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Stocking a Natural Medicine Cabinet

on June 11, 2014 by Jami Balmet 18 comments

Growing up, my family did not take medicine lightly. We didn’t take ibuprofen at the first sign of a headache and I’m thankful for that. But I was largely ignorant and skeptical of home remedies.

I had no idea that a vast world of home remedies past down through the years could be so helpful {and healthy} for my own family! 

How to stock a natural medicine cabinet and what to avoid!

Up until the last few years, I was totally clueless about essential oils, natural remedies, herbs, and ways to help my family without conventional medicine. But there is a whole world of natural remedies that we have at our disposal that can help heal and nurture our family’s naturally.

But when it comes to my family’s health, I am protective. I don’t want to neglect giving my children and husband medicine when they truly need it! And I don’t want to give them “natural” things that could be harmful.

So for the past several years I’ve been slowly doing research and I’m working to stock a natural medicine cabinet. I have a LOT to learn but it’s been fun knowing that I am treating my family in a way that helps them recover quickly without all those nasty and harsh chemicals! (Plus it’s often cheaper too!)

Here’s what I have in my medicine cabinet right now! And check out the video at the bottom where I show you all that I have in my house right now. (And come back tomorrow and I’ll share where I buy all my supplies for making home remedies and how I find the best prices).

Stocking a natural medicine cabinet

Here is a list of herbs that you can use today to create your own home remedies!

Herbs

Herbs have become the base of what I use as “medicine” for our family. I use herbs in different ways to help treat colds, the flu, soar throats, in diaper rash cream, as baby bath, and more! You can drink certain kinds of herbs as teas, make them into lotions, create salves, and distill them into tinctures. Here are a few of my favorite that we use:

Elderberries: I boil elderberries down into a syrup and use them to fight the flu. You can take it as a tea, tincture, or as a syrup (plus it’s really tasty!!). The Bulk Herb Store shares this about elderberries, “They contain compounds that inhibit the enzyme flu viruses from penetrating our cell membranes and also prevent the virus from invading respiratory cells.” Pretty cool!

Erin’s Green Drink Mix: This is a special blend of herbs that is put together by The Bulk Herb Store that can be used as a daily multi vitamin. It’s packed with so many nutritious herbs that will give you a great daily boost! You can drink it plain in water (although it doesn’t taste the best) but we like to mix it into our smoothies. Yuuum!

Spirulina: If you don’t want to buy the mix, or you order herbs from somewhere other than The Bulk Herb Store, then another wonderful herb you can get is called Spirulina. It’s jam packed with the most easily digestible form of protein (which is great for pregnancy) and contains all the essential amino acids. It is extremely high in vitamins and minerals. When we don’t have the green drink mix, we use Spirulina in our smoothies (and I will use this in my smoothies once I’m pregnant again).

Calendula: I ordered a big bag of calendula because my twins were suffering from nasty diaper rashes and my doctor suggested that I buy a calendula diaper rash cream because it’s very soothing and healing on their skins. But when I looked at the prices for natural calendula cream I about passed out! I couldn’t afford to buy that for TWO babies! So I ordered the dried flowers ($ ) and made my own diaper rash cream! Calendula also works really well for burns, inflammation, and for fighting off bacteria and viruses. I will always have Calendula in my house!

Baby Bath Mix: I wish that I had discovered this herbal mix earlier in my son’s lives. It’s a mix from The Bulk Herb Store of lavender flowers, rosemary, rose petals, and yarrow flowers. I cook down the herbs in water for a few minutes, strain out the herbs, and add the leftover herbal water to the bath with my boys. They come out of the bath smelling wonderful and feeling so soft! Plus it’s extremely healthy for their growing skins – this also works really well made into a diaper rash cream or salve.

Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew: The herbs that make up this mix are basically the ones you see in tea form at the supermarket as red raspberry tea for pregnant mamas. But using the fresh and natural forms of the herbs are so much more helpful for pregnancy. You can drink it every day as a tea or make it into a tincture. It helps strengthen the uterus and is really good for your pregnancy health! (Caution: Some people wait to take red raspberry tea until the second trimester, other’s feel it’s fine to take during your first trimester. Look into it for yourself!) Read more about it HERE.

