My Kitchen, My Pharmacy

Our 13-year-old son Colin had a cold recently. He missed two days of school and was back Monday morning. Our only medicine? Homemade chicken soup, oil of oregano, tea tree oil, and two trips to Redbox.

As I watched his quick recovery, I thought back to our days in Colorado when colds, coughs, and sore throats were part of our daily life. As were over-the-counter medications.

After we left our home, an inventory was done of each item in our house. The 60-page document lists everything from dog food to mascara to cherished baby boxes and books. Here is a peek at our list of medications (minus first aid and diabetes supplies):
(click for larger view)

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications make up a growing market. In 2001, the FDA reported more than 80 classes of OTCs. According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, in 2011 there were more than 100,000 OTC products on the market. As indicated above, our family took advantage of many of them.

I checked our current collection of OTCs and counted two: ibuprofen and Benadryl. I stand amazed at how infrequently we need the pain reliever and our virtual lack of need for the antihistamine.

Hippocrates made a profound statement when he encouraged us to "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Oils taken from plants, herbs, and flowers contain wonderful healing properties, and homemade chicken soup offers a soothing elixir. Then there's fermented foods, full of probiotic bacteria and yeasts. The photo below shows some of the cultured foods in our kitchen.

It took many years to transition away from convenient and quick foods. It has not been easy to alter our lifestyle. But after spending years in doctors' offices, I'm grateful to find my pharmacy in my kitchen.