Otherwise known as winter.
Man, it's such a drag being sick, isn't it?
Even worse? Having sick kiddos. Those precious beings that you are supposed to be able to protect and keep safe can't be fully protected from sick-bugs. No matter how hard you try. Just leaving your house puts you and your family at risk. Heck, just breathing puts you all at risk.
If you are at all like me, you are very hesitant to give your kids any medicine - or to take any yourself. So, what do you do to prevent illness and treat it once it makes it's way into your home and bodies?
Before I go any further, let me be very clear: I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a naturopath. I am NOT a chiropractor. I am NOT a nutritionist. I am NOT an aromatherapist. I am NOT a practitioner of any kind of medicine - natural or otherwise. I am NOT attempting to give you medical advice. I am simply a mom who wants to be as informed as possible about things that I am doing and putting into my own and my kiddos' bodies. I have done some research, talked with many friends (most of whom are MUCH more knowledgeable than I about such things), and put several things into practice that I'm going to share with you here. Home Remedies. I'm also going to mention some of the things that our facebook followers do, too.
A couple years ago I decided that I wasn't going to be "afraid" of sickness anymore. What I mean by that, is that I wasn't going to try to "knock it out" so to speak with synthetic medicine. Things like Tylenol, Nyquil, Advil, etc, we really don't even keep in the house anymore. Instead, I've learned that illnesses like colds, fever, flu, etc, actually strengthen our immune systems - particularly in the kids. So, hopefully to avoid a ton of illness in the future, we let their immune systems do the brunt of the work to treat their sickness.
That said, there are several go-to things that I pretty much always do if they are feeling under the weather. Things to help boost their immune systems and to draw the toxins out and just relieve some of the symptoms to make them more comfortable.
- Elderberry Syrup. I discovered this little miracle last winter and haven't looked back. We take it regularly to help keep our immune system in top-form, and if we do catch something (I'm talking mostly congestion, cough, runny nose types of things) we up our dosage. I used to buy it at the health food store, but then tried some homemade syrup from someone and then found a recipe that I like. We are on our first batch of syrup that I made myself and we *love* it! I'll post the recipe below ;). Amy M, one of our facebook followers, agrees with homemade elderberry syrup too!
- Epsom Salt Baths: This is one I learned about last year when the kids got Influenza A. One of my very good friends recommended I give them a bath with Epsom salt, Baking Soda, and Peppermint essential oil. Holy cow. I couldn't *believe* the difference after they got out! I remember looking at my sweet son sitting in the bath when I first put him in. He was very still, glassy eyed, and sleepy. I had him in there for about 20 minutes or so and when he got out he looked and acted like a new kid. He was still sick, but the salts, soda, and peppermint helped to pull some of those nasty toxins out of his little body and he felt so much better - he even ran around and played for awhile! When we were fighting through that illness, I gave them both these baths about 3 times a day. It took about 2-3 days for them to get back to normal, using only these baths and elderberry syrup. Another example comes from one of my sister's friends who called her recently with a sick baby. Her infant son had been throwing up all evening and just didn't feel well. She gave him an Epsom Salt and Baking Soda bath and he didn't throw up again. She was even able to go to work the next day. Seriously - it works wonders! As far as how much to use, I totally just guess. I throw maybe 1/2 cup salts and 1/4 cup soda. Approximately. When I put peppermint, eucalyptus, or lavender essential oils with it, I put it all in a small mason jar, add several drops of whatever oil I'm adding and shake it well before dumping it in to the bath. I'm definitely not precise.
- Increase Vitamins, Herbs, Supplements: There are several vitamins, herbs, and supplements that are *very* useful and helpful in increasing immune function. There are some that you've likely heard about often, but maybe some that you haven't heard that can help: Vitamin C, Echinacea, Garlic, Vitamin D3, Cinnamon, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with the "mother"), Tea, Ginger. Maria K, one of our facebook followers mentioned Airborne, Aloe Juice, echinacea tea, as well as pineapple juice for sore throats. Tina B agrees with drinking tea and taking lots of vitamin C
- GOOT: I'm not sure what this stands for, but I love the way it works. To make it just blend a whole bulb of organic garlic, 3 Tbsp Olive Oil, and 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil. After it's well blended, strain out the garlic fibers and rub the garlic oil on the bottoms of the kids' feet, chests, and behind their ears. I do that for sure at bedtime, and then throughout the day as often as I feel is necessary. Keep the oil in the fridge and it will keep for several weeks. I think it probably starts to loose its potency after about 3 weeks or so. Your house will smell nice and garlic-y! :). My friend who told me about this remedy long ago also mixes the garlic fibers with honey and feeds it to the kids. Talk about a potent immune booster!
- Essential Oils: I am learning more and more about essential oils as time goes on. The first thing you need to know about Essential Oils is that quality matters. There are several very good brands that are therapeutic grade, and I would definitely recommend these for dealing with illness. The lesser-quality brands are good for cleaning, smelling, etc, but when it comes to health, immune systems, etc, you definitely want to go with a very high quality oil. Different oils are good for different illnesses and ailments. The main ones that we use in our house are Theives*, Peppermint, Lavender, DiGize*, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree. Even though these are a few of the main ones we use, there are hundreds of different types and blends of oils available through many different companies. I encourage you to do some research, talk to people who use them, and make sure you are using oils in a safe and effective way. Larissa B, one of our facebook followers recommends doTERRA On Guard, along with other essential oils and garlic too
- Coconut Oil: We use a ton of coconut oil around here - particularly when fighting illness. The kids love it when I make them some CO mixed with honey and cinnamon. They get the super-power of coconut oil, cough suppressing honey, and immune booster cinnamon in one delicious spoonful of goodness :)
- Apple Cider Vinegar concoction: Tina H, One of our facebook followers gave us this recipe: 2 Tbsp ACV & Lemon Juice. 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon & ginger. Stevia and water to taste
If you want more information on exactly how I use any of these things just shoot me an email or leave a comment on here.
Our bodies are pretty amazing at fighting off illness and infection - in fact, did you know that a fever is our body's way of fighting infection? I'm not kidding! I'll post more on that another time. But for now, just know that our bodies are amazing! They really are built to protect themselves.
Now. I would be remiss if I didn't say this: Though our bodies are amazing with great ability to heal themselves through a multitude of illnesses, and there are natural remedies out there for almost everything, if you feel like you need medical attention for something, then get it! If you feel like your sweet kiddos need medical attention for something, then take them in! You know yourself and your kids better than anyone. Not only that, but you have God-given mama-instincts that are going to steer you in the right direction every single time. If you feel like something is really wrong and you don't want to try any home remedies then take them to your favorite trusted pediatrician (or ER if necessary) as soon as possible!
Here's wishing you a happy and healthy "sick season"!
P.s. Please tell me what your favorite home remedies are! I want to hear them :)
*These specific oils are only available through Young Living. Other companies likely have similar blends as well, you'll just have to do some research and decide what is best for you.
The Elderberry Syrup recipe I use came from Mountain Rose Herbs
1 c fresh or 1/2 c dried organic elderberries (harvest blue or black, NO red)
3 c water
1 c local raw honey
1 organic cinnamon stick
3 organic cloves
1 tsp grated organic ginger (optional)
Bring berries, water, and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Smash berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow to cool and then stir in the honey. Syrup will last 2-3 months in the fridge