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Chronic illnesses tend to wreak havoc with family finances. Between the cost of treatment, and the reduction in the ability to work; having an illness like fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, myalgic encephalitis (chronic fatigue syndrome,) lupus, migraines, or any of the thousands of others out there can destroy a family’s financial security and severely limit the ability to provide traditional healthcare.
My illnesses have put me in the position of not being able to afford the several hundred dollars a month I was spending on medications with my insurance (and with the insurance we have now, the more than $1000 a month they would cost would take pretty much our entire income,) so I’ve had to find other options.
It’s been an interesting journey, and there have been times when I’ve seriously considered just killing myself and getting it over with (mostly during the forced withdrawal from the psychiatric meds I used to be on for my bipolar disorder.) I’ve reached a point now where I’ve found enough other options to manage fairly well, and I’m actually happier without the prescriptions than I was with them. (Even if I hit the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn’t go back to taking all the stuff I used to be on.)
It’s more work than just popping a handful of pills several times a day, but using herbs and aromatherapy to treat my symptoms is also very satisfying. I have much more control of what I’m putting into my body, I’m supporting the natural processes my body uses to heal itself rather than subverting them, and I’m not dealing with multiple side-effects that have to be treated with yet another expensive medication that comes with its own set of side-effects.
Natural treatments do take longer to “kick-in,” and I sometimes deal with slightly higher pain levels than I would if I could just take a heavy-duty pain-killer, but I don’t have to worry about becoming dependent on most of the herbal treatments I use, either. (Which also means that I don’t have to worry about withdrawal symptoms if I switch things around or run out of something.)
There are several herbs that I make certain I always have on hand, and as I promised in part 1, those are the ones I’m going to focus on in this post.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and nothing I say in this post is intended as medical advice. If you find the idea of using herbs in your treatment plan intriguing, be sure to do the research and discuss any changes or additions with your healthcare provider to ensure your safety.
Making Skullcap Capsules
Skullcap: I use this one for pain reduction (it has actually helped more with my sprained shoulder than the Lortabs the doctor prescribed,) stress reduction, and help sleeping. I try to get it online, from Mountain Rose Herbs, because it’s half the price that I pay at the organic grocery down the street. ($15 a pound, as opposed to $30; so even after I pay for shipping, I save money.)
It works well for headaches (especially tension headaches,) and muscle pain; and in combination with other anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric, it also helps with my arthritis/fibromyalgia pain. Continue reading Making My Own “Medicine” – Part 2 »