3 Dirty Ingredients to Avoid in Your Medicine Cabinet (and 5 to Add)

When you're feeling under the weather, all you want to do is feel better. So you open your medicine cabinet and pull out an expired bottle of neon-colored cough syrup—or pull out a pack of candy cough drops—or grab some other over-the-counter (OTC) stuff for the brain fog and lethargy.  

Most of us are very conscious of what we put in and on our bodies. We eat clean, buy organic, and use plant-based cleaning products. But have you ever actually considered what nasty ingredients are lurking in your medicine cabinet?   

#1 Where did all this sugar come from?! 

Let’s look at sugar, for example. The incredible quantity of sugar in OTC cough syrups and drops is astounding. And counterproductive. Consuming a lot of sugar when you’re feeling under the weather actually works to weaken your immune system—so it’ll just take you longer to heal. And what’s even worse is that a lot of the sugar in these formulas comes from high-fructose corn syrup—practically the embodiment of liquid inflammation. That cough drop doesn’t seem so soothing anymore, does it? Sure, you’re not taking much of it, but medicines should be filled with ingredients that help you feel better—not cheap, unhealthy sweeteners.         

 

#2 Cheap fillers are unnecessary & can cause side effects. 

Then there are those inactive additives that act as filler ingredients. The problem is, these can still cause unpleasant side effects, so they provide no real support—only more problems.  Take sorbitol, for example. This sugar alcohol is actually used as the active ingredient in laxatives. But it is also a common filler ingredient in many cough syrups and antacids. The problem is that laxative effect doesn't just disappear—it becomes an undesired side effect alongside your cough of tummy discomfort.  Sorbitol is incredibly difficult for most people to digest and can lead to bloating, excessive flatulence, and diarrhea. That's definitely not what you want when you're fighting off a bug. And it's even worse for those suffering from inflammatory bowel conditions like IBS. Does this really belong in our bathroom cabinets?     

#3 Endocrine disruptors don't support overall health.   

Your go-to cough syrup may contain hormone-disrupting parabens—like methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or ethylparaben. You know, those chemicals you avoid like the plague in your shampoos, body lotions, and even toothpaste.      

Commonly used as a preservative in personal care products, parabens are xenoestrogens, meaning they have the ability to mimic estrogen in the body. With a weak estrogenic effect, it's no wonder why they throw the body's hormonal balance for a loop. Many researchers and organizations have massive concerns about the health and safety of parabens, so until more conclusive research is conducted it's probably best to avoid them. And that means avoiding most conventional formulations of cough syrup.   

Meet Your New Medicine Cabinet...   

No dirty chemicals, no refined sugars, no nasty side effects. Just clean, powerful remedies—powered by nature and backed by science—to keep you feeling great.  

Oregano oil.  

Did you know this common herb actually has potent sniffle-fighting properties? The volatile oil compounds in oregano oil have been used for thousands of years for their immune-supportive powers. And there's real science behind it. One study showed that a spray containing oregano oil temporarily improved throat symptoms in those with respiratory tract infections significantly more than a placebo. A 2017 study found that oregano oil has strong antioxidant properties as well. It's super powerful, so make sure you keep crushing your hydration game and always dilute it in water.                

Propolis.

Super rich in free radical-busting antioxidants along with 300+ beneficial compounds, propolis is our secret to staying healthy. Studies have shown that, as immune support, propolis has truly astounding germ-fighting properties. When used daily, it lends the immune system a powerful hand—no bathroom cabinet is complete without it.     

Raw honey.

Actually, we’re pretty big on this one, too. Raw honey possesses natural germ-fighting properties and can support the immune system. It was even rated as more preferable for treating nighttime coughing in kids than the leading drug in OTC cough medicine! Buckwheat honey is the ideal choice, as it has the highest concentration of antioxidants of any honey on the planet. And it’s absolutely divine when stirred in to some soothing turmeric-ginger tea—speaking of which…   

Turmeric-ginger.  

We all know that turmeric is anti-inflammatory. In fact, it’s commonly recommended to those suffering with arthritic inflammation to ease discomfort and swelling. But did you also know that is has germ-fighting properties and is bursting with antioxidants? It is best to consume turmeric with a bit of black pepper to improve the bioavailability of its active beneficial compounds.     

Ginger is also a pro at reducing swelling, soothing the stomach, and relieving feelings of nausea. This spicy root has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy, so feel free to load up your tea with it to decongest the head and settle the stomach.       

Probiotics.

According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, supplementing with probiotics can cut the length of a bug by 2 days and significantly decrease the severity of symptoms (by about 34%). Healthy gut bacteria are the key to balancing your moods, promoting healthy weight, and empowering your immune system. Don’t underestimate how significant these little critters are towards your overall health.   

Now is the time to stock up on your immune support essentials. The sniffle-y season is coming fast, so it doesn’t hurt to bee prepared.