Create a “clean” medicine cabinet containing all the natural remedies you’ve come to rely on.
Since we can pretty much count on the occasional cold, stomach ache, muscle aches, bruises, scrapes, pain, or headaches, as part of everyday life, why not stash the basics to reach for when you need them?
When we feel start to feel sick we reflexively reach for what we know which are usually the over-the-counter remedies. Most of the time these medications are about controlling symptoms, not healing the underlying cause, which is fine.
But imagine that you had some plant-based remedies on hand as a first line of defense. They easier on your body, restore health, and are a fraction of the cost.
Of course, natural remedies don’t work on everything, and NSAIDs are all you need. But for colds, muscle aches and pains, and stomach aches, herbal formulas and external applications work better, so plan ahead and keep them in your medicine cabinet for the next time you start feeling a cold or overdo it on the trail.
Here are a few ways to create a clean medicine cabinet:
1. For colds
- Yin Qiao Wan– at the first sign of a cold with a scratchy or sore throat and slight fever, this one knocks it out 85% of the time.
- Dried citrus peel tea- same as above- there are vitamins in the peel that chase away those nasty bugs.
- Gan Mao Ling– if those nasty bugs took hold, you don’t have to wait it out! This stuff will speed healing along, and make you feel better in the meantime.
2. For stomachaches|indigestion|gas|bloating
- Bao He Wan– if it feels like what you just ate or ate 4 hours ago, or even yesterday, this one helps food move through your digestive tract in a comfortable way.
- Er Chen Wan – for chronic indigestion, this simple, classic formula is surprisingly effective in bringing stomach issues under control, going to the source of the problem.
- Bromelain – for occasional indigestion after eating, usually emotion-related, taken with meals.
3. For stress
- Xiao Yao Wan– if your day is making you frazzled, Xiao Yao Wan will ease the tension, freeing up all that frustration. Actually there are many more formulas for stress, anxiety, and depression, but this one is the most popular, with a broad application.
4. For sleep
- Magnesium – 400 mg an hour before bed, along with good habits (no electronics, settling down, etc.) encourages entry into sleep and staying asleep if you find you are wakeful
- An Shen Wan – one of many formulas that promote peaceful sleep
5. For bumps, scrapes, and bruises
If you’re recovering from an injury, acupuncture itself will speed the healing by restoring blood flow to the area, invigorate the immune system to clean up debris, and reduce local swelling. You can use external application herbs, as tinctures or oils on the area (but never on an open wound) to continue the therapeutic effect and speed recovery.
- Trauma Lotion – made of strong herbs that are applied on the skin (never ingested) to improve circulation and speed healing. As an example, you bump your elbow and rub some on immediately and avoid bruising and pain.
- Tendon Lotion – also made of strong herbs that are applied on the skin (never ingested) to improve circulation in areas where pain in soft tissue has lingered. As an example, rub some on an old low back injury that comes and goes. Apply several times a day until the pain calms down.
6. For skin irritation
- Yin Care – an herbal wash that clears simple surface infections (bacterial, viral, fungal) when applied correctly
The list of Chinese herbal formulas presented here are but a fraction of what is available. Herbs are safe but we advise caution and recommend you get them through a reputable, licensed acupuncturist who is board-certified (NCCAOM) in Chinese herbs.
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