Since we have been battling illness all weekend around here, I decided it would be a good time to write a post about some of my favorite natural remedies. It is funny how my husband and I differ when we are sick. If he is the ill one, he will grab the nearest, most potent bottle of medication, whereas I prefer my tried and true natural solutions first. I save medications for times of desperation, or illnesses that home remedies cannot help. I also prefer to stick with natural soothers when it comes to what I give my child, being that he is so little I wish to prevent him from scary side-effects. (However, I would never avoid medication when it is needed. For example, when Simon battled a high fever for three days last month we gave him ibuprofen and tylenol at the recommendation of his doctor. )
Here are some of the natural solutions I swear by:
Honey, the more local the better. Why? Well many people believe that because the local honey contains some of the pollen from the plants that grow in your area it will help your body prepare for dealing with those allergens. Though this theory lacks scientific research to back it up, I think there is enough anecdotal evidence, and people who swear by it to avoid their allergy suffering to lend credibility to it. Honey is also a wonderful soother for sore throats. (Never give honey to a baby though, due to risk of botulism.)
Tea: peppermint for tummies, echinacea for illness, chamomile for stress, you name the ailment, there is probably a tea that will help. I personally swear by the peppermint for my stomach upsets, and always make sure we are never without some. A blend of ginger, lemon, and honey is the perfect trifecta for sore throats and colds. As I write this I am leaning over my cup of freshly brewed herbal tea and breathing in the vapors for sinus relief.
Heat: a warmed pad for achy muscles, or a hot bath when sore or congested. I always prescribe a bath for Simon when he is sick. A heating pad with the right aromatherapy built in can work wonders too. Even the heat from a steamy bowl of soup can warm the membranes in the nose and loosen up congestion.
Speaking of aromatherapy, a branch of eucalyptus, hung in the bathroom, will soothe congestion when the heat and steam activate the essential oils in the plant. And it makes the house smell great too!
Aloe for burns, both the kind you get from the stove and from the sun. It also helps soothe bites and stings. I have somehow managed to kill off every aloe plant I have ever owned, but I intend to keep trying because I want to have it on hand should a calamity occur. However, my local grocery store sells gigantic pieces of aloe in the produce department which I can buy and squeeze into an ice cube tray, saving the cubes of aloe for when need should arise.
Apples for an energy boost. I have read many times that apples will give you more energy than coffee. Passionate coffee lover that I am, I have discovered this to be true. Not to mention the apple has vitamins and nutrients that coffee does not. (Though coffee does contain antioxidants. )
Hydration, hydration, hydration. When I was a little girl, one of my aunts urged me to load up on fluids in order to “pee the cold out”. This is now something I catch myself saying to others around me when they are sick. Turns out, there really is some truth to this. Proper hydration helps your body eliminate toxins created by dead cells, which in turn aids your immune system. It also helps you loosen up the mucous in your lungs. Liquids also keep your throat and nose less likely to dry out. If you have an illness that involves vomiting or diarrhea it is easy to become dehydrated, so fluids are absolutely crucial then.
Of course, nothing beats sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.
What do you do when you are sick? Please share!