Years ago, I was talking with an allopathic physician about holistic medicine. When I told her that my medicine cabinet was half-and-half, she asked if my half was alternative and my husband’s was regular.
I laughed and replied, “No. What I mean is that half of the remedies are holistic and the other half are regular. He’s actually more into alternative therapies than I am; he doesn’t like taking pills, not even an aspirin.
“So, what’s a holistic remedy?” she asked.
To me, a holistic remedy is a non-invasive treatment that not only works with the body’s natural rhythms, it isn’t going to cause allergic reactions, and is genearlly harmless when taken with other medications. Classic examples of this type of remedy are homeopathy and Bach flower remedies. It’s interesting to note that the fathers of these disciplines were both MDs.
I look at the requirements of a good medicine cabinet on two levels. First, I have different remedies available depending on the severity of the problem. If I have a headache, is it the kind of headache that a simple aspirin will relieve or do I need to reach for the Excedrin? Secondly, one should have the basics, whether the remedy is holistic or not. So, what are the basics?
In addition to the band-aids, thermometer, and hydrogen peroxide (my kids don’t even know the words merthiolate or mecuricome), I have Pepto Bismol, Tylenol, aspirin, and Excedrin.
On the holistic side, I have arnica montana, nux vomica, traumeel, and Rescue Remedy as my all-stars. In fact, these are also the number one players in my travel first-aid.
When deciding on a remedy, I evaluate the severity of the problem. If the kids have an upset stomach, 99% of the time, 2 nux vomica pellets (30c) will do the trick. If they are throwing up? It’s children’s Pepto Bismol. I may follow-up with the nux vomica but in my experience, the standard remedy works more effectively and more quickly with vomiting. This is the same approach I use for the adults in the house, substituting regular Pepto Bismol in place of the children’s.
If there is an injury, out comes the arnica montana, which is excellent for bruising. I have the 30c pellets and the cream form, and use appropriately.
If there is a scraped knee, several drops of Rescue Remedy quickly relieves the shock and fright, and allows me to clean the wound with a relaxed child.
As you can see, making just a few key additions can give you a well-stocked holistic medicine cabinet. I didn’t include herbal remedies, though I have my share, because there can be side effects and interactions with other medications. It takes more knowledge than I could impart in a brief article on medicine cabinet basics.