As a child, I was sick quite a bit. I remember often my mom would take me to the doctor, and I'd be feeling soooo terribly sick, and they'd say, "Oh it's just a virus. There's not much we can do. Go home and get some rest and drink plenty of fluids." There was never much I could do besides just wait it out, right? Well, I am grateful that I've found so many wonderful natural remedies that are helping me to a) not have to feel terrible while I wait for the illness to pass and b) helping me to avoid illness in the first place!
We have been so lucky this winter - we have been able to avoid any major illnesses so far which makes me very happy! We do work hard to stay healthy, but I suppose I should knock on wood...I don't want to jinx anything. I thought I'd share the things I do when we're feeling a little under the weather. I am also going to write a quick list of things we do on a daily basis since prevention is always the best way to avoid illness.
I'm not going to be detailed in the "why's" of each item listed - you can do your own research. All I know, is by doing the following things, we have stayed healthy for three winters in a row now. We have had minor sniffles that last for only a few days at most. I usually rate how I'm feeling in percents, so I'll just say that any time in the past three years when I've felt under the weather I have probably felt about 75% - so not too terrible, in my opinion. However since we rarely get sick anymore, I have become a bit of a baby when I do feel ill :) I have never needed to take my children to a doctor for a minor illness thus far. It gives me so much peace of mind to be able to treat these little things by myself at home before they progress. So far, we have had almost 100% success. It may not always be that way, but so far so good. It is very comforting to me to have so many resources available to me when we begin to feel under the weather, so I want to share it with you. Of course, there are a million more natural remedies available, but these are the ones we've used and found success with.
I am just a mom sharing my personal success with using natural remedies. I'm not a doctor nor is this medical advice. Use your own judgment and intuition and, RESEARCH!
Feeling Under the Weather?
Overall Immune Support
- Avoid sugar - it is inflammatory in the body and weakens your immune system. Avoid it when you're feeling under the weather if at all possible! (Side note: this advice always makes me chuckle because as a little girl I was sick and on antibiotics a lot. Every time we'd go fill a prescription at Albertson's, my mom would buy me a chocolate donut and orange juice. Sooo bad to eat when you're sick!! But, she had no idea. To this day, when I am sick, I crave something sugary...thus...I am not always the best at taking my own advice...old habits die hard! Though, I have to say, I do stick to natural sugars...but still.)
- OnGuard - this essential oil is awesome! It really knocks out illnesses especially if you catch it quickly. The moment I feel less than 100%, I gargle with a few drops of OnGuard in water and swallow it. Usually, my illness doesn't progress after doing this a few times. With children, I rub it on the bottoms of the feet (diluted with olive oil if they are under 3 years old).
- Vitamin D - supplementing with extra Vitamin D during illness has been shown to be very effective in reducing the length of illness. Do some research - it's very well documented. Supplementing with a liquid D3 supplement is very helpful.
- Elderberry Echinacea tea - I have been drinking several cups of this each day (sweetened with raw honey) because I love the taste so much. It is a great immune system strengthener. I also enjoy the plain Echinacea tea.
- Elderberry Syrup - this is the first winter we've used this and it's awesome! Elderberries are so great for the immune system. It's so easy to make and lasts a few months. I made my first batch in September and just made my second batch today. This is the recipe I like to use. It's delicious and my kids love getting a teaspoon each day (and several times a day if they are under the weather).
- Dr. Christopher's Kid-e-Well - I began using this a few years ago and it's awesome. It's just another resource when my kids are feeling less than normal. I give them a dropperful twice a day and it really seems to help fight the bugs. They are always back to normal the next day and have rarely had a day where they feel sick enough to lay around. They are usually up and playing but I begin treating them at the first sign of illness so I can knock it out before it takes over. I love all of Dr. Christopher's products for kids (We use this currently because I'm out of Kid-e-Well but I also like this).
- Epsom salt or Redmond clay baths - I like to add some salt or clay to a warm bath with some OnGuard essential oil. This helps draw toxins out of the body and assist during illness. Apple Cider Vinegar or baking soda can also be used.
- Garlic Super Fighter - I just made that name up :) Basically, I took a small amount of olive oil (maybe 1/3 cup), chopped up some fresh garlic and let it sit in the oil for several hours. Then, I strained the garlic out and added several different essential oils that have antibacterial/antiviral properties. I've been rubbing this on the bottoms of my childrens feet.
- Peppermint and Breathe essential oil can be great immune boosters and helpful in times where you feel run down.
