It has been my experience that every time you pick up any form of commercial medicine from nasal spray to headache relief, you read about possible side effects. Some of them are minor, and others are not. Even more interesting is - the more important (and yes, sometimes stronger) the medicine is, the worse the side effects get. In fact, there are a lot of prescription strength drugs that say (in regards to the side effects) your doctor has decided that the benefits to you using the medication outweigh the risks of the side effects.
There is a birth control regime that has side effects listed as: nausea, constipation, headache, stroke, or possible heart attack - why would you willingly risk having a stroke or a heart attack simply to avoid having kids? (If you do not want kids to the point where you are willing to risk your health to ensure you do not get pregnant, then you should probably look into a more permanent solution - vasectomies can be reversed, and some types of tubal sterilization processes can be reversed as well. They cost more money, but at least you are still alive.)
My point is that using commercial medicines can have some really serious side effects, even when using precisely as prescribed. The reason being is because they are so potent that your body does not always know how to handle the medicine and begins to fight it. This is where using herbal remedies is a lot more safe. First of all, herbs contain chemical compounds in them just like any medicine does. Some people may still have reactions to these chemical compounds. BUT because herbs are a lot milder than commercial medicines, the risk of experiencing any form of side effect is quite slim. It is even better to use fresh herbs when possible because the herb plant not only contains the medicinal properties, but also contains other properties that prevent side effects from the medicinal properties. This is something that commercial medicines do not have.
Herbal medicines are extremely useful in relieving a lot of common complaints such as stomach aches, migraines, rashes, etc. The leading diaper rash ointment contains chemicals that can actually cause a worse reaction than the diaper rash. Yet an herbal salve (like Danigi Soaps Medicinal Salve, or a salve found at your local health store) that is completely natural with no chemicals, relieves pain much faster, helps heal the diaper rash up (the Danigi Soaps salve actually heals a diaper rash overnight with fast pain relief) faster, and it is more healthy for your child! If you look at commercial nausea relief medications you see all these possible side effects including swelling and weight gain. Yet you can use something like Ginger root and avoid the side effects and get the same amount of relief just as fast!
Now, I know that there are some commercial medicines out there that really do work and are useful to have. So I am not saying to completely disregard all commercial medicines. What I AM saying is that we do not need to go running to the doctor every time someone sneezes or coughs, we don't need to go running to the pharmacy for headache relief or to stop diarrhea - use herbs instead.
Here are some common complaints along with the herbs you can use to relieve the pain:
Tummy aches - Peppermint, Chamomile, and Ginger - You can buy Peppermint tea and Chamomile tea, make yourself a tea mixing those two together, sweeten with honey and use to swallow a ginger root capsule.
Headaches - Feverfew, Peppermint, Chamomile, Lavender, and Rosemary all help relieve headaches with no side effects. I think Danigi Soaps is getting ready to come out with a new product for migraine headache relief, but you can go to your local health food store and find "Head Aid" aromatherapy roll-ons and other natural headache remedies.
Sinus Infection - Salt Water works just as good as nasal drops. In fact, most of the time, the main active ingredient in nasal spray is saline solution...which is basically mild salt water. Also, add some drops of Rosemary, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and/or Tea Tree oil to a very hot bath. The steam from the bath will open up your sinuses as will the scent of the oils. Even better, all of the oils listed have anti-bacterial properties and will kill off the bacteria causing your sinus infection. Talk about instant relief!!
Chest Congestion - Make a steam "tent" with hot water (freshly boiled, on a hot pad on a flat surface like the kitchen table) and apple cider vinegar. If you don't have apple cider vinegar, then plain water will work to at least open up your lungs a bit better and soothe the inflammation. You can also add a drop or two of lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil to the PLAIN water in place of the apple cider vinegar - but only use a drop or two as you don't want the scent to be overpowering. So, to make the tent, take your boiling water and put it on a hot pad on the kitchen table. Get a bath towel. Sit down at the table, drape the towel over your head and lean forward until the towel surrounds both you and the pan of hot water so the steam has nowhere to go but into your lungs when you inhale. Sit there for 10-15 minutes (or as long as you can - whichever comes first). Then remove the towel and place the pan on the back burner (off) of your stove for later use. You can do this as often as necessary. I recommend having a cup of warm/hot peppermint and chamomile tea ready for you to drink as sometimes you can feel slightly nauseous when you are done with the steam tent. You can also do this for kids, but only do it for a couple minutes or less because they are much smaller. I actually just hold my child above the water and gently fan it towards them and do that for about 5 minutes - this works good for newborn to about 3 - then (when they are too heavy to safely hold above the water) pour the water into a bowl and let them breathe it in for a few minutes.
Colds - Most people have at least one oil burner in their home and if you don't have one, they only cost a few dollars at Wal-Mart. Take some water and put it into the top of the oil burner, then put in a couple drops of Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree, or Eucalyptus Essential oil into the water. Light the candle below and let the scent move around the same as if you had fragrance oil in there. Just check and make sure you don't let the water burn out before the candle does. Also, as soon as you start feeling sick, take Echinacea, goldenseal, and ginger if you can (I know some people can't take one or more of those herbs either because of medicines or because it makes them nauseous) and drink peppermint/chamomile tea sweetened with honey.
I hope that this has helped to give you an alternative way to feel better without using some kind of commercial medicine that has tons of side effects. The worst side effect listed in all of these remedies has been nausea. I think I would rather have that than any of the side effects listed on commercial medicine labels.
If you have any health/herb-related questions, please email Virginia at firstname.lastname@example.org or look up "naturegirl85" on Live Person Experts. Thank you!!