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Cloves. Photo by Elenadan

Find out which multitasking natural remedies merit a spot in your backpack.

IF YOU’VE COME TO trust in herbal and alternative medicine at home, it can be a hard decision to go back to Pepto-Bismol and Dayquil when you’re getting ready to go abroad. With these 14 items it’s easy to keep up that alternative health kick you’ve been on, even when you’re 5000 miles from home.

1. Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

This is top of the list because it’s just so damn useful. Echinacea helps support a healthy immune system. It also has antibacterial and antibiotic properties. If you start to feel something coming on, dosing yourself with a tincture of echinacea is a good way to help you stay healthy. At the very least, you won’t stay sick as long. It works well in conjunction with vitamin C.

Echinacea. Photo by lemonjenny

2. Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)

A powerful antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiparasitical potion. Goldenseal in its powdered form can be applied to open cuts to help them from getting infected. On the road it’s best used in a tincture if you get something funky from dirty water or street food. It can zap parasites and help to keep your intestinal tract free of them. Coupled with echinacea, it can take on more serious colds like strep throat when you are in a pinch.

3. Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus)

Few things can kill a travel buzz like bad menstrual cramps. Cramp bark is a herbal alternative to over-the-counter painkillers. Cramp bark goes farther than just dulling the pain, it also helps to chill out the muscles that are causing the pain, thereby stopping the cramps. Take it in a tincture.

4. All Heal (Prunella vulgaris)

All-Heal, Self- Heal and Heal-All are all common names of a plant which has many uses: antibiotic, antiseptic, astringent. The primary use for travelers is as a salve or ointment. All-Heal salve is used in all the ways you would use Neosporin to help keep cuts clean and heal faster. It has antibiotic properties to help prevent infection and heals cuts with remarkable speed. Look for an All-Heal salve or ointment sold under many brands.

Ginger root. Photo by Crystl

5. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) or Peppermint Tea

Stomach troubles are one of the most common issues among travelers. Both ginger and peppermint are adept at soothing stomach upsets. They work with remarkable speed and ginger especially has properties which actually aid your body in digesting. Ginger tea or pastilles are good for combating motion sickness and nausea.

6. Arnica (Arnica montana)

Arnica is commonly found in two forms, either as a gel( look for Boiron brand) or in homeopathic pellets. The gel, when used externally, is wonderful for removing bruises, bringing down puffiness or swelling, and easing deep aches. Internally, it can be used to alleviate headaches and help your body recover from trauma, such as when you tip over your moped.

7. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Native to Australia, the tea tree plant produces a powerful astringent oil. Strong smelling tea tree oil should always be diluted in water, as a few drops goes a long way. It can be used to cleanse scratches and abrasions, to clean the face and in a neti pot to clean the sinuses. Drop a few drops in water and swish in your mouth like mouthwash if you are out of toothpaste. It can also reduce skin irritations, especially of the fungal variety.

Licorice Root. Photo by aSIMULAtor

8. Licorice Tea

Licorice tastes delicious, is naturally sweet, and is super if you have a sore throat. It has mucilaginous properties that help keep dry throats from being scratchy, especially useful when traveling through smog and pollution. The tea can also be used to help get your digestion moving if you have cured the runs a little too well or eaten one too many fried morsels.

9. Emer-gen-C

While not a herb or homeopathic, Emer-gen-C is one of God’s gifts to travelers. Found in most US natural health and vitamin stores, it is a powdered, super-concentrated dose of Vitamin C that helps prevent you picking up whatever it was that guy next to you on the plane had. Better yet, Emer-gen-C is packed with electrolytes, which your body loses steadily when you sweat, especially in hot places. Pouring a packet into you water bottle is an easy way to replenish your body’s reserves of these essential nutrients and stave off dehydration. As a bonus, it also comes in many flavors, which can be nice when your water tastes like warm plastic. I recommend the “tropical” variety.

10. Bach’s Rescue Remedy

Alright, so nobody really knows how flower essences work. It may all be in your head, but they are so effective, who cares? Bach’s, a British company, sells their popular blend of five flower essences called Rescue Remedy throughout the UK, parts of Europe, and specialty health stores in the US. Rescue Remedy is useful for just about everything. It helps you stay calm when dealing with long lines, customs officials, touts and layovers. It can ease the shock of transitions into a new culture, or back into your home one. They now have Rescue Remedy Sleep and Rescue Remedy Energy, which really should be called Rescue Remedy Travel because its been formulated to provide “relief for emotional fatigue brought on by stress or strain during times of personal difficulty”.

11. Neem (Azadirachta indica) Powder

Considered a sacred plant in India, neem has dozens of uses, from acting as a natural air conditioner when placed in gardens to helping to keep your gums healthy. Neem powder may be difficult to find outside the subcontinent, but it’s worth a look at your local Asian grocery store if you can’t find it elsewhere. For travelers, neem is great for keeping those terrible pests of the night away. A natural insect repellent, you can sleep a little easier after sprinkling your sheets with the powder. It has a clean medicinal smell, though the odor can also deter some people from using it. Sprinkle some in your shoes to help ward off foot fungus as well.

