Normally I don’t believe in making “sorry to have gone quiet” posts, but I truly did intend to put up something last week. That is, until I got hit with a major allergic reaction on Monday evening. While I have dealt with allergy issues all my life, I had reactions I’d never experienced before. Thus my energies were focused on being able to breathe properly and getting better. I still don’t know what caused the reaction, and to be honest I’m not fretting over it too much.
How I prefer to convalesce when ill. Photo from The Commons.
My usual method for recovering from any sort of illness now tends along the lines of “alternative” medicine. Having spent my youth taking a wide range of antibiotics for sinus and throat infections, antihistamines for allergies (and having them lose their effectiveness from overuse), inhalers for asthma, and STILL having those problems plague me even with the drugs, I now prefer to treat the symptoms as much as possible. Plus my health has improved enough that I don’t really need those drugs anymore. I refuse to take antibiotics because I feel they are over-prescribed, leading to the various drug-resistant bugs now making the rounds around the country. My asthma bothers me so little, it’s not worth it for me to keep an inhaler anymore. It would be close to dead before I’d need to use it. The allergies have been mending slowly as my immune system becomes stronger, though sometimes I need help on that front.
Sometimes I still get sick, or react badly to something. I try to keep remedies around the house which treat the symptoms I am most likely to deal with. Since the household currently holds just two adults who tend to be in decent health, there’s not a huge collection. I thought it would be worth sharing, to give ideas of ways to help treat illnesses at home. As always, this is not a substitute for formal medical training. I’ve found these primarily through personal research and my own trial and error.
I start with these since it’s my first line of defense.
Activated charcoal–This should be a constant in any and every home. It binds with toxic substances and keeps the body from absorbing them. Used in hospitals and drug treatment centers for people who have overdosed. It can also be used effectively against food poisoning and lesser digestive issues.
Bromelain–made from the core of pineapples, a very effective anti-inflammatory. Strangely enough, I know I need it if I am feeling ill, thinking about it, and it’s the LAST thing I want to take. This is very effective when my knee or sinuses swell up.
Elderberry syrup–Something I’ve been taking this past week. A remedy with a long history, it has strong anti-viral properties. I know a few people who make their own. If only I had an elderberry bush in my neighborhood.
Neti–I’ve done a whole post on why I am a fan of the neti pot and have used it for over a decade. If you have sinus issues with any regularity and do not use one, I suggest you stop reading right now and GET ONE. You can also replicate the method with a paper cup. Don’t be squeamish either. The minor discomfort you may have from rinsing your nose will be trivial compared to how much quicker you will recover from sinus trouble.
Melatonin–A vitamin B6 supplement I use periodically during the year to aid with my sleep. It’s especially helpful for me in the winter, when I want to sleep more.
Oscillococcinum–A homeopathic flu remedy I came across some years ago. I’m not too familiar with homeopathy but very curious to learn more. In this case, I take it when I feel like I may be coming down with the flu. Usually I can either cut it off before it takes hold, or my days with symptoms are not many.
Incidentally, if you have any suggestions for learning homeopathy or might even be willing to give me some instruction, I will gladly accept it!
Burt’s Bees Res-Q Oinment–whenever I get a cut or a burn, this salve goes on there. I’d love to learn how to make my own someday.
Tea tree oil–Perfect for drying out acne or surface fungal infections.
I keep enough around that it merits its own section.
Chamomile–to help me relax and sleep
Calming–especially helpful when I feel stressed about school. This is a specific blend including kava kava. Despite my generally laid back demeanor, I don’t do the “relaxation” thing well.
Rose Hips–good source of vitamin C
Peppermint–good for digestion, and I recently learned that in China it was traditional for men to drink hot peppermint tea in the summer to help them cool off.
Moon cycle–There’s one day each month when I feel very thankful for this tea.
Mullein–I just discovered this herb in the past week. An expectorant.
Echinacea–for immune system support.
When all else fails…
Mucinex–Another expectorant. It really does help, but I have to be coughing a LOT before I even remember its existence
Anti-histamines–About two times a year now (if that), I feel like I really need these.
Ibuprofin–Yes, sometimes I do hurt that much.
What are you medicine chest necessities?