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Marina's Medicine Chest

One of the things I am thankful for is that my mother did not thoughtlessly buy into mainstream medical approaches. So she raised my brothers and myself on wholesome, natural foods, and relied on herbal remedies for much of what ailed us.

While I don't use many of the remedies she used, I have through my adult life developed my own set of items that I always keep on hand in the home and when traveling.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and am not diagnosing, prescribing, or giving medical advice. If you are ill, seek proper medical attention. This information is my own experience, and is provided here only for your amusement. And all the other kinds of things one must say in this society today.

Activated charcoal in capsules. If I suspect food poisoning, I take two to four immediately. Once when I was visiting one of my brothers, we ate some bad Thai. It was REALLY bad--he was sweating and ill within an hour. I carry activated charcoal capsules with me when I travel as well. ... He took four charcoal capsules; within 20 minutes, he was feeling much better. Within another hour he was absolutely fine. I was amused to note that the next time I visited him, he had purchased a bottle. You can get activated charcoal in bottles at most regular drug stores, though you can save money if you also need to buy some vitamins by buying through Vitacost.com. Vitacost.com normally sells vitamins and supplements for about half the retail price, and charges a flat $4.95 shipping fee no matter how much you order. So if you are planning to buy some vitamins and supplements, perhaps you can pool an order with other family members or friends.

Aloe vera. I use the gel for sunburn and minor household burns, such as from cooking. If I have a plant, I prefer to use a bit of the raw, live gel from a small piece of leaf.

Apricot nectar. Whenever I am suffering from either diarrhea or nausea (or both), I drink some apricot nectar. My family doctor in Tucson told me to try this, and it works pretty well. There are some kinds of nausea and diarrhea it won't work on, such as for food poisoning or overeating, but for general flu-like nausea and diarrhea, it is quite helpful.

Black, a Dr. Christopher ointment made by Nature's Way. This ointment may need to be special ordered, but pretty much any health food store that carries anything by Nature's Way can special order this ointment, or you can buy it at Vitacost.com. It is an almost miraculous healing ointment for skin. If I have a cut, I smear a little Black on it. By the next day, it will have healed as much as it would normally have healed in three or four days. One of the side benefits of Black is that it leaves a light layer of beeswax on the cut, further protecting it.

Cider vinegar. Contrary though this may seem, cider vinegar works great on heartburn. A few swallows of it straight, or, if I can't stand the thought of it straight, a teaspoon diluted in a cup of water, cures my heartburn almost instantly. I prefer to have the natural, organic, "live" cider vinegar, though in a pinch any commercial cider vinegar will do.

Elderberries. Buy them sort of dried at a health food store. (They should still be a bit moist and springy.) Elderberries have antiviral properties. When I have a cold, I take two heaping teaspoons of the berries, add them to two to four cups of water, simmer until the water is a lovely purpley black, strain, and drink several cups a day. (I compost the soggy berries.) It is great hot or cold. It stores well in the refrigerator. It even tastes good (at least, to me), though you can sweeten it if you like. You an also buy elderberry syrups and extracts and so on. One good brand is Nature's Herbs Elixir of Elderberry, available at, yes, Vitacost.com.

Emer'gen-C. This is a powdered vitamin C blend with minerals and vitamins that gives 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C in a serving. It is sold in little packets by the box. It comes in various flavors; my favorite is Tangerine. Trader Joe's has good prices on it, and of course you can also get it at Vitacost.com.

Lavender oil. This is a natural antiseptic/antibiotic (used externally). I dip a Q-Tip into it and rub it into scratches (cat, rose prickle) and other such things. The swelling in a cat scratch goes away immediately, and the scratch heals nicely. Lavender oil also has mild analgesic properties, so the stinging in the scratch goes away as well. Plus it smells nice. I have heard that some people put a few drops in aloe vera gel to apply to sunburn, though I haven't tried that myself.

Olive leaf extract. Olive leaves have been made into a tea for colds and flu and other, more serious ills for probably thousands of years. Much documentation and scientific experimentation has shown that the active ingredient, oleuropein, has antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitical properties. As part of an overall program, olive leaf extract has been used to treat arhythmia, herpes, AIDS, shingles, cancer, tropical diseases, and many other problems. I have a small book, currently out on loan, that describes a lot of that research; you can find the entire text of that book online starting here: http://oliveleafextract.com/aboutoe.html. Read the introduction, then click on the words Table of Contents to view the contents.

Olive leaf extract comes in a liquid form or in capsules with the standardized extract mixed with the leaves (Nature's Way, for example; $10 to $13 locally, or $5.50 at Vitacost.com). (The liquid from tastes mighty nasty!!! Though it is tolerable if taken with grapefruit or pineapple juice.) The book recommends taking six capsules a day: two in the AM, two at noon, two in the evening, for varying amounts of time depending on what is being treated. For acute stuff, like colds, a week or so. For longer-term, like fungal problems, six to eight weeks at least. As far as I know, it has no known side-effects and can be taken in conjunction with conventional medical treatments. However, you should read more about it before using it. For more information on the broad range of things that have been treated using olive leaf extract, as well as some guidelines on dosages and the "die off" effect, see http://www.alphazee.com/olive-leaf/olea.html.

More Links

This site sells olive leaf tea: http://www.alphazee.com/olive-leaf/olea.html.

For a comparison of several brands on the market as far as true percentage of oleuropein, see http://www.naturalhealthconsult.com/Monographs/oliveleaf.html.

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