Your (Natural) Long Term Storage Medicine Cabinet

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 Herbalogie.com 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 herbalogie.com 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: LDSholisticliving.com, Birthologie.com, WOWcookbook.homestead.com
Resources: Herbalogie.com, ButterflyExpressions.org, Mountain RoseHerbs.com


  • Please add mullein to your list. It can be steeped in oil to be used for ear aches. The leaves can either be used as tea or smoked to clear out the lungs. It’s been an ingredient of asthma herbal “cigarettes” for years.

    I went to the doctor last week and was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. The meds they prescribed didn’t clear it up. I did some research and turned up mullein. I started using it this weekend. My lungs are clear and the coughing is way down. It’s an herb that I plan to always have on hand.

  • Peppermint essential oil is also awesome for mosquito bites. It takes away the itch and the swelling pretty fast.

  • Ray2jul

    Can you share your recipe for your BFC cream?

    • There’s a contact page on Amy’s website listed above. I’d ask her directly. I

  • Coupon Cook

    Thank you so very much for this post. I am still new to natural healing. So much so that I still reach for the Tylenol bottle. I have a book called Prescription for Nutritional Healing, it lists dosage recommendations for children and adults. I use it quite a bit. I am thrilled to see you have posted other resources. Mostly I have begun to use essential oils and herbal teas. I checked out 2 books from the library on essential oils, I know just enough to treat the sniffles without inducing an asthma attack in my little one, and I know how to clean with the oils. Or at least I think I do. Last year I began growing my own herbs. My garden does surprisingly well at producing good quality herbs. I have a plan to take a few and let them go to seed. Just to see if I can continue to grow these herbs without store bought packets. We’re also working on plans to  incorporate herbs into our landscaping. ~Amber

  • Reneeburton

    Where do we buy the Complete Tissue salve or find out how to make it.

    • There’s a contact page on Amy’s website listed above. I’d ask her directly. I know she was checking the post answering the questions as they came in, but with the post getting a little older, I’m not sure if she still is.
      Hope that helps a little.

  • Leslihw

    anyone interested in essential oils should go to BEYOUNGEO.COM.  These are the best on the market!
    Leslihw

  • MaryAnn Johnson

    I have a couple of questions. I bought tinctures for the antiviral/antibacterial remedy at our local health food store. A couple are made with 70% alcohol and a couple say not to use while pregnant or lactating. Is it ok to use them with the alcohol or is that a bad thing? And I am currently nursing so should I not be using the remedy? I already mixed it up and have tried it but now I’m wondering if I shouldn’t. Also what brands are good ones for the tinctures? Are some better/safer than others? Sorry I know that’s a lot of questions, but I really want to cut back on doctors visits as I have little faith in them currently.

    • There’s a contact page on Amy’s website listed above. I’d ask her
      directly. I know she was checking the post answering the questions as
      they came in, but with the post getting a little older, I’m not sure
      if she still is.
      Hope that helps a little.

    • There’s a contact page on Amy’s website listed above. I’d ask her
      directly. I know she was checking the post answering the questions as
      they came in, but with the post getting a little older, I’m not sure
      if she still is.
      Hope that helps a little.

  • Holisticldsliving

    I guess the short answer on how to make the salve is that salve and tincture recipe instructions will be in the LDS Holistic Living Cookbook, that you can purchase off the website on this page http://ldsholisticliving.com/conference-registration.  Right now we are selling the book at a pre sale price, and the price will go to $20 in July.  If you do an internet search on ‘BF&C’ or Bone Flesh and Cartilage you will see the ingredients when you visit links. As far as the recipe goes (for the salve, capsules or tincture), it’s just equal parts of each ingredient listed and you only need about 2 oz (approx 2 tbsp although you can use more) for one salve batch, 1 C for one tincture batch and about 1.5 C for capsules.  You can get most, if not all, ingredients at MountainRoseHerbs dot com.  It’s common to also find bulk herbs at the health food store as well.  @Jessica as far eczema, it is increibly helpful at relieving symptoms and on some level treating it, but ultimately you have to balance your yeast issues, which is what eczema is.  I have written a 4 part article at my Birthologie dot com site that details out how to treat it.@Denise, the books listed in this post are a great place to start on learning about herbs.  