Clove Oil. Photo by amandabhslater

12. Clove Oil

This little spice packs a mighty aromatic punch, but clove oil’s real use is as a numbing agent. In dental emergencies, diluted clove oil can numb the gums, mouth, and teeth. It also may help keep tooth infections from spreading, as clove has anti-bacterial properties. Though its primary use is dental, clove oil can numb the skin as well and its aromatic properties can be reviving and motivating. Always dilute clove oil in water prior to application, and although it can be used in the mouth it should not be ingested.

13. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Oil

Have a headache, feeling low, need to chill out? Getting tired of the smell of exhaust/open sewer/ smoke/ fish? Lavender oil is easy to throw in your bag, and you can rub it on your temple, the pressure points on the inside of your wrists, and under your nose. Aromatherapy is a simple and effective way to help you maintain emotional balance while on the move. As a bonus, it can also deter some insects from biting you, though I wouldn’t substitute it for a mosquito repellent in a malarial area. If nothing else, you can always use it to disguise the fact that you haven’t been near a shower in over a week. Just remember never to ingest lavender oil: it is toxic in such a concentrated form.

14. Aloe Vera Gel

Getting sunburned sucks, especially when you have to carry a backpack on those peeling red shoulders. Rub some aloe vera on: it promotes healing and relieves that burning sensation. Your sunburn will ease into a tan faster.

The key to using herbal and alternative medicine while traveling is to be prepared. If you normally use a one ounce tincture bottle at home, bring two or four. Remember that some things are hard to find when you’re far from home. Knowing the Latin names of certain plants is a good practice to get into.

Lastly, know when you need something more conventional. Alternative medicine can be a fantastic way to prevent illness or treat more common ailments, but there’s no shame in going to the pharmacy if the alternatives aren’t working for you.

Home + Garden


About The Author

Kathleen Broadhurst

Kathleen has traveled to 18 counties and five (inhabited) continents and still hasn't seen the "real world" that her parents warned her about. From Columbia to China seeking out history, tasting culinary delights, feeling the vibe and photographing her adventures keeps her soul satisfied. She blogs at

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  • JaccoW

    Interesting list.

    I learned the hard way Tea tree should always be diluted.
    I had some pain in my ear and tried to relieve it by dripping some tea tree oil in it, since heated vegetable oil is supposed to help.
    Hurt like hell, and I had to flush it out. My ear hurt for a few days.

    Only later I found out that undiluted oil can cause irritation or even pain.

    And liquorice is always good. Especially when combined with salmiac. :D

  • jesus


    • JaccoW

      Ha, good for a lot of things but unfortunately most countries will flip if they find it.

  • Frances

    Thanks for sharing! I learned a couple new plants and uses!

  • Elizabeth

    A word of caution!

    Firstly – if a product is truly “homeopathic”, it will not work. This is because homeopathic are highly diluted (often to the extent that you wouldn’t expect to find one particle of the “active ingredient” in a bottle) and therefore no better than a placebo. So don’t waste money buying it!

    Secondly – Try it out at home first! Medicines take just the useful chemical and leave behind unnecessary chemicals (most medicines coming from a natural source like plants or fungis). When you’re using an alternative medicine, it’s best to think that you’re actually putting many, many chemicals in/on you, and the dose might not be enough – or may be too much as mentioned above. And you can react to them just like any food or medicine – I can’t take echinacea or ginger for example. So if you’re interested in using any new product – test first!

    • Leigh


      Yes, I agree. People should always test and research any medication, alternative or otherwise, they take.

      But I think it might be a good idea to have more information on why you can’t take echinacea or ginger. Ginger can be strong, and while many don’t like the taste, it’s rare to have a negative reaction to it.

      As for homeopathic remedies (which I think can also be applied to the flower remedy), many people have issues with the dilution process of homeopathy. But many people also swear by it. The average remedy costs very little and if someone wants to try it, there is no harm. As I said, for many it works. Even if that’s a placebo effect (which there are also many who say the effects of homeopathy while not understood go beyond simple placebo) but still leads to a beneficial result, then it’s probably no more a waste of money than buying a lip gloss you didn’t really need.

      • Elizabeth


        Literally at the stage of passing out from echinacea (light headedness etc) and ginger (and ironically peppermint) both cause stomach problems – in the case of peppermint, it’s because it can relax the muscle at the bottom of the stomach causing acid to come in from the upper intestine. Good times!

        I didn’t mean to sound alarmist – I’d say that 99.99% of people, if they react to a product, are not going to have a hugely severe reaction. But no one wants to wake up with a rash or have unnecessary spells of low blood pressure on holiday.

        As for products diluted to homeopathic standards – I stand by my initial comment. If there is no particle of the supposed crucial ingredient, then what you’ve got is “magic” and I’m not into fairy tales.

        • V1B3

          They way that homeopathy works, and Bach flowers is unknown. But the leading theory on it is the water memory effect. its about energy, and its effect on water. read about it or watch some videos. Dr. Emoto is the leading scientist.

