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If you spend any amount of time on Instagram following people who talk about “wellness,” you’ll be completely overwhelmed by all of the high price items they say you NEED to have. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to buy crazy superfoods or the newest fancy supplements to keep your family healthy. You can take a more natural approach to health on a budget.
I have not always been a naturally-minded mother. When my first and second children were babies, I would immediately default to over-the-counter medicines any time they seemed uncomfortable or had even a slight fever. If the doctor said that they needed antibiotics, I would give them to my kids without question.
It wasn’t until my third child was a baby that I started looking into natural alternatives to what I was doing. My kids had been on so many antibiotics in their short lives that I started worrying it wasn’t good for them anymore. I was reading about the long-term risks and impact on gut health and thought there had to be another way.
This does NOT mean that I’m against traditional medicine or talking to your doctor. I have just found that the vast majority of the time I can manage what’s happening with a more natural approach. It also helps me avoid costly doctor visits for minor illnesses.
I put together a list of my favorite budget-friendly items we have in our natural medicine cabinet to help your family stay healthy or get better faster.
Where to Shop for Natural Remedies
It does not have to be terribly expensive to build up a natural medicine cabinet, but just take your time and prioritize what is most important to you if money is a concern. I find most of the items I keep on hand on Amazon, Thrive Market, or any local health food store.
I tend to be pretty brand loyal based on my own product research in regards to ingredients and quality. Occasionally I’ll jump between two brands based on what I find on sale.
What’s In My Natural Medicine Cabinet
Bone Broth- When I recommend bone broth, I’m not talking about the boxed stocks. Bone broth is really easy to make at home using bones from a whole chicken or beef bones. You can then freeze it to use as needed. I also like to keep quality brands like Kettle & Fire or Bonafide Provisions on hand to thaw quickly when I’m feeling sick. Bone broth is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. The collagen in bone broth heals your gut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation.
Raw or Manuka Honey- High quality honey is definitely not cheap, but it is a must-have. I find my Manuka Honey at Costco in a huge container that is really reasonably priced. You can find raw honey pretty much anywhere, but I usually get mine from Thrive Market. I give my kids a spoonful of honey when they have a cough to soothe their throats. I also like to add it to my tea when I’m feeling sick.
Elderberry Syrup- Elderberry syrup is a must-have in our medicine cabinet during Cold and Flu season. Elderberry syrup contains compounds that are proven to shorten the duration of the flu by 3-4 days if you begin taking it at the onset of symptoms. It can also be taken once per day as a preventative measure. I used to buy it at Thrive Market, but it’s also incredibly easy to make on your own Elderberry syrup for a fraction of the cost. Elderberry gummies are a great option, especially for kids, if you have trouble getting your kids to take a syrup. Sambucus elderberry gummies are amazing, and I make my own if I don’t need them immediately.
Witch Hazel- Witch hazel can be used for its ability to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria. It provides a cooling and tingling sensation that helps to soothe bug bites and other itches. Combine it with aloe vera and essential oils to create a natural hand purifier.
Activated Charcoal- Activated charcoal is excellent for dealing with tummy troubles such as bloating, diarrhea or food poisoning. You can take it in capsule form, but it can also be mixed into things like apple sauce and smoothies to be easily ingested by children.
Epsom Salts- I am a huge believer in Epsom Salt baths for almost any ailment. If I feel like I am getting sick, I like to take an epsom salt bath with immune supporting essential oils. If I have sore muscles after working out, I like taking an epsom salt bath with PanAway and Copaiba essential oils for muscle and joint support. Epsom salts are also amazing in a bath with essential oils for respiratory support to help soothe the sinuses and get a good night’s sleep. Just add a cup of epsom salts to a hot bath, or half a cup for children, and allow it to dissolve. Soak for at least 20 minutes to get the benefits of the epsom salts, particularly the magnesium.
Bentonite Clay- Bentonite clay is great for drawing out impurities. It can be used for things like athletes foot, a homemade calamine lotion, or as a simple facial mask. Just mix equal parts bentonite clay and water to make a paste. It is also a great addition to a detox bath with epsom salts.
