The season of our discontent is upon us.
Since the beginning of time, plant medicine — the art and science of using herbs and natural, Earth-based remedies — has been the world’s primary form of promoting health and treating illness.
Today, many of us continue this form of traditional healing as intended, from the comfort and security of our own homes.
The primary focus of building a Winter Medicine Cabinet is to treat those we love — irrespective of the ailment — and to create a sacred home environment in which all those who enter are encouraged, and freed, to experience their own innate healing power through the use of lifestyle, herbs, foods, and the like.
To help facilitate this type of space creation…the following is a list of 10 must-have items I believe should be included in everyone’s medicine cabinet.
10 Must Have Items for the Winter Medicine Cabinet
- Homemade Herbal Cold Care Capsules. I feel like my herbal medicine chest simply isn’t complete without these herbal cold care capsules. This is one of my most effective and favorite remedies for combating minor cold and flu symptoms. Making my own allows me the freedom and joy of controlling the quality of ingredients…not to mention…they just WORK!!
- Herbal Teas. Warm herbal teas are a great, quick and easy way to ingest the healing power of plants. Not to mention, the entire practice of tea-making is healing all on its own. (Note:: I purchase all of my tea making supplies here and if you’re looking to beautify the art…these gorgeous tea pots are just what you need!) The following is the collection of various herbal teas I keep stocked on the shelf all winter long:
-Echinacea & Roots Tea
-Fidnemed Nighttime Tea
-The Blues Tea
-Winter Spice Tea
-Just for Kids Organic Cold Care Herbal Tea
-Throat Coat Herbal Tea
- Essential Oils. Topical application and diffusion of essential oils is a daily practice in my home. Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Clove, Oregano, Thyme, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Ginger round out my winter essential oils kit and provide for a variety of blends and uses. (Note:: I highly recommend the organic essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs…check out their extensive selection of oils here.) As for diffusion, my most favorite diffuser is this Natura Ultrasonic Diffuser from Mountain Rose Herbs…I also have this Nebulizer that I love and use in my children’s rooms.
- Smudge Sticks, Resins, and Medicinal Burnables. I love the practice of smudging my home! And during the winter months, I step-up my efforts by burning a combination of white sage, locally-harvested chaparral/pine/juniper/cedar, frankincense, myrrh, and palo santo. (Note:: I only recommend purchasing herbs and resins for burning from Mountain Rose Herbs, click here to check out their vast assortment of burnables.) According to an article published by The Mind Unleased, titled ‘Killer Germs’ Obliterated by Medicinal Smoke (Smudging), Study Reveals, we now know — based on modern scientific research — that the practice of burning herbs may actually have life-saving implications by purifying the air of harmful bacteria. As evidenced by the following,
“We have observed that 1 hour treatment of medicinal smoke emanated by burning wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herbs (havan sámagri=material used in oblation to fire all over India), on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts by 60 min and the ability of the smoke to purify or disinfect the air and to make the environment cleaner was maintained up to 24 hour in the closed room. Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonas syringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens in the open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment. We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.”
- Homeopathic Remedies. Homeopathic remedies are just another staple in my medicine chest. Working with our bodies’ ability to heal itself, homeopathic remedies are super effective and quick and easy to get on board as soon as symptoms hit. Here are the few must-haves:
-Boiron Homeopathic Medicine Oscillococcinum for Flu
-Boiron Coldcalm Cold Relief Tablets
-Hyland’s Cold ‘n Cough 4 Kids
-Hyland’s Sore Throat Tablets
- Detox Bath Supplies. Detox baths are an excellent way to support the entire body during illness! Not only is it a therapeutic practice, it has the ability to induce a deep state of relaxation. These are a few of the detox bath recipes I follow when I’m feeling under the weather…Cure the Common Cold Naturally:: DIY Detox Bath and 3 Natural Detox Bath Recipes.
- Elderberries. Elderberries are held in high esteem in areas all over the world. Well-known for their outstanding ability to ward off and cure the viruses of all kinds i.e. the common cold and/or flu virus, elderberries make some of the most effective remedies and should be a part of everyone’s medicine chest in some form! CLICK HERE to see my recipes for homemade elderberry syrup and tincture or you can purchase organic elderberry syrup here…
- Herbal Smoking Blend. There are many common herbs that have been used throughout millennia to treat illness…primarily ailments of the respiratory system. Herbs such as mullein leaf, osha root, elecampane root, lobelia, peppermint, and oregano when smoked work to support lung health, soothe inflamed tissue of the respiratory tract, and treat infection. (Note:: Click here to check out this pre-made Herbal Smoking Blend.)
- Organic, Raw Honey. Honey is so much more than just a natural sweetener. Organic, raw honey, which has not been pasteurized or filtered, can be especially useful for medicinal, antibiotic purposes. Historically it has be used to soothe a sore throat and ease a cough. I LOVE the Immuni-Bee Herbal Honey Spread from Mountain Rose Herbs!!! With the addition of immune boosting powdered herbs…it takes medicinal honey to a new level!
- Garlic. Garlic’s power and value as a healing agent is unsurpassed and cannot be overstated…it has been used throughout history as an effective antibiotic. Garlic’s broad antimicrobial spectrum incorporates antifungal, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan, and antiviral attributes in one food source. Garlic is most potent chewed or crushed raw. Nothing science has ever created comes close to doing what garlic can do.
Home library resources:: In addition to stocking my medicine cabinet, I have shelves of books readily available to assist me in my efforts. Any of these books on Herbal Medicine I highly recommend for the home library!
+Because they work gently and effectively.
+Because you can grow many yourselves, right outside your front door or even in your kitchen.
+Because it’s our birthright to use the gifts of nature with respect and wisdom.
+Because up until relatively recently, at least in the western world, herbs were an integral part of taking care of ourselves.
Health doesn’t come from plastic bottles. Vitality grows naturally from the way you live your life. Deep down, people already know this.
If you want to learn more about herbs as medicine and as food, and if you’re just too busy to enroll in an in-person program, join the Herbal Academy of New England for a comprehensive and convenient online herbal courseyou can complete anywhere and anytime!
Learn what your great ancestors knew about the natural world and begin to build your own apothecary.
Start classes anytime!
Click this link to learn more and register.
Note: Naturally the results will be different for everyone. This is by no means a cure-all. I’m just happy to share with you my experience with these plants and/or oils. Please use conventional wisdom and consult with your medical professional prior to using this or any other herbal remedy. And as we know all too well the FDA doesn’t like any type of claim…therefore, take it for what it is, and remember, this information is purely educational in its purpose.
DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my knowledge-sharing/writing/blogging activities, I occasionally may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust.