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Stocking Your Home Medicine Kit

 Photo by  Micheile Henderson @micheile010 // Visual Stories [nl]  on  Unsplash

The key to using natural remedies against common winter-time illnesses is catching initial symptoms and having the right remedy at arm’s length. Recognizing symptoms early is essential. Responding to symptoms with just the right remedy, can keep the sniffles at bay, or keep a head cold from becoming a more serious bronchial infection.

Stocking your own medicine chest with an armament of botanicals means that what you need is at hand the moment you need it. Here are a few things I find indispensable in my personal medicine cabinet.

Remember of course that you should rely on the expertise of a qualified health professional before using herbs or natural remedies to treat any health condition.

  1. Echinacea: Best used as an immune booster to prevent the common cold, this can come in handy when you are feeling over stressed, run down, or vulnerable to illness. I like to give it to my kids around holidays that offer lots of sugary treats.

  2. Elderberry: Often taken as a delicious tonic or syrup, this follows in the same category as echinacea. It is a useful immune builder and best used as a preventive tool. It is thought that it helps one resist the flu, but is less effective during the flu. Its immune boosting properties might even exacerbate symptoms of the flu if taken once the disease has taken hold.

  3. Elderflower: I don’t know how anyone can stand a head cold or sinus infection without this handy herb. Medicine or tea made from the flowers of the elder shrub helps relieve sinus and nasal congestion and brings on a good sweat.

  4. Lavender: This plant was once called a “gentle grandmother” by one of my teachers. It is both versatile and incredibly useful. It soothes headaches, anxious minds, and chest congestion. It’s perfect for children who are suffering from nightmares or worries at bedtime. A dab of the essential oil on a pillow can do the trick, as can steams, teas, or glycerite taken orally.

  5. Wild Yam: Dioscorea villosa is my remedy of choice for belly aches of all types. Indigestion and heartburn benefit from its soapy bitter flavor. Nausea can be immediately quelled, whether from carsickness, nervousness, or a little bug. Intestinal cramping that often accompanies diarrhea will most likely respond well to the spasmolytic qualities of this root. If you often suffer from urgent bowel movements or intestinal cramping, carrying a little bottle of this wherever you go can be a life-saver. This plant is now classified as “at-risk” by United Plant Savers. Please purchase only sustainably harvested Wild Yam and use sparingly. Consider alternatives such as chamomile, valerian, fennel seed, and peppermint.

  6. Herbal Cough Syrup: Forget that nasty over-the-counter stuff and find a high quality, well-formulated product. Look for a product that includes wild cherry bark, thyme, yerba santa, and elecampane.

  7. Healing salve: Herbs such as calendula, self heal, lavender, and St. John’s wort are often used in a salve, a thick cream, or a paste with beeswax as the base. Use salve on minor burns, insect bites, or mild abrasions. The right formula will speed healing and ward off infection.

Ready to start stocking your own home apothecary? Learn about all the essential healing herbs and what to do with them with the best medicine making course available! Enroll now in Rosemary Gladstar’s complete herbal medicine making course.

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