    • Dee

      I think you’re wrong. Opposite is true. Drugs can create conflict, reactions etc. Homeopathic remedies do not interact with any drugs, or create conflict. They may not work for some, then try another alternative or herbal remedy or if such is the case, see a Doctor – get the drugs. Yes, some herbs like echinacea can have some side effects or allergic reactions. So can drugs! More so! Once the body builds up so much residue from a drug or herb (used consistently), eventually it builds a resistance and reacts.

    • Lydia

      I personally have been using homeopathic remedies and herbs for close to 30 years. I have used them on my animals to very successfully treat urinary tract infections with cantharis 6X. I have used homeopathy very successfully on my children when they were infants, small children, and now as young adults for ear infections, sinus infections, upper respiratory infections, muscle injuries, and whatever else came our way. There is a lot of information out there including double blind studies proving that homeopathy has a much greater success rate than placebo and in some cases better results than antibiotics. It is widely used throughout Europe and many hospitals there use homeopathy as their first choice of medicine. I have given so many gifts of rescue remedy that I have lost count. It is a must.

    • Kathleen Hansen

      Hi, Elizabeth:

      Although it may seem to be water when tested chemically, you will find when tested with physics it will have a totally different vibration from normal water–it has taken on the vibration of the original tincture and will act in the system to heal.

      Kathleen Hansen

  • Rebecca

    Thanks you for sharing. I never heard of Cramp Bark, Bach’s Rescue Remedy, or Neem Powder. Great list!

  • Kent

    This list is terribly dangerous, misleading, and immoral… take a moment to review Certainly you don’t want to rely on naturopathic medicine in an emergency, especially when usually emergency problems can be caused by such things as drug interactions, and accidental overdoses of unregulated, uncontrolled dosages of “natural remedies.” Not claiming herbs can’t work, just that they have far more chemicals in them than isolated compounds, and are therefore far more susceptible to drug interaction.

    • Leigh

      No one is recommending these remedies for massive emergencies. They are intended to be part of an alternative first aid kit. If you notice, most of them are topical. Aloe, lavender, neem or goldenseal applied to the skin are highly unlikely to create some kind of drug interaction.

      Many of these items, such as ginger and peppermint, are foods. Would you say someone is suggesting something dangerous by offering you a cup of mint tea or adding fresh ginger to a curry? And Emergenc-C is simply electrolyte powder with a lower sugar content than most similar sports drinks and also easier to carry.

      Obviously any medication, alternative or otherwise, should be tested and researched before using regularly, particularly if you’re already taking other medications. But to call this dangerous is perhaps a bit alarmist.

    • Kathleen Broadhurst


      Usage of the plants recommended on this list are well documented and researched calling them ” terribly dangerous” is itself misleading. As Leigh pointed out many of the herbs recommended are topical, which greatly reduces the likelihood of a contradictory interaction with a pharmaceutical.
      Furthermore, while allopathic medicine excels at some things (emergency medicine, bone settling, suture and surgery are all things which I would not turn to herbal or homeopathic remedies for) it is unfair to call alternative medicine “immoral” given the number of serious side effects common pharmaceuticals can produce. If you feel safer taking an antibiotic or using neosporin that is a choice I can respect, especially when you are abroad. It is important for all of us to respect the choices people make with their own health instead of moralizing their decisions.

    • V1B3

      Thankfully this list is not as dangerous, misleading or immoral as the major drug companies =]

      • Jessica

        Right on V1B3, the pharmaceutical companies are more misleading and dangerous than any of this homeopathic information.

        This article has some great information in it =)

  • Joan

    Great suggestions, I use many of these at home but now I have more to add to my travel pack.

  • Hana

    What an awesome list! I swore off the majority of conventional chemical-based health products and pharmaceuticals years ago, and have been trying to stay as natural as possible ever since. Ginger always helps my stomach and head aches; echinacea, vitamin C, and herbal throat-coat tea always helps prevent my sickness from progressing. I hadn’t heard of a lot of things on this list so I’m thankful that you posted them! I will definitely look into all of them, for both at-home and on-the-road remedies. Another thing not on the list – peppermint oil; a dab on the temples always helps me with mild headaches, as well as other muscle pain and canker sores. I’ve also read it can be mixed with water and sprayed on the body as a natural insect repellent, but I have yet to test this theory out.

    • Kathleen Broadhurst


      When I was traveling in Thailand I noticed everyone, from school children to grannies, carrying aromatic oils in small containers that looked like lip-gloss. They would hold then up when it was super crowded on a train or if it was too hot in the sun. I finally got one and it made such a difference in my trip, anytime I felt dizzy or nauseous from a bus ride, or had a headache I would inhale the essential oils and feel relief. Peppermint oil was one of the ingredients.

  • Bob

    I think natural remedies are pretty cool, I never knew ginger could help with stomach problems.

  • Jonni

    They should have included Cannabis, even though most of its medicinal value comes from what it can offer to conditions that affect one longer than what a First Aid Kit can take care of.

  • kelli

    Great list! Alternative medicine is truly superior to toxic conventional medicine.
    And to all you “skeptic” shills: I assure you that many conventional drugs are immoral, useless, and more dangerous than any natural herb. I wouldn’t waste my money on drugs.

