Whether you are just getting started with self-care (as opposed to doctor care) or have been tending to your self for years, there are certain basics remedies that you’ll want to have on hand.

Some of these 5 must-have remedies will make you think “of course!”. In which case, check to see that you still have a supply in your cupboard or medicine cabinet. But I suspect there might be one or two on the list that surprise you!

Lavender angustifolia Essential Oil (therapeutic grade)

Use topically (straight from the bottle) on sunburns and cooking burns, alternating with cool water.

One night I came home from teaching and spilled lentils that had been cooking in the crock pot on my arm. The pain from the burn was intense.

While I sat, trying to breath through the pain and decide if I was lucid enough to drive to the E.R., I poured lavender oil on my arm. Slowly the pain began to recede.

After an hour, a trip to the hospital was obviously superfluous. The next day I had merely a huge red splotch- no blistering or peeling.

Lavender is also a great relaxant for cranky children (or adults!) as an inhalation. A few drops on your pillowcase will ease you to sleep and a few drops on the soles of the feet will draw down a fever.

What’s not to love?

Thyme Tea or Tincture

Thyme is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, making it ideal for those moments when you are certain you are getting sick… but you don’t yet know what form the big nasty is to going take.

The tea tastes like spaghetti sauce but becomes bearable when mixed with lemonade or cider (Don’t ask me why. Just giving you the benefit of a decades’ worth of experience).

I have seen thyme tea beat a stomach bug in two mugs!

The tincture (an extract in an alcohol base) is not too tasty either, but you don’t have to drink a whole mug of it to make it work.

Whichever you choose, continue taking for 24 hours after you’re feeling fine and not wanting to take anymore.

30c Arnica Homeopathic

This is the go-to for all your bumps, bruises, and breaks. I first learned about it when I was taking a woodworking class and smashed my finger.

One of the nurses in the class gave my finger the stink-eye and told me that either we get the swelling down or they would slit my finger along the length to relieve the pressure. Eeeeewwwww and ouch!

Arnica to the rescue. By the next day it was no longer throbbing in time with my heartbeat.

Osha Tincture*

This one may be a surprise for those of you who already work with herbs. This little-known herb is one I don’t leave home without.

Osha is brilliant for stopping a histamine, which means it’s great for hives, stings, and weird itchy throats that come on suddenly. A few drops topically if it’s a skin reaction, a few drops under the tongue for upper respiratory reactions.

* In the comments below, Candice reminds us that Osha resists cultivation which means that we need to be careful not to over harvest what grows in the wild. I use Osha literally by the drop, and you can too! One ounce of tincture lasts a year in our household. Save osha for a moment of true need.

Chamomile Tea

This little flower is a powerhouse! It will calm a queasy stomach, aid with digestion, quell menstrual cramps (even really severe ones) and help you to get a good night’s sleep.

Don’t use dusty old teabags. Buy whole chamomile flowers and steep for at least 20 minutes.

Of course, experience is the best teacher, so trust your own wisdom as you work with the plants and always pay attention to your intuition. If something feels wrong, it is wrong!

Nothing written here is meant to replace common sense or medical treatment when needed.

What are your go-to remedies? Share with us below!