My name is Dr. Coleen Murphy ND, LAc., I am a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist practicing in Orange County, CA. I am also a mom of two boys.
Since everyone asks me what I do personally to keep my family healthy, I put together this page to share some of the natural remedies I use for my family's health maintenance and acute needs.
Here is my medicine chest, as you can see, medicine in my home falls into the categories of supplements, herbal tinctures, probiotics, homeopathy and nutra-ceuticals.
I have a full list of all of these products in a spreadsheet, if you scroll to the end you can sign up to receive the file. I will also include lots of helpful info on how to stock your home dispensary with natural products that fight disease primarily by strengthening the immune response.
This is probably a good time to issue a warning: this information is not intended as medical advice. Do not start or stop any medication without the advice of your health care provider, hopefully from a naturopathic doctor who are experts at using natural therapeutics.
Dr. Murphy's homemade homeopathic formula's
Lets look at some of the products starting with my homemade homeopathic formula's for two dreaded but common childhood illnesses: earaches and the barking cough known as croup. While many people are skeptical about homeopathy, and the mechanism of action can be hard to get your head around, one thing is for sure: if you see how one dose can shut down an awful 3 am cough or throbbing earache in an infant, you will believe. I will do a separate blog post on my personal homeopathic preparations so please join the mailing list to stay updated.
As an acupuncturist, I love working with Chinese herbs, this is one of my favorite formulas that falls in the category of adrenal tonics that support yin deficiency. Have you ever had night sweats after a bad bout of the flu? This is when you take this formula, it restores yin and strengthens the adrenal glands to stop night sweats.
Liposomalms: refrigerate after opening
Liposomal formulations are relatively new and promise increased absorption. The liquid is easy for everyone to take and no need to swallow any bulky pills, but the real reason to take this is the speed to get the vitamins into your blood stream. See my blog post for more info on liposomal vitamins and nutrients.
Lets look again at the supplements. if you had to boil it down, most of these products are immune boosters. I am a naturopathic doctor so must walk the walk on prevention of disease by enhancing the immune system. These products either directly enhance the immune system function, or treat symptoms while respecting the bodies innate healing ability. Elder berry syrup is a popular immune booster and easy for kids to take, echinacea is a classic immune booster, as is Olive Leaf extract (when an anti-viral is needed), and of course Vitamin C, which I now see I have 4 separate formulations of.
The small pill is easy to take and this formulation is coated so that it releases into the small intestine.
Probiotics are absolutely mandatory, I keep both freeze dried and refrigerated probiotics on hand and try to buy a few different brands to increase diversity. Kids hate taking pills so I add some of this powder to their smoothies:
Probiotics are pretty popular, for good reason, and now we are seeing 2.0 versions of probiotics creeping into packaged foods, so called 'enhanced food and beverages'. I wrote a fun post about probiotics on my Facebook page.
Fish oil from the livers of Nordic caught sardines and mackerel.
Omega 3, 6, 9 essential fatty acids are another must for a health families supplementation regime. I write a lot about Omega's and lots of good info here about the need for EFAs in diet and the best source for supplementation.
Where do you get this stuff? I buy my supplements mostly from Natural Partners, they are a trusted source for top quality products and are the 'Amazon' of supplements. CA residents pay no sales tax and get free ground shipping on orders over $50. You can get a free account with them to purchase products, see below. I get a commission on this, but regardless of where you shop, please only purchase quality supplements from reputable suppliers and do your research.
RF Plus: An Updated Robert's Formula
Roberts' Formula: A Natural Remedy for UC/Crohn's/IBD and Gastric Ulcers
Roberts' Formula is a traditional naturopathic remedy with a long history of use for gastric ulcers and digestive disorders. It is a Western herbal preparation that blends multiple herbs for a synergistic effect.
The herbal formula is named after Captain Frank Roberts who, after a life at sea, became a distinguished UK West Country naturopathic practitioner with a special interest in ulcers and gallstones.
The formula purportedly has been around a very long time, but the first known documentation of the formula constituents was published in 1957 in The Encyclopedia of Digestive Disorders (Thorsons, 1957)
Wise Woman Herbals Boo Boo Spray
Doctoring is often about bedside manner. While the herbs in this do provide an anti-inflammatory and cooling effect, its really just a great distraction for a crying child with a bug bite or small scrape.
