A well-stocked natural medicine chest, along with a good dose of common sense, is often sufficient to serve most common health needs both adequately and safely.
For soft tissue injuries the homeopathic composite remedy, Traumeel, is a good stand-by, as well as the simplex: Arnica – tablets and/or pillules and cream are worth keeping on hand. And while we’re on homeopathics, there are a few others that are invaluable for the family medicine chest, such as: apis mel for bee and wasp stings and swellings; oscillococcinum for colds and immune health; borax for mouth ulcers; nux vomica for digestive upsets. Chamomilla is another must-have, especially where babies are concerned, as it soothes the pain, heat and irritability symptoms associated with teething, like a dream. In fact there are so many effective homeopathic remedies for children that it would require an entire article of its own to do them any justice. Homeopathic Lycopodium can also be helpful for de-gassing. Many folk have found the homeopathic remedy, Sedatif PC, to be a safe and effective remedy for insomnia, anxiety and stress-related conditions.
ENERGY MEDICINE: BACH FLOWER REMEDIES
No matter what the trauma – physical or emotional shock – Rescue Remedy (and other Bach Flower Essences) can be an invaluable aide to calm a range of ravages. The much-loved Bach Rescue Remedy is another must-have in my opinion, since I’ve found that it works across the board for tall people, short people and four-leggeds! The product treats stress, anxiety and panic attacks.
Colds and flu respond well to home remedies in my experience. Echinacea tincture is another staple for the home remedy kit, whether it is used prophylactically during times of immune impairment, or used symptomatically when the lurgies visit, it’s an excellent remedy to have on hand. Sore throats respond very well to an Echinacea tincture and salt water gargle. A simple salt water gargle can also work extremely well. And if chronic sinusitis and respiratory allergies persist, don’t forget the value of the neti-pot for nasal douching.
When it comes to digestive tract discomfort there are several easy options too. Psyllium seed works well as a constipation-relief remedy, as does a simple natural seed mix. Equal parts flax (linseed), sunflower and sesame seeds (all untoasted), ground together into a fine powder, and taken at the rate of 1 to 2 teaspoons per day (followed by a large glass of water) can make constipation a distant memory!
Certain seeds can be a delicious way to quell the ‘south-end’ gasworks. Try chewing a mixture of fennel and cumin seed, and if you want to make the mixture even more effective, add some cardamom, caraway and black seeds to the crunch. Not only will your breath smell mighty fine, but your flatulence should abate within five to ten minutes. If on the other hand you believe that prevention is better than cure, add some fresh ginger to your meal or chew on a bit of ginger root after your meal to prevent gas from forming in the gut.
Echinacea, coupled with Vitamin C and Oscillococcinum makes a formidable winter cold and flu remedy-triad.
Peppermint tea is another digestive stalwart for the medicine cupboard, as is cardamom and ginger tea. Both are simple to make – either add hot water to fresh or dried peppermint leaves, or add hot water to crushed cardamom pods and a few slices of fresh ginger. Delicious – and your innards will be most grateful to you for the quick fix. An alternative is to make a tea from about one teaspoon of fennel and cumin seed, and if you want to make the mixture even more effective, add some cardamom, caraway and black seeds (Nigella sativa) plus a few slices of ginger, and sip it slowly when needed, or as a preventative measure to flatulence.
And don’t forget the inimitable value of hot broth for many ailments – whether a green veggie broth or nana’s favourite chicken soup – good for body and soul!
Essential oils are another important remedy choice for various ailments: e.g. a bottle of spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) in the kitchen cupboard is my #1 burn remedy of choice when it comes to lavenders. Aloe gel is also helpful to soothe burns, and the white of an egg applied to a burn can work wonders to prevent blistering and soothe pain. For acute pain there’s little to beat peppermint oil (Mentha piperita), which is also helpful for digestive upsets; while for colds and flu my #1 got-to-have oil is Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora ct 1,8-cineole). The ubiquitous tea tree, lavender and Eucalyptus are also well-known staples for various indications. Eucalyptus, by the way, is excellent for removing those stubborn price tags from glassware – so in this way it has hidden health benefits – since it helps keep one’s stress level and blood pressure from elevating – due to the frustration of trying to remove those tenacious bits of paper!
There’s also little to beat a good old-fashioned hot toddy to soothe a sore throat and a cold. A favourite combo in our household is freshly squeezed lemon juice, honey, raw ginger slices and hot water (and for the adults – a shot of fire-water of your choice – we like whisky or brandy).
Gas/flatulence, bloating and/or heartburn can also be treated with some simple home remedy options. For bloating and dyspepsia/heartburn, a commercial alkalising or ‘base-powder’ formulation can be helpful, or half a teaspoon of good old bicarb (sodium bicarbonate/baking soda) in a quarter glass of water can do the deed very effectively too. It’s cheap, and should leave you cheerful in a jiffy (be warned though, it usually produces some spectacular burps!) But, if the slightly unusual flavour of bicarb doesn’t float your gustatory boat, try adding 20 ml of freshly squeezed lemon to half a glass of water plus one teaspoon of bicarb. The lemon and bicarb form carbon dioxide and you should soon be burping delicious lemonade bubbles and feeling much relieved! And if none of this appeals – try some activated charcoal tablets.
A daily dose of a good probiotic supplement will also do your digestive system a power of good, while helping to keep any SBD (silent-but-deadly) gasses under control.