Let’s talk about your medicine cabinet. Maybe it’s a whole cupboard in your kitchen. Maybe it’s behind the mirror in your bathroom. But almost everyone in America has that cabinet—you know what I’m talking about.
The problem is, almost all of that stuff you’ve accumulated in there is toxic. I enrolled a friend in this little experiment and asked if I could just take a peek in his medicine cabinet to get a sense of what some things most people might be keeping. Here’s what I found:
- A bottle of ibuprofen – Walmart brand
- A bottle of Delsym cough syrup
- Nyquil Liquicaps
- Benedryl Allergy Relief 25mg tablets
- Lamisil Athlete’s Foot Spray
- A bottle of Pepto Bismol
So I thought what we’d do, just for fun, is to go through each of these, talk about why they are toxic and how you can replace them with something more natural for comparable—or even better—results. But first, we have to talk about treating root causes over symptoms. It doesn’t matter if you use Benedryl or organic, local honey to treat your allergies in a sense because in both cases, you’re just treating the symptom. This has become a little pet peeve of mine. Our culture has come to think that “healing” and “feeling better right now” are the same thing. As long as you’re not feeling the symptoms of your illness AT THIS MOMENT, all is well, right?
Let’s think about my friend’s medicine cabinet. The only thing I can really justify is the athlete’s foot spray. That’s just something he picked up at the gym and you know, you’ve got to get rid of it. A natural remedy would be better, but fair enough. Everything else – the ibuprofen for headaches, the cough syrup for coughing, the Nyquil for cold and flu, the Benedryl for allergies, the Pepto Bismol for an upset stomach—all of these things just sweep the symptoms of a larger problem under the rug.
My point is, it’s the same thing for natural remedies. If honey makes your allergies go away, that’s really great, but you need to always think about addressing the root cause.
Allergies are very often a symptom of an unbalanced microbiome. In other words, the bacteria in your gut are all out of whack. The same is likely the cause of whatever digestive issues he’s trying to fix with Pepto Bismol—or he’s just eating terrible food. Or maybe he accidentally ate some bad chicken. It’s hard to say. Cough syrup and Nyquil for cold and flu. We’re talking about the result of low immunity. This could also be a symptom of an unbalanced microbiome. But it can also be a function of stress or not getting enough sleep. Or there might be a subluxation in his C1 or C2 vertebrae that makes him more susceptible to lung and throat infections. The ibuprofen is for, I’m assuming, headaches. Well, he might not be drinking enough water. Again, it could be a subluxation or stress or not enough sleep.
The point is, if my friend were to fix his leaky gut and balance his microbiome, we could probably knock out the allergies, the digestive issues and maybe even his tendency toward cold and flu. Sometimes pathogens just find their way in, however, and there’s nothing you can do but wait it out. And of course, you will gladly take something to feel better while you do. The problem is, when you take a lot of this stuff, it makes it worse. For example, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin actually cause leaky gut (which causes inflammation which turns into any number of things). Cold and flu medications contain massive amounts of these types of drugs.
Pepto Bismol is a low-grade antibiotic. This not only contributes to your antibiotic resistance, it kills the bacteria in your gut. And there’s a very good chance your upset stomach has something to do with your microbiome being in a state of imbalance. So while it might make you feel better in the moment, it’s contributing to the problem in the long run.
There are numerous methods for testing that can root out the cause of your health problems. We can run most of those tests at my office. Or, and I’m always surprised at how few people know about this, you can either ask your doctor to run these tests for you or you can go straight to medical testing companies and order them for yourself.
What to do while you are addressing your root causes
If you are in the process of changing your lifestyle for the better, fixing things like leaky gut and inflammation and boosting your immune system, but you are suffering and want to feel better, that’s totally understandable. Let’s use the previous examples to illustrate how you can address symptoms in a natural way.
- Headaches – You can find relief from a headache in several ways. First, try drinking more water. Many headaches are caused by dehydration. You can get a chiropractic adjustment. You can take a magnesium supplement as many headaches are a result of magnesium deficiencies. Or you can do some aromatherapy with lavender and peppermint.
- Upset stomach – Peppermint tea, a small glass of apple cider vinegar, grass-fed yogurt, carraway seeds eaten raw, fennel or a heating pad held on the stomach can all help with an upset stomach.
- Allergies – A neti pot, apple cider vinegar, local raw honey, a probiotic supplement, aromatherapy using eucalyptus and frankincense oil or a quercetin supplement are all-natural ways to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms.
- Cold and flu symptoms – Garlic and ginger are two of nature’s most powerful anti-virals. Nettle leaf tea, apple cider vinegar, lots and lots of water, sleep, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, red clover tea…
The last thing you need is some lab-synthesized chemicals to feel better. There are so many natural options.