For some, having a medicine cabinet means opening up a bathroom cabinet whilst bottles upon bottles of prescription drugs fall out.
I am a firm believer in God’s medicinal cabinet, also known as “nature”. Forests, herbal farms, and wild-grown plants contain most of what the body needs to live a healthy life and to support body systems both during and after an illness.
There are just so many wonderful remedies, beautifully embedded in plant leaves, tree barks, and flowers.
Today I wanted to share with you some of what I try to keep on hand all year round. Now being 100% honest, I must admit that this is just a snapshot of one of my Herbal Medicine cabinets. There are a few other medicine cabinets filled with herbs all throughout my home and office that did not make the guest appearance below.
For example, I have a tall handmade wooden china cabinet that is taller than me. Inside lay hundreds of freshly dried organic herbs, berries, spices, seasonings, flowers, tree barks, and herbal powders. It is, in essence, my grown-up treasure box.
When I open it to grab something, I kind of feel like I am Lucy and I have discovered a magical wardrobe. Laugh if you may, but my herbs are one of my most valued possessions on this earth.
Herbs have been a part of my life since I was a wee little girl. Some of the fondest memories I have is drinking ginger and lemon tea while sitting on my dad’s lap and picking herbs from my grandmother’s garden overseas.
I could speak of herbs for hours so let me narrow in my thoughts here as I sip on some Organic Honeybush tea. Ah, yes, we were discussing magical wardrobes and their contents.
Really wishing I was in Narnia right now, lol. What can I say? Our little one has made us sit through almost 1 month of watching weekly Chronicles of Narnia Movies. I think if I try hard enough, I will be able to recite most of the lines to the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
OK, let’s get back on track, all movies, wardrobes, and distractions aside.
Below is a list of a few of the items I have inside my Herbal Medicine Cabinet. If you’re interested in learning how to prepare herbal oils, infusion blends, tinctures, glycerites, etc., be sure to subscribe so I can send you an invitation for one of my upcoming classes.
Where to Purchase Organic loose herbs:
If you need to find organic loose herbs for personal use and don’t have an herb farmer or herbalist near you, I’ve linked a few good companies below in the herb descriptions. You can also check out Starwest Botanicals and Frontier Co-op.
Cayenne pepper powder & tincture – Cayenne is one of those herbs that I try to never leave home without. I carry a very potent extract in my purse that packs a mild 30,000 Scoville heat units. This miracle herb is useful to promote circulation, alleviate a sore throat, aid digestion, regulate blood pressure, and stop internal and external bleeding. But the most amazing thing about cayenne is that just a small amount has been known to stop a heart attack in under a minute as described by Dr. Christopher. Although it should not be used by those taking prescription drugs, especially those taking a blood thinner. A whiff of cayenne extract or powder can also be used to help someone who has fainted regain consciousness.
Astragalus Root powder, tincture, glycerite, dried pieces – An amazing immunomodulator root that has been used for centuries as a powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. Research has shown that it assists the body in returning to normal immune function, especially for those who are very ill. It’s also a powerful adaptogen that, according to recent research, assists white blood cells in the process of fighting infection by signaling them where they need to go to fight off intruding pathogens. At home, we use it in teas, capsules, tinctures, glycerites, and smoothies. During cold and flu season, we also add the dried root pieces when preparing soups and stews and remove them after it has simmered for about an hour.
Milky Oats – A gentle healer of the CNS (Central Nervous System) that offers support during seasons of depression and anxiety.
German Chamomile (loose herb, glycerite, and tincture) – If there is an herb I have taken almost monthly since childhood, it is chamomile. When we lived abroad, at night, we would drink an infusion of chamomile and lemon balm to help support our digestion and help us unwind and go to sleep. It also goes well with Milky Oats to calm the CNS. We also use it as a wash, poultice, and in drops for pink eye. Exercise caution or avoid if allergic to ragweed as it is part of the Asteraceae family.