  • darmabum

    Thank you for this list. I’m very interested in herbal-stuff (passed down to me from my Grandmother, an herbalist for eight decades) but don’t have the resources/time/etc to put such a list together.

    For every night of my over 380 nights spent in India, I drank lemon-ginger tea or lemon-ginger water in the evening. I don’t know if it’s the reason, but I’ve never had any kind of stomach issues, ever, in India. Regardless of what that beverage does or doesn’t do to my body, I know it puts a smile on my face when I drink it.

    • Kathleen Broadhurst

      Lemon-ginger is one of my favorites too. The lemon has electrolytes and vitamin C to help keep you going and the ginger is so soothing, a great suggestion.

  • Beverly

    People should educate themselves on the natural remedies along with searching out the side effects of traditional medicine.

  • Sam

    Thanks a lot for sharing, these will be useful on my upcoming trip to india. I knew about a few like the clove oil but not the emergen-c stuff or cramp bark, which I’ll reccomend to my girlfriend!

    • Kathleen Broadhurst


      Of all the things on the list Emergen-C is the one I use the most its a great way to revive yourself when you’ve been traveling all day in the Indian heat.

  • Jessica Janes

    Hi Travelbhat,

    I think your bio says you have been to 18 COUNTIES (I could be misreading). Not to say those 18 counties weren’t varied and interesting, but China probably isn’t a county name. Just FYI

    Love your article. Had no idea that these simple things have so much power to their punch. It is hard to change our purchasing decisions when creating a first aid kit, but I love the smells that would float from it and the natural aspect.

    How often should these herbs/oils etc., be replaced? What is the shelf life?

    • Kathleen Broadhurst


      You have a good eye for typos! It should read 18 countries.
      Check the label on all oils and tinctures for an expiration date. It varies but the standard is one year. Do not use expired tinctures or herbs taken internally. Oils and salves can turn rancid but they will not necessarily change their potency ( such as with arnica).

  • JoAnn JP

    Super list and fun article to read. I knew about many on your list of 14 and with your vast background found it validating that you recommended them. Never heard of cramp bark, but will look into it for my daughter! Keep writing.

    • Kathleen Broadhurst


      Thanks! Glad you found the list useful, hope you keep on learning more about herbs!

  • Ruby

    I gotta get me some of the ginger pastilles for motion sickness. But… Unfortunately I dont quite like the taste of ginger :S.

  • bikram brickell

    for a mintute there i thought they where shrooms…. “lol”

  • Matt

    I’m glad you list individual herbs and products, my mind might have been changed about emergen-C. I was always skeptical. One product you might add to the list to help with quitting smoking is Quit Tea, Totally natural and effective.

  • Dee

    I have used many of these herbs and homeopathic remedies. Some work better and faster than others. But I can say what relief I have had. If you’re seriously sick, or if you have tried any of the topical or ingest ginger or licorice to no relief, then find yourself OTC remedies. It is suggested to carry these in your backpack or suitcase on trips or abroad to assure you have ‘something’ of an arsenal to quickly access… easier to carry in a vial versus in a large bottle.

  • Dee

    Versus trying ginger for motion sickness, you can buy Hyland’s Homeopatic Medicine, called Ignatia Amara and there’s another one. They have many little bottles you take tiny tablets under the tongue that dissolve quickly and you can find relied within minutes or 30 minutes. Depends on your personal constitution. You can find at stores like Henry’s Market, some drug stores and Health Food stores, like Clarks Nutrition.

  • Anna

    Great article. I am all for alternative remedies because it is non toxic, natural, and good for the health. After being dignosed with secondary cancer, I became a vegetarian and changed my household products that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. I eat ginger for my stomach, aloe vera for cuts and burns, and only buy lavender products for body. You are absoutely right about once you try the alternative way of healing the body, it’s impossible to go back to using the brands from the drug stores.

  • Lorax

    You forgot my mainstays of Wellness Formula, Yin Chiao formula, colloidal silver, garlic and chamomile.

  • Erik

    People are becoming more and more open to alternative medicine with the huge amount of money and distrusts traditional doctors and hospitals have shown over the past decade.

  • Mags

    This is a GREAT list! I use many of these at home, and will have to start carrying a few more on my travels, I also suggest Slippery Elm for stomach upsets and throat ache ( they sell it in a powder that you can add to milk/honey, and in lozenges), and Melatonin for helping to keep a regular sleep cycle while on the road (this can even be found at CVS, and I swear by it.)

  • Teresa Duke

    Some good informaton on alternatives! The essential oils and products I use have some of these essential oils mentioned in them. They don’t have the side effects that meds have. Although there are essential oils and herbs that people need to to be careful in using if you have certain health problems. Do your homework! Remember oils that are 100% pure and 100% organic, no adulteration whatsoever are the oils to use. Just because they say they are doesn’t necessarily mean they are what a company says they are. Make sure you do your research about the company, where the oils come from and the distillation process of low heat and low pressure. Learn the history of the planting process to the packaging, from Seed to Seal. Never put essential oils directly in the ears or get in your eyes and if you do get in eyes, use a carrier oil such as virgin olive oil to remove the essential oil, water won’t remove.

