Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Staying Healthy Au Natural: Creating an Alternative Health Care Kit

By Amy Phillips-Gary

What do you usually reach for when you've got a splitting headache or your stomach keeps churning?

If you're like many folks in the U.S., you probably treat everyday ills and chills with over-the-counter medicines from your local pharmacy.

A lot of people keep first aid kits on hand to treat those non-emergencies that happen from time to time.

You may already know that there are a wealth of alternative options also available to treat those very same health crises and mini-crises.

I choose to keep an alternative health care kit for the medical needs of myself and my family.

[Note: I am NOT a health care professional but I have used various natural and alternative remedies to treat the maladies of myself and family members for over 15 years.]

Of course, please consult with your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns before trying these suggestions...

Why make the switch to Alternative Health products?
Every once in a while, I get a really intense cold. You've probably been there too. Sometimes, in desperation, I turn to a cough suppressant like Nyquil or Vicks in order to just get some sleep.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a cough suppressant. But, in my case, I found that the cough suppressant stopped the cough, but didn't address the post-nasal drip. So there I lay in my bed, tossing and turning and still unable to sleep!

This is one negative side effect of a more mainstream, allopathic medicine-- they tend to suppress the symptoms but leave the imbalance or illness to rage on.

[Allopathy is a general term used to describe Western medical practices-- especially those in the U.S. Many of the usual products in a traditional first aid kit or medicine cabinet could be described as allopathic.]

When you use allopathic medicines, you may end up feeling worse in the long-run. In my situation, to suppress my cough wasn't enough. My immune system needed boosting so that my body could return to a healthy, balanced state.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the more mainstream medicines on the market just don't offer whole body support-- such as bolstering the immune system.

Another downside to many allopathic medicines is that they have unwanted side effects. Ibuprofen, for example, can cause stomach upset. Prolonged use of acetaminophen has been linked to liver and kidney damage.

One look at the sometimes lengthy warning labels on the bottles of products like these and you may wonder if the temporary relief you might receive is worth the long-term (or even more immediate) health costs?!

What's in my Alternative Health Care Kit....
Ever since a dismal and damaging experience I had in my 20s with a dermatologist followed by an amazing experience with a homeopath, I have heavily relied on alternative health care-- at home and from professionals.

If you open the medicine cabinet at my house, you will primarily find herbs, tinctures and homeopathic remedies which my family and I use regularly.

Yes, we do have some Pepto-Bismol and even a bottle of ibuprofen. But these are used rarely, if at all.

Even if you are not ready to clear your cabinets of Tylenol and Nyquil, consider adding a few alternative health care products to your own medicine cabinet or kit.

These more natural products do not usually act in the same ways as their more mainstream allopathic counterparts. Your symptoms might not abate as quickly, for example.

But you probably won't encounter negative side effects in your quest for relief.

It's also likely that you'll find your return to health is more complete and possibly even longer-lasting when you use alternative health care methods and remedies.

Here is a short list of alternative remedies for common ailments and injuries:

Headaches: Peppermint, ginger and chamomile herbal teas can be soothing. Acupressure massage is useful and you don't have to be formally trained to benefit from it. (I keep a credit card-sized acupressure guide handy on my dresser.)

Stomaches: Homeopathic remedies such as nux vomica work well when due to overeating. Aloe vera juice helps keep the digestive system functioning optimally and is also an anti-inflammatory agent.

Colds/Flu: Infuse your body with vitamin C with fizzy and flavorful Emergen-C packets. A friend of mine swears by the homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum for flus-- my family concurs.

Another all-around anti-microbial and anti-infective product is colloidal silver. This can be used as a preventive for flus and viruses and is also beneficial for cuts.

Staying healthy is all about prevention. Click on this link for a great recipe for natural hand sanitizer from Pepper Paints.

Bumps and Bruises: When a fall or other injury occurs, use the Bach flower remedy, Rescue Remedy. This helps with the emotional impact of a trauma. I even carry Rescue Remedy in my purse!

Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that can be used topically or internally that works wonders on bruises and stiff or sore places.

These are just a few items in my Alternative Health Kit. There is a wealth of information online and at your local health food store to learn more about these and other products.

Here are some sites to check out...

Homeopathy information:

Herbal remedies information:

Bach Flower information:

Colloidal Silver information:


  1. This is wonderful. Yeah, it's all about staying healthy. Are you going to write an entire article on the neti pot?

  2. Great idea! Complete with photos perhaps? maybe not

  3. Great article! We love natural remedies as much as possible, too. We actually swear and live by echinecea for prevention. My husband is actually much more well-versed than me on the subject. And I hate all the cold medicines, like Nyquil. Nyquil actually makes me wired rather than putting me to sleep. The only thing that puts me to sleep is Benadryl or a really big cup of chamomile tea.

  4. Hey, I used the Neti Pot this weekend when my nose was all gnarly after mowing the lawns. It worked, too.