Use these basics to take control over your health and personal care. For more powerhouse products for a healthy homestead, read the original article, 24 Goods for a Self-Sufficient Home.
1. An aloe plant can be almost entirely neglected, but it will still take care of you when you’re in need. Busy people who cook, clean and fix things can easily get burned in the kitchen or garage—just take a clipping off the end of an aloe leaf and you’ll find its rich juice to be the best antiseptic and healing agent you can find on the quick and cheap! For those working in the garden or spending time in the sun, it’s brilliant for sunburns (though please try to avoid all manner of burns). —Aviva Romm
Aloe plants are available from a wide array of sources; check your local nursery or greenhouse
2. I recommend a high-quality multivitamin—the backbone of a basic dietary supplement nutritional program. I take NOW ADAM softgels, which offer the basics of 13 vitamins and 10 minerals, plus provide nutritional ingredients targeted to men such as saw palmetto, nettle root and lycopene. NOW’s version of this multivitamin for women, EVE, has the same basic nutritional profile, but with added ingredients targeted to women such as folic acid, iron, evening primrose oil, cranberry, horsetail and green
tea extract. —Jim Ritcheske
Featured product: NOW ADAM and EVE Softgels
3. Plain old castile soap (bar or liquid) still does the best job of getting you clean, although it can be drying (moisturize with aloe gel or jojoba oil). Soap doesn’t work its best if you have hard water (high in calcium and magnesium). You can create a tub of buoyant, soft water by dissolving equal measures of sea salt and Epsom salt until water reaches the desired consistency. —Tom Havran
Featured product: Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Liquid Soap
4. Homeopathic Arnica (30C) is our family’s go-to fix for bumps and bruises, sports injuries, and a sore back from too much shoveling or yardwork. This homeopathic wonder helps ease pain, inflammation and bruising without any side effects or drug interactions. It’s in our car glove compartments, first-aid kits, and of course, medicine chest. —Jaclyn Chasse
Featured product: Boiron Arnica Montana 30C
5. This self-reliant gal has a bucket of coconut oil in her pantry. It’s incredibly shelf-stable and will keep for years. It makes a great base for handmade skin care and can be used by itself for sun protection, hair care, deodorant and as a fabulous moisturizer. Oh, and you can eat it, too. —Jody Berry
Featured product: Tropical Traditions Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
6. My medicine chest would be incomplete without organic goldenseal root mixed with echinacea root. These herbs boost the immune system when you start to feel a cold coming on, and they can help stimulate sluggish digestion. The formula can be used topically to disinfect wounds and ease itchy bug bites, or mixed with water for an antimicrobial mouthwash. So wonderfully versatile! —Erin McIntosh
Featured product: Mountain Rose Herbs Cold Season Care Extract
7. As an herbalist, licensed holistic esthetician and crafter of herbal personal-care products, I keep herbal-infused body oils on hand to ease all manner of discomforts: anxiety, joint and muscle pains, stuffy sinuses, dry skin. If I happen to be out of my favorite homemade rose petal oil, I purchase a bottle of Weleda’s Wild Rose Body Oil. It is pure heaven—smells like a field of roses captured in a bottle and leaves your skin velvety soft with a rose scent that must be experienced to be believed! —Stephanie Tourles
Featured product: Weleda Wild Rose Body Oil
8. I keep multipurpose tea tree oil around as my go-to skin aid. This antimicrobial is great for treating acne—just apply a couple drops to blemishes. It also makes a great addition to shampoos for fighting dandruff, and is useful in treating and preventing bacterial skin infections such as athlete’s foot. —Gina DeBacker
Featured product: JASÖN Purifying Tea Tree 100% Organic Oil
Aviva Romm is a physician specializing in integrative medicine for women and children, a midwife, an author and the creator of WomanWise, online courses about women’s health.
Jim Ritcheske, product marketing manager for NOW Foods, has been in the natural products industry for more than 25 years and oversees the NOW Ambassador Program.
Tom Havran, communicator of natural living for Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia, was raised on a farm down the road from the company’s Iowa headquarters.
Jaclyn Chasse is a licensed, board-certified naturopathic doctor and the medical director at the Northeast Center for Holistic Medicine in Bedford, New Hampshire.
Jody Berry is the owner of Wild Carrot Herbals, a family-owned small-batch personal-care product company made of homegrown and wildcrafted botanicals in Oregon.
Erin McIntosh, communications manager at Mountain Rose Herbs, is a graduate of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies who gardens in the Oregon Cascades.
Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic esthetician, certified aromatherapist and the author of eight books on natural health, including Organic Body Care Recipes.
Gina DeBacker, editor of Mother Earth Living’s health section, is a natural wellness and beauty enthusiast who loves trying DIY beauty treatments.