Kat at Kindism wrote a very good post describing the common patent medicines for everyday physical problems under the same title I am using here. This strikes me as a very practical thing to do. Please read her article. Then underneath in the comment section I added the following remedies, which I am taking the liberty of re-posting here.
First, let me say that I treat all patent medicines with great wariness and respect. I call anything manufactured by a drug company out of chemicals and targeted to one type of symptom, a patent medicine. Believe me, they are all patented. The drug companies are a powerful, organized force and have taken allopathic medicine to incredible heights. Sometimes power and greed overshadow the quality and leaving CS should not give to permission of use remedies without learning about them.
My basic rule: I try to use only generic medicines. These are not only cheaper because they are out of patent, they have been “tested” on all the patients since they first came on the market, and if they are still on the market after 7 years or so, it is probably OK to use under a Drs. instruction. I feel like a guinea pig when trying a brand new medicine- they have hardly been tested at all and sometimes turn out worse than the symptom they were taken for. Also all patent medicines have side effects, like Benadryl makes you sleepy and dries out your mouth. NSAIDs (aspirin and the like) thin your blood and may contribute to bruising or bleeding even ulcers. They are hard on the stomach.
Also, I find that I am very sensitive to patent medicines and often have to titrate up to the right dose, or my body will react badly. I often need far less than other people to get the same effect. I attribute this to the fact that I have not built up a tolerance for strange chemical in my body, I am not used to patent meds.
my med cabinet includes everything Kat covered in her article. I also includes the following patent medicines:
Imodium or other anti-diarrheal
PeptoBismol for upset stomachs.
When I was out of CS, but had no family health insurance- which I did not believe we needed anyway, I turned to the health food store. In fact I got a job in one. It was an excellent education in alternatives to patent medicines.
*Liquid B vitamins. Nothing works on a cranky kid like a squirt of B vitamins in the mouth, cranky adults too.
* Vinegar. Do not overlook the many uses of vinegar. It has an alkalizing effect on the body. People tend to get acidic when they are sick. It is great in baths it is good for the skin and hair. It is a tremendous disinfectant for many household uses too. Be sure to use some everyday.
Keep apple cider vinegar for remedies. Braggs is the best brand as it has the “mother” in it., White vinegar for household and laundry, But also keep wine, rice and balsamic vinegar and use them for variety.There is a lot of info online about the many. many uses of vinegar.
*Epsom salts. aka Magnesium sulfate. Perfect in the bath for sore muscles and/or for the relaxing effect magnesium has on the body when you are overtired or totally wound up. In its liquid form is it good for constipation,too.
*Vitamin C. After many years of experimentation, I believe a key lime w/ 25 mgs of Vit C is the absolute best source for natural vitamin C and there is no need to pay for 500 mg or a1,000 mg pills, and it is still not as effectively absorbed as a key lime, I squeeze 1/2 of one in every glass of water as well as use them on a lot of foods like avocados and melons. It comes out to 2-3 limes a day.
*Sriracha sauce or other source of red chiles is powerful medicine. Nothing has more Vitamin C. Keep a can of cayenne in the first aid kit. Powdered cayenne will stop bleeding when packed on the wound, and given internally, will stop a heart attack in its tracks. Red peppers relax the blood vessels immediately and are also the most potent form of Vitamin C known.
Herbs are beautiful things and a little herbal knowledge is easy to pick up. Herbs do not usually target one symptom , but are best used as tonics for systems- like dandelion tea for the liver.
There are some easy books in health food stores and ex CSers may find that herbs are an excellent alternative to the strong, fast acting, patent medicines. Herbs are great for chronic illnesses, like a bad heart, a messed up liver or digestive system, and for other excesses of modern life. With a few exceptions, like echinacea on an insect bite, they do not work fast but are great for chronic ailments and are like part of the diet. They should be thought of as food- greens specifically, or roots, even though one takes them in capsules today. In the old days is was taken as horrible tasting teas.
Herbs can come in capsules of the ground-up herb or liquids extracted from the herbs with alcohol or glycerin, and many are left as is and make good, delicious, teas like
*Chamomile tea for upset tummies and even colic in babies. It is served everywhere in Mexico and is very benign. It helps tummy upsets and may be preferable to taking a patent medicine. too. It is high in calcium which is thought to be relaxing.
*Red raspberry tea is the absolute best help for menstrual cramps- forget Midol -it is a combination of patent medicines, which in my opinion should be taken separately, not combined, as the bottled version may not have the correct proportions of ingredients for your own system.
*Liquid extract of echinacea for insect bites. It gives instant relief when a drop is applied to a bite. It is also a good herb for when you are coming down with something like a cold- it may boost the ability to fight the cold,
*Liquid golden seal is good for mild infections like a sore throat and it believed to be potentiated by adding echinacea. They seem to boost the immune system more than work on symptoms..
.Also for teething, there is nothing like Hylands teething remedy. It is homeopathic but it works like a dream in children. A little sugar pill really, and very, very inexpensive.
I just wrote this off the top of my head, but as an ex-Christian Scientist, I vastly prefer the natural remedies and knowledge of plants for food and medicine as many plants overlap.
In fact, I just added this as a category because it is an area in which I know a bit and am enthusiastic about.