By Danielle, Contributing Writer
We have all been in the health foods store with a lot more on our natural health remedy wish list than cash in our pocket. It seems when you’re changing to a more natural lifestyle, there’s nearly 3,478 strange substances to research and purchase. And, let’s be honest; you can’t live without each and every one.
Here Are My Top 5 Items to Get You Started to a More Natural Medicine Cabinet Without Breaking the Bank.
Cod Liver Oil
You have surely heard the buzz about flax oils, fish oils, and cod liver oil (CLO). Oils which are high in omega 3’s, like cod liver oil, deliver loads of benefit to your body’s most crucial organs and systems, including high amounts of EHA and DHA, which are desperately needed in your brain and nervous system; vitamin D, which boosts immune function; cancer and autoimmune protection; bone health and more, and gobs of vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin which supports the immune process, bone health, fertility, and eye health. Though CLO can be pretty pricey, only a very small amount is needed to supplement daily, about ¼ to ½ tsp. One hundred grams of cod liver oil contains on average 10,000 IU of vitamin D, and 100,000 IU of vitamin A, blowing the next sources of these vitamins out of the water. Recently, the gold standard of fermented cod liver oil’s safety was questioned, so you may want to opt for another, unrefined cod liver oil. Though you can get some of these benefits through plant oils, they are not as concentrated as their fishy counterpart.
Personally, I have seen the most benefit from unrefined cod liver than any other supplement in my child’s diet. Hands down.
Epsom salts, chemically magnesium sulfate, have long been used in baths to detox the body. It is said that they can relieve muscle pain, pull toxins out of the body, aid heart and circulatory systems, improve nerve function, and even lower blood pressure. Soaking in the salts also delivers a magnesium boost to our mineral-depleted bodies. Soak in ½ cup of salts 2-3 times per week. Epsom salts are easily found at any grocery store for under $5, but you can also order here. Adding in some essential oils or herbs never hurt either, and can prompt further detoxification. Some companies sell herbal Epsom salt blends.
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Elderberries (sambucus) are known for their high antioxidant content and without-compare boost to the immune system; but also can improve tonsillitis, heart health, vision, lower cholesterol, and attack bacterial or viral infections alike. This go-to remedy for coughs, colds and the flu has been used in folk remedy for centuries in North America, Western Asia, North Africa, and Europe. They contain amino acids, tannin, carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamins A, B and C. Not yet convinced of their magic? A study at the Bund.* (read entire name below if you’re German) Research Center in Karlsruhe, Germany, showed that the anthocyanins in elderberries work by boosting the production of cytokines, which regulate immune response. You can purchase dried berries, or purchase premade syrup if you do not want to make your own. If you purchase the berries, use this simple recipe (with your honey below!) to make a syrup even little tastes will enjoy. If you want to avoid added sugars, you can take elderberry in a tincture form.
Another low cost option you can grab at any grocery, garlic. Garlic has antifungal and antibacterial properties, and has been used in ancient medicine for over 5,000 years. It can cure anything from prostate cancer, to hypertension, to even your common cold. I suggest having this little beauty around your home at all times for prevention and management of illness. Perhaps one of the most common childhood illnesses, the dreaded ear infection, has been shown to greatly improve with the use of garlic oil ear drops. Make your own, or purchase. For a simple preventative drink, smash a bulb of garlic and ingest, or mince a tiny bit and drink in a glass of warm water. For the colder months, or when a cold is ravaging your home, brew up some Fire Cider. In a bind, take advantage of garlic’s antibacterial properties and create a poultice of the herb for the wound.
Raw, Local Honey
Search the local farmer’s markets and ask the location of the hive, the season harvested, and if the honey is raw. Bee keepers may also be selling the propolis (which has its own health benefits) and beeswax (great for salves and balms), which you will want to sweep up. If you cannot find raw honey at your farmer’s market, check for another another local source here, you may also purchase online, but forego the benefits of allergy prevention and remedy that are created in your local honey (from your local allergens!).
Honey is one of the best all-natural sweeteners, but it also makes a knockout cough syrup, is a great salve for skin wounds, and is loaded with vitamin C and B vitamins. Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and you can’t beat the expiration date (never).Click here for more amazing ideas to make with your honey.
There are a bunch of natural remedies out there, and with time, you will find out what works on your family best.
Now, your only struggle is explaining to your husband why you need another bottle of elderberry syrup this week, scrounging up another $25 for your favorite essential oil, and “storing” all the main stream medicine in the garbage can.
What Natural Remedy Can You Not Go Without In Your Natural Medicine Cabinet?
* Bundesforschungsanstalt. How do you even pronounce that?!