Photo by niachan
Edited and republished from the archives. Originally published 10/20/2009.
We have already been attacked with our first bout of illness for the year with coughs and colds, so it is time to restock the medicine cabinet with our favorite natural remedies. I love using herbal tinctures and remedies for our healing and was eager to share with you what we concluded were some of the best items to have on hand for all the little ailments that could come upon us. I am not apposed to using antibiotics on occasion if it is totally necessary, but for the everyday headaches, wounds, colds, flus, fevers, here is what I have found to be effective natural solutions.
Emergen-C – I have talked previously about our favorite Vitamin C drink Emergen-C here. I like to stock up on this when I get a good deal. Trader Joe’s has a good price on it as well as Vitacost.com. Pumped full of 1000 mg of vitamin C, it also has a good portion of energy boosting B vitamins, in addition to various minerals and electrolytes. This will keep you healthy or kick out those nasty colds quickly! When we get sick, we will drink several packs of this product daily. It tastes delicious and is a good way to cover up any other herbal tinctures that we may add to it. We use the Kids Emergen-C for our little ones. They normally drink one package each day for boasting the immune system during the winter.
Traditional Medicinals Teas – Gypsy Cold, Breathe Easy, Throat Coat – I love these delicious teas for specifically formulated with various herbs for every ailment. They are delicious, relaxing, and refreshing and really help solve the problem. They also help to encourage you to drink more fluids, which is most beneficial for healing. Amazon sells a sampler pack with subscribe & save discounts providing you with great natural support at low prices all winter long. Their Just for Kids line of teas is wonderful for your little ones.
Eucalyptus Oil – Eucalyptus in it’s essential oil form is wonderful to have on hand as it is highly beneficial. Add a few drops to the humidifier for easier breathing and rub it on the chest to help relieve congestion. We use this for our children especially. Dilute a few drops of oil in a dab of coconut or olive oil and rub on their chest to relieve congestion.
Echinacea/Goldenseal – A great combination to boost your immunity. We take in tablet form. Most do not recommend for pregnant mothers.
And as my mom always says, when the kids are sick, give them regular baths and change their sheets often! Keep those germ bugs running away.
Coughs Remedies for Infants & Kids – We have recently discovered the wonderful natural remedies of cough syrups by Hylands and found them to be quite effective for our little ones. It is hard to find something safe for infants, but Hylands offers an infant cough syrup that works very well with all natural ingredients. They also offer a cough syrup for Kids ages 2+ made with honey. These are wonderful to have on hand for those nights when they just cannot go to sleep due to extensive coughing.
Adults – We love the Ricola Cough Drops for soothing coughs and sour throats, in addition to the Traditional Medicinals teas.
For further ideas for natural healing of colds, check out our previous posts:
Elderberry Syrup – Elderberry is anti-viral, contains high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, has cell-protecting components, soothes sore throats, and supports the immune system and respiratory system. The elderberry is effective in fighting viruses, such as the flu, and upper respiratory infections. According to Prescription for Herbal Healing, “a clinical study of elderberry found that it cured 90 percent of flu infections within seventy-two hours. In the same trial, patients receiving a placebo needed six days.” This is also effective as a cough syrup. We recommend Quantam Elderberry Syrup as it is naturally sweetened with honey or the sugar free version. This is recommended for children over 1 year. A nursing mother can take 1 Tbsp of Elderberry syrup 5 minutes before nursing to pass the benefits on to a infant less than a year old. For infants, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years, recommends putting 1 drop per pound of body weight directly on a baby’s tongue, or administer while nursing. This book states it is completely harmless and can be given repeatedly as needed to help decrease fevers and the like. You can be taking this regularly as an immune booster as well. Make your own elderberry syrup and save money. Follow this recipe.
Echinacea – To ward off the flu at the first hint of symptoms, take echinacea, an herb with powerful antiviral and immunity-boosting effects, says renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar in her book, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Echinacea is available in most health food stores in supplement form, as a tincture and as a tea. Echinacea works best over a short period of time, and isn’t an effective immune strengthener when taken long term. She suggests using the herb for no more than a week.
For infants, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years, recommends mixing 10 drops of Echinacea in a four ounce bottle of water. Allow baby to suck this as desired to keep a fever in bounds. A mother can also take a dose of 5-15 drops two to three times daily that will pass through the breast milk to protect the infant.
Calming Children, Teething
Catnip Tea – A combination of catnip and chamomile is a great aid in calming children when dealing with various stress, teething, pain, etc. Traditional Medicinals offers a catnip tea as well as Mountain Rose Herbs (the Quiet Child Tea) that we enjoy. You can freeze this tea in ice cube trays and allow a baby to suck on it for teething relief. I also dilute it a bit and offer it to a baby in a bottle if needed. Hylands also sells Teething Tablets that are semi-effective. I’ve also had people recommend a drop of brandy rubbed on the gums does the trick. I have yet to try this method.
