Creating a healthy home and living a natural lifestyle goes beyond eating wholesome foods, using non-toxic cleaning products, and recycling everything you can. Have you looked in your medicine cabinet lately? Chances are it’s stocked full of different things that aren’t exactly the most natural.
From chemically-laden toothpaste full of nasty fluoride to bottles of over the counter and prescription medications, our medicine cabinets seem to see the most neglect when it comes to taking care of ourselves naturally. By now, we all know that nature really can offer everything we need to heal our bodies and the contents within your bathroom cabinet are no different.
There are, however, natural alternatives to everything you keep in your medicine cabinet and there’s no need to continue to use anything that has potential to harm your health or the environment.
First-Aid Kit Fixes
We’ve all got the emergency first-aid kit tucked away and, if you’re like most of us, it’s packed full of a variety of treatments for those unexpected cuts, burns, and bruises. Stocking your first-aid kit with natural alternatives is easy when you know what to use. Here’s our top 5 picks for the best first-aid kit fixes when making over your medicine cabinet.
Tea tree oil was a staple in the first-aid kits of World War II Australian soldiers. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic properties are what make it so popular and it’s become a staple in many households all over the world.
It can be used to treat cuts and abrasions, help with burns, reducing the pain, itching, and swelling of insect bites, helps to calm reactions to poisonous plants (think poison oak/ivy and stinging nettle), and is excellent for fungal skin infections.
It should be noted that tea tree oil is extremely strong and may cause a reaction in people with sensitive skin. Diluting tea tree oil is recommended if you are someone that suffers from skin sensitivities.
As one of the most well-known natural aids for sunburn relief, a bottle of 100% pure aloe vera gel is a must-have for your first-aid kit. Not only does it relieve the irritation and inflammation of sunburns, but also works excellently on minor kitchen burns.
Witch hazel is an amazing mild, natural astringent that has both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It can be used on insect bites, skin irritations that tend to be common when spending time outdoors, and will soothe the irritation of minor burns. It also makes an excellent base to dilute essential oils with and is a great accompany to the tea tree oil no first-aid kit should be without.
Arnica (Arnica Montana)
Arnica has been traditionally used for years to help treat injuries. Known for its supreme effectiveness in helping to minimize the results of falls, bumps, and bruises, arnica is an obvious first-aid kit essential.
Arnica has been shown to reduce the pain and swelling of bumps and injuries from blunt objects, is effective for the treatment of concussions, helps to soothe sore muscles, and aids to help heal breaks and fractures.
Goldenseal is another powerful herb that shouldn’t be skipped when preparing a natural first aid kit. It is a powerful antibacterial, antibiotic, and anti-parasitical remedy that can be used for a variety of different ailments.
Goldenseal works great for diarrhea, especially when it is caused from travelling to places where foreign bacteria may be introduced to the system. It is also an excellent aid for food poisoning.
When used in its powdered form, goldenseal can be put on open cuts to help reduce the risk of infection. It can also be used to help reduce fevers, congestion, and excessive mucus production.
Natural Pain Relief
When we experience pain, many of us (even the most health conscious) end up turning to over-the-counter medicines for relief. Whether you’ve got a headache, sore muscles, or an aching back there are natural ways to alleviate your pain without turning to over-the-counter meds. Ditch the aspirin and ibuprofen and stock your medicine cabinet with these natural pain relief remedies instead.
Whether you’ve got just a little pressure in your head or a full-blown migraine, feverfew works wonders to take away headache pain. For those that suffer from frequent headaches, feverfew has been shown to reduce both the regularity and severity of headaches when taken on a regular basis.
Feverfew can be taken in either freeze dried capsules, tablets, or tincture. It is best used as a preventative supplement and should be taken regularly to not only prevent, but ease headaches once they’ve come on. Although different dosages may vary, 250 milligrams of feverfew a day should be effective.
It should be noted that if you’ve taken feverfew regularly for 1-3 years, you should not abruptly stop taking it. Doing so may cause headaches to return with intensity, as well as bring on anxiety, insomnia, and nausea. It should also not be given to children under the age of 2.
White willow bark is known as “nature’s aspirin” and is one of the oldest known remedies for pain. It contains salicin (the main ingredient in aspirin) which is what makes it such an amazing natural remedy for pain.
White willow bark works not only for headache and migraine pain, but has shown effective relief for back pain and pain associated with arthritis. Capsules of white willow bark are sold at most health food stores, with the recommended daily dosage between 60-240 milligrams.
Muscle Aches and Pains
If you’ve got muscular tension or even pain in the neck, back, or shoulders, devil’s claw is a popular natural treatment that stems from South Africa. Its medicinal properties are found in its roots, which contain the anti-inflammatory properties that make devil’s claw so effective. It is also an antispasmodic and an antioxidant. Also, devil’s claw contains properties that help stimulate bile production.
