Monday, December 6, 2010

The Natural Medicine Cabinet

It would normally be considered rude to snoop through someone's medicine cabinet.  In movies peeking into another's medicine cabinet leads to a chain reaction of events, often comical, but rarely ending well for the relationship. 

Today, after cleaning and straightening the shelves, I invite you to peek into ours.  I have been trying to rid the medicine cabinet of old, formerly used, medicinal products; replacing them with natural products.

I have almost accomplished that goal, there are a few leftovers, but I put those away so we could see how we do this cold and flu season with natural medicinals.  We have an array of herbs and essential oils at our disposal.  There is olive leaf that I will use to make a tea when we feel the beginnings of a cold coming on, there are mustard seeds to remind me to make a garlic-mustard poultice (recipe below) should one of us develop a chest cold or deep cough.  I remember as a child my mother putting an onion and mustard poultice on my chest when I was terribly sick, I fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up maybe 20 or 30 minutes later my fever had broke and I was feeling much better, I was so amazed I still remember it clearly.  Feverfew for, well, fevers, and a thermometer standing right next to it.  The neti pot and solutions to go with it in case we have sinus issues.  Willow bark for headaches, and astragalus extract for nagging coughs.  Several different kinds of essential oils, such as, eucalyptus for dabbing under the nose or on the chest, rather than using Vicks.  Tea Tree oil for topical use with any occurance of athletes foot or yeast infection; this works very well.  Peppermint, for making toothpaste, lavender for its relaxing properties, and orange oil for its antioxidant properties.  On the bottom shelf there is emu oil for the small patches of eczema that show up in winter and hydrogen peroxide for cuts and scraps.  Finally a bottle of echinacea and goldenseal with eucalyptus bath salts that I picked up at my parents health food store, haven't tried it yet but it sounded so comforting when its cold out and you are feeling under the weather.  We also have cranberry concentrate in our refrigerator for Urinary Tract Infections and elderberry syrup for drinking at the first sign of a cold.  Hopefully  we will not need all these medicinals, but they are there in case we do.  

Garlic-Mustard Poultice
(helps to clear the lungs)

4 cloves garlic (onions works as well)
1/4 cup crushed mustard seeds (mustard powder would also work)

Peel, then crush or press the garlic and mix it with the mustard seed.  Place it in a clean cloth, and apply to the chest or back.  Wring out a steaming-hot towel, and wrap it around the mixture and cloth to secure in place.  Breathe deeply.  Remove when the poultice becomes cold or uncomfortable.  Be sure not to place the poultice directly on the skin as the garlic can burn the skin.