It wasn’t that long ago when every home had a home medicine kit filled with natural remedies to treat injuries or illnesses that family members might encounter. These days it is not so common and many people feel at a loss when they are faced with a feverish child at 2 am, the beginnings of a respiratory infection, or a finger burned from a kitchen mishap. Not only is it common sense to have a natural medicine kit at home, but it is inexpensive to put together and quite empowering to realize that you have the ability to heal yourself and your family of just about any acute illness or injury that you may encounter.
Following is a brief summary of some of the items you may want to include in your natural home medicine kit. They can be purchased ready made, but most of them you can make yourself very easily and inexpensively. A combination of any or all of the items listed below would make a great addition to any home.
Herbal Remedies for Your Home Medicine Kit
The first category of remedies that we are going to talk about are Herbal Remedies. Herbal remedies have been used throughout history to treat minor acute conditions safely and effectively. The herbs listed here are safe and gentle enough for children, but yet powerful enough to provide reliable relief.
Aloe vera – Aloe has been used throughout a long portion of our history in treating and healing burns and other minor skin irritations. The best way to use aloe is directly from the plant itself. Break off a plump piece and slice it open. Apply the clear sap inside directly to the burned or irritated area. It is this sap that has been shown to have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Calendula cream – This is the first thing I reach for whenever one of the children has a cut, scratch, scrape or rash. Historically, Calendula has been used in reducing inflammation, promoting wound healing, and as an antiseptic. It has been used to treat a variety of skin diseases including skin ulcerations and eczema.
Echinacea Tincture – Echinacea is a wonderful immune boosting herb – anti-viral as well as anti-bacterial. Topically useful for stings and bites (it is a Native American snakebite remedy), as well as skin infections, echinacea is a staple for the home medicine kit. Echinacea is useful for poisonous insect and snake bites, toothaches, sore throat, wounds, childhood illnesses, upper respiratory infections, the common cold, sinusitis, influenza, herpes, lymphatic swelling and skin ulcers.
Elderberry Elixir – This is an essential remedy to have on hand, especially during the cold and flu season. Rich in vitamins A, B and C, elderberry supports immune system functioning and is one of the best remedies for viral infections. Useful for colds, flus, respiratory afflictions, fevers and upset stomachs. One of elderberry's most best properties is that it modulates the immune system, instead of stimulating it, so it is valuable for those with auto-immune issues.
Garlic – I have heard many herbalists say that if they were stranded on a desert island and could have only one medicine with them – it would be garlic! It is a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic and has been used to ward off everything from the common cold to the Plague. Some of the ailments it has been used to treat include wounds, ulcers, skin infections, flu, athlete’s foot, some viruses, strep, worms, respiratory ailments, high blood pressure, blood thinning, cancer of the stomach, colic, colds, kidney problems, bladder problems, and ear aches. Incorporating garlic, especially raw, into your daily diet is a key part of keeping your body healthy and your immune system functioning at optimal levels.
Ginger – Ginger is an excellent anti-inflammatory herb as well as an important digestive remedy. It is useful for a broad range of ailments such as: nausea, motion sickness, diarrhea, colic, arthritis, rheumatism, colds flus, headaches, poor circulation and heart conditions. In Asia is it considered a longevity herb.
Plantain/Comfrey/Self-Heal/Chickweed salve – All of these herbs have excellent wound healing properties and one or all of them alone, or in combination with the above mentioned Calendula and St John’s Wort, would make a great salve or ointment for most skin ailments you may encounter.
St John’s Wort salve – While many people these days are aware of St John’s Wort for it’s anti-depressant benefits, they may not be aware that it is one of the best topical anti-inflammatory and wound healing herbs to be found. Some of the ailments that can be helped by the topical use of St John’s Wort include bruises, wounds, burns, hemorrhoids, sunburn, herpes sores, varicose veins, sciatica, nerve pain, rheumatism and arthritis.
Yarrow – Yarrow is considered a common weed, but is an extremely useful one (as most weeds are). It is an antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, digestive and tonic herb. It can be used for colds and flu, stomach ulcers, amenorrhea, abdominal cramps, abscesses, trauma and bleeding, and to reduce inflammation. In fact, yarrow is considered by many to be one of the best herbs to stop bleeding, as well as a superb remedy for reducing fevers naturally.
In the next post in this series, I will talk about the next category of natural remedies everyone should have in their natural home medicine kit: Homeopathic remedies.
Do you have a natural home medicine kit? What do you keep in it? What are your favorite natural remedies?