One of the best ways to return to well-being is to use the healing powers of Mother Nature. It's a simple, affordable way to heal just about anything, and the list of medicinal plants is endless. But where to start? Here are just a few staples everyone should have around their home.
You won't find Tylenol, Neosporin, or Antibiotics in my medicine cabinet. I admit I have always been blessed with great health and rarely really get sick - but I do also attribute it to my natural lifestyle. I have never taken prescription medicine that could cause side effects (because of the effect on the immune system), nor do I ever turn to over-the-counter medication commonly found at the pharmacy.
“Essential oils and other natural home remedies can heal ailments because they support the body's natural ability to heal itself.”
It all started growing up with my grandmother - regardless of whether it was a toothache, a sprained wrist, or indigestion - she alway had a home remedy on hand. Scrapes, aces & pain, skin ailments, bug bites, feeling ill... you name it, Mother Nature has a remedy. Below are some of the remedies for common, everyday ailments, as well as health-maintencance uses.
10 Must-Haves For Your Natural At-Home Apothecary
1. Coconut Oil
Most of us have heard of the benefits of coconut oil, the latest skin care & natural healing remedy gone mainstream - and it's controversy (more on that later). Here are my favorite uses: It's a great for oil pulling and to whiten teeth naturally; provides relieve for dry, brittle, damaged hair & split ends (use it like a hair mask), it makes the perfect after-sun moisturizer and reliefs sunburned skin due to it's cooling properties, it's a natural antiseptic and it’s anti-bacterial - mixed with lavender and tee trea oils it's the perfect rememdy for scrapes and rashes. I commonly use it as a carrier oil, making my own scented body oil, insect repellent, and healing oils. But I also use it in my kitchen - because it helps boost digestion and regulate metabolism, and helps maintain healthy cholesterol - add it to your foods like oatmeal or smoothies, or use it for cooking!
A note about coconut oil: First, it's important to purchase organic coconut oil from your health food store (I buy locally sourced), as many imported store brands are hydrogenated and refined, some even contain plasticizers. The main argument against coconut oil is it's high saturated fat content - but the structure differs from the saturated fat found in animal products. Coconut oil instead has a high amount of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are not only harder for the body to convert into stored fat, but also easier for to burn off. Many of the benefits of coconut oil are due to this high MCT content. Speaking of skin care, some reports of coconut oil being comedogenic (can clog pores) have emerged. However, oils have a comedogenic rating of 0-5, and coconut oils rating is 2 - which tells you that the oil will not clog pores for most people, only some will begin to notice a purge in come cases. What we need to keep in mind is that as with all things, none of us are the same. No diet is perfect for all, and no oil is perfect for all. Most importantly - use in moderation! Due to it's recent surge of popularity, coconut oil has been overused, inside and outside. Try it and find out for yourself - I love it.
2. Aloe Vera
This wonderfully soothing and super mosturizing gel was already used in ancient traditional medicine! It’s also an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory treatment, great for skin infections, insect bites, eczema, cuts, burns, scars, rashes, and as an antiseptic dressing. Very effective in the treatment of psoriasis which causes itchy, red patches on skin and scalp. Have you tried Aloe Vera juice? It's alkalizing (a body with an acidic pH is a breeding ground for disease), supports liver function, fights digestive disorders, and it's loaded with vitamins and minerals. And those are just some of the dozens of healing powers. Your local health food store can advise on the uses. I recommend you grow your own plant cut the leaves as needed. If that's not an option, be sure to buy 100% organic aloe gel without any additives.
Arnica is an herb that has strong analgesic (pain relieving) and anti-inflammatory characteristics, so it's not only perfect for healing skin abrasions, but also helps tremendously with joint & muscle pain. It also helps heal wounds from trauma and surgery, because it's antiseptic properties. Arnica creams are wonderfully moisturizing, and Arnica gels kept cool in the fridge feels great when massaged into sore areas of the body.
4. Calendula (Marigold)
Calendula has been used through the ages for relief from burns, bruises, cuts, skin infections, rashes and skin ulcers. Most useful are creams which can be found in Natural Food Stores. Calendula cream is one of my favorite go-to moisturizer to relief dry, itchy winter skin.
Chamomile is a must have for me to keep around the house. It's amazingly soothing and helps heal anything and everything. Upset stomach? Can’t sleep? Feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed? Drink Chamomile tea. A strong brew of Chamomile tea applied topically also treats mild skin problems. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and is effective in preventing & curing yeast infections, skin infections, and soothing and healing burns - and even eye-infections (I recently cured my dogs eye infection by rinsing it with Chamomile tea). Concentrated creams are also very handy to keep around. Chamomile has been my go-to remedy since childhood.
6. Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil is another must have in my medicine cabinet. Yet another plant with antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal qualities - it cures acne, pimples, and scars. The oil from the leaves is harvested and is also perfect for cuts, insect bites and other skin problems. 10 drops in your Aromatherapy Oil warmer cleans & freshens the air - helps eliminate odor & mildew!
7. Eucalyptus Oil
It's one of the main ingredients in my natural, home-made insect repellent. I also love using it in the diffuser to help repel insects on a hot summer night. But more importantly it helps to cure MRSA, jock itch and impetigo (contagious bacterial skin infection common among pre-school children).
8. Lavender Oil
We tend to think of Lavender Oil as an Aromatherapy Essence to help us relax & release, and eliminate nervous tension, yet few of us know that Lavender Oil also has has anti-bacterial and anti-viral qualities as well along with many other benefits: It’s a bug repellant, it calms the nervous system and helps you sleep, it treats acne because it inhabits the bacteria which cause the initial infection, it’s a pain reliever for sore and tense muscles, it helps with respiratory disorders, hormonal imbalances, improves blood circulation, increases digestion, boosts immunity, and is great for skin and hair care. I use it daily - it is in all of my aromatherapy room & body sprays as well as my essential oil warmers, but I also add it to my homemade bug repellant, and apply it to minor skin infections as needed.
9. Mint Oil
Another essential oil I keep around the house, and one of the main ingredients in my homemade insect repellent. An few drops applied to tender areas help relief headaches, and I love a brief inhale for a quick pick me up. I also use it in my homemade mouth wash - but sure to buy essential oils that are 100% natural and ingestible, such as doTerra or Young Living.
10. Sesame Oil
I use Coconut Oil in the Summer and in hot climates, and I use Sesame Oil during cool seasons. Sesame oil provides warming, soothing comfort. It’s perfect during colder temperatures and traditionally used for oil pulling, soothing & relaxing tired muscles & joints and wonderful for your Abhyanga (Self-Massage). I massage my tired feet, in my nostrils and sinuses to relief dryness and prevent sinus infections
It's so easy to stay away from pills, medications, and creams which have dangerous side effects and are loaded with chemicals. More importantly, they impair your bodies natural ability to heal itself. So - go Natural!