Echinacea Root (in loose herb form, glycerites, and tinctures) – This is one of the best go-to herbs for an acute viral infection. Echinacea has been used for years to aid millions in getting over the common cold and viral infections. It is effective because it increases the activity of our white blood cells and kind of pushes them to target invading pathogens. Studies have shown its efficacy when used for staph infections. It’s also helpful during respiratory, Strep, and urinary tract infections. This is not an herb to take daily as it is a powerful immune system stimulant. When we have used it in our home, we take it for 15 to 20 days and then break for the same amount of time before resuming if needed. Because echinacea is a stimulant to the immune system, it may not be suitable for those with histamine intolerance and autoimmune conditions. Exercise caution or avoid if allergic to ragweed as it is part of the Asteraceae family
Ginger (fresh root, dried root, tincture, or glycerite) – With its strong smell and spicy undertones, ginger root makes a fantastic addition to any dish, tea, or herbal medicine. I used it for my grandmother in earlier years as a fantastic rub to promote circulation and warm the body. This is accomplished by making a paste with shredded ginger, mixing it with olive oil and uncooked rice, and gently massaging the desired area. Ginger root has been used for thousands of years for nausea, motion sickness, colds, viruses, cough, congestion, and stomach flu. Japanese scientists have noted its ability to block mutation of the cells that lead to cancer. At home, we use ginger in everything, including soups, stews, herbal medicine, teas, and baths. It is fantastic at relaxing sore and tired muscles and makes a great wash for tired feet as well. I love using ginger alongside Chinese skullcap root (Scutellaria baicalensis) for its synergistic effect.
Garlic (fresh, powdered, honey, and tincture)- Our go-to herb for infections. Garlic has been used by community herbalists since before the birth of Christ as a potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial. We crush some garlic and place it in tea to steep during cold and flu season. Garlic is also fantastic for reducing a high fever. If you want to activate the healing properties of garlic, be sure to bruise it first and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before using it in tea or cooking. Doing this allows for the maximum amount of allicin to be created, and the waiting period ensures that the allicin will stay intact even after heating the garlic.
Agrimony (tincture or glycerite)– Used as an herbal bitter to support digestion and promote bile production and flow. A great herb to have on hand for kids with sudden diarrhea. For people in the beginning stage of appendicitis and with pancreatic disorders, it can be a great ally. It also offers support for those dealing with colitis, urinary incontinence, and cystitis.
Thyme (dried herb, tincture, glycerite) – Oh, the wonders of my beloved thyme. It is used for fevers, colds, flu, coughs, bronchitis, asthma, bronchial spasms, and expectoration of upper respiratory congestion. It’s also used as a gargle for sore throat, tonsillitis, laryngitis and to relieve colic, flatulence, and diarrhea.
Over the years, I have created many salves and glycerites with their beautiful leaves. It boasts antiseptic, antibacterial, antispasmodic, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory properties, among others. We do everything with thyme you can think of. I can’t tell you how many times our entire family has enjoyed a bath with thyme or a nice hot cup of tea. When using thyme, I do not recommend using the essential oil as it is high in volatile oils that can irritate the stomach. Instead, use the dried herb for your preparations.
To make an effective tea for colds and flu, boil 12 ounces of distilled water and pour it over about a teaspoon of dried Thyme, then add in 3 smashed cloves of garlic. Let it steep for about 15 minutes, and strain off the herbs. Add the juice of one lemon and sweeten it with honey. If you want, you can also add some dried ginger root or the juice of fresh ginger root. Enjoy this tea 3 to 4 times daily, and you will see the difference.
Goldenseal – ( herbal supplements by Gaia Herbs) or tinctures/glycerites- Used by many as an herbal antibiotic and a powerful immune system supporter. It’s noted that if it’s taken during the initial stages of respiratory infections, colds, or flu, goldenseal can aid the body in preventing further symptoms from developing. It contains properties that help against bacteria, fungus, and other pathogens. Its taste is unpleasant, so we use it mainly in capsule form and for topical applications. Goldenseal should preferably not be taken for more than 15 days at a time. When we take it at home, we break for at least 2-3 weeks or more before resuming the consumption of goldenseal.