Tincture Kit: I don’t want to make this post too long, so I’m just going to share this really helpful kit that I ordered from The Bulk Herb Store (I’m sharing it about it there but feel free to order similar ingredients from somewhere else). Their Tincture Mix Kit was my first taste into using herbs. I ordered one fall because I felt like I needed to explore healthier options for things like fighting colds and the flu. I was so happy that I ordered it. Each bag contains so many herbs that this kit has lasted multiple winters now! The kit includes 1/2 pound of each:

I made each of these into a tincture and I always have them on hand and ready when we need them! If you want something simple and easy to start to dive into using herbs, then I highly recommend you order the Tincture Mix Kit (plus when you order the kit all together, you save $24.85 then if you ordered each item separately).

Essential Oils

How I use essential oils everyday in home remedies and for natural cleaning!

Essential oils are the newest thing I’ve added to my natural medicine cabinet. I’m a skeptic at heart, and so naturally, I was very skeptical of essential oils when I first started hearing about them. But I talked to a few women that I really knew and trusted and saw the great results they were having. So I decided to plunge in and try them out. I was able to try out a kit that had 10 different essential oils and I’ve been hooked ever since (you can read about those 10 essential oils that I originally got)!

Now I use essential oils in natural cleaning recipes, beauty and skin care products, to diffuse in my house, and in home remedies! The essential oils you will want to use in your house will depend on what you need for your household, but here are a few of my favorites:

Lemon: It smells wonderful and works as a natural de-greaser. I use it in all my natural cleaning products!

Lavender: Lavender is very soothing so I use it in things like lotions and salves and in diaper rash creams. Lavender is also really helpful for things like poison oak/ivy, but bites, and for helping you calm down and fall asleep.

Peppermint: Aah, one of my favorite oils! Peppermint is wonderful for helping with headaches, can help cool you down during a fever, and is my favorite essential oil to add to homemade chap stick (recipe coming next week)!

Melaleuca (or tea tree): Another essential oil in my household. Melaleuca helps with skin issues, it fights off infections, helps to heal scrapes and cuts, and can help get rid of odors! Every couple of washes, I add a drop or two of tea tree oil to the load of cloth diapers (you can read more about why we chose to cloth diaper our twins).

On Guard Blend: This is my favorite oil to use during the winter! On Guard is a blend of different oils from doTerra that help boost your immune system, fight off infections, and smells so good! It’s one of my favorite oils to diffuse around the house as it smells great and kills all those pesky household germs!

Deep Blue Blend: Deep Blue is another oil blend from doTerra. I get really tight neck, shoulder, and back muscles that practically cripple me some days and the Deep Blue blend works miracles in relaxing my muscles, helping the tightness ease, and dissolves my headaches! This is a must have oil for me (it also comes in a lotion form).

Clear Skin Blend: I don’t think it’s fair that as an adult and mom of two, I still struggle with acne! *Sigh* Oh well. But I am really glad that I came across this topical blend of oils that is specially formulated to help tackle acne and blemishes! I’ve only been using it for a month now, but I really like it.

Past Tense Blend: Along with Deep Blue, I will never be without this blend! It’s in a special roll stick bottle and is made to help battle tension headaches. I get nasty tension headaches from my tight muscles and within minutes of putting it on, I can feel Past Tense relaxing me and soothing my headache! (In fact, I’m going to put some on right now)!

If you want to learn more about essential oils, you can read my introduction to essential oils, resources for learning more about essential oils, and my top 10 favorite oils!

Vitamins & Supplements

Easy Steps for Stocking a Natural Medicine Cabinet

While the best source of vitamins and minerals is from eating healthy, whole foods, sometimes it’s necessary to supplement for a time or a season. One thing I encourage you to do though, when searching for new vitamins and supplements, is to always read the label and ingredients. You would be surprised at how much sugar and how many chemicals are found in “natural” and “healthy” looking supplements! Always do your research first before purchasing anything! Here are some that we use in our house for various reasons and during different seasons:

Probiotic: This is a supplement that all four of us take daily. It’s really good for digestive health and for supporting the good bacteria that lives in your gut (which fights off the bad bacteria).

Cod Liver Oil: This is another one that all four of us take daily. My husband and I take it in pill form and my sons take the oil plain or mixed in milk. Cod Liver oil is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which is usually very lacking in our modern western diet. It also supports cardiovascular health. Also a great source of Vitamin A and D.

