Putting Together Your Medicine Cabinet

School is back in session and Fall weather is right around the corner. I like to refresh my medicine cabinet each year to make sure we are stocked up and ready to go for any colds or flu that might come our way. I keep A LOT of things on hand, so sharing everything here would be overwhelming. But I do want to share the things that I think are the most helpful for my family, in the chance that you might be inspired to add some new items to your medicine chest too.

Number one without a doubt would be my herbal teas. I probably have 50 different dried herbs and teas on hand at all times. They are quick, convenient, and effective. Ideally we would all grow and dry our own herbs for teas, but the next best thing is to find a local herbalist and buy freshly dried herbs from them. I personally love to buy from Misty at Starfishhoney.com. She is an hour away from me, so about as local as you can get. I still buy from my health food store bulk herb selection if I don’t grow it myself and Misty isn’t growing it either. I also network with my herbalist friends and we often trade with one another. If none of these options work for you, Frontier Co Op and Mountain Rose Herbs are two companies that ship organic bulk herbs.

Ok, so what to stock up on?

  1. Mint teas. Wild mint, peppermint, spearmint. Mint is a pleasant yet potent herbal tea that is also safe for children. It calms an upset nauseous stomach, soothes a sore throat, contains antiviral properties, helps to relieve pain and inflammation, and works to clear congestion. Drink for colds and flu or even after a heavy meal to soothe indigestion.

2. Chamomile is another wonderful herbal tea that is also safe for children. If you think chamomile is just a tame little tea to be sipped before bed to get a good night of rest, think again. Chamomile has been used for centuries to treat colds and flu and curb inflammation. It’s scientifically backed so feel confident that it’s more than just a placebo. I love having a warm mug of chamomile to offer my son when he is under the whether, or having a bad day. It soothes the soul.

3. Ginger tea is my go to for an upset stomach with nausea. It’s anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal flu fighter. It also reduces the symptoms of respiratory infections. I’m not a huge fan of the spicy flavor of ginger, but I always keep it in stock because I know a few hot cups will bring relief.

4. Licorice Root. What cannot be said for licorice root? This powerful root, when brewed as a tea bestows so many benefits. Like the teas previously mentioned licorice root helps to combat the symptoms of cold and flu due to its antiviral and antimicrobial properties but the most remarkable gift from licorice may be its ability to heal the gut. Effective against nausea, heartburn and indigestion regular use of licorice root tea can eliminate the H. pylori bacteria. H. pylori can cause peptic ulcers and just make you feel awful in general. If you suffer from chronic stomach issues it is worth being tested to see if you carry this bacteria in your gut and start a relationship with licorice tea.

5. Yarrow tea is possibly my favorite herbal ally of 2021. Where to begin? Yarrow is most well known for its ability to stop bleeding and treat infection. Please do research this lovely plant more! I had my little five year old use the cooled tea just yesterday as a mouthwash after he lost a tooth. It stops any bleeding and clears out any infection. It is a powerhouse for treating colds and flu, and sinus infections too thanks to its drying astringent properties. It helps move mucous out of the respiratory tract. Yarrow relaxes circulation, creates heat and helps to break fever and if you soak a wash cloth with the tea it can be applied to your forehead or neck to help bring relief. Don’t take yarrow consecutively for more than two weeks or if you have liver disease.

There are so many wonderful herbal teas to have on hand and these are just the few that I love. Vitamins are another ally during cold and flu season, but with new discoveries and understanding of the human body happening all the time, recommendations constantly change. I personally am always switching our vitamin arsenal up, but whole food source vitamin C and a quality zinc do seem to help cure a cold and it can’t hurt to have a bottle of each on standby. I also will have an electrolyte powder ready to mix and drink if I’ve lost a lot of fluid. Trace brand is my favorite.

Medicinal foods are probably the most powerful way to keep your family well throughout the year. I refer to the Weston A. Price Foundation for all diet and nutrition advice and highly recommended them for information on how to prepare nourishing foods. They are a great resource if you are planning to start a family as well. And if you like podcasts check out Wise Traditions with Hilda Labrada Gore.

My favorite healing foods:

  1. Garlic Honey. Peel fresh garlic (or buy it pre peeled in the produce section), fill a clean glass jar to the top and then cover with honey. The honey ferments the garlic. At the first sign of cold or flu I eat a few spoonfuls of this garlic and keep it up throughout the day and until I am feeling better. Most kids like it too thanks to the honey mellowing the garlic flavor. It is shelf stable for a very long time.

2. Citrus. Loaded with vitamin C and sunshine, citrus not only helps us heal but the color and scent lifts our spirits. I like to alternate between oranges, mandarines, tangelos or whatever looks the most fresh.

3. Grass fed butter. Loaded with fat soluble vitamins, grass fed butter is probably one of the most essential foods in my family’s diet. We slather it on everything! It can be really hard to get adequate vitamin K in this modern age, and quality grass fed butter is a wonderful source. Most people in the US can get ahold of Irish Kerrygold butter.

4. Cod Liver Oil. This is the only multivitamin you need. It tastes horrid, so be prepared to chase it with some orange juice, but the benefits are beyond worth it. I would say this is a preventative. If you are sick with nausea it might not be the time to introduce cod liver oil!

5. Apples or pears. These can be cooked for easier digestion but I find having something sweet always makes me feel better and the fiber assists in cleaning out the gut.

These are just a few basic suggestions and if you guys are interested I can write up a part two including the body care I use for cold and flu. And possibly a part three that lists the homeopathy and conventional medicines we store. I’ll leave you with this video that extolls wisdom from our elders.

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