  • Liz

    Tea Tree Oil is also wonderful for hastening pimple healing..
    After showering, while your skin’s still nice & warm, rub a small amount well into the pimple, next morning the pimple is at least half gone. Do the same process the next morning, and voila, it’s gone in no time.

  • Carol Frisk

    I use tea tree oil undiluted for toe nail fingus and have had no reaction to it. It is true that some people will react, but most will not.

    I can’t stop laughing at the guy who said this list is immoral! Let me guesss, pharmaceutical CEO? FDA employee? There’s morals for ya!

  • Mike

    Slippery Elm has been used for many many years by professional opera singers. I am a public speaker and use it regularly, thanks to a friend (who is an opera singer). I use the powder and make a tea, both to drink and as a gargle, before and after speaking. An over the counter cough drop held inside the cheek also can help the thoat under stress, such as when speaking for hours at a time. Neither will “cure” an already sore throat, but both can prevent it occuring from stress.

  • Tracey R

    Great list! I didn’t know about Neem. I know a lot of things from Ayuvedic medicine have long history of proven field use, as well as modern science, to back them up, so I tend to use a lot of them myself.

    Things I use a lot that are not on your list:

    Coconut oil. There have been at least three peer-reviewed studies, including the initial one by the CDC, about how the fatty acid that is average 57% percent of it, kills 29 classes of viruses, most bacteria, and most fungi. I’ve been using it for almost 10 years. It works particularly quickly in the digestive tract, where it can come into direct contact with whatever is causing the symptoms. Therefore, I don’t even worry about “soothing” the system. I just kill the cause of the problem, and the system soothes itself rather quickly.

    Raw honey and vinegar in warm water for projectile vomiting and colds. When one of my kids is so sick they can’t keep coconut oil down long enough for it to work, as in food poisoning, I put around 1-2 tablespoons each of raw honey and raw cider vinegar (any raw vinegar will do) in around 8 ounces of warm water (a coffee mug) and have him sip it through a straw. The first sip usually produces a green face and what looks like another hurl, but results in a huge burp and laughter. Then second sip may produce a smaller burp, and then that’s it. I encourage them to drink at least half of it, just in case, and then give them a tablespoon of coconut oil to be sure. For colds, just breathing the steam will help (and with sinus infections, breathing through the nose can help kill the fungus causing it).

    Peppermint and spearmint oil can help a variety of conditions. Both are germicidal (as is everything else I’ve mentioned). Peppermint oil will clear the sinuses and can help knock back migraine headaches, in my experience, and is also great for sore muscles. Spearmint will also knock back headaches, but is especially effective where the headaches is caused by tension, even if it’s progressed into a migraine. It not only soothes sore muscles but relaxes them as well, so if the soreness is caused by tension, it can provide real relief.

  • Ossie

    Ginger poultice is great for abcesses (peri-anal, breast or tooth ) I have cured them all. Honey is very effective for small burns and cuts

  • stewart mitchell

    the Holly Grail is a herbal antidote to the genetic bomb called wormwood. If you think it is a cup ,give yourself a slap

  • stewart mitchell

    My remedy for unbroken blister burns is a wet ,used orange peeko tea bag

  • Shane

    I love the list and have used and suggested many for years. I am surprised that Honey, bee pollen and White Willow Bark weren’t included. I find these with Aloe Vera make up the mainstays of my personal kit. Thanks, Shane

  • Big O

    Great article. I’m always surprised that clove oil is almost never mentioned as a natural cure for athlete’s foot. It is a potent anti-fungal and I’ve found it to work better than prescribed mycostatin. To make it I buy a handful of cloves, put them in a small metal container, cover them with oil, and heat slowly for about 10 minutes. Don’t let the oil burn or smoke and don’t heat too long. Strain and put in a small bottle in your travel kit. YOu’ll have a potent antifungal that will last years.

  • stewart mitchell

    The holly grail is a herbal remedy for the genetic bomb

  • Julie

    I am a naturopathic physician and the co-founder of a company called NaturoKits based in Portland, Oregon. We have natural first aid kits available which include homeopathic, herbal, nutritional, and flower essence remedies. They are easy to use, compact for traveling, safe for all ages, and effective for over 40 common first aid scenarios. A great way to go if you’re new to alternative remedies or if you want it all put together by the professionals. Our kits include detailed instructions to make them easy to use. Please check us out at

    Thank you!

  • MJ

    Oh dear! Too many great comments to respond to! You are a wealth of information… after reading a great article. THANK YOU!

    My contributions… if your system is susceptible to athletes foot, though it sounds horrid this actually works. Urinate on your feet (in the shower works well). Learned about this from a friend in the military, and those I have shared it with say it works.

    For a sore throat, thinly slice fresh ginger root and steep like tea. I find it to be very soothing.

    I learned decades ago to stay away from doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals (they are under tested, and pretty much made to make us sick or kill us!), and ‘fast food’. I have always eaten a good diet, so losing ‘fast food’ was easy for me. I do not battle to keep my weight in control, as my other peers do. Though I am a senior, friends say I do not look it, and I don’t feel as old as my peers. I almost never get sick, even when the bug takes everyone else down. Employers used to tell me I had the best attendance record of all their other employees. Gee, I just wonder why?