Daily Multi-Vitamin: I don’t think that taking a multi-vitamin is always necessary. But we just went through a season of sickness and poor immunse systems so I want to boost our vitamin intake. I’ve also been low in iron and my sons low in iron and Vitamin B3 (we are also working on boosting our diet). My husband takes a men’s one a day food based multivitamin, I take an organic food based prenatal (no I’m not pregnant), and my sons take a liquid food based child’s multivitamin.

Echinacea: Echinacea is technically an herb and you could buy it in dried form to make teas and tinctures, but I usually just buy  it in pill form and load up on it when we are sick. It’s a wonderful and natural way to boost your immune system!

Heart Health: My husband struggles with high blood pressure and cholesterol so right now he also takes CoQ10, Red Yeast Rice, and Turmeric.

Vitamin D drops: During the long winter months when we don’t get out in the sun very much, we sometimes add in natural vitamin D drops to give us a little boost!

Other Items I use

Essentials for creating a natural medicine cabinet

Glycerin: A liquid that is used to make non-alcoholic tinctures. It’s great for making tinctures for children and pregnant ladies.

Veggie Caps: These are empty pills that I can fill with essential oils, herbs, or some sort of home remedy that I want to take internally! Making your own pills like this can really be a money saver!

Vitamin E-oil: Vitamin e is really good for skin health and acts as a natural preservant (so you don’t have to use nasty chemicals) in homemade products. I add it to my homemade diaper rash creams, lotions, and chap stick recipe to extend the shelf life.

Natural Tooth Paste: While I don’t make my own tooth paste right now (I have to pick and choose where I spend my time), natural tooth paste is an important part of my natural medicine cabinet. Currently, we use Earthpaste which is remineralizing and amazing! (You can get it from Vitacost for only $4.29 and you can get $10 off your first order if you order through this link)!

Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal has many different uses from detoxification, to a teeth whitener, to helping with cuts and scrapes.

Bentonite Clay: Clay that you can mix into water and drink (no, really you can!) and it helps support your digestive track, works as a natural detoxifier, a key ingredient in homemade toothpaste, can draw out infections, and more! There are so many uses for Bentonite Clay!

Cocoa Butter Wafers: They smell like chocolate (but don’t each them)! I use cocoa butter in making homemade lotions and chap stick!

Shea Butter: Shae butter is really good for your skin! I use it to make homemade lotions, sunscreen, and chap stick.

Castile Soap: I use castile soap in all my natural cleaning recipes. You can use it to clean your dishes, clean your floors, for a gentle baby wash, and more! I mix in other natural ingredients and essential oils to make some fantastic natural cleaning recipes.

Homeopathic Headache Tablets: I used Highlands homeopathic headache tablets before I discovered the Past Tense essential oil blend. It works well but not as well as the oil. If you don’t use essential oils, then I recommend these tablets for tension headaches.

Teething Tablets: I have been using Highlands homeopathic teething tablets a lot lately as I have twins who have molars cutting right now. They seem to really help!

Stocking a Natural Medicine Cabinet Video

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers
  1. Jami, this is a wonderful list of resources!! I’ll definitely be coming back for ideas. I’m especially interested in learning more about herbs as that is something that I haven’t tried using yet. I’ve been using essential oils for about a year but it wasn’t until recently that they have become a part of my daily routine and I am definitely hooked!

    • Thanks Ashley! It took me a while to really get into the swing of essential oils too! But it’s really nice when it starts to become second nature – I know what to grab and how to use them! I love using herbs for certain things!! 😀

  2. A lot of these look great, but I think the benefits for some of them have been exaggerated. I’m especially concerned about bentonite clay supposedly being able to “draw out infection.” What does that mean? Wikipedia says it has antibiotic properties but I’m guessing that ingesting too much per day would give you kidney stones. I would find out what exactly is in the clay mix (after all, they use it in kitty litter!) and what nutritional benefit it would actually have for your body.

    Another warning, about peppermint oil: that ‘cooling’ sensation is actually caused by skin irritation, so I don’t recommend it.

    As for ‘chemicals’…I hear that word so often misused. You realize everything in the universe is made of chemicals, right? You already mentioned in your post that you want to avoid natural things which are harmful, but there are also some synthetics which are fine. And I wouldn’t mind a few preservatives in my cosmetics and stuff – that’s what keeps them from growing bacteria and mold, which would have far more harmful results.

