The Making of an Herbal Medicine Cabinet

We all have our own version of a medicine cabinet.  For some, having a medicine cabinet means opening up a bathroom cabinet whilst bottles upon bottles of prescription drugs fall out.
For others (I fall into this category) it means herbal tinctures, glycerites, supplements, oils, and tea!
My medicine cabinet is an amazing collection of organic handcrafted oils, herbal medicine, medicinal teas, and herbal supplements.
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 during 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 have in my medicine cabinet 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 all throughout my home and office that did not make the guest appearance above.
For example, I have a tall handmade wooden china cabinet that is taller than me.  Inside lay hundreds of organic dried 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.

I could speak of tea and 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, now back on track, all movies wardrobes and distractions aside.
Here is a list of a few of the items I have inside my Herbal Medicine Cabinet:

My Medicine Cabinet

Cayenne pepper powder & tincture (homemade or store-bought) – 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, stop an asthma attack, 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.

Astragalus Root powder or glycerite (homemade or store-bought) – An amazing 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 a 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.

Echinacea Root and leaf (in loose tea 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. 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 for 15 to 20 days and then break for the same amount of time before resuming if needed.

Organic medicinal teas 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.

Ginger – 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 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.

Garlic – Our go-to herb for infections.  Garlic has been used by community herbalists since before the birth of Christ as a potent anti-viral.  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.

Thyme – 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 its 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 you use 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 and 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 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 a day and you will see the difference.

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.

Goldenseal – ( herbal supplements by Gaia Herbs) – 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 not pleasant so we use it mainly in capsule form and for topical applications.  Goldenseal should 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 severe nausea and vomiting in some people.  This occurs due to the level of toxic 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.  Many herbalists and naturopaths note that elderberries have been proven to be effective against 8 strains of influenza.  It’s one of the main ingredients in my Immunity Rescue tea and makes a great tasting syrup for sick children.

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.
Propolis has been found to assist the body in fighting infection both viral and bacterial.  It is also a great anti-inflammatory for the skin and helps heal wounds.

Plantain Herb 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 as one of the ingredients in salve form for fungal infections and rashes.

Alkalol – Fantastic nasal wash and mucus solvent.  It was developed over 100 years ago and has been recommended by doctors and pharmacists since.  We use it in gargles and nasal washes.  This stuff rocks!

Olbas Cough Lozenges – These are great because they are sugar-free and sweetened with Black Currant.  They contain Menthol, Eucalyptus and Vitamin C.  These really help for those times when a cough is persistent or when you simply want to clear your nasal passages and don’t have time to mix oils and make your own remedy as I usually do at home.

Oregano Oil – In our house, we do oregano oil shots with juice in a shot glass, lol.  If there is a bacterial infection we opt to use it instead of prescribed antibiotics.  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 probiotic after a few days on oregano oil as it will eliminate some of the good bacteria in your gut.  So if you must take oregano oil for 1 week or 10 days make sure you take a probiotic a few hours after for the same amount of days you take the oregano oil.

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.

Well, for now, this is the shortlist of my treasured herbal 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.

Herbal Remedies for Nasal Congestion, Stys & More

Miracle Sore Throat & Cold Remedy

Six Must-Have Herbs for the Upcoming Winter Season

Tea For All Your Troubles

Wellness Herbal Tea Recipe for the Immune System

Wondering why herbs aren’t used alongside allopathic medicine? Click here to read a little about the history of herbal medicine.

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