Naturopathic Doctors have preached forever about the danger of suppressing the bodies very natural response to disease and pain. All OTC (over-the-counter) fever reducers and pain relievers have side effects, notably the deleterious impact on liver function, so I avoid there unnecessary usage in my home. However, sometimes it is necessary, usually when a kid has a fever heading for or over 103 degrees F or for pain that prevents a good nights sleep.
Once you have decided that a fever reducer is necessary, I find that ibuprofen has a less scary side effect profile when compared to acetaminophen, so usually go with that. I also found a brand without artificial colors but there are a few inactive ingredients (HFCS and Poly-Sorbate 80, yuck) in this that give me pause, so if your child can safely ingest a tablet (smashed up in apple sauce is the way I took my aspirin as a kid!), you may be better off without the liquid formulation.
Don't you hate when you goto the doctor and they give you antibiotics for a viral infection? Well, here is a real anti-viral that boosts the immune system through powerful marine polysaccharides. Red marine Algae (RMA) is basically sea weed and can stop of cold sore (HSV-1) infection in its tract, far superior to acyclovir in my clinical experience.
Look for Gigartina and Rhodophyta species, RMA deserves a place in every medicine cabinet for its anti-viral properties. You can use it prophylactically to prevent a cold sore on a big day.
Another anti-viral that is also anti-microbial
Continuing with the anti-viral theme, here is another potent anti-viral. It is the first herb mentioned in the bible. In Ezekiel 47:12, God speaks of a tree: "The fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine."
Scientists have found elenolic acid to be the active ingredient in Olive Leaf which interferes with critical amino acid production essential for the survival of viruses. Olive leaf extract has been shown to be effective against herpes, flu and colds, bacterial infections, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, vaginal yeast infections, skin conditions, malaria, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Child Immune Booster in glycerine
How do you keep your child from bringing home every illness from daycare?
As an herbalist, I look for easy ways to get the active ingredients into the body. Herbal medicine takes time to build up in the body and reach a critical, active dose.
Glycerine herbal formulations for kids are becoming standard, but if you have an alcohol tincture, you can boil of the alcohol by maintaining a temp of 150 degree F for about an hour. Do need heat an alcohol based tincture beyond 140-150 degrees.
Homeopathic preparation of aconite
Hyland's has been in the news lately because the FDA is critical of their belladonna homeopathic preparation meant to sooth teething pain. This product that I have in my medicine cabinet contains, amongst other homeopathics, aconitum which is the homeopathic preparation of aconite, a deadly preparation of the Wolf's Bane plant.
The FDA cannot decide if homeopathic medicines are highly diluted sugar pills or tiny pellets of natural poisons. Meanwhile, homeopathy is estimated to be a $400 million dollar annual market in the USA alone and millions of Americans are using these products every day. Luckily, the rest of the world is plowing ahead with homeopathic research and clinical evidence continues to mount for the efficacy of this hard to understand form of medicine.
Every one of the products in my medicine cabinet has a purpose, but if you could choose only one product to take every day, this may be it, turmeric. You will find a direct correlation between turmeric intake and cognitive ability later in life. Overall, this product is an anti-inflammatory and, at the root of all chronic disease, you will find inflammation, so if you were only going to take one product, this may be it. I would also add for consideration, Omega 3's and other EFA's as well as probiotics.
Luckily, we have the ability to supplement daily with natural products that have stood the test of time and science to earn their place in your medicine cabinet. With respect and deference toward the bodies innate healing mechanisms, and the wisdom encoded in nature through herbal medicine, families everywhere are updating their concept of the medicine cabinet away from pharmaceutical interventions and toward natural prevention strategies.
Do you want to receive the full list of supplements in my medicine cabinet along with their active ingredients and how to use them for you and your families health maintenance? Then like us on Facebook or join our mailing list.
We provide naturopathic medicine from our Lake Forest, CA office and also provide phone/video chat consultations. Give us a call at (949) 324-3660 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Coleen Murphy ND, LAc