7 Natural Remedies You Need in Your Home Medicine Chest

This is a guest post by Kari Carlisle, Sevier County Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt nutrition education foundation. Read our mission statement. . . Become a member and receive our lively and informative quarterly journal. Click here for a message from Sally Fallon Morell. Read our Dietary Guidelines here.

Kari Carlisle is the museum curator and archaeologist for Fremont Indian State Park in central Utah with a B.A. in Bible theology and an M.A. in anthropology.  Kari acts as the Sevier County Chapter Leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation, serves on the boards of the Utah Museums Association and Central Utah A.R.T. Guild, and writes and edits for Wolfdogs Magazine.  Kari raises chickens and enjoys hiking with her husband, John, and two retired racing greyhounds, Jack and Samantha.

©2012 Kari A. Carlisle

Adopting a traditional diet is the first step toward wellness.  Once we eliminate processed foods and take steps to incorporate pastured meats, raw dairy, and cultured and fermented foods into our diet, our bodies will begin to heal themselves from any chronic ailments.  We may, however, need some medicinal help for an injury or acute illness from time to time.

Over the years since I switched my family (hubby and two greyhounds) to a traditional diet (that means raw meat and bones for the dogs), I have replaced modern, over-the-counter medicines with old-fashioned, all-natural counterparts.  This was a huge learning curve for me.  I used to be such a hypochondriac, I visited the doctor for every bump and pain I experienced and religiously accepted every diagnosis and prescription I was given.  Now with years of research and experience, I am confident in the healing power of the following seven natural remedies for my whole family.

1. Raw Honey

Raw honey is my favorite remedy for cuts and scrapes.  A few years ago one of my greyhounds, Samantha, slipped on an icy patch in our pasture and received a 6-inch, smiley-face shaped laceration on her thigh.  Since greyhounds have “cellophane skin” as my vet puts it, the stitches kept coming out.  Even a superglue patch wouldn’t hold.

I questioned my pals on various email lists, and someone suggested raw honey.  I was skeptical at first, as I am about most things until I research and experience them myself.  A simple Internet search taught me that raw honey is a pretty strong antibacterial and antiseptic.  I kept digging and learned that raw honey was used to dress wounds during WWII.  I also found a blog about someone whose diabetic ulcer was cured using raw honey.  It was worth a try, I decided.

So twice each day I applied a thick layer of raw honey to Sam’s wound and kept her from licking it off as long as I could.  Amazingly the wound that wouldn’t heal for weeks closed within a day and was completely healed within a week.  Since then I have had many opportunities to test the power of raw honey – must be raw, not grocery store honey – and I am amazed how quickly wounds heal.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that the old folk remedy is true — a spoonful of raw honey, straight up or in hot tea, really does sooth a sore throat.

2. Peppermint Spirits

For mild stomachaches I love peppermint spirits.  If I eat something a little too close to bedtime, I may wake up a couple of hours later with a queasy tummy.  Apparently I can’t sleep and digest at the same time.  At that point I must get up and have some peppermint spirits.  Two good squirts of the eyedropper in a glass of water is about the right amount.  Stirring frequently and sipping it down slowly (while watching some inane comedy on TV to take my mind off my tummy) does the trick for me.  After a few minutes I’m able to go back to bed and sleep through the rest of the night.

3. Oil of Oregano

Oil of oregano is so effective against stomachaches, I confess I am guilty of over-using this powerful antibacterial.  When peppermint spirits will work just fine, oil of oregano will work ten times as fast.  The downside is that it will kill beneficial bacterial as well, so I recommend saving its use for more serious stomachaches.  A good rule of thumb is to use oil of oregano the moment you realize you’re so nauseous you may vomit.  Oil of oregano kills nasty bacteria like salmonella and e. coli on contact.

As an antibacterial, oil of oregano can be used as a substitute for prescription antibiotics.  Like antibiotics, you need to limit your use and take plenty of probiotics (cultured and fermented foods) to replenish your healthy gut bacteria.

Purchase oil of oregano at a health food store, and be sure to get Origanum Vulgare.  Oil of oregano has a gazillion uses, so whatever ails you, do your own research to see if oil of oregano might be effective.  Chances are it will be.