GSE (Grape Seed Extract) – Few remedies can be used for various ailments and applications without adding other components. Grape seed extract is one of those all-in-one toxic-free solutions that can be used internally, externally, and as a potent cleaner and disinfectant.
For those traveling internationally, it is an amazing solution for treating water and leafy greens that can produce infections and diarrhea in those with sensitive stomachs. In most cases, just 6-10 drops in an 8-ounce glass of water will do the trick.
Elderberries –These potent berries from the elder plant are native to Western and Central Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe. I must note that although some people may ingest fresh elderberries, I do not recommend you do so due to it causing nausea and vomiting if you eat too many. This occurs due to the level of alkaloids present in the berries. The alkaloids are destroyed, however, after cooking the berries or simmering them for tea preparation.
At home, we make elderberry syrup, wine, glycerites, and tea. We use it for its immunity-boosting properties for colds, flu, fever, sore throat, and overall wellness. Elderberries have been proven to be effective against several strains of influenza. It’s one of the main ingredients in my Immunity Rescue tea and makes a great-tasting syrup for sick children. Because elderberries are a stimulant to the immune system, they may not be suitable for those with histamine intolerance and autoimmune conditions.
Eyebright tincture and compress A powerful ally for people and animals dealing with pink eye. Also very helpful for those experiencing stys, head (nasal) mucous, sinusitis, hay fever, eye strain, and allergic rhinitis.
Mullein & Garlic Oil, Onions & loose herbs for Ear Infections & Pain (homemade or store-bought)- Ear infections and ear pain can be extremely uncomfortable, especially for little ones. In just a few minutes, a poultice and herbal oil can be made. Read about how to do this here.
Propolis Tincture (homemade or store-bought)- Introduced to me by my father when I was a child. We have used this tincture in gargles, washes, and smoothies since I was little. My dad actually imported some of the best propolis from overseas and sold it here in the US for years. We used it for everything.
Propolis has been found to assist the body in fighting infections, both viral and bacterial. It is also a great anti-inflammatory for the skin and helps heal wounds.
Goat’s Rue is One of my favorite herbs to help with breastmilk production and one of the ingredients in my breastfeeding support tea. It can be mixed with Fenugreek and Gurmar to help control blood sugar levels.
Plantain Herb (loose herb, tincture fresh leaves, or glycerite) – One of my favorite herbs for extracting toxins from bites and stings. It is a fantastic herb to always keep on hand. Over the years, I have used it along with a few other herbs for the lungs in tea form, for irritated skin in baths, and for fungal infections and rashes.
Yarrow (tincture, glycerite, loose herb, powder) – helps support the body during a fever and during infections. Use of the ground-up herb works in an emergency to stop bleeding! Supports the heart during periods of increased blood pressure (hypertension).
Chinese Skullcap (tincture and glycerite) – A fantastic immunomodulator that offers support during viral infections, especially those that affect the brain and CNS. It inhibits viral replication and cytokine storms. It increases the bioavailability of other herbs and supplements when taken alongside them.
St. John’s Wort tincture to support and restore balance to the nervous system. It’s used widely as a natural antidepressant and for irritability, ADHD, anxiety, insomnia, and much more
Skullcap (Skutellaria lateriflora) (tincture or glycerite) – To support the body during times of stress. It acts as a mild sedative. Supports and restores balance to the nervous system. Helps support the body through PTSD. Not to be confused with Chinese Skullcap (Skutellaria baicalensis), which is also an amazing herb, but with different properties.
Ashwagandha (tincture and Gaia capsules) – I call it a powerhouse herb because it does so much. It helps calm and strengthen the body during times of stress. Very helpful for nervousness, anxiety, and exhaustion. Calms a racing mind and promotes restful sleep.
Meadowsweet (tincture and glycerite) – Helps reduce fever and helps with nausea and heartburn. Traditionally it has also been used for peptic ulcer disease, acute cystitis, and as an antiseptic for the urinary tract.
