Dr. Mehmet Oz answered:
There are a few lesser known items that are essential to stock in any medicine cabinet:
Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil is a natural, essential oil derived from the leaves of a plant indigenous to Australia. Traditionally tea tree oil has been used to soothe skin problems such as minor burns, athlete's foot, and insect bites. When applied directly to the skin, tea tree oil has been found to have antimicrobial activity against strong bacteria and fungi. It's a great natural alternative with a wide variety of uses.
SLS-Free Toothpaste. SLS stands for sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical that creates foam when you brush but can also lead to mouth sores. This ingredient is unnecessary when it comes to good oral hygiene. Furthermore, SLS can damage the oral tissue lining your mouth and cause canker sores. Natural toothpaste alternatives aren't as foamy but are less harsh.
Tiger Balm. Tiger balm is a natural muscle relaxer and Chinese herbal remedy developed more than 100 years ago. The main active ingredient is camphor, which produces a sensation of warmth on your skin. This substance, when used in small amounts, releases localized muscle-relaxing heat for aches and pains. Remember it should not be ingested, so keep it away from children.
Valerian Root Capsules. If you are having trouble falling asleep at night, a valerian root capsule may help with insomnia. Several studies in adults suggest that this herb may improve quality of sleep and reduce the time to fall asleep. Valerian is a common ingredient in many mild sedatives and sleep aids but should not be mixed with other sedatives or antianxiety medications.
Bentonite. Bentonite, in the form of purified clay, is an absorbent substance that may be able to relieve diarrhea. It may also be able to absorb toxic substances in the intestines and prevent them from causing nausea or upset. You can find bentonite preparations in many health food stores.There are a few lesser known items that are essential to stock in any medicine cabinet: Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil is a natural, essential oil derived from the leaves of a plant indigenous to Australia. Traditionally tea tree oil has been used to... More
Dr. Michael Roizen answered:You've likely snooped in enough medicine cabinets to know that they tend to be not only filled with used medicine but also a breeding ground for makeup, empty pill bottles, and bills from 1989. Do yourself a favor and clean out your collection of nastiness, and stock your medicine cabinet with things that can make you feel good—even when times are tough.
- Dental floss
- Soft-bristle toothbrush (don't brush like you brush a toilet, and change every two months)
- Mouth mask (if you get the flu, to avoid spreading it to family)
- Home-testing blood-pressure device
- Self-heating wraps that don't burn skin (for muscle soreness)
- Nail clipper
- Healthy toothpaste without sodium lauryl sulfate (foaming agent) or a whitening agent (if you have frequent mouth ulcers)
- Soap without antibacterial properties (which encourage resistant bacteria) or fragrances (which are allergens)
- Skin exfoliant (limits dead cells and reduces adult acne)
- Deodorant (not with an antiperspirant so you can let the natural process of sweating happen)
Pain Relievers and Medicine
- Topical muscle reliever such as BENGAY, Tiger Balm, capsaicin cream, or Arnica
- General first-aid kit
- Butterfly tape strips (to close little cuts)
- Liquid bandage (cyanoacrylate Dermabond for blisters and small cracks—same as a doctor's Dermabond)
- Petroleum-based Vaseline, Neosporin, or bacitracin cream (to keep wounds moist)
- Tea tree oil (for pilonidal cysts)
- Burt's Bees beeswax lip balm
- Gly-Oxide (soothes canker sores)
- Pepto-Bismol (for travelers' diarrhea)
- Antacids (Prilosec OTC)
- Epsom salt (use in a bath for soreness)
- Elastic bandages for tight wrapping (RICE protocol)
- Ipecac to induce vomiting (I hope you won't need this)
- Benadryl tablets for minor allergic reactions
Toss out these guys—or think twice before stocking them:
Find out more about this book: You: Being Beautiful - The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer BeautyYou've likely snooped in enough medicine cabinets to know that they tend to be not only filled with used medicine but also a breeding ground for makeup, empty pill bottles, and bills from 1989. Do yourself a favor and clean out your collection of... More
- Tamiflu (may be overkill, plus it might cause psychotic reactions)
- Imodium (generally, when you have the runs, you want the virus to come out, not stay stuck inside)
- Cough medicines with pseudoephedrine, which will jack up your blood pressure
- Old expired drugs, particularly liquids that can grow bacteria and change chemically.
Dr. Cindy Haines answered:
Here are the bare basics of what I keep in mine:
(adult and child varieties of both of the above; useful for mild fevers, headaches, other mild discomforts)
cortisone cream (useful for skin irritation and inflammation)
polysporin ointment (useful for skin cuts and abrasions)
thermometer (necessary to assess fever)
tweezers (useful for splinter removal)
band-aids in variety of sizes and ones that make my kids smileHere are the bare basics of what I keep in mine: acetaminophen (Tylenol) ibuprofen (adult and child varieties of both of the above; useful for mild fevers, headaches, other mild discomforts) cortisone cream (useful for skin irritation and... More
Dr. Kathleen Handal answered:
A well-stocked medicine cabinet will also come in handy in a medical emergency. If you call your doctor‘s office or insurance company for guidance you may be advised to start treatment at home. Here is a list of items that should be kept in your medicine cabinet, out of reach of young children, of course.
Remember to ask about allergies before administering any medication!
Acetaminophen liquid or caplets. Use for fever or minor aches and pain.
Ibuprofen liquid or caplets. Use for adult fever and as an anti- inflammatory for minor pain.
Activated Charcoal Tablets/powder. Use for accidental poisoning to absorb toxins/poisons.
Antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (generic for brand name ̳Benadryl®‘). Use for allergic reaction, itching.
Decongestant nasal spray. Use to clear nasal passageways. Saline nasal spray is a good choice. It is your safest option because you can‘t use too much and it has no side effects.
o NOTE: Be sure to follow directions if you use over-the-counter or prescription decongestants, or combination decongestant /antihistamines. Common ingredients in decongestants, like pseudoephedrine, can affect your heart and blood pressure.
Antiseptic antimicrobial liquid for cleaning skin wounds, such as Hibiclens®.
Thermometer. Use to take body temperature. You should also keep a thermometer in your First Aid Kit. Choose one that is easy to use and interpret. You want to be sure both teenagers and the elderly can use it.
Expectorant. Use to thin mucus so you can cough it out. Non-prescription Guaifenesin is a good choice
Cough Suppressant. Use to control your cough. Non-prescription dextromethorphan (DM) is a common ingredient.
Anti-bacterial ointment. Use after cleaning minor cuts and abrasions. Again, this is included in your First Aid Kit but should also be kept in your medicine cabinet. Bacitracin is a good choice. Triple antibiotic skin cream contains Neomycin which is particularly sensitizing, especially when used on the face. It can also cause allergic reactions in some people.
Calamine or antihistamine lotion, with or without hydrocortisone 1%. Use this for itching and rash caused by poisonous plants or insect bites. Cleanse the area before application.
Sterile eye wash with eye cup. Use to flush irritants from eye. You should also keep one in your First Aid Kit.
Check for expiration dates and discard any expired medications properly! Your physician may suggest particular items for your condition.A well-stocked medicine cabinet will also come in handy in a medical emergency. If you call your doctor‘s office or insurance company for guidance you may be advised to start treatment at home. Here is a list of items that should be kept in... More