Maybe it’s my rebellious Aquarian tendencies, but I’ve been cultivating a pretty major aversion to the Western medical paradigm, as well as to doctors themselves, since somewhere around birth. I stave off colds with ginger, lemon, honey, garlic, and cayenne. I treat bee stings with homemade poultices of bentonite clay, honey and lavender oil; and I got rid of these weird (but still super-sexy) candida-inspired lesions on my skull with apple cider vinegar.
Yay for the healing power of Mother Nature, right?
While I realize my approach tends toward the extreme, I have spent enough time in the trenches of holistic healing to have figured out a thing or two; and it is with this in mind that I am inspired to offer up a few must-have suggestions for your natural at-home apothecary. You. Are. Welcome.
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1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a magical essential oil that hails from Australia. It’s anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and super strong. I do not recommend using tea tree oil in its undiluated form, as I learned the hard way when treating a yeast infection by dipping a tampon in the stuff (ladies: do not
try this!). But, if you just use a little bit, and mix it with the right carrier, tea tree oil is a great friend to have. Perfect to disinfect topical wounds, to treat viral and fungal infections, and even as part of your daily tooth-brushing regimen, tea tree oil is a great home apothecary staple.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is kind of amazing, given that you can use it for so many things. I drink a splash in the morning to stay alkaline; rinse my hair and face with it (hello shine, bye-bye sun spots); and sip it to calm my belly when I’ve eaten gluten or sugar, or really anything that doesn’t agree with my system. It’s great for topical use, as well as internally, and it even doubles as a fabulous household cleaning product. Apple cider vinegar is great for fasting and detoxing, as well as for a quick burst of energy. Plus, it tastes delicious. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Make sure you get the raw, unfiltered variety. (Illustration by Dani Katz)
3. Coconut Oil
A cursory Google search will confirm what the hippies have known for years: coconut oil can pretty much cure anything. It’s anti-bacterial, which makes it a great internal remedy for candida and parasites, as well as a topical facial care product, for those opting for the oil cleansing method. It kills viruses, fungus, yeast and bacteria; is great for teeth and bones; plus, you can cook with it at high heat. I use it as a base for my homemade toothpaste, as well as for a weekly hair treatment, and morning oil pulling, in addition to sipping it throughout the day to keep my intestinal flora in tip-top shape. It also makes a great carrier oil for tea tree oil. Handy, right?
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4. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver gets a lot of bad press, mostly because it’s a heavy metal, and we all know that heavy metals can be kinda, sorta, terrible
for our health. But, colloidal silver is, in fact, a perfectly safe mineral supplement that can be used to treat a wide range of issues, including yeast-based infections, as well as viral and bacteria-based ones. Personally, I’m prone to ear infections – the excruciating 24-hour variety that render me loopy, and wondering how much pain a human being can endure without going insane. As soon as I catch whiff of an oncoming infection, I down a dropperful of colloidal silver to stave it off. When an (ex)boyfriend gave me the gift of bacterial vaginosis, I treated it with colloidal silver. I consider colloidal silver one of the big guns, and tend to turn to it for things like bronchitis, pneumonia, flus, tooth infections, pink eye, et al.
5. Wild Oregano Oil
A powerful antimicrobial, I use wild oregano in situations where a Western medical practitioner would prescribe an antibiotic. I took it when I got dysentery riding a motorcycle across India, and I turn to it whenever I get a bladder infection (TMI abounds in this one, doesn’t it?). It knocks out infections and parasites like nobody’s proverbial business. Fair warning, it tastes terrible, and can be caustic to the mucous membranes, meaning you don’t want to use Wild Oregano oil for extended stints. But, when something major threatens to take you down, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. In small doses. And with orange juice chasers.
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6. Baking Soda
Like our friend, coconut oil, there are about a zillion and one miraculous uses for baking soda. I use it to brush my teeth, wash my hair and exfoliate my face. A teaspoon in a glass of water will knock out a candida flare-up, and if you add some sea salt, it’ll cure your bladder infection, too. It whitens teeth, alkalizes blood, soothes achy bellies, and does a body so, so much good, I can only scratch the surface, while imploring you to stock your home apothecary with the stuff.
Honey is well-known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Use it to treat wounds, and calm infections. You can also use it as a base for a face mask for soft, radiant skin. Honey is great for treating colds, for soothing sore throats and achy, coughing-sore chests, and making your morning Yerba Maté taste spectacular. (Illustration by Dani Katz)
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8. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is a phenomenal immune stimulator, loaded with antioxidants. It has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a great choice to turn to when you’re dealing with candida, or the like, as well as any associated skin and belly issues. I’ve used it to treat parasites, various vadge issues, as well as belly-related skin stuff. Plus, when I travel, and find myself eating food prepared with questionable hygiene standards, I’m sure to follow-up with a dose of GSE to keep my intestinal tract in tip-top shape. So far, it’s worked wonders.
While not an exhaustive list, this will absolutely get you started, and – barring anything apocalyptic or (too) bloody – will likely heal what ails you. I encourage you to do your own research, while saying a prayer of thanks for the perfection that is our amazing planet, and the powerful healing wonders she gives us.
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Tell us in the comments: What's your favorite natural remedy?