Restock your medicine cabinet with safe, effective, natural remedies

Last monthI discussed the benefits of “spring cleaning” for your home and your health. 

But another place that needs some cleaning is your medicine cabinet. In fact, this spring, I suggest you dispose of all the potentially harmful drugs just sitting there taking up unnecessary spaceand stock up with some science-backed, natural remedies instead 

Rethink the contents of your medicine cabinet 

Even before the arrival of the coronavirus, it was important to stay healthy and avoid visits to the doctor, emergency room, and hospital whenever possibleOf course, even if you do your best to eat right, supplement wisely, get some weekly exercise, and maintain good sleep habits—you’re never completely immune from developing the occasional sniffle, stomach woe, or muscle ache.  

Now, I know most people keep all manner of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in their medicine cabinet to deal with these kinds of occasional ailmentsBut these drugs are far from completely benign. In fact, every year, adverse events from OTC medications are a leading cause of emergency room visits and hospital admissions.  

So, when you develop a sniffle or a muscle ache, skip the drugs. Instead, try one of the following… 

Reach for safe, science-backed options 

Colds and the flu. When it comes to treating common coughs, sneezes, and runny noses related to colds and the flu, many people resort to taking an OTC drug or concoction like NyQuil® or Sudafed®. But these drugs only manage symptoms. And—they can cause a range of side effects, including anxiety, drowsiness, high blood pressure, insomnia, racing heart, and upset stomach.  

Instead, I suggest you take an alternate route and keep some gentle, drug-free remedies on-hand that support your immune system’s natural ability to eliminate the infection.  

For example, keep some black elderberry and echinacea tea on hand for when you start to feel under the weather. Research shows that, together, they work better than Tamiflu® to alleviate flu symptoms. Adding some honey and lemon to the infusion will also help soothe a cough and sore throat.  

You can also suck on some zinc lozenges. Just make sure you opt for zinc acetate instead of zinc gluconate, as your body more readily absorbs it. Lastly, to help with your breathing and chest congestion, try adding some eucalyptus oil to your room vaporizer. You can even rub a bit directly onto your chest with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, together with calendula. 

Cuts and scrapes. I recommend skipping the topical, antibacterial, antiseptic sprays, as they actually wipe out your immune response and delay healing. They also disrupt the natural, probiotic microbiome of your skin. Instead, try rubbing a little tea tree oil directly onto your cuts and scrapes. It’s an effective, natural antiseptic with antimicrobial properties. (When using hand sanitizer, make sure it’s alcohol-based, without added “antibacterial” toxins.) 

Digestion problems. Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and gas are distressing, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. But you should avoid taking harsh antacids, laxatives, or antidiarrheals—which will likely only compound the problem over time.   

Instead, focus on improving the long-term health of your gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome by adding more “prebiotic” foodssuch as natural, whole milk, full-fat cheeses and yogurts, and fermented or pickled vegetables (like sauerkraut)—to your diet. These foods feed the “healthy” probiotic bacteria in your gut. In addition, you should also make sure to eat at least five servings of whole fruits and vegetables each day, to naturally keep you on track. But always avoid taking fiber pills, probiotic pills, or processed foods with “added” fiber. 

In addition, avoid taking antibioticsunless absolutely necessary to treat a life-threatening infection—as they can cause lasting harm to your GI microbiome. Plus, contrary to conventional practice, you don’t need to completely finish your prescription if you must take an antibioticIndeedthe newer science now shows it’s completely fine to stop taking an antibiotic when you start feeling better to let your immune system take it from there. 

Dry skin and eczema. Changes in the weather can be tough on the skin. But resist the temptation to apply a topical steroid. Try something natural, instead. I find that eczema responds quite well to ground colloidal oatmeal (not breakfast oatmeal).  

Simply grind the whole oats in a coffee grinder. Then, pour two cups of warm (not hot) water over the oats. You can apply a thick mixture as a paste directly to problem areas. Or, take a soothing whole-body bath with the oats in your bath water.  

Also, if you’re prone to eczema, I recommend using natural skin moisturizers that contain organic aloe, lavender, limonene, and vitamin E. Applying them daily to your skin year-round can help prevent more troubling eczema outbreaks. 

Pain, aches, and sprains. I’ve written quite a bit about the dangers of taking Tylenol® for every day aches and pains. Aspirin or even ibuprofen are certainly safer choices than Tylenol®. But for most acute aches and painsI suggest first trying arnica (homeopathic preparation) or capsaicin cream. For headaches, try supplementing with butterbur or feverfew, or rubbing a few drops of lavender or peppermint essential oil on your temples 

For chronic arthritis pain, I suggest you opt for natural botanical remedies, such as my ABCs of joint painwhich includes ashwagandha (winter cherry), boswellia (frankincense), and curcumin (turmeric). For long-term relief of aches and pains, this trio of botanicals beats out drugsas I discussed on Monday.  

Insomnia. A lot of people report having difficulty sleeping during these troubling times. But I urge you against using potentially addictive prescription drugs or OTC sleep aids.  

Especially since the science shows that many people can experience significant improvements in sleep and relaxation by inhaling essential plant oils through aromatherapy.  

You can apply these essential oils to your skin and/or diffuse and inhale them. These methods work well to induce sleep and relaxation because they rely on the olfactory nerves of the upper nasal passage, which are wired directly into the brain. The most effective sleep-inducing essential oils are: chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, limonene, orange, and peppermint. In fact, this Sunday April 11th at 3 p.m. (Eastern time), I’ll be hosting an exclusive Pill-Free Sleep Summit, where I’ll expand on the benefits of aromatherapy. Click here to reserve your FREE spot today! 

At the end of the (now longer) day, spring is about new beginnings. And it’s a great time to rethink your entire approach to health and healing. In fact, there’s no better time than right now to become a subscriber to my Insiders’ Cures monthly newsletter. By reading last month’s issue, you’ll learn much more about the importance of spring cleaning to the body and mind, as well as get my complete guide to getting a good night’s sleep, naturally. So if you haven’t already, consider becoming a subscriber today. All it takes is one simple click. 

P.S. Tune back in tomorrow for my report on sleep apnea and aromatherapy!