If I were trapped on a desert island (which frankly, in the middle of a dreary Seattle winter doesn’t sound so awfully horrible) and if I could only have three medicines with me, these are the three I would pick.

Rescue Remedy – this is one of the Bach Flower Remedies and it’s a great little remedy for different kinds of stress. I haven’t found it to be as useful for long term anxiety disorders (except in one woman years ago) but it can work wonders for various kinds of situational stress. Have a test coming up (or sitting in front of you), an interview for a new job, or maybe a conflictive person you have to deal with? Take a couple squirts of Rescue Remedy under the tongue (or add a few squirts to your water bottle if you don’t want to be too obvious). It can be taken every 20 minutes, as often as needed for stress or in a water bottle, sipped continuously. Keep a little bottle in your purse or pocket since you never know when you’ll want it. Rescue Remedy is a very benign and non-toxic remedy but as anyone can react to anything, if you get weird symptoms after taking it, stop taking it.

Slippery Elm Bark Powder (Ulmus fulva) – this powder is a wonder of a first aid remedy. I’ve used it for people with heartburn, ulcer pain, colitis, digestive pains and irritations of many kinds, relieving sore throat pain and topically as a burn treatment. For digestive use, mix one heaping teaspoon in a cup of warm water, stir well and drink soon after mixing to prevent unpleasant texture changes. (Let’s just say there’s a reason it’s called “slippery” elm.) For a sore throat, I dissolve a bit of honey in the warm water first (optional), then mix in the slippery elm powder and let it sit and thicken a bit before drinking. The texture isn’t the nicest, but it can usually take away even severe sore throat pain in less than five minutes. For a burn, make a paste of the powder with a little cool water, apply directly to the burned area and let it sit (this is for normal every day burns of course, not serious burns requiring immediate medical attention). Women who are pregnant should not take slippery elm as it can theoretically cause uterine contractions and could therefore potentially cause a miscarriage; and again, anyone getting side effects of any sort should discontinue use. Please purchase only Organic Slippery Elm as this plant is an endangered species.

Castor Oil – this oil can be used topically for a great many things. It makes a wonderful anti-inflammatory for joints and musculoskeletal pain of all kinds. It can be used over the liver as a liver detox (*only if you’re having at least one bowel movement a day) and can be used over the abdomen to help with constipation. I don’t generally recommend taking it internally. For more information and specific directions on how to use Castor Oil see “The Wonders Of Castor Oil” in this blog.

Rescue Remedy, Slippery Elm & Castor Oil – just like WD40 & duct tape, if one doesn’t fix it, the other likely will. These three remedies are inexpensive, fairly easy to find and have a great many uses. They will be a great addition to your medicine cabinet.

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