Sunday, January 8, 2012

My "Green" Medicine Cabinet: Pink Eye

So aside from going green with my house, food, cleaning products, and cosmetics I also try to go green with my medicine. I'm a very "anti-medicine' person and I've been known to go to great lengths to avoid taking an Advil or especially an antibiotic.

Time to green the medicine cabinet!

I grew up my whole life taking several prescription medications for allergies and stomach issues, and aside from costing me an arm and a leg, they also had side effects that weren't always pleasant. To make matters worse, they were never getting to the root of the problem, they were simply masking the symptoms. But thanks to some research and tests, I discovered I had some food sensitivities (which you can read more about here), and since removing my "trouble foods" I've been feeling much better. I've gone from 3 allergy medicines to 0 and my stomach issues have been resolved (I think my vegan diet has helped with this too).

Goodbye allergy medications!
Anyways, enough back story...all that sounds nice and peachy, but to tell you the truth, I still get sick from time to time.  I teach 3-5 year olds, and I have a baby so I think it's safe to say that germs are all around me on a daily basis.  But given my experiences with  traditional medicine,  and the past year I spent pregnant, I have been very driven to find natural, greener alternatives to the medicines I was used to taking. This leads me to a new series I'm starting on my blog called:

My "Green" Medicine Cabinet

This will be posts where I can share my favorite green alternatives to traditional medicines that I've used and had success with, or that you would be able to find in my "green medicine cabinet."  From pink eye to Neosporin, I'll tell you about the alternatives I've found, how they're greener, as well as where you can find them.

Now although it's probably unlikely that you'll have the exact ailment when I post about it, I hope for this series of posts to be used as a directory for you to bookmark and come back to when you need it.  Say you're starting to come down with something, you may think, "What were those drops Ashley's Green Life talked about? Let me find that post." Then you can find the green medicine I used, and go get it, then get feeling better.  You can even pin it in a board on Pinterest!

Not that I want you to think of me whenever you're sick, but it sure beats Googling "alternative remedies for _____".  and ending up with tons of solutions and no clue where to start or if something even works.  

Disclaimer- I am not a medical doctor or a pharmacist. So while I can share what has worked with me, it may not work for you.  I would say to talk with your "health care provider" but they will probably  just tell you to take the traditional over-the-counter or prescription medication. Instead you could do your own research or talk with someone at a natural health food store. 

On top of that I understand that some people need to take traditional medication for things like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, etc. in that case pharmaceuticals have their place and should be used. By all means, if you need them...use them. I just don't think that every ailment for everyone needs to be treated with traditional medications, especially if natural alternatives exist.

So let's jump right on in with my first green medicine for pink eye. Ahh, pink eye. What a joy. I've only had it two times in my life, but the last time was a few weeks ago and it was not so fun. 

My no-longer-pink eyes...thanks to Similasan.
Symptoms I experienced:

  • really red eyes
  • watery eyes
  • itchy feeling...I just wanted to scratch them
  • a slight amount of drainage that was white
  • feeling like I had something stuck in my eye (the first symptom I experienced)
  • all these symptoms started in one eye, then were in the other eye by the next day
  • other symptoms you may here.

Traditional medicine:
Depends if you're pink eye is from a virus or bacteria. If it comes from a virus, it basically has to run it's course and so you treat the symptoms until it passes.  If it comes from a bacteria, an antibiotic is given to kill the bacteria.  I don't know about you, but every time I've ever had an antibiotic, I've gotten a yeast infection.  Sorry for TMI, but antibiotics kill off all bacteria, both good and bad, so it makes it really easy for imbalances occur.  Just a note, if you do have to take an antibiotic with this or ever, try to take a probiotic with it (actually several hours away from it) to put some good bacteria back in your body.

"Green Medicine Cabinet" alternative: Similsan Pink Eye Relief Homeopathic Eye Drops or as it's listed on the product website: "Irritated Eye Relief drops"

Similasan Pink Eye Relief eye drops

According to their website:
 "Irritated Eye Relief stimulates the body’s natural ability to relieve redness, watery discharge, burning, grittiness, dryness, and stinging due to environmental pollutants."

How I used it: I did 2-3 drops per eye several times a day, or as I felt I needed it.  Probably 6-7 times per day. I continued using the drops for about a week from when I first noticed symptoms.  The worst symptoms subsided after a day or two with the drops.  Most symptoms were completely gone by a week later.

How it's greener

  • It can be used on children, ages 2 and up.
  • No antibiotic needed.
  • It doesn't hurt or burn when you apply it.
  • No known side effects.
  • It's homeopathic (a medical philosophy based on the idea that the body is capable of healing itself)

According to WebMD:" Homeopathy is based on the idea that "like cures like." That is, if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance may cure the illness. In theory, a homeopathic dose enhances the body's normal healing and self-regulatory processes."

You'll find that a lot of medications in my "green medicine cabinet" are homeopathic. I enjoy using homeopathic alternatives because they do not have other additives, dyes, flavorings, or chemicals. They're safe to take when pregnant, nursing, or even on babies .  I took them throughout my pregnancy and I currently give them to Avery.
Directions to apply: 2-3 drops per eye as needed.

Just a head's up: each person that uses the eye drops should have their very own bottle of Similasan, to avoid contaminating each other's eyes or the bottle. 
-Also, I found it was safe to use with contacts. I made sure to throw away the contacts I was wearing the first day I noticed the symptoms and I went contact-free and wore glasses for probably 2-3 days to give my eyes a break during the "treatment" time. But after those days I was right back in my contacts.

Where to find it: Whole Foods, local health food store, or online for about $7-9. (I even saw it at Wal-Mart the other weekend!)

My Green Medicine Cabinet pick for pink eye relief.

There you have it, a green alternative to traditional pink eye treatment. Anyone ever used it before? Did it help? Know any other green alternatives? I've heard of applying breast milk for babies, anyone ever try that? I'm pretty sure that breast milk has super powers so I wouldn't doubt it. ( :

See you next time when we see what else is in my "green medicine cabinet."


  1. I have used this before and totally forgot about it until I saw this post! I'm very excited for the rest of this series! ALSO - my son Bennett had an eye infection about a week after he was born. My doula told me to put breastmilk on it and sure enough it was completely gone in less than 12 hours. I can totally see myself trying to use breastmilk on other ailments that may arise, just to see if it will work :-)

  2. Hey thislittlechickpea,
    Just saw your reply to my comment on your blog. That's so cool that you followed some of my pregnancy on here. I've been reading up on your blog and birth story and that's awesome that you were able to have a natural birth outside of the hospital as well! Bennett is so cute! ( :

    As for the breastmilk/pink eye, I bet it would clear it right up in babies (as it did for Bennett). I was hopeful it would work for me, and although I didn't post about it and it's probably TMI, I did try putting some in my eyes when I started to notice the pink eye symptoms, but it did not do much. Kinda gross right? But I figured it was worth a shot. It gave me some relief, but not enough to make it go away. Maybe because it was my own milk? Who knows...

    Look forward to your comments on the other posts in this series! ( :

  3. I used this same product after a makeup sharing incident (so bad I know!) and it worked great. I look forward to the rest of this series. Your blog is such a great resource of green/vegan living!


  4. Hey Sarah,
    Glad the Similasan product was helpful to you too! It sure beat going on an antibiotic!

    Look forward to seeing what you think of the rest of the series. Thanks for your kind words about my blog. ( :

  5. Is this safe to use while breastfeeding?


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