Green Your Medicine Cabinet

by Sue Taggart

If your medicine cabinet is anything like mine used to be, it probably needs a good clean out. I always found it difficult to throw out “medicine” so along with my natural and holistic collection of herbal remedies and homeopathic therapies was a mish-mash of old prescription meds that were way past their prime.

Spring is a great time to get cleaning, and there’s no better place to begin a good spring-cleaning than your medicine cabinet. Not only will you rid your home of some toxic and potentially dangerous medications, but you will make it safer for you and your family too. And, in the process you can begin to take a more holistic and “green” approach to stocking your medicine cabinet.

Here are some ways to achieve a total medicine cabinet makeover.

Allergies: This is a great place to begin as even many of the OTC medications have little effect on seasonal allergies, which can be miserable at best. Homeopathy can address individual symptoms quite effectively:

  • Sabadilla – Good for sneezing, itchy red and runny eyes, ears nose and throat.
  • Nux vomica – For violent sneezing ,runny nose in the daytime and nighttime stuffiness.
  • Arsenicum – Watery, burning eyes and nose and anxiety about being able to breathe.
  • Combinations  –  Like Homeostasis Labs Allergy Relief which address all  allergy symptoms.

Nasal congestion: My husband was hooked on OTC and prescription nasal sprays for years. If he didn’t use a spray before going to bed he would snore like a freight train. I finally convinced him that using these was just perpetuating the problem and managed to get him to try a natural alternative. Now, he is happy using a Buster nasal spray and no more noisy nights.

  • BusterBrands – This line of nasal sprays address various types of nasal congestion using capsaicin as the active ingredient.
  • Nasopure – A nasal wash like Nasopure will flush out the nasal passages and reduce allergens.
  • Neti-pot – A favorite with many of our readers who swear by it.

Colds: As modern medicine has still not found a cure for the common cold, why not try a more natural approach? Natural remedies work by supporting your body’s natural healing process, so if you take them at the first sign of the sniffles, you may even prevent yourself from getting sick.

  • VitaminC – Take 1,000mg daily at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Echinacea – Look for a whole plant liquid extract, which will help stimulate your body’s immune system.
  • Ginger – It slightly raises your body temperature, which helps it fight off viruses. Ginger tea three times a day is a lovely way to help you feel better.
  • Elderberry – It’s good for fighting the flu and with its anti-viral properties it’s excellent for colds too.
  • Garlic – If you just can’t manage chopped raw garlic, then garlic supplements will work just as well. It will help stop the progression of the cold.
  • Zinc – Zinc Lozenges help to lessen cold symptoms and duration, as does Zicam, the trick is to take them the very second you feel a cold coming on.
  • Licorice- It has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and is great for soothing sore throats. Best taken as a tea.
  • Homeopathic – Homeostasis Labs Cough and Cold Relief formulas for adults and children are a great standby to always have around.

Headache: I find I constantly seem to have a low-grade headache for the whole of the spring allergy season, so am always looking for natural and effective relief and use a number of different things that I keep in my medicine cabinet and in my purse.

  • Aromatherapy – Amrita Headache Reliever – an aromatherapy roll on that smells great and works fast.
  • Homeopathy – A combination from Homeostasis Labs-Headache Relief works really fast, and for those of you who like single remedies:
  • Belladona for throbbing pain associated with noise, light, touch and motion.
  • Nux vomica for headaches associated with drinking too much coffee or alcohol or concentrating too hard.
  • Pulsatilla for headaches bought on by heat, stuffy rooms and overeating.
  • Magnesium – If you suffer from migraines, several studies have shown that magnesium citrate in particular could help.
  • Feverfew – This herb has been studied for many years and is available in a pill form, but the liquid with 0.2% of the active seems to work best.

Stomach: This seems to be my weakest spot and certain foods can be very problematic. Luckily I don’t have any serious issues and have relied on teas and natural solutions to ease any digestive ills for many years.

  • Probiotics – Probiotics promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut as well as help absorb nutrients and build a healthy immune system. With so many probiotic supplements available it can be difficult to choose. I like Vidazorb because they are non-refrigerated and chewable.
  • Mint Tea – Peppermint is very effective in calming an overactive digestive system as it acts as a muscle relaxant.
  • Chamomile Tea – Chamomile has been found to contain fairly strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory constituents and has been found to be effective in treating stomach and intestinal cramps.
  • Ginger Tea – This helps to ease nausea and cramps, it helps the body break down fatty foods, as well as being a great remedy for motion sickness.

