This is an controversial subject. People have strong opinions about medical treatments and choices. I am all for licensed, medical doctors and use them (when necessary). If your child is sick PLEASE seek medical treatment. I am not a doctor and have no medical training. Please consult a physician about your specific situation before trying or using any natural remedies.
Today, I am talking about colds/flu/sinus/or other minor, respiratory-type illness. If you have something major going on – go to the doctor. If you have mumps – go to the doctor. If you have a crazy fever – go to the doctor. If you are seeing spots – go to the doctor. If you are dying – go to the doctor.
If you have a cold – I might be able to help.
Right now, one of my children is sick. It started out as the usual sore throat, followed by increased drainage and then it happened. The middle of the night visit. Poor guy – he’s stuffy. He’s snotty. He’s miserable. He’s sick.
You have choices.
When I was a young, new mama (a lifetime ago) I knew nothing about natural healing and herbs and home remedies. About the time my fourth child was born I was DONE. The doctors weren’t helping me. I had 4 children and it seemed like someone was always sick. What’s worse is that when someone did get sick I felt like I had no options. I would wait around, holding, rocking, soothing, and medicating my poor child until they were “sick enough” to take to the doctor and get some antibiotics.
I know how horrible that sounds. But, I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know I had any other choices.
Oh boy, do we have choices.
Once #4 (the baby) showed up I decided that something needed to change. I was done running to the doctor. Done with the antibiotics. Done with sitting around watching my children suffer. Done waiting for them to get so sick that someone would do something.
Let the Home Remedies begin!
First, I had to figure out what to do. I had to learn.
I bought books. I searched on line. I studied. I talked to people. I was determined to learn how to treat some illnesses at home and take a more natural approach to healthcare. I was not going to just sit around wiping runny noses anymore.
2 Books I read that were especially helpful:
- The ABC Herbal by Steven H Home
- Herbal Antibiotics – Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Stephen H. Buhner
The introduction in The ABC Herbal explains that natural home remedies used to be commonplace. During our great-grandparents lives, running to the doctor wasn’t always possible. Families were larger, people lived on farms, doctors were busy. People didn’t just run to the pediatrician because junior was running a low-grade fever.
“This is the way it was for most of our grandparents and great-grandparents. People used to have their family remedies for common health problems. Unfortunately, this knowledge is largely lost. Many modern parents run their children to the doctor for every minor ailment.” – The ABC Herbal by Steven H Home P.1
There are family remedies. There are things we can do at home to encourage wellness. There are actions we can take to help our children recover. There are choices.
I LOVE old fashioned things. It’s interesting that many of these home-remedy-approaches to healthcare are now considered “new” and “radical” and “unorthodox” and “alternative.” Yet, most of these things were being done 100 years ago. There’s nothing “new” about that. Everything old is new again.
I love it.
I agree with Steven H. Home’s comment below:
“..we will not waste our money or the doctor’s time on common ailments which we can safely and effectively treat at home.” – The ABC Herbal by Steven H Home P.1
If my children don’t respond to the home remedies, I can always take them to the doctor. But, running to the doctor is not my first reaction when I have a sick child.
What You Can Do when your Child is Sick (or you are)
Home Remedy #1 Onions
Some people believe that if you put a bowl of cut up onions in a room with a person who is sick the onion will absorb the illness. Source There are several magical stories about onions stopping plagues and preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses in extreme situations.
I will save you the time and tell you that snopes, urban legends & all folklore sites will tell you that these stories are a bust and untrue.
BUT I still cut up onions when we have a sick person in the house. Huh?
There may be some false stories out there. But there are some true onion tales too:
- TRUE: Onions absorb bacteria, odors and mold. If you have a stinky closet or basement just chop up some onions & leave them in the room overnight. It’s amazing. The onion is like baking soda on steroids.
- TRUE: You can’t cut an onion and stick it back in the refrigerator. If you do, the onion will absorb all the smells and bacteria hanging around in the fridge. In order to store a sliced onion, you need to lock it in a sealed container or bag.
- TRUE: When you eat them, onions are naturally anti-inflammatory, they help the body release toxins, thin the blood, and can lower cholesterol.
If someone is sick around here – you’ll know. There are bowls of onions decorating the house. If someone is sick at our pawnshop – we put out bowls of onions there too.
Some argue that may not help – but it’s not gonna hurt either. And – it’s a natural air freshener. Any unwanted odors will be gone.
Home Remedy #2 Garlic
Did you know that garlic is a natural antibiotic? It is. Not only can it kill bacterial infections, it can also kill viruses. Better still, it is good for you.
“This (garlic) is the most powerful herb for the treatment of antibiotic-resistant disease. No other herb comes close to the multiple system actions of garlic, its antibiotic activity, and its immune-potentiation power.” – Herbal Antibiotics – Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Stephen H. Buhner P.33
Before you go to your kitchen to do garlic shots I need to warn you – not all garlic is created equal.
If you are going to use garlic medicinally, it should be organic, fresh (in a bulb), grown in the USA and used immediately.