  • Ang

    Would also like to know more about the BF&C. Specifically, what is in it and how to make it. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to know the formula to make “BF&C Salve aka Complete Tissue Salve”.  Herbal and essential oil recipes are used here all the time; they’re healthier for the body and environment.  Please post the recipe.  Thanks.

  • anonymous

    Love this! Can you please post the ‘recipe’ for the BF&C salve/cream?  and capsules? Thank you so much~your site is great and one of my favorite!  Keep up the good work!

  • I need info for dummies on this one. Does anyone have step by step instructions to make these things and where to find the ingredients. Do you grow some of this yourself? I would love to learn more about this. Any very trusted book for this? I know books can be found on everything, but when it comes to any medicinal things I would want to be very careful. I would want to know possible side effects, interactions with other herbs or traditional medicines, etc.  Any help would be appreciated.

  • Jessica

    BF&C salve- how did you learn how to make this?  If I go to my local health food store will they know what I’m talking about?  🙂  I have eczema and I wonder if this would help me.  Very interesting post- I hope I don’t need to use these, but it’s great to know about just in case!

    • Anonymous

      I’d like to know how to make the BF&C salve too.

    • Anonymous

      I’d like to know how to make the BF&C salve too.

  • Curious

    I’m curious to find out where to buy these things and/or how to make my own!

  • Tuxgirl

     I just did a bit of googling about tinctures, and from what I can see online, tinctures are usually made with alcohol. One website said that they *can* be made with vinegar or distilled water instead, however. Are there any disadvantages to using vinegar / distilled water instead?  How do you usually do it? (Or, if you buy them already made, are the ones that you purchase non-alcohol?)

    • Holisticldsliving

       I make mine with a glycerin base, and get the glycerin online from Essential Wholesale.  You can also find it at the health food store, usually in the cosmetic section, but it’s double the price.  So long as it says it’s kosher on the label, it’s edible.  If you are in the SJ, UT area, I do give classes on making herbal remedies and/or sell my instruction packets complete with recipes, etc.  Disadvantages to using vinegar is the taste – it is really pungent.  Water alone doesn’t extract as well as it needs to.  The tinctures from Herbalogie.com that I mentioned are glycerites, so yes, they are non alcohol. 

  • wow! this is so great! thanks for this

  • wow! this is so great! thanks for this

  • Tamra

    How would you recommend storing these natural ingredients?  Thanks! 

    • Holisticldsliving

      Room temperature, out of direct sun is fine, preferably in the refrigerator or cold space, though.
      Amy

  • Oils

    I use doTERRA Essential Oils and love them.  We have touched an over the counter medication for over a year.  My kids haven’t been to the doctor except for their last well check visit.  It has been a blessing in our home and I think everyone should include some kind of natural medicines in their long term food storage.  You never know when you might need it. 

    Jennifer – you should use extreme caution with peppermint during pregnancy.  Peppermint can cause premature labor and can also dry up your milk supply.  

  • Jennifer W.

     Oh, thank you thank you thank you! I’ve been trying to learn about natural medicines, and for some reason I can never find a “baby steps,” “for dummies,” or basic list of things I need/need to know.

    Are these remedies safe for pregnancy?

    One thing that I’m going to suggest for a medicine cabinet is Colloidal Silver. It’s a natural antibiotic. I had a really bad sinus infection, sprayed some up my nose, and I felt 100% better and was on the mend the next day. There are tons of uses for it, as well.

    • Holisticldsliving

      Hi Jennifer – the only one you might want to use with caution during pregnancy is goldenseal, as in very high doses can cause uterine contractions.  The the anitviral remedy containing goldenseal, you could substitute a combination of Myrrh, peppermint and echinacea.  And I’m glad you brought up colloidal silver, it is a fantastic remedy!  And you can learn to make it yourself as well.

  • Cathy

    Thanks for this…very interesting!  My 14 month old had yet another throat infection and the pediatrician handed us yet another antibiotic prescription.  We decided to try garlic oil first and he was noticeably better within hours.  Will be highly interested in trying some of these remedies mentioned here, not only for storage but for current use.