With all the benefits present in devil’s claw, it has become a popular natural alternative for pain relief. It has been approved in European countries as a powerful aid for relief of arthritis, tendinitis, dyspepsia, and loss of appetite. It is best known for its help for reducing joint and muscle pain and often offered as relief for painful arthritic symptoms.
While most often found in the kitchen, apple cider vinegar will make an excellent addition to your medicine cabinet. Apple cider vinegar is amazing for countless different remedies and relieving painful aches and pains in muscles is definitely one of them.
Apple cider vinegar can be taken both internally and externally to relive muscle aches and pains. To take internally, either dilute it by putting a couple tablespoons in water or simply take it down like a shot. Externally, it can be rubbed directly on the area you’re experiencing pain.
Ginger has been treating tummy troubles for years. It contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help get rid of cramps and improve digestion. Ginger can be taken in supplement form, although making a ginger tea from fresh ginger root is the best way to alleviate an aching belly. When simmered in water for about ten minutes, ginger root is one of the best remedies you can find for a stomach ache.
Peppermint is a well-known antispasmodic and is excellent for relieving painful digestive cramps. For those that suffer from IBS, peppermint has shown to significantly reduce cramps, bloating, and gas, and Germany actually recommends peppermint oil for digestive issues in adults. Tea works best for mild cases of stomach upset, while a coated peppermint capsule should be taken for more serious stomach discomfort.
Menstrual Pain and PMS
If you’re hit with painful menstrual cramps every month, red raspberry leaf can help. Not only does red raspberry leaf relieve menstrual cramps, but is also an excellent aid during pregnancy. The combination of nutrients contained in red raspberry leaf is excellent for the female reproduction system and women can benefit from this herb from puberty through menopause. When taken regularly, red raspberry leaf can help ease symptoms of PMS and also help couples who are trying to conceive. It can be taken in capsule form and is also a very popular tea.
A woman’s time of the month can bring on a host of hormonal imbalances. From cramps and irritability to fatigue and lack of self-esteem, a woman’s menstrual cycle can be a drag. Maca, an ancient Peruvian root, is something, however, that gives hope to women experiencing menstrual distress.
Maca has been shown to work extremely effectively for fatigue, menstrual cramps, mood swings, breast tenderness, hot flashes, menstrual irregularity, fertility, and more. This root that has been used since 3800BC certainly seems like the perfect natural addition to any woman’s medicine cabinet.
Like maca, black cohosh is another very famous herb that helps ease women’s symptoms of PMS and other hormonal disturbances. Whether experiencing menopause’s famous hot flashes or intense cramps during ovulation, black cohosh is an amazing remedy. It has an effect that is similar to estrogen, which is why it works so good for female discomfort.
Black cohosh has shown to help with cramps, PMS, night sweats, hot flashes, bloating, painful menstruation, nervousness, and insomnia.
Although you might not be familiar with dong quai, it is actually the second most popular herb next to ginseng in Japan and China. It promotes the health of the uterus by relaxing this smooth muscle, which may be the reason it is so beneficial in relieving menstrual cramps.
Dong quai is famous as a female healing tonic helping not only for premenstrual symptoms but menopausal discomfort as well. It is often combined with dong quai to relieve hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
For PMS, menstrual cramps, and symptoms associated with menopause 600mg per day is recommended taken in 200mg doses three times throughout the day.
Essential Oils for Pain Relief
There are several essential oils that are excellent for fighting pain and inflammation. Because they contain analgesic properties, essential oils make another outstanding choice for natural pain relief and are an awesome addition to your medicine cabinet.
While there are numerous essential oils that are helpful in relieving pain, the following are a few of the most common and one’s that should be a part of all medicine cabinets that are inspired by nature.
The popularity of peppermint extends into its benefits as an excellent aid to relieve pain. Peppermint acts as an anti-inflammatory to damaged tissues and is outstanding for muscle and joint pain. It has a cooling impact on areas it is used and many people that suffer from arthritis find relief in this popular essential oil.
Peppermint is also used to treat headaches and has shown to be effective as an anti-spasmodic, which makes it a good choice to relieve the pain of cramps and muscle spasms.
Camphor essential oil works in two ways to relieve pain. When first applied, it numbs and cools nerve endings and then warms the painful area as it begins to get things circulating. This dual action makes camphor essential oil a great choice for sore muscles, lower back pain, and arthritis.
Although wintergreen is not as well-known as some of the other essential oils that help relieve pain, it is extremely powerful in fighting it. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and does a great job at warming the area where it is applied to.
It is very effective for relieving painful arthritic symptoms, headaches, menstrual cramps, nerve damage, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, bone spurs, and more.
While most people think of chamomile as something to take to help you relax, it is also a known pain reliever with beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. It is great for people who suffer from low back pain and has shown to be an excellent relief for headaches. It is also a wonderfully, natural way to ease symptoms of PMS.