    To your good health!
    When all is said and done, we are blessed.

  • Emery C

    Many people have doubts when it comes to natural remedies. It seems that unless it comes in a prescription form – it wont work. What we fail to realize is the fact that many prescriptions contain natural ingredients.

    There has been so many treatments and cures that has been found in nature. Nature does provide our needs and all we need to do is to find them. Many cures for diseases are staring us in the face but we just don’t recognize them. Medical and Scientific organizations have come a long way in helping us to maintain our health, however, we also need nature to assist us.

    To your natural health !

  • 1vid

    good herbal remedy

  • Sheila D

    So many of these my Grandparents used years ago when I was a little girl! Truely natural is best!

  • Birdymird

    Slippery elm is good for relieving itchy and irritated skin, as well as soothing problems with digestive tract irritants. Google it to find out how it can be used.

    I work in an avian veterinary clinic and we use it in a powder form to dust onto healing wounds so that the birds don’t feel that itching/burning sensation that comes from the healing. 

  • Thebodyinform

    Hi Kathleen – very good posting – really appreciate your holistic point of view.  Any interest in doing a guest bit on my blog, The Body In Form?

    My readers would love it…

    all the best,
    Michele Kadison

  • Dhongjhez

    very good blog, very informative .. you can also visit mine

  • Jo-Lynne Shane

    Great resource, thanks!!

  • Christine

    I love the list, except for Emergen-C. The only grand mal seizures I’ve had have come within 12-18h of having taken this, no matter what formula (e.g., sugar, sugar-free, MSM, etc). I’d like to like Emergen-C, but obviously can’t risk testing on myself any more!

  • Ginger9702

    Can I get this in printable format?  Love the site!

  • Theophania a.k.a. the Curtain

    Epsom salts for sore muscles, sea salt for sore throats and abrasions, clay for gently cleansing sunburned skin, and jojoba oil for anything that needs it!

  • Janice Berger

    Thanks for the helpful information about these wonderful products from nature

  • Denise

    I swear by Echinacea, very interesting site!

  • M Herman Pat

    cool! going wwoofing soon, i need to read more on this

  • Louise

    Interesting!  The only things on the list I don’t already have are the cramp bark, clove oil and lavender oil.  I would add Cold Snap homeopathic for colds and Oscillococcinum for flu, the 2 remedies I won’t leave the country without.

  • Vanessa Pruitt

    I have used clove oil for toothache. It works amazing!

  • Rob

    I’m surprised the author overlooked cayenne pepper. It’s a great herb for treating cuts, wounds and lacerations. Not only does cayenne pepper staunch the blood flow, but it also disinfects as it possesses anti-fungal and anti-bacterial capabilities.

    This has been known for decades by medicinal herbalists but has also recently been confirmed in a study published in Medical Mycology.

  • Kelly

    Great post and many of these help in the mental health arena too!!

  • Fiona

    HI, I would add bentonite to the list as it’s a great remedy for food poisoning, stomach upsets, and the like. It should be added to water at least 20 minutes before drinking. You can also use it on wounds to draw out bactetia and stem bleeding.
    Another item to add to the essentials list is3%  hydrogen peroxide…too many uses to list here but as an antibacterial spray for your hands(if there’s nowhere to wash them), cuts,wounds,fungus..also as a mouthwash and to clean your toothbrush,food preparation areas,dirty surfaces, the list goes on. Great stuff

    • Jselwynjames

       Hi Fiona – bentonite clay is great – but you have to remember that it will block the colon if not mixed with alternative such as fennel, charcoal and psyllium.  I agree that it can be used externally for the purposes you say – and makes a great facepack too!  Agree on 3% hydrogen peroxide as I use all the time – however, what is available in most pharmacies is not great as it is full of additives.  Best to buy your own 35% food grade and dilute to 6%.  2 more to add to this list are colloidal silver for antibacterial properties, Citricidal (grapefruit seed extract) which is perfect for decontaminating water wherever you are and using when brushing teeth etc and (ok this is a third one!) Eat a clove of raw garlic every day you travel! Not chewing as you will destroy your relationship with your friends/lover! But cut up a raw one into pill size pieces and swallow with water – anti-bacterial- antifungal – antiviral- mosquitos hate it and not always anti-social!!  Jane Selwyn James ND. MH. MAMH. CT

  • Fiona

    I should have added that bentonite can be used on animals too. I have seen animals with nasty cases of diarrhoea (including blood in stool) make a nice recovery within 12 hours. More people should know about this stuff. 
    I also omitted the benefits of 3% hydrogen peroxide for ear infections too….just a drop/half a capful in the affected ear, leave it in the ear until it’s finished fizzing then drain out remaining liquid.Very quick results.I sorted my sister, my neice and my cat (they had ear infections) with this stuff when the doctors’s and vet’s medicine didn’t do a thing for them. It’s indispensible.

