink it everyday. Mixing the clay with water effectively activates the clay, helping to absorb toxins. It also works well as a pore-refining facial mask, and helps soothe skin rashes and bug bites.
This is what I use when I want to help stop bleeding quickly.
Open a capsule and apply it topically.
And not surprisingly, it also has an amazing warming ability, which helps enhance blood circulation and even regulate blood pressure when taken internally. However, if you do not consume nightshade plants, then opt out of this one.
For me, this is a definite must have. Colloidal silver is a mineral solution that has safe-guarded human health for over 2,000 years. It kills bacteria. It kills viruses. Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic and a natural disinfectant that can be safely be taken orally and/or applied topically. This is something I always have at home, and never travel without.
I always make room for coconut oil in my medicine cabinet. I make room for it in my kitchen too, as a cooking oil and as a healthy fat in my coffee. I put it in my hair as a deep conditioner (sometimes before a Bikram Yoga class, for the extra heat), and I use as a make-up remover, a facial cleanser, and a moisturizer. And sometimes, I use it by itself as deodorant. It’s in my shower to shave my legs, with the added benefit of its antibacterial and antiviral properties for when I accidentally cut my legs. Often, I add a few pinches of salt to some coconut oil and use it as an exfoliating scrub. I apply it as sunscreen (SPF 7-ish). And if I forget to use it as sunscreen,it helps to soothe a sunburn. I’ve used it as a carrier oil for essential oils. I’ve used it on mosquito and bug bites. And in a pinch, I’ve even used it as toothpaste.
It’s probably not what you’re used to in a toothpaste, but this has even replaced my Tom’s of Maine natural toothpaste, which contains glycerine. It is currently the cleanest commercial toothpaste I have found, containing;
- no artificial sweeteners
- no foaming agents
- no fluoride
- no glycerine
The ingredients are Redmond Clay, Real Salt, and purified water, with Xylitol and essential oils for natural flavor. And that’s it! It may be quite different than what you’re used to, but it’s totally natural, and it does the job.
This natural remedy is named for Rene M. Caisse, a nurse from Canada. Essiac is Caisse spelled backwards. She was given this formula form an Ojibway Native and, in turn, gave it to her patients as a successful remedy for those deemed incurable. Here is her story.
And if you’re interested in more about Essiac, here is a great book about its uses and efficacy.
This is great for nausea or motion sickness. It also helps soothe the stomach after suffering from digestive problems or food poisoning.
Using food grade hydrogen peroxide has been a great addition for me. It is a natural antiseptic and is one of the best things I’ve used to clean wounds and prevent infection. Some of the things I use it for include disinfecting toothbrushes, relieving ear infections, and, believe it or not, warding off a cold.
This is another must have for me. I use magnesium on most days, but I always use it after taking a Bikram Yoga class. “Magnesium is nothing short of a miracle mineral in its healing effect on a wide range of diseases … it is a potent substance that penetrates the cells with stunning result on cell biochemistry.” (source: http://drsircus.com/medicine/magnesium/magnesium-chloride-product-analysis)
If you’re looking for a natural deodorant, Pit Paste is one of my favorites. It contains all natural, organic ingredients. And it works!
Sweating is good for us. The skin is our largest organ, and it is even referred to as “the third kidney.” It is estimated that we eliminate 30% of our body’s wastes through perspiration. When we use antiperspirant to prevent the body from sweating through the armpits, we stop the body’s natural process to remove toxins. And “these toxins do not just magically disappear.”
I always keep a large container of raw, organic honey on hand. I use it with apple cider vinegar for sore throats and coughs, and by itself for wounds and burns. And because of its high levels of antibacterial properties, I use it as a facial cleanser.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian, opt out of this one. I like this because the “fat composition of tallow is uniquely compatible with the biology of our cells.” It is rich in conjulgated linoleic acid (CLA). It contains healthy amounts of fat-soluble vitamins including, A, D, E, and K, as well as palmitoleic acid, which is an antimicrobial. Tallow is one of the best natural products that I’ve found to soothe and protect the skin, especially in the winter. And it works well to soothe rashes and itching, and provides relief from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
“This is how people cared for their skin before chemicals. This is whole food skin care.” And here’s a glimpse of the science behind the efficacy of allow.
I like Thieves Oil for its ability to support the immune system. I diffuse this oil throughout the house, mostly in the wintertime when our house is closed up from the cold, leaving viruses to hang around longer.
I use vitamin C daily, as a preventative. It is a potent antioxidant and it is one of my first lines of defense when cold and flu season hits. It’s a vitamin that we can’t make or store in our body, so it is essential that we supplement it though diet and/or added supplements. For supplements, I use this one and this one.
What are your natural medical must haves?
I’m not a professional of any sort, but I am in favor of bringing self-directed health back into fashion. Such that, happily ever after … I mean Healthily Every After can be oh, so Once Upon A Time …
If you enjoyed this Off the Mat Chat you might also enjoy reading:
This article was contributed by Jane Hill – fierce Bikram Yogi, lover of all things natural, and my best yoga buddy. Look for more articles by Jane in the Off the Mat Chats section of Views From the Podium!