There are times when conventional medicine is needed without a doubt. Things like a broken arm or severe illness require immediate attention by a medical professional. However, there are many common situations in life that can be addressed more naturally by things we already keep on hand. Just make sure to consult with your doctor if you are taking medications, as there can be complications between certain foods and medicines. Here are common pantry items to stock that also have medicinal purposes.


Honey is a very powerful substance that has been used medicinally since ancient times. Honey can protect and heal burns, cuts, and scrapes. It can also calm a cough and help manage cold or flu symptoms. This is all due to its high anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties.

Coconut oil also has known anti-bacterial and anti-microbial effects. Used on cuts and scrapes, it can protect minor wounds from becoming infected and encourage healing. It can also reduce scarring. Also, it can often reduce rashes and skin inflammation. It’s important to note that neither coconut oil or butter should ever be used on burns as they can actually cause the burn to do additional damage to the skin beneath the surface.

Apple cider vinegar can be diluted and used to treat rashes, clean cuts and scrapes, and combat topical infections.

Fruits and vegetables

Garlic is another powerful remedy. Eating garlic can boost your immune system, which makes it useful against the cold and flu. Using it topically on small wounds can help disinfect them. Surprisingly pineapple can suppress a cough, treat indigestion, increase immune system response, and reduce inflammation, some evidence suggests it can even help with arthritis pain.

Often made into a syrup or jam, elderberry can combat a cold or flu, bolster the immune system, treat bladder infections, provide allergy relief, and relieve indigestion. Ginger is an actual superfood. Taken internally is beneficial against the cold and flu, nausea, indigestion, muscle pain, infections (especially gum), and even menstrual pain. It can also be used for congestion by boiling slices of it in water and carefully breathing in the steam through the nose.

Herbs and spices

Mint is a wonderful plant to have on hand. It can help soothe an inflamed throat and suppress coughing. It can also help to bring down a fever. Turmeric can be used topically for cuts and scrapes and will help clot the blood, or used internally for inflammation. Fresh aloe vera may not be something you find in your pantry, although it is edible. That said, keeping a plant in the kitchen isn’t a bad idea. Don’t worry, aloe vera plants are difficult to kill. The benefits of this medicinal plant are varied. Good for use on burns, cuts and scrapes, and rashes, its a useful remedy to have around.

Additional items

A baking soda bath is known to soothe a rash, and drinking a small amount in water can reduce heartburn. Epsom salt isn’t actually a food item, but it’s great to keep on hand. It can be used for rashes, to help reduce stress, and to reduce the symptoms of a cold or flu. Tea tree oil, or Melaleuca, has long been used to treat rashes and infections. According to a study done in 2006, it is an anti-microbial agent. It also has powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties. This means it can even be diluted and used topically for things like acne. It is also an effective treatment against head lice.

Many of life’s small medical needs can be dealt with at home. Conventional medicines can be hard on our bodies over time, and it’s better to avoid using them when possible. However, when an injury or illness is serious, the best option is always to go to a doctor for treatment, especially in an emergency situation. When in doubt, have it checked out.