If you come over to my house and have some issue, don't expect me to hand out Tylenol, Motrin, Bengay, and Tums. No way, Jose. You're going to get to know the alternative in alternative medicine around here. I have a basic array of things that will deal with the most common things: colds, sore throats, flu, headaches, muscle aches, and a few things that are not very common (like shrinking ovarian cysts and things in case you think you have parasites - yeah, it's a long story, but no, I don't have any).
When I started reading all of the side effects and about how your liver pretty much hates you when you start downing over the counter (and prescription) meds, I dove in to research what on earth people do besides the usual answers that you can find at Walgreens.
Today, I present...my herbal and natural medicine cabinet.
So what's your problem?
You've got a headache? First let me ask you how much water you've had today. Are you dehydrated? That will give you a rip-roaring headache. Don't drug it if that's the problem, just go get some water. If that's not the case, then skip the Motrin or the Excedrin and try one of these: white willow bark or a Petadolex.
White willow bark is the stuff that Dr. Bayer (of Bayer aspirin fame) used to make his aspirin. Except you can't patent stuff in nature, so he had to break it down and re-build it to mimic what had worked for a few thousand years: white willow bark. Otherwise, if you have a migraine, give Petadolex a try. After I was poisoned at my brother-in-law's rehearsal dinner with who knows what (even though I called and talked to the manager about their ingredients), I had to figure out what I was going to do with the migraine I had on the day of the wedding, especially since I had to do a reading and HELLO, more importantly GET DOWN ON THE DANCE FLOOR. The accupressure wasn't doing anything, water was not the issue, and I just needed something to make me not want to die. That was Petadolex. That stuff is amazing. It contains butterbur and has no known side-effects or drug interactions. It saved the day. And I got to request L.L. Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out, so it was pretty much a perfect wedding.
What if you have a cold?
Pobrecito. You are suffering. You need to get some sleep, my dear. And I know you aren't eating any sugar, right? Wouldn't want to feed those baddies and make yourself feel worse. No ice cream! No cookies. But you may have some homemade bone broth. Please go take a nap on the couch, I am going to make you a cup of ginger, honey, lemon tea. Let's fight this thing on all sides. What can we hit it with? Glad you asked. If you are a child, I'm going to give you some Coldcalm (adults can take this too). It is an herbal mix that will clear up your nose and sore throat. If you take it soon enough at the onset of a cold, you can kill it entirely. If you're too far in, well, it can help the symptoms. If you are an adult and it is very nasal-y, go for either the Fenu-Thyme (that's my favorite - when you sweat the next day you will smell like maple syrup) or the OregaRESP (that's hubby's favorite). If you are so boogery, you can try the MucoStop too. If you want to kill something in your sinuses, I love shooting my nose with Sinu-Orega.
Don't forget to neti-pot (I use a stainless steel one and make sure you have good clean (not tap) water. Don't put bacteria and spores up your brain hole, but if you insist on it, don't blame me for your stupidity.) Do try to get some rest, though. And don't be surprised when I make you soup with a bunch of cloves of garlic in it. When you're sick, it's your responsibility and job to give your body the best and not indulge yourself in whatever your tastebuds whimsically desire.
The next time around, I'll hook you up with stuff for the flu and sore/strep throats. In the meantime, I hope you feel better, dahling.
Peace, love, and tuck your feet in tight under that cozy blanket,