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How to create a holistic medicine cabinet

I’ve recently experienced a series of events exposing me to bacteria, poison, and virus; it started with an ache in my ear and throat from exposure to bacteria, so I took care of that with natural remedies and it was gone in about two weeks. Then I went up north and was swimming when I got attached by black flies from the neck up; my lymph nodes were painfully swollen from all the poison of their sting. Although I was eventually able to get that under control, my immune system was now weak and I ended up with a chest infection. The good news is, I’m completely recovered and luckily without the need of any medication, not even over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. This made me think about what we keep in our medicine cabinet. Are the contents really helping us or hurting us? Below are some common remedies that most people reach for when they are not well, and their affect in the short and long term, as well as alternatives.

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

NSAIDs such as analgesic (pain killing), antipyretic (fever reducing) drugs, or stronger prescription opiates (narcotics) are used for pain. I’m not suggesting that if one is in a lot of pain, not to take any of those, but be aware of side effects and understand that those medications just block the pain, they don’t get rid of the cause. Those drugs damage the intestinal lining and cause dysbiosis (imbalance of intestinal flora which means there’s not enough beneficial bacteria, and overgrowth of bad bacteria). I feel it’s best to avoid those drugs as much as possible, but if you absolutely have to have them, then take probiotics to balance the intestinal flora and help protect your intestinal health. Opiates (narcotics) have even more severe side effects. Those of you who are long-term users of those type of drugs, you may be rejecting this information and thinking I don’t understand your pain. I really empathize with people in pain and understand it well. I’ve had 10 surgeries, including orthopedic surgery, and several broken bones. I usually don’t take any pharmaceutical drugs for pain, and if I have to, it’s just for a day or two at most. Last year however, I fell and broke my pelvis in two places and that pain outranked any past pain I’ve ever had. I was literally flat on my back unable to move for weeks. I was prescribed morphine (one of the most powerful opiates) and it was not even taking the edge off the pain. The pain lasted for months. I could feel and was very aware of the side effects the morphine was having on my body, so I tried to manage with a minimal dose and stopped after three weeks (but I still experienced difficult withdrawal symptoms). I continued to take my cocktail of natural remedies to manage my pain and reduce inflammation.

Natural remedies for inflammation

Quercetin, curcumin, fish oil and ribes nigrum (black current) tincture; homeopathic remedies: arnica pellets and topical cream; also I always take a product for chronic joint pain that contains NEM (natural eggshell membrane). This help increase the body’s production of glucosamine and rebuild joints. Plus to help the healing process, I also took higher dose vitamins C and D.


Antacids are another common medication or prescription PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) to reduce or block stomach acid. It’s important to understand that that long term use of those drugs may lead to B12 deficiency because HCl (hydrochloric acid in the stomach) is needed for the production of B12. Low HCl causes malabsorption of nutrients especially protein, which can lead to increased digestive issues and possible food intolerance. I understand that severe GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), can lead to painful ulcers and these conditions are often treated with PPIs, but keep in mind that those drugs completely block the production of HCl and HCl is needed to break down protein into single amino acids that are the building blocks for the protein in our body. Those amino acids are needed for making immune cells to ward off disease, enzymes which are catalysts for every chemical reaction in our body, neurotransmitters which are part of the body’s communication system, also our organs, skin, hair, and much more are all made of protein. In the case of acid reflux and GERD, good alternatives to keep in your holistic medicine cabinet are aloe vera or DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice), those can help neutralize acid, reduce inflammation, and heal ulcerations and damage caused from GERD; they can be taken away from meals as to not reduce HCl during meals for better digestion. It’s also a good idea to keep broad spectrum digestive enzymes handy to help improve digestion during meals.

Antiemetic drugs (for nausea and vomiting)

The most common OTC antiemetic drugs have an ingredient list of many toxic chemicals, including titanium dioxide, talc, and even “Yellow No. 6” food colouring which has been shown to cause cancer, ADHD, hyperactivity, and allergic reactions. The CSPI (Centre for Science in the Public Interest) said this food dye causes many health risks and is summoning the FDA to ban Yellow No. 6 specifically. If you experience nausea and vomiting, try making some ginger tea; also smelling peppermint or lemon essential oil can help relieve nausea. (more…)