I just can’t help it. Since I didn’t get to bake a different bread recipe every week like I had planned this fall, I guess my new personal mission is to figure out whatever I can about natural remedies.
I am so curious, because it’s all so foreign to me. When my husband gets a headache, if he can’t have a nap, he has an acetaminophen. When my son had some impetigo a few months back, we just used regular old OTC antibiotic cream, because as much as I may want a natural alternative, I rarely know where to start.
A few weeks back I was thrilled to receive a sample NaturoKit, a naturopathic first aid kit. I dug right in and read every word in the box. I still had very little idea what I was even looking at! I tweeted: “All right kids, you can get hurt! I have my naturopathic remedies now!” Of course, no one has gotten hurt, only double pinkeye, double ear infections, crazy terrible colds and walking pneumonia. Now I have to wait until next year when the company comes out with a cold and flu kit!
The kit has remedies – so simple I could actually follow every instruction in the moment – for scrapes, punctures, crushed body parts, diarrhea, stress, and much, much more. We’ve only used the “crisis calm” a few times when an adult was having trouble sleeping. What can I say? We slept.
I’m looking forward to the chance to try the other remedies so I can let you all know what I think! (Wait…maybe I’m not really looking forward to a family member getting hurt. Scratch that.) I have to admit that after remaining so sick as a family even with our new habits of cod liver oil and elderberry syrup, I feel a little skeptical about whether natural remedies are going to be as effective as the stuff I’m used to. But I’m committed to getting the chemicals out of our lives as much as possible, so I’m willing to be a guinea pig!
One of the two naturopathic doctors at NaturoKits took some time to answer my curious questions. (This is a sponsored post.) Here’s the scoop for you:
- How did you get started with naturopathy? Do you have official schooling or just learn-as-you-go knowledge?
I became smitten with naturopathic medicine years ago when I consulted a naturopathic clinic here in Portland, Oregon for help with itchy eczema. The ND (naturopathic doctor) took me off of milk products (cheese, milk, ice cream, etc.) and gave me a couple of dietary supplements and my skin cleared up within weeks. The only time it ever flared into the itchy rash after that was when I ate dairy. I was overjoyed and knew that I had to pursue this amazing kind of medicine more in depth.
So a few years later I began my graduate studies at National College of Natural Medicine, a four year doctorate degree program that is every bit as rigorous as regular medical school. I am now a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Oregon (as is my business partner Padeen Quinn, ND). For a better understanding of what naturopathic medicine is, what the training entails, which states offer licensure, and to find an ND in your area, please check out the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Please be aware that in some states there are people practicing medicine under the name of “naturopath” or “naturopathic doctor” that have not received a proper medical education and are not eligible to be licensed in any state. The best way to ensure that you’ve found an ND with proper credentials is to check that they graduated from an accredited school and/or that they are a member of one of the following associations.
2. If you looked at the average medicine cabinet in America, what two most important items would you switch to natural options, and why?
Painkillers like ibuprofen & acetaminophen are frequently taken for muscle aches and pains, muscle tension, and minor injuries. However, these painkillers come with a set of side effects that are less than desirable, such as being hard on your liver and contributing to joint deterioration. Replacing them with homeopathic Arnica (oral pellets and a topical cream or gel) may be a smart choice.
Hydrogen peroxide is often used to clean wounds. However, part of the way it works is by destroying cells. That’s the goal when the cells are bacteria, however, it’s not so optimal to destroy your own skin cells. Using herbal calendula succus to wash wounds is a great alternative. Calendula cleans wounds by killing microbes, decreases bleeding, AND accelerates the healing process by promoting the growth of new tissue.
Katie chimes in: I was always so happy to think that I was using a safe cleanser for scrapes when I poured a bit of hydrogen peroxide on, until a nurse at our pediatrician’s office explained the damage to cells and how H2O2 hinders healing. Drat!
Antibiotic ointments could also easily be replaced by an herbal salve like our Wild Weed Salve. In addition to protecting the skin and wounds from infection, the herbs (calendula is one of them) quicken the healing process and relieve itching and pain.
3. Let’s talk about these kits. What was your goal when you designed the NaturoKits?
My colleague and I founded NaturoKits because we are both passionate about naturopathic medicine and we wanted to see more people using it. In order to accomplish this, we needed to make it more accessible, more understandable, more convenient, and easier to use. The education component is HUGE when it comes to naturopathic medicine. Lots of people don’t even know that such a system of medicine exists, what it is or how it works, and what it can offer them and their families. We take our responsibility to be doctors as teachers seriously. For more on NaturoKits’ mission, click here.
We chose the remedies in our first aid kit based on safety (there are very minimal concerns for toxicity with any of the remedies), how many common situations each remedy could cover (the more the better), and ease of use. The bottom line is that we want everyone in North America to understand that naturopathic medicine is a valuable healthcare option for both acute and chronic conditions. And then we want to provide a place for people to start…and that’s where our kits come in.
4. Why do some of the products go under the tongue?
It’s the homeopathic remedies in the small glass vials that go under the tongue. The blood vessels under the tongue are very close to the surface, so that is an area where some medicines can be absorbed straight into the bloodstream very quickly and easily, bypassing the digestive system. Homeopathic remedies are best delivered in this way. And they taste good so it is usually quite easy to get people (including children) to take them.
5. Are there any hazards or risks to using the products inside the NaturoKits?
We chose remedies which have a long history of safety in people (and animals) of all ages. Of course anything when used inappropriately or when used in a very sensitive individual has the potential to cause harm. When the directions included in each kit are followed, there is VERY minimal risk of reaction or toxicity. This should be reassuring to people who are just getting their feet wet with regard to natural remedies, especially when they are treating their children.
6. Do you have any kits for cold and flu season?
We currently have two NaturoKits available: the Basic First Aid NaturoKit® and the First Aid MiniKit. At this time we do not have a cold and flu kit. However, that type of kit is frequently requested and it is our goal to develop one in the next calendar year.
7. The price point for the Basic First Aid NaturoKit® seems high compared to regular first aid kits. Tell me about the price.
First of all our Basic First Aid NaturoKit® is different from a regular first aid kit in that it contains medicines for relieving symptoms AND promoting healing. It takes first aid care to a whole new level, beyond band-aids and Tylenol. If you were to walk into a health food store and purchase all of the remedies in our Basic First Aid NaturoKit® separately, you would pay more than the cost of our kit. Next, you must understand that many of these remedies will serve you for years – the homeopathic remedies in particular.
Another important value of the kit is the product insert with detailed instructions on using the kit. We worked hard to write an insert which makes it as easy as possible for our customers to know which remedies to use in lots of common first aid situations and to quickly figure out HOW to use them. Like I said before, education is very important for us and I hope that our product inserts reflect this. I often argue that the insert may actually be the greatest value of the kit.
Finally the convenience factor of having it all packed together in a nice compact bag cannot be underestimated. So the price point might seem high to some at first glance. But once people realize what they’re getting for their money, it typically becomes a non-issue.
Katie chimes in: It is true that buying homeopathic stuff at the health foods store adds up quickly. $5-15 a bottle for a few essential oils for the vaporizer was well worth it, but pricey on first glance.
Thanks, Julie, for a great interview, and especially for the discount for my readers for $5.00 off an order of $60 or more Dec 1st through December 31st. Use code DCKITCHEN at NaturoKits website.
If you have questions for Julie, I’ll be sure to direct her to the comments section, so ask away!
Photos from NaturoKits and Flickr (scraped knee).