Red Clover (loose herb, tincture, glycerite) – One of my favorite herbs to use on a weekly basis. It offers gentle support for Lymphatic System and is a gentle blood purifier. It aids the body in the removal of metabolic waste. Natural source of estrogen and is rich in minerals. Antispasmodic and expectorant, used in cases of bronchitis. Isoflavones found in red clover have been used to reduce symptoms of menopause. Can be used topically and internally for eczema and psoriasis. It’s also a fantastic plant to have for soil health. It does well at breaking up compacted earth and earth that is lacking in nutrients.
California Poppy (tincture and glycerite) – to help relax the nervous system and help the body to wind down and fall asleep.
Holy Basil (dried herbs, Gaia capsules and tincture) – Such a wonderful adaptogen, nervine and immunomodulating herb. Known as the ‘Queen of Herbs’ in India. It is used when there is immune dysfunction that has been caused by chronic stress or chronic illness and to aid the body during moments of anxiety, depression, sleep issues, and cognitive decline. It boasts potent anticancer, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties too. My favorite way to take Holy Basil is to infuse it in milk and sweeten it with honey.
Raw Honey – Who does not love the taste of raw organic honey? Raw honey is important because it is unpasteurized. By contrast, pasteurized honey is void of all the enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants and other components naturally occurring in pure, raw honey.
In its original state raw honey can be used for cuts, rashes, allergies, skin irritations, blemishes, and burns. It also boasts anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.
Want a lavish beauty treatment? Try lathering raw organic honey all over your scalp and body. Leave on for about an hour and then take a warm bath with sea salts to gently remove the honey. Your skin will thank you.
Organic medicinal herbal tea blends for immunity, digestion, coughs, etc. – There is nothing like a delicious hot cup of tea to comfort the harshest of colds, alleviate upset tummies, clear coughs, and anything else you may be suffering with. You can find several blends in my Apothecary or you can purchase store-bought blends already in tea bags, just be sure to avoid dyed tea bags and those made of synthetic fibers.
Raw Coconut Oil – Coconut Oil is a powerhouse containing Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antifungal, and Anti-parasitic healing properties. Raw coconut oil aids and supports overall Immune System functions. Unfortunately, people seem to be misinformed about the benefits of coconut oil. Studies were done many moons ago to show that coconut oil, and all saturated fats, were bad for one’s health because they raised serum cholesterol levels. However, these studies were done on hydrogenated coconut oil, and all hydrogenated oils produce higher serum cholesterol levels, whether they are saturated or not. Recent research shows that it is the presence of trans fatty acids that cause health problems, as they are fatty acid chains that have been altered from their original form in nature by the oil refining process. Organic unrefined virgin coconut oil does not fall into the category of unhealthy oils.
We use it in our raw desserts, smoothies, and in our hair treatments.
Oregano Extract & Oil (used only in extreme emergencies due to potency) – If there is a serious infection we may opt to use oregano oil if the extract is not strong enough. This would be instead of taking prescribed antibiotics with horrible side effects. It is not something we use in our home due to its potency, which is considered the same as ingesting a pure essential oil. In the last decade, I have used it only once for Walking Pneumonia. I do NOT recommend using it daily or weekly or even monthly as many wellness practitioners recommend. Oregano oil kills both good and bad bacteria in the gut so we avoid using it and reserve it for serious infection ONLY. Oregano oil acts as a broad-spectrum antibiotic and a potent anti-fungal. Scientists at the University of West England in Bristol discovered that oregano oil has stronger antibacterial properties than many prescription antibiotics. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic properties. When purchasing oil of oregano be sure to get a brand that uses either organic or wild-harvested herbs with high carvacrol content.
An important sidebar – Be sure to take a good quality probiotic and prebiotic after a few days on oregano oil as it will eliminate the good bacteria in your gut. If oregano oil must be ingested, taking a probiotic a few hours after each dose is important. For those wanting a much safer option try using Oregano in a tea, tincture or glycerite.
Well, for now, this is the shortlist of my treasured herbal and natural remedies. I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information to be valuable.
Please be sure to share this with your friends and family and check out more helpful articles below.
As always, nothing shared here should be treated as medical advice. Everything shared is for educational purposes only.
Wondering why herbs aren’t used alongside allopathic medicine? Click here to read a little about the history of herbal medicine.
Disclosure: The content on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.