  • Fiona

    One last thing and don’t be too grossed out, but urine is a great medicine too. I suggest you Google it but it can be a great help if, for example, you have a wound and no access to water (my grandad saved his finger this way when he injured it on a building site years ago). Also, for conjunctivitis or eye irritations, fresh urine can be used as eye drops (most commercial ones contain urea, which is extracted from urine)
    It is beneficial for so many ailments. Please don’t dismiss this, research it for yourselves.It could be of a great help to you
    Right, I’ll get me coat………….  ;)

    • Cowgirlpatti

      I’m always telling everybody about this and they think I am nuts. Thanks for posting

    • Jselwynjames

       Hi Fiona – a long time wince you wrote this but what the hell!….  I am a naturopath myself and use herbal remedies and also Dr Bach Flowers (especially being in the UK!).  I have studied my craft for many years now and my only feeling around urine therapy is this – our kidneys are one of the major detox orgains of our body.  When we chuck out all that junk during a detox – it is the kidneys that take the brunt of it – so the urine is full of those same toxins!  Why would I want to use urine therapy as a result of that?  This is why I have always avoided it!  I understand and hear the reasoning behind it but cannot see the logic in putting all those toxins back – either into the body or on the skin – which is essentially the same thing as the skin absorbs into the blood stream.  Not for me – and not recommended for my patients either!  Appreciate your viewpoint though!  Jane Selwyn-James ND. MH. MAMH. CT

  • Diane

    A supplement that can help with many things from addictions to arthritis, allergies, sleep,periodontal disease, heart disease and much much more is PROTANDIM.  Don’t just take my word.  Check out the videos on and also do the research on 

  • markleeuk

    Grat article knew about 6 :) massive fan of neem in fact just ordered some from also have quite a few animals and its god send for them to :o)regardsHave a wonderful day

  • Mlvanhout

    many years ago my mother would take the babies diaper and rub the urine in the infected eye of the child it always worked…..

  • Dana

    Clove essential oil for getting rid of mould, mildew on hard surfaces.  Just a quarter teaspoon of the oil in a litre of water, then lightly sprayed on to the mould.  To kill mould on leather, a quarter teaspoon of oil of cloves mixed with 250 ml baby oil.  Apply two drops and wip over leather

  • Barbara

    Nice article, Kathleen.  Great to see 5 essential oils mentioned (Ginger, Peppermint, Tea Tree aka. Melaleuca, Clove, and Lavender).  doTERRA offers the highest quality, “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, ensuring 100% purity and potency. Many health benefits to all… or visit 

  • Lene

    One note: if you have an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, never use echinecea – it can cause a flare in symptoms.

  • Dbichel

    Essential oils don’t dilute in water.  They float to the surface.  They will dilute in a carrier oil, vinegar or alcohol.  

  • Barbara.R

    Thanks for the info and quick rundown of the suggestion. The 14 takeaways you provided are spot on.

  • Cal Med Mary-Jane

    I would suggest that the list should be expanded to a solid 15 with this one addition.

    Medical Marijuana can help with many human ailments. The Cannabinoids in marijuana and the brain receptors in the human brain are a hand in glove fit. Please everyone… do your research before hating out of ignorance.

  • Tippy Dowell

    I really like your products and the information and the health benefits.  Visit my website  All the products are natural sea buckthorn.  Many people today use sea buckthorn products for health benefits
    as well as its extensive use in anti-aging creams and help the symptoms of
    eczema, rosacea and acne.  The omega 3,6,7,& 9 fatty acids in
    the extract provide protections from the damaging ultra violet rays and contains extraordinary levels of nutrients like Vitamin A, C and E, Magnesium
    and flavonoids.  Also includes large
    amount of carotenoids and polyphenols are also existent in the plant
    extract.  All of these anti-oxidants work
    together to help prevent the onset of disease like cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid
    arthritis, and many other conditions

  • Sheri

    Love these suggestions! Thanks!

  • Edmond Dantes

    thats FOOZY

  • Debi

    How Interesting this site is. glad I stumbled upon it:)

  • Jselwynjames

    A great post from the perspective of a naturopath – I have commented on your comments! So many are not aware of how to protect themselves using what we hve around us naturally!  We are of like mind and persuasion!  Jane

  • Radlinski John

    When your water tastes like warm plastic you SHOULD NOT DRINK IT, quite simply.

  • dr.aalok dayaram

    good stuff.keep it coming.

  • Clipsbyme

    any suggestions for migraines anyone

  • Holistic Health

    I’ve always wondered what clove oil was used for. Some great choices. 

