Green Your Medicine Chest

I have been traveling a bit lately and spend a lot of time moving my bags from one place to another. You realize, when you travel often, just what you need (and moreover just what you don’t need) to lug through security yet one more time.

My travels take me to hotels, but also to other people’s homes (having spent a lot of time hosting travelers, I know a lot of people in a lot of places) and I often stay for a couple of nights. This leads me to unabashedly checking their medicine chests and under the sink storage for something I need, but decide not to lug with me: cotton balls, toilet paper, tweezers, nail file, pumice stone, that kind of thing.

All this totally innocent, (or more aptly), self-serving-and-time-and-sanity-saving-since-I-despise-the-drug-store snooping made me want to make a list of alternative items I use in the bath that are non-toxic, natural, organic or all of the above:

  • Tea Tree Oil instead of Neosporin: Tea Tree oil is naturally antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. I use it for cuts, abrasions and pimples. (See more great uses for Tea Tree oil.)
  • Fresh aloe for sunburn and menstrual cramps: Truth be told, this is either in the fridge or on the plant, not in my bath, but fresh aloe is the best remedy for sunburn (trust me, I know from a decade in the tropics and my wintering-friends’ white skin). Aloe is also the best remedy I’ve used for menstrual cramps, and I am often prone to severe cramping. Swallow a teaspoon down with some water and you’ll have relief in about 20 minutes. For either remedy, slice a leaf of the plant, slice off the pointy sides, and then carefully slice off one side of the wider part of the outer leaf. You can use your thumb or a spoon to scrape out the rest. Cut the skin off only the part of the leaf you’ll be using and put the rest in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of weeks in there.
  • Baking soda and water shampoo with water and apple cider vinegar conditioner: If you follow my articles, you’ll know I’ve been doing this for a couple of months now with resounding success and happiness.
  • Handmade Face cream for night and morning or store bought organic body lotion: The handmade recipe is easy and has only three ingredients, and there are a few pre-made lotions that meet my standards.
  • Immune boosting tincture made by certified herbalist, Camilla Petersson: This is my most precious medicine chest item, for it saves me hundreds in doctor visits, over the counter and prescription medicines and time being sick. I used to get a cold or flu at the drop of a hat, at least half a dozen a year (that’s every two months!) until I started taking an immune booster. I take no other medicines and only go to the doctor in emergencies.
  • Organic Witch Hazel and alcohol: I mix these together and put in a small spritzer bottle to use as my deodorant, though they are great cleansers when used separately as well.
  • Organic cotton balls: I use these mostly for my nails to remove polish.
  • Non-toxic nail polish and almost natural remover (though Honeybee Gardens nail polish can be removed with plain alcohol).
  • My one vice in the bathroom? French-milled lavender or lemon verbena soap. When I’m not indulging, I tend to use an organic tea tree or oatmeal soap, and there’s always a bottle of two of Dr. Bronner’s (the almond scent is divine, and so is the rose). Doc Bronner’s can be used for all types of cleaning needs, but be sure to water it down some, it comes very concentrated.

- Jocelyn Broyles

Headline image ©

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Laura M.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks! This is very helpful. ^_^

LM Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

thank you for sharing.

Kiana Siino
Kiana S6 years ago

Thanks for the good tips. I always carry tea tree when I travel too :)

andrew h.
- -6 years ago


as an option to possibly help health conditions you may want to consider "puja"
its an ancient way of helping heal (ive not tried it for health but for other topics)
its kind of relevant as it is a greener way of helping health - focussed prayer specific in some types of puja for health:

aj M.
aj E6 years ago


Michele Wilkinson

Thanks for these

Ailsa P.
Ailsa Porter6 years ago

Hats off to people who can remember all these natural cleaners, meds etc. When I need something, I know I've heard of a great natural alternative, but I can never remember what they are! Maybe I should put them in a book or on my laptop but then I can never remember where I've put it (if it's a cutting from a mag!!)!!! I am actually a pretty organised person and everything usually has it's place! Maybe it's old age!

Jessie Dijkstra
Jessie D6 years ago

cool :)

Shirley E.
Shirley E6 years ago

Some good ideas here ..

Carmen S.
Carmen S6 years ago

I use many of these things already, thanks for sharing this article