As an EMT and Nurse, I have always understood the importance of having a First Aid Kit on hand. So, when I began studying Botanical Medicine, I realized that Nature had also provided us with an amazing addition to our First Aid Kits and our own all natural medicine cabinet for the home, as well.
And you can create your own natural medicine cabinet, too- I’ll even walk you through it! Depending on your budget you can either go out and buy it all, or you can do as I did and slowly build your arsenal of nature’s best medicines. Keep in mind, for every problem, nature has given us multiple solutions. So, what I use for one problem, someone else may feel better using something else, and that is perfectly ok.
Activated charcoal, in my opinion, should be in every medicine cabinet at all times. In fact, it is in every Emergency Room. It is used around the world as a universal antidote for hundreds of poisons, including arsenic, mercury, pesticides, strychnine, warfarin, hemlock, E. Coli endotoxin, and gasoline. Over 4,000 chemicals, drugs, plant and microbial toxins, allergens, venoms, and wastes are effectively neutralized by activated charcoal, when it is given in sufficient quantities. Activated charcoal is also an effective detox for practically any drug overdose if administered in time. It counteracts ingested aspirin, barbiturates, Prozac, paracetamol (Tylenol), phenobarbital, amphetamines, cocaine, morphine, opium, and the list continues endlessly.
As a colon cleanse, activated charcoal binds intestinal toxins and unfriendly microbial growth and helps the body excrete them. It also eliminates diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
It prevents hangovers. Hangovers are usually caused by the chemical toxins put into beverages, and are not usually the result of alcohol consumption.
Neutralizes food poisoning.
Neutralizes venomous bites (for instance the brown recluse spider bite): taken both internally and externally.
For a toothache, make into a paste and put it around the tooth.
Cautions: Always call Poison Control if you suspect poisoning. Also, long term use of activated charcoal is not recommended because it can prevent absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.
Most know that aloe is helpful with sunburns. However, there is so much more to aloe and its healing properties. Aloe has been used for centuries, dating back to Cleopatra’s time when it was used for all types of burns and other skin ailments. Aloe Vera has recently become a subject of scientific study in treating inflammation and wound healing. So far, the results are promising. Results so far show that Aloe Vera seems to speed up wound healing by increasing the availability of oxygen and collagen. One research group in Pennsylvania is using Aloe Vera gel to treat radiation burns. They have found Aloe Vera gel to be the most effective treatment for minor radiation burns.
Aloe gel, made from the central part of the aloe leaf, is a common household remedy for minor cuts and burns, as well as sunburns. It can be found in many commercial skin lotions and cosmetics. Aloe contains active compounds that may reduce pain and inflammation and stimulate skin growth and repair. It is also an effective moisturizing agent. For this reason, aloe vera gel has gained tremendous popularity for the relief of burns. Aloe is best used for minor burns and skin irritations and should never be applied to an open wound.
For herpes and other skin conditions: Preliminary evidence suggests that aloe gel may improve symptoms of genital herpes and certain skin conditions such as psoriasis. One study found that aloe vera gel displayed anti-inflammatory effects superior to 1% hydrocortisone cream or a placebo gel.
Dental Cavities: Studies show that aloe vera gel inhibits the activity of several types of bacteria that may lead to cavities and gum disease.
Other uses: Itching, any inflammatory skin condition, acne, reducing scars, constipation, heartburn.
WHITE WILLOW BARK
White willow has been used to combat fevers and pain for thousands of years. Willow bark may be the oldest herb known to treat pain and inflammation, with the oldest recorded use by Chinese physicians in 500 B.C. White willow was also used in ancient Assyrian, Egyptian, and Greek medicine as well and also by Native American healers in North America.
The inner bark of the white willow tree contains salicin, which is changed to salicylic acid in the body. The compound in aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, is derived from salicylic acid. Herbalists use white willow much the same as aspirin, ie; to reduce fevers, pain, and inflammation in conditions such as painful menstruation, arthritis, and neuralgia. White willow works slower but lasts longer than aspirin and has less side gastronomic side effects due to the large amounts of tannins that protect the stomach.
Arnica Montana is famous as the “overworked muscle” remedy whether from age, work, sports, arthritis. Arnica provides fast relief from pain, shock, and trauma. Arnica helps the body to heal from injury and reduce swelling, bruising, pain. It is my #1 go-to for any injury.
Arnica is also useful prior to dental work, surgeries, and prolonged sports training to help the body gear up for repairing tissues from trauma and it helps with pain relief.
I love to have Goldenseal on hand for its many benefits. I use it to clean cuts and it’s the first thing I grab for any eye infection because it is one of the safest herbs you can put directly in the eye.
Goldenseal’s numerous uses are attributed to its antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. It soothes irritated mucus membranes aiding the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. Taken at the first signs of respiratory problems, colds or flu, Goldenseal helps can help to prevent further symptoms from developing. It has also been used to help reduce fevers and relieve congestion and excess mucous.
Externally, a wash can be prepared to treat skin conditions such as eczema and ringworm, as well as wounds and badly healing sores, or as mentioned, used as drops in cases of earache and conjunctivitis. The decoction is also said to be effective as a douche to treat trichomonas and thrush. As a gargle, it can be employed in cases of gum infections and sore throats.
I hope you will join me for Part 2 of this series where we will go over Colloidal Silver. While there is a lot of controversy surrounding this remedy, it deserves its own article in order to explain all of the many benefits, and to dispel the myths associated with it. It is one of the remedies, like those above, that I’m never without. I keep it at home and take it with me when I travel.
As you can imagine, the list can grow and grow. There are so many wonderful remedies out there to choose from. I always recommend that people do their own research and make the choices that work best for them. Always educate yourself on both the uses and the cautions of any botanical medicine you decide to make a part of your household medicine cabinet. If you have questions or concerns, it is always best to consult a Natural Health Practitioner trained in Botanical Medicine.