  • Dennison

    A 2003 controlled double-blind study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and documented in the New England Journal of Medicine[13] stated that echinacea extracts had “no clinically significant effects” on rates of infection or duration or intensity of symptoms. The effects held when the herb was taken immediately following infectious viral exposure and when taken as a prophylaxis starting a week prior to exposure. In a press release, Dr. Michael Murray, the Director of Education for Factors Group of Nutritional Companies, a manufacturer of Echinacea-related products, calls the study “faulty and inaccurate.”[14] According to Dr. Murray, none of the three extracts used on the 399 study participants contained all three of the components of Echinacea responsible for its immune-enhancing effects: polysaccharides, alkylamides and cichoric acid. In addition, Dr. Murray said “the standard dosage for dried Echinacea angustifolia root is normally three grams per day or more and this study used less than one gram.”
    An earlier University of Maryland review based on 13 European studies concluded that echinacea, when taken at first sign of a cold, reduced cold symptoms or shortened their duration.[15] The review also found that three of four published studies concluded that taking echinacea to prevent a cold was ineffective.
    The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) assessed[16] the body of evidence and approved the use of expressed juice and dried expressed juice from fresh flowering aerial parts ofEchinacea purpurea for the short-term prevention and treatment of the common cold. According to their recommendations:
    It should not be used for more than 10 days. The use in children below 1 year of age is contraindicated, because of theoretically possible undesirable effect on immature immune system. The use in children between 1 and 12 years of age is not recommended, because efficacy has not been sufficiently documented although specific risks are not documented. In the absence of sufficient data, the use in pregnancy and lactation is not recommended

  • Rasayana

    Consejos que pueden ser útiles.

  • Catchy Catchy Van Nierenrinde


  • Sari A. Breslin

    Also, while not stated here, Tea Tree Oil is an amazing burn ointment. It has saved me and many others from severe blisters. Everyone should keep it in the kitchen.

    • Jeffery Barmann

      Try “The Palm of Christ” on burns, scapes and scratches; aka: Castor Oil. It is a miracle, truly.

  • Lucinda Timoney

    should be in every kitchen.

  • Debra K Hancock

    I agree

  • Jenny Gilbert

    To Elizabeth’s “A word of caution!”

    Homeopathic remedies, by their very nature, have to be diluted. This takes the material danger out of the crude/material matter and elevates the healing potential to an energetic plane. It works on the principle of what would cause an illness would also heal it – at an energetic level. To understand homeopathy you need to have a respect for physics and a real grip on how our vital healing system operates to cure us. Please don’t criticize a truly beautiful, effective system of medicine (2nd largest system in the world and growing) without understanding how it works in the first place. To anyone reading this, my advice (after 30 years plus working with Homeopathy) is to never leave home without a basic Homeopathic first aid kit. To Elizabeth: you don’t have to believe in Homeopathy for it to save you. Just equip yourself with the basics and start using it. Homeopathy may just surprise you with its gentle power to put your own healing system to work.

  • Natural Breast Cancer Prevention

    I use many of these home remedies. Especially, ginger, tea tree oil, and cloves. Great article!

  • Kashif Aslam

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm thanks for the sharing the good information God bless you.

  • Tyler Scott

    homoepathics are literally just placebo. if you think they have real healing powers, you do not understand herbal medicine.

  • Tyler Scott

    if you dilute your food to 30c and try to live off of it, you will starve. if you dilute your minerals to 30c you will have chronic problems. if you dilute your herbs to 30c they wont heal you. there aren’t even any molecules left of the medicine in a 30c solution.

  • Tyler Scott

    and the idea of water memory is absolutely absurd. the water on earth has been here for billions of years. if it remembered every thing it came in contact with, we would all die of poisoning. arsenic, cyanide, radon, uranium, snake venom, the plague, AIDs, et cetera. molecules have no memory. but I guess some people think praying can heal a broken bone, so….

    • Dawnatilla TheHun

      really? THAT would come as a surprise to Dr. Masuro Emoto…Japans Water minister and scientist..who through years of research…finds that water molecules change under specific emotion or thought. ALSO CELLULAR BIOLOGISTS ARE NOW REALISING THAT WE TOO CAN CHANGE OUR VERY CELLS…INCLUDING OUR DNA..BUT I guess your small belief system has NOTHING on cellularv biology…right? but then again..some douche bags think we are also the only life form in an entire universe of which there are ((several)) universes and billions of planets. go figure.

  • Gary Howell

    Thank you for sharing this helpful information.

  • Zafar Iqbal

    I 100% disagree with the comments by Elizabeth. Our entire family is using homeopathic medicines for last 40 years. Every got cured. The diseases cured are peptic ulcers, Acute sore throats, stomach diseases. gynecologic problems and many many more. These medicines are not placebo they work like a miracle!

  • Debby Bruck CHom

    Dear Kathleen. A very interesting mix of alternative items from oils, herbs, spices and plants substance and energies in a number of forms. A nice resource page for Arnica montana Homeopathy Remedy can be found on Homeopathy World Community

  • Samuel Logan

    When you use a curse word (damn) in the first sentence of an article regarding medicine, to me, you are a discredited.

    -sam, RN

  • Cindi Borax

    Sam, that’s what is known as cutting off your nose to spite your face, but that’s your oerogative I suppose.
    To the author, good suggestions all! I would add thouh, that neem oil has some history of being used on the skin as a defence against mosquitos and ticks, in a carrier of coconut oil would be good. There are a variety of herbal salves that are excellent for abrasions or skin disturbances but, that said, the All Heal sounds great! I’ll have to try it out. :)

  • David Honaker

    Aloe Vera Gel (item #14) is mentioned in this article. Free samples of aloe vera for the skin can be found at

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