Winter is quickly approaching and the sick season will be arriving soon. In all truthfulness for my home, it has already arrived. In the past couple of weeks, we've had both colds and a stomach bug. So, I should have already had this posted. :) But, for the most part, it is upon us. When I turned to more natural ways to keep my family healthy, my thoughts turned to winter. When my children were young, it seemed I lived at the pediatrician's office all winter. Between ear infections, colds I had no idea they could do nothing for, and other ailments, I was a pretty naive mom. But, that season of constant checkups taught me alot as I listened to the kids' pediatrician and my children's bodies. I also started reading. Now, when my oldest were little, the internet was very new. So, I relied on my library getting out as much information as I could read about natural health. (It turns out to be good that I didn't have the internet then seeing anything you research about diseases on google usually leaves you feeling like you are dying - lol).
So, after much reading and learning, I gave our medicine cabinet an overhaul. But, I not only did that, I gave our pantry an overhaul. I am a firm believer, you are what you eat. What goes in to our bodies is so very important. I tossed processed foods (as much as possible), things with red dye (my one daughter is very affected by them), watched for things with high fructose corn syrup and MSG to keep them to a minimum. In my medicine cabinet, I had an array of cold medicines and stomach stuff. All of it went in the trash. I started filling my pantry with good foods and my medicine cabinet naturally.
Each fall, I re-evaluate my medicine cabinet to see what needs to be replaced or restocked. I did our home evaluation about a month ago. Here are some things I like to keep on hand...... (side note - I am not a doctor, nor are these methods FDA approved. I just have found these things to work effectively with my children.)
Essential oil blends
I love these essential oil blends - Digizen (from Plant Therapy) does wonders for the tummy when it is troubling them. I place about 30 drops of the oil into a roller ball topping it off with coconut oil. I rub it on their tummies and down the spine. Thieves (I make my own, recipe later) is the BEST for killing germs. Rub on the feet, diffuse in the air, make a spray bottle out of it, it is my GO TO as soon as I realize we've been exposed or a cold has begun to raise its little head in our home. Lavendar (from Beeyoutiful) and Liquid Sleep (recipe later) are my favorites for calming and good sleep, which are essential to recovery from illness. I keep both in rollerball form for easy application. Sinus immune (recipe later) is awesome for colds. I have a couple of people who suffer terribly with sinus issues and this has helped immensely. I need to get it in a rollerball to make it easier to apply to the chest.
I love essential oils (if you didn't gather that from my last post). And, if you are a newbie to them and wonder what would be the best ones to start with, these 4 with the addition of Theives are the best way to get you going. I am not devoted to one essential oil company. But, after much research, these are my favorite to purchase my oils from -- DoTerra (sign up for their program for discounts), Plant Therapy, Rocky Mountain Oils (they have a rewards program), Now, and Beeyoutiful (they also have a rewards program). Mountain Rose Herbs and Young Living are also good companies, but the first 5 is where I get all mine. (By the way, Beeyoutiful, Plant Therapy, and Rocky Mountain Oils all have kids lines of blends that are really good, check them out).
There is substantial evidence supporting the health benefits to garlic. When I first met my husband, he was eating it all the time when he got sick. And, not being raised that way, I thought he was off his marbles. HA! But, my research and personal experience has led me to be a firm believer in this gift from God. This is one of the many good articles you can find on garlic. Whenever I feel the slightest bit that I might be coming down with something, I rub Thieves on my feet and crush two large cloves of garlice and take with milk. It works every time. There are so many good things that garlic can do. I add it to every soup I make and many other recipes to help the kids get good doses in as well.
Homemade Elderberry Syrup
My kids are not total fans of this, but I make them take it anyway. It is a powerhouse of Vitamin C and cuts colds back by half if not more. I just remind them that they could be taking nasty antibiotics or even throat burning Robitussin instead. I will post a link to the recipe I use at the bottom. For kids, I give about 2 teaspoons to and for teens and adults 4. It can be given a couple times a day with no problem. I purchase all my herbs from Bulk Herb Store and Beeyoutiful.
Garlic Mullien Oil
With a couple of my kids and myself prone to ear infections, I like to have this on hand each winter. It is a great oil and with the powerhouse garlic in it, it will drive away the infection. I have had to do some research on what an ear looks like infected and with the help of my kids' doctor, I am ready. I even purchased an otoscope on Amazon to be able to watch for them myself. This is a tincture so you need to make this well ahead of time, but it it good to have on hand.
Another powerhouse of goodness is raw honey. It needs to be the raw stuff, not the stuff you can buy in your grocery store (although raw can be found there sometimes, too). I love to keep this around for the coughs. It soothes sore throats and eases coughs like nothing else. I just pour some onto a soup spoon and let the eat it. I have also made lollipops out of it in the past. Raw honey has many other benefits as well. Here is one of the many articles you can find on the topic. And, it is the last thing I need to catch up on for my natural cabinet this winter....better get cracking. :) PLEASE NOTE: HONEY OF ANY KIND SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN TO A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF ONE!!!!
Another thing that helps wonderfully for the coughs is a vapor rub. Rub on the feet and put on socks. It is great for helping a child get a good nights sleep while sick without being racked by coughs all night long. Link for an all natural recipe at the bottom.
One other good thing to have around for colds is a way to keep moisture in the air, whether it be by a pot of water on your stove top or a nice humidifier.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Grandma wasn't the only one who thinks chicken noodle soup is great for sickness. I do, too. Kick the Campbells to the curb. I have a tried and true recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup that I make every time a cold hits the house. My family requests it when under the weather. It makes a large pot as well and can sit in the fridge nicely for making whenever they need a burst of good health.
Gwen's Chicken Noodle Soup
10 cups of chicken broth (if you can make your own all the better, if not find one that is MSG free)
3 chicken breasts, chopped
2 large carrotts, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp each of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, dried onion
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 cloves of garlic minced, or 1 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup egg noodles
You can add more of the veggies, chicken, or pasta to your level of heartiness
Put all ingredients in a pot and simmer till done.
I am still reading and still learning about what I can do for my family to keep them as healthy as possible. Of course, if nothing I do at home works, I am happy to take them to a doctor. I believe doctors were given to us for a reason. But, I see no harm, if all the normal symptoms are present to not try what I can at home first. I do know this. Changing the way we eat and keeping natural supplies on hand has almost eliminated our need for me to run them to the doctor all winter long. I end up seeing him maybe 2 or 3 times all year long. But, do what you think is best for you and your family.
Goodness from around the 'net
DIY Theives blend can be found here. If you want to make a rollerball, put 30 drops in a rollerball bottles and top off with coconut or jojaba oil. I get my rollerballs from amazon. You can also make a spray bottle of it for cleaning and disenfecting. 10 to 15 drops in a spray bottle with 1 tsp witch hazel and fill the rest with water.
DIY Liquid Sleep blend can be found here. I rub it on their necks and chest.
DIY Sinus and Immune blend can be found here. A rollerball of it can be made the same way as Theives rollerball.
DIY natural vapor rub recipe can be found here. It shows various recipes for different ages as well. Great resource.
The elderberry syrup recipe can be found here.
The garlic mullein oil recipe can be found here. This make a nice size batch.
I purchase all my essential oil bottles, rollerballs, dropper bottles and spray bottles from Amazon. The links are affiliate links which provide a small portion to our family's income. Thank you!
Here's to a healthy and happy winter for you and your family!