Magnesium- Magnesium is great for helping to get a good night’s sleep. I like to use a magnesium spray after my bath or shower. Natural Calm also makes a magnesium powder for both adults and kids.
Essential Oils- Essential oils are a game-changer for replacing over-the-counter or store-bought products with a natural alternative. Here are just a few ways that I incorporate them:
- Thieves-Thieves is an immune support powerhouse for helping you stay well or get well faster when illness strikes. Thieves can be diffused, rubbed on the bottoms of the feet with a lotion or carrier oil, put in epsom salts, or you can put Thieves vitality in tea to help support the immune system.
- Raven- Raven provides amazing respiratory support. This sinus opening essential oil blend contains Ravintsara, Lemon, Wintergreen, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus Radiata.. It can be diffused, added to a warm bath, or rubbed on feet or chest topically as a natural vapor rub.
- DiGize- DiGize is a blend of Tarragon, Ginger, Peppermint, Juniper, Lemongrass, Anise, and Patchouli. It is amazing for providing digestive support after a large meal or when you have an upset stomach. DiGize vitality can be taken in a veggie capsule for internal use. DiGize can also be rubbed directly on your stomach.
- Lavender- Lavender is considered the “swiss army knife” of essential oils, because it is extremely versatile. It can be rubbed on burns and bug bites to soothe the skin. It’s also great to add to your diffuser or an epsom salt bath to decompress after a long day. It helps to promote sleep, which is essential when fighting off sickness.
- Tea Tree- Tea Tree is a must-have oil for just about any skin condition. It also helps promote healthy ear drainage when rubbed around the outside of the ears.
All of the oils I listed above, with the exception of Tea Tree, are found in Young Living’s starter kit.
Supplements- Supplements could be an entire post on it’s own, but there are a few key supplements our family takes regularly to maintain our health year-round:
- Vitamin D3– I personally take a Vitamin D3 supplements, because I tend to be deficient when I get blood work done. I give my kids Vitamin D3 drops every day.
- Probiotics– Gut health is extremely important for a healthy immune system in general. Probiotics are particularly important if you take an antibiotic. Probiotics help to restore healthy gut bacteria that are killed by antibiotics.
- Multivitamin- Our entire family takes a multivitamin during the Fall and Winter months. I am not the most consistent with them during the Summer, but it is really important to me in the colder months. Besides just school germs, increased sugar intake from the holidays is a sure-thing. I do my best to counteract that with a quality multivitamin. I searched high and low for a reasonably priced, quality multivitamin, and I absolutely LOVE Mary Ruth’s. I give 1tsp per day to each of my kids, so the bottle lasts for several months.
- Vitamin C-This is one that we only tend to take when someone shows signs of illness. I normally try to focus on Vitamin C-rich foods like oranges.
Tools-There are a few tools that I could not live without:
- Diffuser- Diffuser disperse essential oils aromatically into the air. I recommend a cool-mist diffuser to maintain the therapeutic properties of your essential oils. You can find one here.
- Cool Mist Humidifier- Humidifiers help when you’re feeling congested or stuffy. The diffuser I recommended above is both a diffuser and humidifier in one.
- Air Purifier- We keep one of these in our home year round. The one that we have has 3 settings: germ, allergies, and general clean that we switch between depending on what’s going on. This has been essential for us to have for our son with asthma.
- Netipot- I have a love/hate relationship with the netipod, but it does a great job cleaning out the sinuses.
- Nosefrida- This is my go-to baby gift for any friends or family having a baby. It is kind of intimidating at first, because it feels like you’re going to get snot in your mouth. But you NEED this. It’s made for stuffy babies who can’t blow their nose, and it will help you get a little bit more sleep.
- Small Jars- I like having a variety of small jars around the house for making quick DIYs or for storing ingredients. I also have several dropper bottles and glass spray bottles around for various simple DIYs.
Do you have any natural remedies that you just can’t live without?