Pain: Here are some tried and true natural options to keep on hand for coping with typical day-to-day pain from muscle aches, arthritis, nerve pain, etc. Pain is something I know well as I’ve suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for over twenty years and I wear ridiculous high heels every day—this may be self-induced pain, but pain is pain!

  • Topricin Cream – This non-analgesic, anti-inflammatory pain relief and healing cream works for all kinds of pain including arthritis and joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle pain, sports injury and simple trauma—bruises, minor burns, scrapes and strains.
  • Neuropasil – Developed to address and relieve the symptoms of nerve pain, this dietary supplement contains AlphaLipocic acid that has been well researched. Neuropasil also helps reduce the tingling, numbness, burning and cramps associated with neuropathy. It certainly helps my foot pain.
  • Devil’s Claw – A herb know to have anti-inflammatory properties, taken as a herbal supplement it can help ease arthritis and chronic back pain.
  • Glucosamine – Is the pain reliever of choice for many professional
  • Sulfate  – Athletes and weekend warriors as it has been proven to reduce the pain and severity of osteoarthritis and sports injuries.
  • Capsaicin – This comes in a cream and is good for arthritis, shingles or neuropathy. An active component of Chile pepper, capsaicin temporarily desensitizes pain-prone skin nerve receptors.
  • Curcumin – Derviced from the Indian spice tumeric, curcumin has been found to help ease arthritis pain—500mg a day as a dietary supplement is the recommended dose.
  • SAM-e – In the form of a dietary supplement SAM-e helps with osteoarthritis pain. Doctors aren’t entirely sure why it dampens down pain, but it reduces inflammation and may increase the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine.
  • Fish oil – For joint pain from arthritis or autoimmune disorders, the omega3’s in fish oils break down into hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation.

Cuts and bruises: I’m a klutz, when I’m cooking I always cut and burn myself and I’m always bumping into things, so I need something in my medicine cabinet, in my office, in my travel bag and in my purse! I have been known to trip and fall flat in the street, so I’m always prepared!

  • Arnica Cream – Works well for acute injury and post surgery swelling as well as bruising.
  • Rescue Remedy – I use this for everything, from minor, cuts, bruises and scrapes, to sunburn and burns. I once put my hand on an electric stove ring that was on and I didn’t realize it. You could see all the ring marks burnt into the palm of my hand. I covered the area with Rescue Remedy cream a couple of times and the next day, no pain, no burn marks and no peeling skin!

Sleep: I hate to take any kind of sleep medication, so prescription drugs are not for me. Luckily there are some really effective natural options available and it’s always good to have them in your medicine cabinet when counting sheep just doesn’t do it!

  • Melatonin – As a dietary supplement, melatonin can help with a number of sleep issues including jet lag, insomnia, seasonal affective disorder and disruptive sleep patterns (like night shift work). It works by resetting your internal clock.
  •  Homeopathic Remedies – Rescue Sleep, Homeostasis Labs Sleep Relief these are great options to help you gently drift off to sleep with no groggy after effects the next day

Oral Health: As poor oral health can lead to heart problems and inflamed gums could affect your ability to manage blood sugar levels, it’s really important to take care of your oral health. Some effective natural options should include:

  • The Radius Toothbrush – Once you use it you will never go back to a regular toothbrush. It has a really big head and it not only cleans your teeth but it massages your gums too. It’s just better for you and the environment.
  • Cranberry Floss – Cranberry is an anti-bacterial so you would be getting a double benefit by flossing with a 100% natural, unsweetened cranberry coated floss.
  • Toothpaste – Opt for a toothpaste and mouthwash with Bee
  • Propolis. It has been shown to prevent cavities, protect injured teeth and aid in root canals. It also has shown strong anti-inflammatory properties.

If you are not up for a complete medicine cabinet make-over, just begin by getting rid of old medications and expired products and replace one at a time with natural, greener alternatives. And for those of you who are not familiar with it, no medicine cabinet or pocket book should be without Rescue Remedy. It’s the one single product that I will not leave the house without. I have not experienced any trauma, physical or emotional that cannot be helped with Rescue Remedy!

In the spirit of full disclosure some brands mentioned in this article were, are or could be in the future, client’s of our parent company, the leading healthy lifestyle agency, ADinfinitum, Inc.

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