Oil of oregano has some topical uses such as acne, nail fungus, and gum sores.  I have only used it internally, so I don’t yet have any recommendations as to its topical use, but for internal use oil of oregano must be diluted.  It’s very strong and may burn the mouth if taken directly.  My favorite method of delivery is to put 4-5 drops in ¼ to ½ cup of apple juice, stir briskly and drink it down without letting it touch my lips.  Tastes like drinking pizza.  I have never had a stomachache that wasn’t cured by oil of oregano.

4. Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver is water with a suspension of tiny silver particles.  It’s been used for thousands of years as an antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic.  My family uses silver both internally and topically.

Take colloidal silver internally a little bit every day to support your immune system and keep colds and flus at bay.  Take a mouthful under the tongue and hold it there for a few seconds, then swish around the mouth and swallow.  I put a little in my dogs’ water bowl too.

My favorite use of silver is topical.  I keep some in a spray bottle to use for irrigating wounds and for spraying on bug bites.  The itching from a mosquito bite goes away fast!

The only downside of using colloidal silver is the cost of buying it.  Find someone who makes it, or make it yourself.  Here is a YouTube video demonstrating how to make your own silver.  Colloidal silver does have a short shelf life.  It doesn’t go bad, just less effective, so use only fresh-made silver, and store it in a brown bottle to keep the light from degrading it.

5. Bentonite Clay

I first used bentonite clay a couple of years ago for a spider bite and only recently have been using it for other purposes.  I don’t know what kind of spider bit me on my right cheek, just below the corner of my eye, but it was swollen and gave me constant, searing pain.  I don’t remember if I tried anything on the bite, but it being so close to my eye, I was concerned about the venom migrating there.  I just didn’t know what to do.

After days of suffering, I must have had an epiphany or read something somewhere about clay being used as a drawing poultice.  I headed to the health food store to buy some, and for three nights after work I applied a poultice and laid on my left side for an hour with a wet washcloth over it.  I was surprised that I could actually feel it working.  The bite area tingled and I felt shooting pains as the clay drew out the venom.  The swelling went down and the pain subsided.  My only regret is that I didn’t think of clay sooner.  To this day my cheek is numb where the spider bit me.

Since that spider bite we have experimented with using bentonite clay for various internal and external issues with great success.  Clay works for stomachaches, constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating (isn’t that a commercial?).  Since the dogs won’t drink peppermint spirits or oil of oregano, I put clay in their water bowl when one has a stomachache.

Clay takes away the sting of sunburn and turns it from red to brown within hours – something I experienced myself just this week (too much hiking in the middle of the day).  There are so many uses of bentonite clay, the folks at Redmond Minerals wrote a book about it available for free download.

6. Rescue® Remedy

Bach’s flower essence formula, Rescue® Remedy, became very important to me after a serious car accident.  I was plagued with terrible emotions after that accident, and a few drops of Rescue® Remedy under the tongue calmed me down.  I haven’t used it in years, but I include it in this list because I will use it again in a heartbeat in a medical emergency to calm myself or some else down.  And no one can tell me this only works because of the placebo effect.  I know plenty of dog owners who successfully use Rescue® Remedy for separation anxiety, and the dog doesn’t know what it’s for!

7. Arnica Montana

I was introduced to this homeopathic remedy back in college.  I got overzealous with the space boots, hanging upside down for too long, and I strained a muscle in my lower back.  I could barely walk from the excruciating pain.  My carpool friend gave me a bottle of arnica pills, and I felt relief within hours and pain-free within three days.

Arnica is available in pills that are dissolved under the tongue, as well as a first aid gel or cream.  We use arnica liberally for aches and pains, bruises, and all injuries to reduce pain and speed up healing.


Photo by John A. Carlisle Photography (www.johnacarlislephotography.com) All rights reserved.

Many of these remedies can be used for multiple ailments.  It takes time and experience to figure out which ones work best for what, and it might be different for each individual.  These remedies are my favorites (so far), but there are many more out there that are good, effective remedies.  Herbs, homeopathy, ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and folk medicine are all worth exploring.

Before you reach for the pink stuff or the triple antibiotic, try one of my suggestions.  Do your own research.  If you don’t like the idea of using your kids or pets as guinea pigs, try them on yourself first.  The most important thing I have learned is to stay calm and think critically about the situation, and then make a decision about which remedy to try.  Of course at one o’clock in the morning, it’s hard to think critically about choosing peppermint spirits over oil of oregano for a minor tummy ache.  That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.


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