Your (Natural) Long Term Storage Medicine Cabinet

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In BabyStep 10, we talk about storing non-foods. One of these items is medications. There are a lot of things to consider with medications, and treating illnesses. I’ve been interested in storing some more natural remedies, and I’ve been wanting to do a post discussing this a little more, but I’m surely not an expert in this field. I asked my neighbor Amy, who is my go-to gal on natural remedies, for a guest post. Earlier this year, I had an infection that lasted for weeks in my throat. I finally got desperate enough to do whatever it took to get it gone – I called up my friend Amy and she helped me get rid of it in 2 days.

If you’re looking for natural remedies to put in your storage, you may be interested in reading the following article written by Amy Jones.

When it comes to anything concerning medicine, do your research, and consult with a trusted professional.

Your (Natural) Long Term Storage Medicine Cabinet

By Amy Cox Jones

There are a few really cool things about stockpiling natural medicines:

  1. Long shelf life – some remedies have up to a 7 year shelf life or longer if stored properly!
  2. Safe and easy – while they need to be used with a little knowledge, side effects are not a huge concern with natural medicine.
  3. Versatile – with natural medicines, most of the time you can use the same remedy to prevent and treat a problem. Additionally, the same natural remedies that an adult takes, a child can take, too. Plus all herbs have multiple applications i.e. you can use the same herb to treat the flu and a cold!
  4. You can make them yourself – With the exception of essential oils, you can make all your remedies yourself and it’s pretty easy, too!
  5. Super cheap – even if you don’t make them yourself, most of the time they are the same price, if not cheaper, than their conventional counterparts. If you do make them yourself, you can save 90% or more!

The question is, what do you store? Because there are a lot of remedies to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide, especially if you a novice to natural medicines.

I’ve been exposed to natural remedies my entire life, and relying on them 100% for all my healthcare needs since 1996. Here’s what my ‘must have’ remedies are, and what I would never be without:

Antiviral/Antibacterial Remedy

I make my own, consisting of echinacea angustofolia root, goldenseal root, ginger root, and licorice root. But you can purchase a comparable one at under the name Infection Fighter. You can do this in either capsule (pill) form or tincture (liquid) form. You could also go to your local health food store, buy tincture bottles of each herb and combine them together or encapsulate the powdered herbs yourself. If using a tincture, the taste may take a few days to acclimate to, but I do prefer this in liquid form rather than pill form so that I can give it to small children, use it to disinfect wounds externally, the shelf life is really long, plus it works about 75% faster than taking a pill because your body doesn’t have to take the time and energy to break it down and extract the properties like it does when digesting powdered herbs in capsules. I have found that this formula will knock out even the most stubborn illnesses. To prevent illness, you’d take 3 full dropperfuls once a day, but in a crisis mode, you could take a 3 dropperful dose every 30 minutes. I’ve gotten rid of many flu’s in 4 hours dosing every 30 minutes. This is also great for tooth abscesses and can be dropped directly in the ear for ear infections.
Uses: Colds, Flu, Strep, coughs, sore throat, ear infections, abscess, itching, congestions, pink eye, fever
Application: Internally, or as an external wash for wounds
Tincture Shelf life: 3 years if stored at room temperature out of sunlight, 7 years if refrigerated.
Capsule shelf life: 1 year
Substitute for: antibiotics, OTC cold medications, antibiotic ointments, Neosporin

Nervine/Antispasmodic Remedy

Unable to sleep well at night? Have a cough that just won’t go away? Tear a muscle? Then you need a nervine herb. The one I make has hops, valerian, and wild lettuce, but you can purchase it from under the name Chill, or again combine the three separate herbs into one remedy either in liquid or pill form. I do like to get this in tincture (liquid) form for the same reason I get the antiviral in tincture form. When we are having insomnia, or anxiety, Chill is our go to remedy. Or when my daughter was in a major car accident, heavy doses of Chill helped her nerve endings heal and muscles work properly quickly (not to mention relax and calm down quickly). And when my babies would get that croupy cough that kept them up at night? Chill, every 30 minutes, was the key.
Uses: Coughs, hyperactivity/irritability, nervousness, itching, congestion, headaches
Application: Internally, as an external poultice for injuries
Tincture Shelf life: 3 years if stored at room temperature out of sunlight, 7 years if refrigerated.
Capsule shelf life: 1 year
Substitute for: Benadryl, Robitussin, antihistamines, steroids, Tylenol