As soon as you chop it up you need to get it in your body because the allicin is most effective in the first 20 minutes after you chop the clove. Because of this, you can’t chop up 15 cloves and store them in a storage bag to eat throughout the day. You’ll want to chop each clove when you are going to take it.
What you don’t want:
- No already minced
- No already peeled
- No already separated
- No pickled
- No jarred
- No garlic grown in China
- No to any garlic that is not in it’s original “bulb.”
If you are sick and you are eating garlic to make you well; you want to start with a whole bulb of garlic that was grown in the USA and is preferably organic.
As long as you do this, Garlic is amazing. I have used it to treat colds for years, but it does much more than that. A few of the benefits that can be reaped from consuming Garlic:
- lower cholesterol
- lower triglycerides
- helps prevent heart disease
- help prevent heart attack
- help prevent atherosclerosis
- help prevent stroke
- supports health of the circulatory system
- reduce high blood pressure
How do I eat garlic to treat an aliment?
As soon as I get a scratchy throat, or one of my children does, we eat 1 clove of fresh garlic. You want to dice it up. This releases the allicin (this is what is in the garlic that will kill the icky germs making you sick).
There are different methods to get the garlic down. DH pops a whole clove in his mouth and chew it up and swallows it. Gag. I prefer to mince it finely before swallowing it. I just put the chopped garlic in a spoon & down she goes. I chase it with a glass of water. My smaller children cover their minced garlic with honey & prefer to wash it down with a cup of juice.
If I’m feeling bad today & I want to be well tomorrow, I’ll eat a (diced) clove of garlic every 2 hours all day. I have had great results with this.
The reason I eat it every 2-3 hours is because the allicin (the stuff in the garlic that kills the icky germs) is only active for so long.
Home Remedy #3 Chicken Soup
The truth is that real “chicken soup” is not the stuff in the grocery store that says, “Campbells” on the label. Real chicken soup is bone-broth. I make my own bone-broth from the chickens I raise here on our farm. If your chicken was healthy and you simmered it all day with lots of garlic (remember how good garlic is for you?) and onions (remember how good onions are?) and other veggies … that soup is going to be amazing.
It is like medicine.
It’s true. Real, chicken bone-broth from a free-range, organic chicken is a miracle food. To see how to make your own chicken bone-broth go here.
Home Remedy #4 Fluids
Fluids. Fluids. Fluids. It’s true. Grandma was right again. We need to drink plenty of fluids when we are sick.
If there is something in my body making me sick I want to flush it out. I want to flush my kidneys, my bowels and my respiratory tract (think Neti pot). When we get sick this is what our bodies are trying to do. They want to “throw” the germs out. Whether the body is vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, has a runny nose (sinuses), coughing, urinating or rashing out – the bottom line is the same. Our body is trying to get rid of something. I want to help my body with this process so I can get better sooner.
By increasing fluids, we are flushing our systems.
All this makes me think about the role castor oil played in Great-Grandma’s medical tool-box. Funny how people used to feed their children castor oil when they were getting sick. I suppose there may be something to it – after all, it will get the bowels moving! I’m not suggesting castor oil – just thought it was funny.
Drinking plenty of fluids, especially in the form of bone-broth or warm teas will encourage the body to flush all bad things out.
Home Remedy #5 Rest
Sleep, rest, lay down, stop moving, relax.
Home Remedy #6 Vitamin D & Zinc
I take vitamins. I know there are some smart people who say that taking vitamins just makes your pee expensive. I still take them. I guess I have expensive pee.
If I feel a little somethin’-somethin’ coming on I reach for the Vitamin D gel caps. This may be a good choice for you if eating straight, fresh garlic isn’t appealing. There are many reports on the benefits of vitamin D and colds. In the summer we get plenty of D in the form of sun. When the sun isn’t around some vitamins can help us get what we need to stay away from the sniffles.
Zinc lozenges can help with sore throats and coughs.
Home Remedy #7 Eucalyptus Essential Oil
I have one child who battled childhood asthma. He is much better now. I credit much of his healing to our milk cows, a clean diet and avoiding processed foods. He still has symptoms during extremely moldy weather (think lots of damp, cool, rainy weather) but they are mild. Something that has always helped is Eucalyptus Essential Oil. I have put it in his baths. I have put it on his chest (safely diluted of course). Sometimes I just take the lid off and have him sniff the bottle.
In Summary – if you have a cold/flu/sinus/or other respiratory type illness; and you live here, this is what you do:
Be still, eat garlic, sniff eucalyptus, take vitamin D, drink bone-broth and hang out with onions.
You should be better soon.
And if you’re not – we can always go to see the doctor. 🙂
A few thought on Natural Remedies:
- Treat ASAP – home remedies are most effective when applied at the first signs of illness. Don’t wait until you’ve been sick and congested for 3 days.
- Treat often – The more bone-broth and fluids the better. It is probably better to take less garlic more often (4 or more times per day) for best results.
- Be patient, the more you use natural remedies the better your body will respond to them.
Stay well everyone!
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any ailments.