Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's In Melody's Medicine Cabinet?

A lot of people ask me what I use to cure various common ailments, so I thought I'd let everyone in on some of my not-so-secret secrets.  Here are the items I turn to most often for common problems.

1)  A healthy, clean diet and a solid, regular exercise plan that includes very heavy lifting.  I cannot express enough how important this is for overall health, and for preventing sickness and injury.  My body fat is low, my bloodwork is fantastic, and my body is very strong.  I rarely get sick, and when I do catch something that's been going around, it isn't nearly as severe or as long-lasting as it tends to be in others.  A few years ago, a 16kg (about 35lbs) kettlebell rolled off a weight bench and bounced off my left foot.  My foot swelled up like a baseball for a day, but, much to the shock of the X-ray technician and the doctor at urgent care, there was no sign of bone fracture at all (very surprising considering the size of the impact on the teeny-tiny bones that make up the top of the foot).  I attribute this to my diet and my strength training, and maybe a little bit of dumb luck. 


Hydrogen peroxide is a great, easy way to disinfect cuts, clean wax out of ears, resolve canker sores, disinfect gums and toothbrushes, and whiten teeth, and even works as a nontoxic house cleaner.  I find it absolutely indispensable.


San Huang San (herbal ice) is a topical Chinese herbal remedy that I find extremely useful for contusions with inflammation that feels hot to the touch.  Like regular ice, if used for too long, it can slow down the healing process, so this is really only for an acute injury that eminates heat.  But it works very well, doesn't melt, and doesn't require access to a freezer.  If you have a first aid kit, I recommend having this on hand!  


Stop Bleeding Powder/Yunnan Paiyao is another Chinese herb I find very useful to have around.  It is excellent for any cut that bleeds fairly heavily, has been proven to help reduce post-operative bleeding and has even shown to be effective in helping to repair intestinal wounds from inflammatory bowel disease.  Definitely another first aid kit star.


 Oregano oil is highly antiviral and antibacterial (even against E. coli and staph infections!).  When I feel a cold coming on, or when someone around me has been sick, this is one of the items I start taking immediately.  It cuts sick time down significantly (science reinforces this) and helps prevent me from catching whatever people cough and sneeze on me.  I also put several drops of this along with cinnamon oil (which is also antibacterial, keeps ants away, and smells great) in a soap solution in a spray bottle for housecleaning, and use it as a mouthwash for canker sores.

Olive leaf extract is a fantastic immune booster, and has been shown to have antiviral effects on HIV-1, neuroinflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis, and has a host of other health benefits.   I use it especially during cold and flu season and when I'm feeling particularly fatigued.  


Elderberry extract is another thing I grab immediately at the first inkling of a scratchy throat or sniffle.  It is a very powerful anti-viral and is good for your heart, too.  


A heating pad.  It has been my experience that most injuries respond far better to heat than to cold (the exception being an acute injury with inflammation that eminates heat).  Heat helps to relax tight muscles, increases blood flow to an area, and helps in the healing process of many types of injuries.  I often recommend stick-on heat pads (they sell them at most drugstores) for first aid kits.

Cherries.  Man, oh, man, do I ever love cherry season.  Not only are they delicious, but these little nuggets of yum are highly anti-inflammatory.  Since most disease in the body is caused by inflammation, trying to keep it at bay is a smart move.  Consumption of cherries and other anti-inflammatory foods (like turmeric, chili peppers, green tea, cabbage, broccoli, apples, etc) and reduction of inflammatory foods (such as sugar and processed foods) can go a long way in reducing inflammation in the body and keeping disease at bay.


Epsom salts are one of the cheapest ways to get your daily dose of magnesium.  Many people are deficient in this mineral.  Just a 20-minute (minimum) soak in a magnesium bath (or foot bath) is enough for your body to absorb the necessary magnesium without the gastrointestinal side-effects that often come along with taking it orally.  Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and helps resolve soreness, cramping, and twitching in the muscles.  It is also helps balance hormones and is a key nutrient for people suffering from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, muscular sclerosis, and other diseases of this nature.  

Tamanu oil is both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.  It helps minor cuts and burns heal in no time, and even helps get rid of rashes and acne.  I also use it as a facial moisturizer; it keeps my skin clear and seems to keep wrinkles at bay.

So there you have it-- a small glimpse into my medicine cabinet.   Questions?  Comments?  Post 'em here!


  1. Definitely one to bookmark :)

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  3. Hi there, read your post on Alek's blog and thought I'd drop by here :) I was just wondering how magnesium balances hormones? I take it so that I don't twitch like a freak at night time (evening strength training = bad idea!) but I'm always interested in things that keep hormones balanced. Thanks! Fi

    1. Hi, Fi--

      Magnesium has many roles in the hormonal system of the body. It helps regulate parathyroid hormone (http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/7669510/reload=0;jsessionid=7MwsbPJI0wsvqvzfZxHJ.4 ), interacts with estrogen ( http://www.jacn.org/content/12/4/442.short ), has a direct relationship to insulin resistance ( http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/28/5/1175.long ), and may enhance levels of growth hormone and testosterone ( http://www.nutrabio.com/Products/zma_references.htm ).

      Hope this helps!

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