Whether it’s food poisoning at 2 A.M. or your dog getting skunked, ailments will inevitably pop up when we least expect them. This is why I have a natural de-skunking kit all made up and ready to go, because the last thing I want to do at 2 A.M. is find an open drugstore for baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (another topic for another day for all you dog lovers). When it comes to natural medicine, there are no 24-hour natural pharmacies in the states where we can pick up a homeopathic for food poisoning, or herbs to ease a high fever. For the unexpected moments in life, it’s a great idea to be prepared and stock your own natural medicine cabinet. The following items are a variety of natural medicines great for treating some common ailments:
- Arnica: Great for strains, sprains, muscle aches, and bruising.
- Nux vomica: Good for any kind of toxicity due to overindulgence, including eating and/or drinking too much; also great for hangovers!
- Arsenicum: An essential for food poisoning, especially when symptoms include the not-so-fun combination of diarrhea AND vomiting.
- Apis: a Good one to carry around in your purse, as it is effective for allergic reactions and bee stings.
- Belladonna: Helpful for high fevers that include a lot of redness and heat (as opposed to the kind of fevers where you feel chilled or cold). This is great for babies and kids when they have a high fever with a bright red face.
ACTIVATED CHARCOAL : Keep this handy in your medicine cabinet for anytime you eat something questionable or feel the onset of food poisoning. It will absorb toxins, but do not be alarmed when it turns your stools black!
ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR : This is a great overall remedy for too many ailments to list here, but two great uses include alkalizing the body, and/or treating indigestion and gastric reflux (also known as heartburn). You can take half to one teaspoon in four to eight ounces of water first thing in the morning. To treat indigestion and reflux, take half to one ounce in four to eight ounces of water 10-15 minutes before meals or as needed.
HERBS FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM :
- Oregon Grape: This is almost like Nature’s antibiotic. It is a great overall immune booster and is antiviral and antibacterial.
- Elderberry: This is a great-tasting antiviral herb and a remedy that can be given as a glycerite (which is alcohol-free) to kids and pregnant women.
HERBS FOR STRESS : Lavender, passion flower, lemon balm, and avena are great for calming the nervous system. They can help with stress-induced insomnia as well. Choose one, or blend up a combination formula, for yourself and drink as a tea several times a day, or take as a liquid tincture one to four times per day for maximum therapeutic value and effectiveness.
HERB PHARM MULTI-PURPOSE SALVE : Any olive oil and/or beeswax-based salve with herbs like Calendula will also work. Herb Pharm Salve, in particular, is a great all-purpose salve with antibacterial and tissue-healing herbs that I recommend to all my friends and patients for any sort of abrasion, small cuts, itching, and rashes.
CASTOR OIL : This is an ancient oil that has been taken orally for constipation or to induce labor. I personally recommend using castor oil packs over the belly and liver to balance digestion, detoxify and support the liver, and stimulate the immune system. It can also be massaged into joints for aches and pains.
ALOE VERA : Keep this easy-to-grow succulent in a pot in full sunlight. Whenever you have a rash or an itchy bug bite, split open one of the leaves and rub some of the jelly directly on skin. You can also peel away the outer skin and add the jelly portion to smoothies, or take directly to help with digestive issues like ulcers and constipation.
VITAMIN C : This is a great antioxidant and overall immune balancer and is very easy to find in your local health food store. When feeling under the weather, you can take it to improve bowel movements. This means, taking one gram every one to two hours until you start to have some loose stools. Then, count how many grams you have taken and reduce the dose by one gram. Continue to take that dose until you’re back to your healthy, balanced self. Vitamin C is water-soluble, so your body will naturally get rid of whatever it doesn’t absorb.