It feels quite amazing to finally have a full medicine cabinet of natural remedies! Now when ailments come up, I’m not running to the drug store. The list of remedies below is compiled from real life experience as a woman and a mom. I am not trained in herbs and I am not a naturopathic doctor.
I do consult a naturopath, talk to a friend or ask my natural parenting buddies when something comes up. I’m more inclined to go natural routes than medical, but I am always skeptical about each new natural remedy and product. I wait for it to really work. And then I see it if it works a second time, and then I see it if works for my friend or my friend’s child.
This is a list of my very favorite items from A-Z, and the ailments I have used them for. Almost all of them are currently in my home. Do you stock these at home? Are there any that you’re going to run out and pick up?
A Vitamin: Immune booster in times of respiratory illness. Take according to directions on bottle. Vitamin A is actually the primary treatment to heal from Measles around the world because it is effective, cheap and easy to get into kids’ bodies.
Arnica or Traumeel cream: bumps, bruises and sore muscles. This is the only homeopathic in this list, as I’m not a full believer in homeopathic yet. This one works! Buy the cream version that doesn’t have paragons in the mix.
Boric Acid: Antibacterial. For use in treating acne, athlete’s foot, yeast infections on skin and bad yeast diaper rash, and as a diluted eye wash for eye abrasions. Boric acid is the only natural remedy that I have ever had success with in dealing with vaginal yeast infection. Only to be used topically. Toxic if too much is consumed internally. Straight up Boric acid can rid your family of insect pests including bed bugs, ants and flea infestation because it dehydrates exoskeletons. It can also be used as a flame retardant on camping gear and the like. Boric acid is a mineral found in the earth in Nevada and Tuscany as well as in sea water and in fruits.
Coconut Oil– Diaper rash and preventative. Preventative and treatment for other skin conditions. Topical application for vaginal yeast infection or on breast for nursing thrush. Just getting into the joys of tooth brushing and oil pulling with this!
Colloidal Silver*: I recently healed bronchitis and sinus infection in two days with a nebulizer treatment of Colloidal silver and a touch of it in the neti pot. I have used colloidal silver gel on cuts and scrapes and on molluscum contagiousum rash on my daughter, but I have not given her the liquid. Also a topical and ingested treatment for thrush and yeast infection. Not to be use for more than 1 week at a time. Take at the first sign of respiratory illness. Can also be made into a throat spray.
D3- Vitamin: I prefer the liquid drops. For therapeutic doses to ward off or heal an illness, take a larger amount than often recommended. More here on Vitamin D dosing.
D-Mannose: This is the end-all, be-all cure for urinary tract infections and is safe for children as well as tastes great. A 2008 study showed D-Mannose prevents E-Coli bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder, therefore preventing and curing UTIs. This is my favorite supplement of the entire list. My daughter and I both had recurring UTIs until we started taking D-Mannose whenever the “funny feeling” of the bladder occurred. I never leave for a vacation without some D-Mannose power in a little baggie. We call lie “Pee-Pee Powder”.
Essential Oils: Thyme is antibacterial, Eucalyptus helps respiratory systems (you can make your own vicks by mixing two drops in some “unpetroleum jelly.”), Lavender is great for sleep, peppermint goes into our homemade toothpaste and lemon oil goes in my household cleaners. More uses for each of these than I have space to mention.
Fenugreek: Known for increasing milk production in nursing mamas, I have used it in tincture and tea. Fenugreek is a also a diosgenin, similar to an estrogen and has been used to east perimenopause and menopausal symptoms. Studies have shown fenugreek to lower cholesterol and regulates insulin and some use it as a part of the treatment for diabetes.
Goldenseal and Echinacea: The trusted way to boost the immune system and fight off a cold or flu virus. In tincture, chewable and pill forms. I like it in a tincture.
Herb Pharm Original Salve: Heals excema, cleans and heals small wounds, cuts and scrapes, itchy areas. Or you can find or make other salve that has comfrey, calendula, mullein in olive oil and beeswax. Also heals dry hands and diaper rash. I wouldn’t usually go by a brand name here, but I believe in both the company and this particular product.
Ionic Silver (Colloidal Silver): Nature’s original antiseptic (not an antibiotic, bacteria cannot become resistant to it). I’ve used ionic silver for bacterial sinus and throat infections with tremendous and quick success. I really no longer have massive long-lasting sinus infections because I use this in my neti-pot. I bought an ionic silver throat spray with peppermint that cured a throat infection after proscribed antibiotics did not. Most of the warnings on Ionic Silver suggest long term swallowing of a large amount of silver can turn you blue. But let’s be sensible and use it just when needed? Don’t use silver as an excuse to not see the doctor. If it doesn’t help an infection in a couple of days, seek medical help.
Jasmine oil: Oil from jasmine flowers happens to be my most effective anti-axiety treatment and is also my body scent of choice. Jasmine is also a wonderful cure for PMS symptoms of worn or smelled. It does not need to be diluted and can work for sensitive skin. Also an aphrodisiac.
