Visit our Re-post guidelines
Originally published on Hybrid Rasta Mama.
Crafting a home medicine kit can be easy and inexpensive -- and is something no home should go without!
It wasn't that long ago when every home had an herbal or homeopathic 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 herbal items listed below would make a great addition to any home.
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 we 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. You can read more here.
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. You can read more about the benefits of garlic here.
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.
For homeopathic remedies, choosing the 6c or 30c potency is usually the best option for laypersons and those potencies are readily available. Dosage, in acute conditions, may be 1 or 2 pellets repeated every 1/2 to 1 hour if necessary, up to 3 doses. Dosage frequency can then be reduced to 3 times a day for a couple of days, if necessary. Here are some basics, for the beginner, on homeopathy.
Aconite – This remedy is considered the "A" in the ABC of Children's Remedies. Aconite is indicated at the onset of chills and colds, especially those that begin after exposure to a cold wind. Symptoms can include frequent sneezing, hot clear liquid from the nose, fever and thirst. Aconite is also indicated for mental trauma, fear and shock. Irritability, restlessness and anxiety are often present.
Apis – This is a great remedy for stings and bites, especially those of wasps and other insects. It is particularly indicated in bites that burn, itch, sting and swell with redness and heat and feel better with cool applications.
Arnica – One of the most well known homeopathic remedies, Arnica is an excellent first aid treatment for physical trauma of any kind. Falls, bruises, strains, wounds, muscle soreness and swelling yield particularly well to Arnica. It also available in cream form.
Arsenicum – Arsenicum has many uses, one of which is for vomiting and nausea due to food poisoning – particularly from bad meat. It is also an excellent remedy for colds with painful sneezing and thin, watery nasal discharge, where the person is very chilly and thirsty, but only for small sips of water.
Belladonna – This remedy is the "B" in the ABC's of Children's Remedies. It is indicated in conditions like fevers and headaches where there is sudden onset, throbbing pains, red, hot skin and dilated pupils. It can also be used for scalds or burns, if there is throbbing present and inflammation is starting.
Chamomile – Chamomile is the "C" in the ABC's of Children's Remedies. One of the symptoms that almost always indicates this remedy is that one cheek is hot and red, while the other is cold and pale. Useful for teething infants, pain and fever, especially in those who are very sensitive to pain. Other symptoms are intense irritability, restlessness, temper tantrums and children who only calm down when carried.
Hypericum – This remedy is extremely helpful in wounds and trauma that involve nerve endings, fingers, toes or spine or those injuries that cause intense pain. Examples are slamming fingers in the door or stubbing the toe.
Ledum – Ledum is the prime remedy to use for puncture wounds. It is also useful for bites and stings that feel cold (opposite of Apis, above).
Nux Vomica – This remedy is indicated in indigestion, nausea and vomiting which results from nervous strain, stress, overwork or overindulgence in food and drink – the hangover remedy. It is also useful in colds where the nose streams in a warm room, but is stuffed up at night. The person is extremely chilly, cannot warm up and is vomiting which results from nervous strain, stress, overwork or overindulgence in food and drink – the hangover remedy. It is also useful in colds where the nose streams in a warm room, but is stuffed up at night. The person is extremely chilly, cannot warm up and is very irritable.
Pulsatilla – Pulsatilla also can be indicated in indigestion, but from rich or fatty foods. However, it is better known for conditions such as earaches, headaches and colds. In all cases there is usually thirstlessness, amelioration from the open air and aggravation from warm, stuffy rooms.
Rhus Tox – Useful in cases of joint injuries, sprain, muscular stiffness after over-exertion or exposure to cold and wet conditions, Rhus Tox is also a great remedy for poison oak and chicken pox, as well as colds and coughs. Some of the main symptoms indicating this remedy are restlessness, feeling worse from beginning to move, but feeling better after continued motion, feeling worse at night and from uncovering, but better from warmth.
Urtica Urens – This is an excellent remedy for first degree burns as well as sunburn and nettle stings, or other rashes from plant contact. You can read more about Urtica (Stinging Nettle) and it's herbal uses here.
Rescue Remedy – A combination of 5 of the Bach Flower Remedies, Rescue Remedy is useful to have with you at all times for helping to deal with any sort of trauma, whether mental, emotional or physical. It is calming, relaxing and helps to restore balance. I have found it very useful for tantruming children as well as stressed out Mamas.
Essential Oils – Essential oils are extremely potent and must be used with care. If applying topically, ALWAYS dilute them first. Here is more information on how to use essential oils properly and safely.
- Lavender essential oil is calming, relaxing and useful for soothing bug bites and burns. It is also extremely effective for relieving the pain of headaches and ear infections.
- Tea Tree is very anti-microbial and can be used for disinfecting. It is also great to inhale for relieving stuffy sinuses and respiratory issues.
- Oregano is another potent anti-microbial essential oil. Useful for infections and is also anti-inflammatory.
- Peppermint essential oil has many uses, including soothing sore muscles, relieving pain and calming nausea.
- Helichrysum is a superior essential oil for healing old wounds, calming inflammation and reducing scar tissue.
Basic First Aid Supplies -Here is a list of basic supplies to have on hand in your medicine chest so you can be prepared for any minor acute situation that might occur.
- Assorted sizes of band-aids, including wound closure strips
- Travel sewing kit which contains needle, thread, safety pins
- Flannel fabric/wash cloth
- Fingernail clippers
- Plastic eye cup
- Ace bandage
- Disposable lighter
- Various tape
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Cotton swabs
- Cotton balls
- Gauze pads
- Instant Hand warmers
- Bottle of water
Although needs will vary from family to family, having these items on hand will not only cover most minor situations that may occur, but give you peace of mind – knowing you are prepared and have the ability to take care of your family's health naturally.
What is in your natural home medicine kit?