With its bright, floral, sweet scent, blue tansy is definitely pleasing to the senses. It is also great for relieving pain. It helps by relieving muscle soreness and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to help with the pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism.
Helichrysum is one of the best essential oils for pain relief. While it will cost you more than other essential oils, the investment in Helichrysum is well worth it. The effects are almost immediate after application and it works to quickly relieve muscle pain as well as pain in joints, tendons, and ligaments. Not only does Helichrysum remove pain, but also attends to the cause of pain at a cellular level.
Excellent for athletes, Helichrysum will greatly benefit sprains, bruises, and strains. It also helps with arthritis pain and is known as one of the quickest natural ways to get necessary pain relief. It can either be applied directly to the area in question or diluted in a carrier oil to be used in a massage.
Natural Solutions for Everyday Products
Have you ever stopped to think what a complete waste cotton balls and pads are? There’s no doubt we use them for a number of different reasons, but more often than not these handy little pads end up in the trash and go straight to the landfill. While a few cotton balls here and there don’t seem like much, over a lifetime of use they definitely contribute to part of the problem.
You can become part of the solution, however, when you vow to replace those cotton pads that would normally end up in the bathroom trash with reusable cotton rounds. There are a bunch of different companies that make reusable cotton pads and they can be used for anything from applying toner to taking off nail polish remover.
Ditch those disposable cotton balls for good and opt to purchase cotton pads that can be washed and reused over and over again. They’ll do just as good of a job on anything you use regular cotton balls for and you’ll feel great knowing you’re contributing to the health of our planet.
Band-Aids are a tough one to find eco-friendly and healthier alternatives for, but when you think about the waste they actually produce and the excess amount of packaging they require, you might want to rethink your boo-boo treatment.
We all get cuts, nicks, and scrapes where bandages are certainly something that comes in handy every now and again. While hard to avoid the need for Band-Aids all together, in some cases you could opt to replace disposable bandages with reusable alternatives. There are a few different companies that make reusable bandages, but reusing a bandage isn’t exactly something that appeals to everyone. If you so happen to be one of them, make sure you’re buying Band-Aids that are biodegradable and latex-free, and don’t forget to recycle the paper packaging.
Tampons and Pads
Alright ladies, our time of the month may not be the most desirable subject to talk about, but if you’re committed to a healthier and greener lifestyle, you might want to think about ditching the pads and tampons. With the average woman throwing away 10,000-15,000 pads and tampons in her lifetime, having your period certainly doesn’t seem very eco-friendly. Not only that, but cotton is one of the most chemically sprayed crops there are and if you’re not using organic cotton pads or tampons you’re introducing these chemicals directly to your body.
The Diva Cup is one alternative that’s getting more popular amongst eco-savvy gals. This internally worn menstrual cup can be used over and over again and offers up to 12 hours of leak-free protection. While menstrual cups may just be getting popular, they were actually invented in the 1930s for women who were looking for alternatives at that time.
If you prefer pads, there are a variety of different reusable menstrual pads that can be found in most health food stores across the country. Made in different styles and absorbencies, reusable cotton pads are the choice amongst many women. They’re washable and reusable and work just as well as disposable pads.
If you think about things that you’d find in a medicine cabinet, toothpaste might be one of the first that comes to mind. When you think of toothpaste, you might just wonder what could possibly be wrong with something that is supposed to support oral health. The thing is, most toothpaste on the market is full of harmful ingredients that can wreak potential havoc on your health.
Fluoride, the most common ingredient in toothpaste, is added to prevent cavities and slow down tooth decay. Fluoride, however, is actually a byproduct of industrial waste and is recognized internationally as a poison. Saccharin (a sugar alternative) is formulated into many types of toothpaste even though it was once banned because it caused severe health problems in lab animals. Unfortunately, the banned was lifted because too many people liked its sweet taste.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is yet another toxic ingredient added to most commercial toothpastes. This is where you get the sudsy, foaming action when you brush. Sodium lauryl sulfate, however, attacks the mucus membranes of the mouth and alters the structure of the skin. It may also allow more toxins to enter the bloodstream.
Needless to say, if you haven’t already made the switch to natural toothpaste (there are a ton of brands to choose from) the time is now. Do you and your family a favor by replacing your regular toothpaste with natural alternatives that don’t contain fluoride and other toxic ingredients. There’s plenty of ways to keep your teeth clean and mouth healthy. Unfortunately, your toothpaste probably isn’t one of them.
The Bottom Line
There is immense healing power contained in nature and it’s easy to relieve pain without the need for over-the-counter medications that have the potential to do more harm than good. If you’re dedicated to living a natural lifestyle or are looking to make more natural choices in your life, the items you keep in your medicine cabinet should reflect the way you live. Making over your medicine cabinet with all-natural alternatives is an essential aspect of natural living and wholesome wellbeing.