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.

Antihistamines (drugs for allergies)

Their side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, impaired thinking, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, constipation, blurred vision, insomnia, night mares, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, and more. Those group of drugs are of course necessary in the case ofanaphylactic reactions, but for common seasonal allergies or pet allergies you might want to try some natural options like: quercetin (long term for optimal effect), high dose vitamin C, nettle, bromelain, butterbur, black cumin seed, elderberry, raw honey, and for sinus congestion, you can try nasal irrigation with a mild Himalayan salt solution.

Mineral oil and petroleum jelly

Those are petrochemical products derived from crude oil and natural gas. Petrochemicals and their by-products such as dioxin are known to be hormone disrupters and carcinogens and can cause many health problems. There are many wonderful natural alternatives for healing and moisturizing such as coconut oil, rosehip oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, and coco butter just to name a few.

A strong immune system is the key to warding off bacteria, viruses, and all kinds of diseases; bee propolis or royal jelly can support the immune system and reduce reactions from seasonal allergies. Our gut health, specifically intestinal flora and the microbiome are the primary foundation for a strong immune system. There are many factors that disrupt the microbiome, weakening our immune system resulting in susceptibility to infections and disease. Prescription drugs, especially antibiotics kill off good bacteria causing dysbiosis. It’s optimal to replenish good bacteria by incorporating probiotics, fermented foods, prebiotic foods in our diet, and trying to avoid antibiotics. It can be helpful to keep some natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal items in the medicine cabinet and examples of those are: garlic supplement (you can also incorporate lots of garlic in the diet), grapefruit seed oil, or oil of oregano. Also Himalayan or sea salt solution in water can be used as a gargle. I would also like to note that coconut oil is one of my favorite things to have handy. In addition to being wonderful to cook with and tastes great, it has caprylic acid which is anti-fungal and can be used topically or orally.

Antiseptics for skin infections, irritation, wounds

Here is a list of suggestions you might find helpful: tea tree oil, witch hazel, vitamin E oil, raw honey, or as mentioned above, theHimalayan or sea salt solution can all be good alternative antiseptic remedies.

The body is infinitely complex and no individual can fully comprehend its intricacy. Some medications often work by blocking or suppressing chemical pathways and interfering with the natural flow of the body’s metabolism. I feel it’s better to help support our body by giving it what it needs and trust this incredibly intelligent system to do its marvels.

Cancer thriver

Maria Lavoie’s eyes smile as she shares some of her newfound knowledge from a health documentary she recently watched. Given a megaphone she likely would land herself on a street corner spreading news about natural health. It is almost immediately evident she is crazy about health. But who can blame her? Doctors warned if she didn’t go through with the radiation and recommended course of treatments in all likelihood her breast cancer would return within a year. Two years later, she is still breast cancer free and living life to its fullest.

“I feel, at 50, the best I’ve ever felt in my life because I literally detoxified my body and have an incredible amount of energy and feel amazing. Thank you cancer,” says Lavoie, a Greater Sudbury resident and business owner.

It was in March 2015 that a biopsy confirmed the lump Lavoie had discovered on her breast was in fact breast cancer.

“The reason I got cancer was from six or seven years of intense stressful events in my life that were not managed well,” Lavoie explains. “I knew I was under stress, but you don’t think you’re going to get cancer. I felt like I was in pretty decent shape, exercising and eating healthy, but I did have a sweet tooth and ate quite a bit of sugar. It didn’t even occur to me that the stress would lead to cancer.”

That diagnosis immediately propelled her into action. Scheduled for a lumpectomy two weeks after the diagnosis, Lavoie wasted no time before she buried herself in research on the disease. Until the lumpectomy results came through she would not know if the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.

“I basically stopped life to focus on what cancer was and how to heal,” Lavoie says. “I wanted to educate myself. What is cancer? What does this mean? I would literally read from morning till night to educate myself.”