- Lavender and Basil essential oil can be helpful rubbed around the outside of the ears for occasional ear discomfort.
- Natural cough syrup - I have tried three brands so far and have been pleased with them (Here, here, and here). I found them all at Target or our health food store.
- Raw honey - This has been really effective at soothing my daughter's throat from persistent nighttime coughing. I simply take a spoonful of raw honey and if desired, a drop of lemon essential oil can be added for taste and immune boosting.
*Strep throat is difficult to treat and not using antibiotics for it is controversial. My husband has gotten strep throat three times in the past six months. The first two times he used antibiotics because the natural remedies were just not touching it. The third time we caught it very early and successfully treated it naturally within three days. Personal judgment and prayer, if religious, should be used to determine which course of action to take with any illness. Being super consistent with natural remedies is key. We stay on top of illnesses with these remedies around the clock, every two to three hours (or more often if severe).
- Dr. Christopher's Super Garlic Immune Formula - This was the "magic cure" for my husband's third round of strep throat. It tastes HORRIBLE but is so effective. There are varying brands and formulations of this, but it is so highly effective. We pull this out when we need "the big guns."
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Gargling with this and/or drinking it is very effective. This was also another thing that knocked strep out for my husband. He drank a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, and raw honey (Bragg's makes an actual drink that you can buy at the health food store).
Ear Infection/Sore Ears
*If earaches are common in your child, please look into allergies. Often times, ear infections are the result of allergies. It's worth looking into.
- Garlic/Mullein oil mixture - I found this at the local health food store - don't know what brand. It's a mixture of garlic and other herbs like mullein in a base of olive oil. This has been AWESOME! My daughter Maude has had a couple of ear infections/ear pain and this has helped tremendously within minutes.
- Homeopathic Earache Remedy - I also found this at the store. The brand is Seagate but I believe Hyland's and Boiron also have similar items. It is a homeopathic version that helps with the pain. It has also been very effective in combination with the other two remedies above.
*Remember, fevers are good! They are the bodies first response to invasion and are helping to fight off infection. I don't treat fevers unless they are over 102 degrees.
*We have not ever had the flu at my house (knock on wood) since we've had kids so this is only hypothetical. The key is beginning to treat illnesses at the onset.
- All other protocols especially Garlic Immune Formula, Echinacea, and Elderberry Syrup.
(Remember, I am not perfect and super busy with three little ones at home...so, while I make every effort to do these things on a daily basis, I am not 100% all the time, hehe)
- Whole foods diet - meaning very little to no processed food. No artificial colors, preservatives, etc. We are also currently gluten, dairy, soy, and corn free because those are allergies/intolerances that we struggle with. Since we are not consuming foods that weaken our immune system due to our food allergies, that keeps our immune system in better health.
- If possible, we try to consume homemade chicken stock at least a few times a week in the form of soup (we don't like drinking it plain). I also use it to cook beans, etc. It's very simple - throw a whole chicken carcass into a crockpot, fill with water, set on low and let it cook all night. Strain and you have broth! I do this two or three times to maximize the output of my chicken bones. You can get fancy by adding seasonings like herbs or vegetables but often in my busy day, it's much easier to just do it plain and season it when I use it in soup.
- Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. We can do a better job of this for sure! It's my personal goal to increase our veggie intake around here. A great way to do this is through greensmoothies. It's a great goal to consume them raw because of the living enzymes found in the food which are beneficial to the body. Juicing is also incredible!
- Good fat intake - fat is vital to our health. We use good fats like ghee, butter (when we can eat dairy), coconut oil, and olive oil. We also love nuts and avocados for their fat content.
- SLEEP! It is not always easy to come by for me since my kids wake me up at least twice each night, but it's something we strive for. Luckily since my kids are still young, I can get away with putting them to bed early which helps them stay healthy. I am also making a personal goal to be in bed earlier each night which will help me as well.
- Cod liver oil - this is essential for good health as it contains Vitamins A & D as well as essential fatty acids. I admit we've been slacking but when we're in a good rhythm, this is something we don't miss a day of.
- Probiotics - this is best in the form of fermented foods but supplements are a good option too. Again, I'm not 100% at this but it's always something to strive for. Since 80% of our immune system is found in our gut, gut health is essential for our overall health and well being. Populating it with beneficial bacteria is a must.
- Elderberry Syrup - during the winter months. See above.
Whew...that was quite a list! Hopefully it's not too overwhelming. Are there any natural remedies that you use? Have any questions?