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender certainly is the mother of all essential oils! Not only does it have a relaxing, pleasant scent, but its therapeutic properties really are unmatched. Lavender will heal skin burns and bruises faster than I have seen anything else heal them. I first tried lavender oil when my oldest grabbed a very hot curling iron by the heated end as a toddler right before bedtime. I applied liberal amounts of lavender oil every 30 minutes for 2 hours and the next morning we woke up with no signs of any injury whatsoever. I have since used it on chemical burns, sunburns, rashes, bruises, sprains, broken bones, itching – anything skin, muscle, joint, or bone related related. Also, as I mentioned, it will calm a panicked or hyper person down quite effectively, as well as work on headaches. For essential oils, you do want to make sure you are buying them from a reputable source. Unsound manufacturing, improper harvest timing, added solvents and gases , destroy the therapeutic, volatile plant oils rendering them completely ineffective.
Uses: Burns/Sunburns, cuts broken bones, sprains, fractures, hyperactivity/irritability, itching
Application: Externally you can put on neat (without a carrier oil) on open or closed wounds, and it is safe to take internally
Shelf life: 5+ years if stored at room temperature out of sunlight
Substitute for: Benadryl, Neosporin, A&D ointment, antihistamines, steroids, Tylenol, Vaseline, OTC headache medicine

Peppermint Essential Oil

Who doesn’t like peppermint, right? This oil I have specifically for fevers and headaches, although the benefits of peppermint oil reach into treating indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and nausea/vomiting, not to mention it’s fantastic to use one or two drops in your brownie batter or hot cocoa. For fevers, you don’t really need much. Just a drop or two on the spine will bring a fever down within 1 minute if the origin is viral or bacterial. Don’t use much more than that, though. While there is no harm in using a lot, a larger dosage can bring you from being too hot to too cold and will leave you chilled for about 5 minutes until your body modulates the dosage – found that one out the hard way. If you feel more comfortable and want to avoid overdoing it altogether, you can always put the peppermint drops in a tablespoon of olive oil and then apply it. For headaches and migraines, you would apply one drop to the temples and/or inhale the scent. Peppermint combined with lavender oil would also be ideal for breathing difficulty. Make sure to be by a bathroom when using peppermint, though! It’s a diuretic and you will be urinating shortly after using it.
Uses: Fever, digestion, liver, respiratory, concentration, appetite control, energy
Application: Externally on skin closed wounds very sparingly if neat or used in a carrier oil and also safe internally when used sparingly (a little goes a long way)
Shelf life: 5+ years if stored at room temperature out of sunlight
Substitute for: Motrin/Tylenol and other fever reducers, OTC headache medicine, steroids for breathing, coffee, Tums or Mylanta

BF&C Salve aka Complete Tissue Salve

What a powerhouse formula this is! The B stands for Bone, the F stands for flesh, and the C stands for cartilage. In our house we call it ‘THE cream’ – as in when I say, ‘Go get the cream,’ my kids know exactly what I mean because we use it for everything, even chapped lips and the crusty skin on my heels. Again, I make this myself very easily and cheaply (and give it as Christmas presents every year!), but this can be purchased online or at most health food stores. The first time I used it, I second guessed it because it was too good to be true. My husband fractured his foot jumping off the back of truck, and we applied BF&C cream (as well as took the BF&C pills) 3 times a day. 3 Days later it was completely healed. Then a few months later, I broke my big toe. I used the cream, with lavender oil, 3 times a day and wah la! 3 days later it was completely healed. Then my 5 year old broke her tailbone flying down a slide. What do you know? With BF&C, three days later she was completely healed, too. Yes, healing bones is one of its specialties, but certainly not the only thing it can do. Burns, rashes, cuts, you name it. When you look at the online testimonials with this handy salve, you will be amazed.
Uses: Bruises, cuts, rashes, dry skin, broken bones, arthritis, fractures, sprains, burns/sunburn
Application: Externally on skin, closed or cleaned open wounds
Shelf life: 1-2 years if stored at room temperature out of sunlight
Substitute for: Benadryl for itching, hydrocortisones, Neosporin, A&D ointment, Vaseline

There are some more remedies that I really wouldn’t want to be without, but these four – by far – are the remedies I rely on a consistent basis, much less if I were in a situation where no medical care were available. You will notice that there is a lot of overlap with these remedies – many of them can be used for the same ailments. Yes, you can use them together or independently, but as you start using them you will quickly learn which one might be better in particular situations, but that they will work well even if it isn’t their “specialty”. For instance, if I were to get a burn and I had to choose only one remedy, I would definitely go for lavender oil over BF&C. But if I do have both, I would use the lavender oil and cover that with the BF&C to speed the healing. The reverse would be true for broken bones.

If you only get one of these remedies in your long term storage, you will still be far ahead of the game than if you had nothing at all. But once you start using one remedy, you will be amazed at its effectiveness and get hooked so quickly that you will jump at the chance to add the next remedy. I promise!

Books on the Topic

The ABC Herbal
The Little Herb Encyclopedia
Herbal Home Health Care by Dr. Christopher
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

About the Author
Amy Jones is a wife and homeschooling mother of 5 children. She has been a childbirth and breastfeeding educator and doula since 1997, and teaching natural health classes since 1999. She is also the co founder and director of the LDS Holisitic Living Conference, held annually in June in South Jordan, Utah. She is a home herbalist, is trained in energy work (SimplyHealed), and is a wanna be gardener. Her hobbies include daydreaming about sleeping-in and going to the bathroom without being interrupted by one of the kids. In her spare time she remembers what she forgot to do the day before.

Amy’s websites:,,
Resources:,, Mountain

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