    Good post, though I would research the science behind some of the claims that sound too good to be true. Find out what the function of ‘chemicals’ are and determine whether or not you want to be exposed to that. A great place to start is Paula Begoun’s website; she examines a lot of chemicals and ingredients.

    Another suggestion: get ahold of a silver dime or two (or some other sort of silver coin). Silver is a powerful antibiotic and if you get any kind of break in the skin (like eczema) that looks like it might start getting infected, you can bandage the silver to it and it will do a lot to prevent further infection. (I do not recommend ingesting it…)

    • Hi Pauline,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! Of course, we could go in depth and write a post on each and every one of these items! There is simply too much information to cover on one post 😀

      As for bentonite clay helping to draw out infections, I’m not talking about taking it internally. I’m talking about applying it topically to an infection or cut. I used it when I had a staph infection and it helped to ease the pain, visibly reduce the swelling, and draw pus from the wound (which I needed for the antibiotics to actually reach the infection).

      I think pure peppermint essential oil is safe when diluted on skin, but of course, that could just be a different of opinion. And there are different kinds of “peppermint oil”.

      And you are correct, I should have clarified, what I meant are synthetic chemicals. There are of course natural chemical compounds that are perfectly safe and also ones that are harmful. Likewise with synthetic, man made chemicals. But I think there are far more harmful synthetic chemicals then there are good ones (especially when you are talking about ingesting them).

      I agree, I don’t want bacteria and mold in my cosmetics either. But there are safer cosmetic options out there which use natural preservatives (such as vitamin e oil) that are effective and don’t contain harmful chemicals. I find the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database to be extremely helpful when sorting through all this information: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

      But thank you for your comments! I did not intend this one article to be an end all discussion on home remedies. My main goal was to share that, along with conventional medicine, there are safe and effective home remedies you can try! Especially for things like easing colds and flus. There is absolutely a time and a place for taking conventional medicine and I thank the Lord that he has created those for us! But I also think, that as a modern society, we rely on conventional medicines and synthetic, man made chemicals far too much when God has designed and made natural remedies that can and do work.

  3. Hi Jamie, I love that you have videos; and it was very informative! I was wondering what brand of multivitamins you use? I’m looking for a good one. Right now I just have the generic from my grocery store. Thank you!

  4. Dear Jami,

    I really love your blog, all of your posts and viedos. It was great!!! I really hope you´ll make more of those.

    I descover you some time ago and I´ve been reading you page neary every day. So thanks for all your advice and ideas that you´re sharing.

  5. I just found your site through pinterest and I love all your recipe ideas! I was wondering if you know of something that could help with dry and cracked patches on just the knuckles? I have three fingers that on just the knuckles are these dry patches and I can’t seem to get rid of them. Not sure what caused them, they just appeared. I have tried tea tree oil, silver gel, vitamin e oil, vaseline, and just plain hand cream for dry skin and nothing is working. Sometimes it gets bad and the small patches crack and bleed. Any ideas would be great and thanks for sharing your recipes for natural health!

  6. Great post! I am excited to try some of these things. I just wanted to caution about lavender oil. It has something in it that mimics estrogen. I slathered it all over my babies when they were little and my daughter at 6 was diagnosed with percosious pueberty. There are many things in our environment that contain things that mimic estrogen….Lavender oil is one that we have to avoid now. Just sharing what I wish I had known.

    • You of course need to consult your doctor about this decision. But a prenatal vitamin is basically a multivitamin with a few added things that are needed for pregnancy (i.e. folic acid). The thing with some of these vitamins, is that it takes your body months or weeks sometimes to store up enough of that vitamin in your body to be used. And in the case of folic acid, it’s the most critical in the first 8 or so weeks of pregnancy. Most women might only barely know they are pregnant by 8 weeks which might mean you are lacking a lot some needed vitamins for that critical beginning. I’ve had it recommended from several doctors in my life to just take the prenatal vitamin during child bearing years. There’s really no downside, if your body has enough of that vitamin, it will excrete it in your urine.

      But of course, this is an individual decision. Once we are done having kids, I’ll switch back to a normal multi vitamin. Here’s a good article on it: http://www.livestrong.com/article/315792-how-long-should-i-take-prenatal-vitamins-before-getting-pregnant/

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