She watched documentaries like The Truth About Cancer to get a clear idea of all the alternative solutions available to her, and to get a better understanding of the medical system and its protocols for cancer.

“(The doctor and health care providers) scared the crap out of me when I first got the diagnosis, but in that two weeks I educated myself to the point that I realized I had a lot of options.”

A cancer diagnosis can either paralyze one with fear or motivate one into action. For Lavoie, that diagnosis was all the motivation she needed to completely overhaul her lifestyle. By the time she went in for her lumpectomy appointment she had completely cut out sugar from her diet, started on a raw, vegan diet, along with daily juicing as part of her detox plan, and researched all of the possible ways to get her immune system back to health.

“It took me a few days to give up sugar, but I knew from all of the research out there that sugar grows cancer cells, so this was one of the first things I had to do,” Lavoie says. “I knew I had to build my immune system back up. The reason I had cancer is because my immune system was shot.

She embarked on a ritual of daily visualization, in the mind’s eye celebrating news that the cancer didn’t spread,

“I also did mindful breathing and visualized that when I was inhaling angels were coming to the tumour and with the exhalation they were taking the tumour away. I believe the mind is very powerful.”

The lumpectomy results showed the cancer had not spread, yet it was recommended to her that she undergo 25 radiation sessions – five days a week for five weeks as a preventative measure, and that she continue the prevention with Tamoxifen, a medication that blocks the actions of estrogen.

“I realized the medical system is basically an assembly line. I already knew ahead of time that after the lumpectomy that they were going to want to do radiation and give me Tamoxifen. If it weren’t an assembly line, then how did I know how many radiation sessions the doctor was going to want me to do, and that they would want me to take Tamoxifen? This is the protocol for everybody.”

“I met with the surgeon and was told that I only had a certain window to do radiation and that if I didn’t have it then there’s about a 70 per cent chance the cancer will come back in the first year.”

“I looked at all the side effects of the radiation and the Tamoxifen, and you know what, I’m not even that smart, but to me it seems pretty simple when you analyze all of this because you cannot get cancer if your immune system is healthy. If you’re just doing conventional cancer treatments you are not fixing the problem. If my cancer comes back it’s not because I didn’t get radiation, it’s because I was not continuing a healthy lifestyle.”

She realized through this journey how little attention the medical system places on having a healthy body when healing with cancer, Lavoie says. The culture around cancer “fascinates her,” she says.

“I’ve had people, when I’ve told them I have cancer, say to me “How come you have your hair? Then when I tell people I didn’t have radiation they look at me like “Oh my God, she’s going to die.”

But this healthy lifestyle path is “forever,” Lavoie says. “You can’t just fix your immune system and then go back to your old ways and think you’re going to be fine.”

Along with regular vitamin C IV treatments through a naturopath, she started taking Essaic™ tea. The natural herbal formula was discovered by Rene Caisse, considered Canada’s cancer nurse, in the 1920s. For the history on Essaic™tea and how Caisse helped people many heal with cancer visit

Beta-glucon, an immune modulator that makes the immune system smarter, Lavoie continues to this day, along with other natural supplements, juicing and conscious eating. She’s introduced sugar back into her diet, but no refined sugars – only natural sources like coconut sugar and dates. Infrared sauna sessions are also part of her regular detox routine.

She eliminated anything stressful from her life. That also meant detaching herself from toxic people, and recognizing if a work project was causing stress it was time to cut ties.

“You basically have to get rid of the garbage out of your life. You have to take care of yourself first.”

She takes no pharmaceuticals and hasn’t visited a doctor since the lumpectomy. She visits a naturopath every three months for a check up. Thermography imaging shows there is no breast cancer, she says.

“Here I am two years without cancer, but the whole medical community basically said I need to do the conventional treatment or the cancer would likely return within one year. I’m cancer free and I didn’t follow the conventional treatment, so why don’t I have cancer?’

She started a website just to let people know they have options for cancer healing.

May 7, 2018