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Natural guide to a drug-free medicine cabinet

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

7 Surprising drug-free remedies to keep on hand

"I stock my medicine cabinet with many non-prescription, multi-use drugs," says emergency physician Dr. David Farman. "Sometimes, though, natural home remedies are just as effective as drugs for treating minor ailments."

He suggests the following, all-natural treatments for the little bites, burns and bugs that have you feeling down. You might feel relieved to realize that many of his suggestions are already in your pantry.

1. Saline nasal spray for a stuffy nose

Whether you suffer from a stuffy or runny nose, a remedy like ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ Nasal Relief may reduce the length and severity of your symptoms. "Saline spray helps remove mucus from your nasal passages, and adds moisture which can reduce your risks of prolonged infection," says Farman.

2. Meat tenderizer for insect bites

Mosquito bites and bee stings are the pits, but you can counteract the swelling and itching of a bite by creating a meat tenderizer paste. "Simply mix meat tenderizer with water, and apply to the bite," Farman explains. "Enzymes in the seasoning break down venom proteins to reduce swelling."

3. Neti pot for chronic allergies

Allergy sufferers know the constant aggravation of clogged sinuses and recurrent infections all too well. Farman states that the Neti pot is an excellent option for preventing allergy symptoms, as sterilized water irrigates allergens and mucus out of your system.

4. Aloe vera for burns

Next time you suffer a sunburn or an otherwise minor burn, cool it down by heading into your backyard. "The aloe vera plant is an analgesic, meaning that it can soothe pain," states Farman. "Interestingly, though, the properties of aloe vera plant also promote wound healing for faster recovery." You can find soothing aloe vera gel at the store, or directly from a cut frond.

5. Salt for a sore throat

Next time your throat is painfully sore, mix a teaspoon of salt into a glass of water and gargle for instant relief. "Salt draws liquid out of tissues, which will relieve swelling and inflammation in your infected throat," he says.

6. Baking soda for tummy pain

You may want to talk with your doctor first — particularly if you're on a sodium-restricted diet or have chronic stomach pain — but baking soda is an excellent remedy for troubleshooting occasional heartburn and sour stomach. "It's important to accurately follow the instructions on your package of baking soda, but mixing the soda with water creates an antacid that works great when you don't have medicine on hand," Farman explains.

7. Oatmeal for itchy skin

Poison ivy got you down? Farman reports that you can soothe your itchy skin by mixing together an oatmeal bath. Create an oatmeal bath by pouring one-half cup of finely ground oats into a coffee filter, and securing with a rubber band. Submerge the oatmeal in a warm bath and soak until your skin feels relieved.

This post was sponsored by ARM & HAMMER.

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