Kaolin Clay: Adding kaolin clay to your home-made diaper cream will dry up and draw out any infection in a similar way that zinc does. This clay, well- loved by indigenous Amazonian women makes a simple face mask for oily skin or spot treatment for pimples anywhere on the face or body. Mix it with honey and a touch of coconut oil. Kaolin clay can be mixed with water to form a poultice to draw out infection (say, on a toe). Kaolin can be used to treat diarrhea in humans and dogs. The old Kaopectate is basically kaolin and pectin.
Licorice Root: Specifically deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) supplement in chewable form is our go-to for any sort of tummy upset in adult and child. Children over 2 get half the adult dose. Straight licorice (non DGL) should not be used in pregnancy or for people with high blood pressure.
Mullein: Together with garlic, mullein her forms a potent combo oil preparation that cures ear infections. No Joke. Most Drs. no longer treat ear infections with antibiotics because it has been found that the treatment isn’t more effective than waiting it out. You can find this oil in a tincture bottle at a natural pharmacy or big health food store.
Nettle Leaf- Many people I know swear stinging nettle as an antihistamine for hay fever grass allergies. I tried it for years with no luck, but my hay fever is just so severe. I list it here because so many people swear by it and I do like to forage nettles (carefully) and cook them well in a green soup! Nettles have been proven a powerful against arthritis.
Olive Extract*: Immune booster for colds, flus and especially latest bronchitis. My bronchitis lingered weeks until someone tole me about Olive extract. I used a whole tincture bottle and my bronchitis was gone in two days. Theoretically you could hide this in a smoothie for your kids.
Oregano Extract or Oil*: Kills intestinal parasites and bacteria. Think you have a stomach bug? Reach for the oregano. It has helped me countless times and I wouldn’t leave the country without it. Tincture is strong and spicy but I can handle it, or caplet form works as well.
Probiotics. I mean, a good, high dose probiotic. Something between 50 and 100 Billion viable cells. Even at this dose, babies can receive a teeny tiny bit on the tongue before breastfeeding. The best ones are in the refrigerated section. And certain strains help certain health challenges so be sure to look up the sorts of lactobacillus used for yeast infections and the bifidums used to treat tummy upsets. I also like to get my probiotics from fermented drinks and sauerkraut juice!
Quercetin*: The only remedy I have found to help my severe hay fever (grass allergy). Quercetin is a plant pigment found in fruits that has a huge list of proven medical uses beyond allergies.
Raspberry Leaf*: This uterine toner in tea form is what I use for menstrual cramps. Many women swear it eases labor and delivery.
Sambucus (also called Elderberry). We feel that elderberry extract is the very best treatment to ward off or heal a cold or flu in our home and the syrup makes a great cough syrup. A norwegian study showed flu symptoms were relieved 4 days earlier than the control group.
Tart Cherry Juice: If you’re worried about the amount of melatonin you are taking, as I once was, try tart cherry. Sleep aid that’s easy to take and super healthy. Tart Cherry juice has been found to increase duration of sleep as well as melatonin production. Tart cherry has also been used medically to treat cardiovascular issues and blood sugar regulation. Totally safe to give your children.
Ulmus Minor (aka Slippery Elm): I’ve used it for IBS symptoms, every sore throat, to treat a UTI, as well as to sooth a refluxy baby (yes, a small amount of power is considered safe for baby). In powdered form or in a chewable tablet, this is a powerful plant has been a savior. I’ve heard people also use slippery elm for cold sores and toothaches!
Valerian Root: Valerian is my go-to sleep aid and anti-anxiety herb along with sour cherry (mentioned above). I’ve even used it for longer periods of time without the effect waning and I never became dependent. When I first encountered the magenta flowers of wild valerian, I was shocked to realize they smell like poop! Valerian actually increases the amount of time spent in REM sleep and a few companies have alcohol-free, sweetened tinctures for children. Or, the tincture can be put into a bit of hot chocolate.
Which Hazel: Pregnancy and Postpartum Potty problems? Hemmorhoid relief it spelled “Witch Hazel.” That beautiful tree with yellow flowers is magic. Witch Hazel diluted can also cure diaper rash, sooth poison oak, chicken pox and insect bites, prevent razor burn, treat sunburn, and the list goes on. This is a must-have!
Xylitol: What we put in our homemade toothpaste to help it taste sweet and fight cavities. You can read all about the good and bad of xylitol and make your own conclusion. I kept it here because it was the only X and I actually do use it. It is part of the birch tree that is then altered with sulfuric and phosphoric acids to become a sweet powder. Considering that the other cavity preventing option was fluoride, I’ll take xylitol. We put a teeny tiny amount of xylitol into coconut oil, baking soda and a drop of peppermint oil.
Yarrow: The multi-use herb is great for breaking a child’s high fever, which is what I have used it for. Yarrow is also used in relieving menstrual cramps and aiding in indigestion and liver cleanse and even as an astringent and antimicrobial remedy for UTIs.
Zinc- You can make your own sunscreen and diaper rash. You can buy it in powered form. Zinc lozenges and sprays are also known to fight off colds.
(*) indicates I have not used them on my child yet. Please proceed with caution and Naturopathic or Medical care.
Almost all of these can be found at your local Whole Foods or Phramaca Pharmacy. Many of these remedies I first used under the instruction of a licensed Naturopath. Note that you should consult your Naturopath, Osteopath or Medical professional before use of any products listed below.