Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Herbal Medicine Chest

I already have several herbal remedies, essential oils and homeopathic remedies in my medicine chest which I find invaluable. While reading a book from the library titled Home Hints and Tips: The New Guide to Natural, Safe and Healthy Living by Rosamond Richardson, I found a section on the herbal medicine chest. It suggested the following remedies to keep in your cupboard:

Aloe Vera – the gel can be used for minor burns and scalds, sunburn, stretch marks, warts, wounds and grazes, eczema and dermatitis, and dehydrated skin.

Arnica – the cream can be used on bruises, sprains and strains, and stiff and aching muscles while the arnica homeopathic pillules can be taken when you have sustained an injury, are in pain, or have experienced shock or trauma.

Calendula – the cream can be used on acne, boils, athlete’s foot, bites and stings, nappy rash, bruises, minor wounds, and swellings.

Chamomile – the chamomile essential oil can be blended with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil and used for a wide variety of skin conditions including nappy rash, eczema and dermatitis, sore and itching skin, bites and stings, sore nipples and muscles spasms. A cream is also available which can be used for the same conditions. German Chamomile is the best variation of chamomile for skin conditions. Chamomile tea is excellent for insomnia, indigestion, morning sickness, and relaxation.

Clove – a couple drops of the essential oil can be used to help toothache – place 2-3 drops on some cotton wool and dab on to the surrounding area.

Comfrey – a cream or ointment can be used for bruises, acne, boils, fractures and wounds, fungal skin infections, psoriasis, and stiff and aching joints.

Echinecea – both tablets and tincture are available and can be used to help stimulate the immune system when under attack for example during a cold / flu. It can also help coughs, fevers, mild asthma and cold sores.

Garlic – capsules can be taken to increase your resistance to infections and can be used for colds and flu, coughs and bronchitis. It also helps to lower blood pressure and can be used for cold sores and digestive infections.

Hypercium – the cream is very effective for cramps, neuralgia, cold sores, back pain, and stiff and aching joints and muscles. The oil can be used on minor wounds and burns.

Lavender – the lavender essential oil can be used for headaches, back pain, asthma, irritability, insomnia, relaxation and much more. It can be used neat on insect stings and bites, spots, and cold sores. Add it to a carrier oil to massage stiff and aching muscles and joints.

Meadowsweet – the tablets can be used for rheumatic aches while a tea made from meadowsweet can help with stomach acidity, heartburn, and diarrhoea.

Neem – the oil can be used to treat head lice, skin rashes, ringworm, and it is also a powerful insect repellent. The cream can be used for eczema, proriasis, acne and many other skin conditions.

Slippery Elm – the capsules are good for coughs and bronchitis. The powder is good for acidity and indigestion while the tablets are good for diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, and haemorrhoids.

Tea Tree – the tea tree essential oil is good for stings, bites, wounds, skin infection, ringworm, athlete’s foot, minor burns, warts and corns, and much more. It can also be used undiluted on the skin but if it is to be used on a large area of skin it is best to dilute it in a carrier oil first. It can be used to treat thrush by mixing 2-3 drops with 1 tsp of olive oil and place on a tampon to insert. Leave it in for 2-3 hours, remove, and repeat if required.

Thyme – the essential oil is good for bites, stings, scabies, sciatica, ringworm, rheumatic pain, athlete’s foot, and thrush. This essential oil must be diluted before use.

Valerian & Hops – tablets are available to help insomnia, relieve stress, tension and anxiety. Valerian is also available as an essential oil which can be placed on a tissue on your pillow at night.

White Willow – tablets can help arthritis, rheumatic pain, back pain, stiff and aching joints, and fever. It also reduces night sweats and hot flushes in menopause.

Witch Hazel – this can be used on insect bites and stings, sore skin, rashes, broken and varicose veins, bruises, and eczema.

Out of these 18 herbal medicine chest essentials I have 10 which is pretty good going but I will make a trip to the nearest health food store to stock up on the others – you never know when they might come in handy. I would also add a pot of tiger balm to this list for muscle aches and pains as well as eucalyptus essential oil for steam inhalations.

I found this list quite interesting and I will be looking in to some of the individual items in more detail in future posts. Some of them have already been discussed in more detail such as the arnica homeopathic pillules, tea tree, lavender, and chamomile essential oils.

Ensure that you follow the directions carefully on any products you purchase and take note of any cautions.

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  2. These creams & Gels are indeed fantastic, we list many of them @:


    So if you are serious about skin care come & have a look, you'll love the range.