When all else fails and baby just can’t sleep, we do use a small dose of Infant Advil dye-free drops for teething and fevers.
Garlic Oil – This is a good recipe to use as a preventative as well! Press 2-3 garlic cloves in 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Let warm on stove for 15-20 minutes. Strain garlic from oil. Lay child on side and drop 2-3 drops of garlic oil in ear and massage lower outer ear for a few minutes. Wait for half hour or so before doing the other side so oil won’t drain out. 3-4 times daily. You can also buy a garlic oil already prepared for you. Make sure to use this homemade tincture right away or store in the refrigerator for up to one weeks time to avoid any safety risks. Please DO NOT store at room temperature.
Arnica Spray - Arnica is highly valued for sprains and bruises when the skin is not broken. Can help prevent bruising if applied quickly. Great relief for sour muscles. Also available in several other forms, as a tincture and in ointments, it makes an excellent treatment for rheumatism and some skin irritations as well. We use Hyland’s Arnica Spray.
Hylands Headaches – Hyland’s Headache is a traditional homeopathic formula for the relief of symptoms of head pain due to stress and sick or nervous headache. No side affects but rather natural healing response. Safe for adults and children. Take at the first sign of a headache for best results.
Ginger Tea - Ginger’s wonderful effects as a treatment for nausea have led it to be highly recommended for sea sickness or motion sickness as well. Ginger tea is very settling. A great aid for pregnancy nausea as well.
Rescue Remedy – Bach’s Rescue Remedy is a natural form of healing for everyday stress and help maintain control in your body. Homeopathic remedy. Composite of five of the flower remedies discovered by Dr. Edward Bach. Rescue Remedy calms the nerves, eases tension, buffers emotional shock, and combats stress. You can use this on your pets as well under the guidance of a holistic veterinarian. Crisis Calm from NaturoKits is also a great stress reliever. Our favorite tea for stress relief is Tension Tamer.
Herbal Healing Salts - My favorite way to relieve stress, muscle pain, or to heal any wounds, is to take a hot bath with a combination of herbal healing salts. Epsom salts is in this combination as well. But with the addition of lavender and other herbs it is very relaxing.I use the herbal bath salts from Mountain Rose Herbs and absolutely love them (they are on sale in October as well)! They help to relax me in order to sleep well.
Cuts, Bruises, Muscle Pain
Epsom Salts – Excellent for soaking a small open wound to prevent infection. Use daily as a soak for warts as well. It really works! These are also effective after childbirth to heal the vaginal area. These are cheap and available at your local supermarket.
Hydrogen Peroxide – A great antiseptic. Pour directly onto a wound to clear out dirt and fight infection. Cover with band aid.
Witch Hazel – Witch Hazel is one of the most widely used first aid remedies, both for its astringent and blood clotting actions. Use distilled Witch Hazel as a compress for minor burns and sprains, or apply directly to the skin for insect bites, nosebleeds and cuts. Witch Hazel also makes a good skin toner.
Super Glue & Butterfly Band-Aids – Butterfly band-aids and super glue are a must for the slighter deeper cuts as well. Saves you from getting stitches and prevent scaring. We used it all the time growing up with deeper cuts on the head or fingers. Use your discernment as to the deepness of the cut. Aaron gashed his finger a few months back which was definitely deeper than a regular band-aid would heal. So we cleaned it out with hydrogen peroxide, and then held the gash shut with our fingers and applied a thin strip of super glue and covered with a butterfly band-aid. I cannot say how natural super glue but it was designed originally to quickly patch up soldiers on the battlefield during the Vietnam War. They even used it to glue lacerated livers together (lovely, huh?). I did find reference to it being non-toxic though. It does seals the cut and allows it to heal beautifully! We saved ourselves from many hospital trips growing up by using this simple frugal method. For more on this solution, read Super Glue: Safe for Treating Cuts? and How To Use Superglue for Cuts.
Papaya Enzymes are a chewable digestive aid that is 100% natural. Each serving contains papaya fruit. Pepermint and chlorophyll are added to refresh and sweeten breath, so it is also a great breath refreshener! We love these chewable tablets! They really work! I usually use only two for myself when needed and one tablet for children.
Aloe Vera – The one to turn to for burns and skin irritations of all types. When you can, using a piece of live plant. Break off a leaf and rub it directly onto the skin for relief of burn, sunburn or poison ivy. Not for internal use.
I also love the Wild Weed Salve in the NaturoKits First Aid kits that works wonders for burns of every kind.
Baking Soda – for quick relief of the pain of a burn (as in receiving a burn in the kitchen), dash a little bit of baking soda on the burn. Love it!
Other items and supplements…
Lastly, we all take cod liver oil daily for it’s omega-3 content and naturally occurring vitamin A and D, which are also wonderful immune boosting aids. Cod liver oil is excellent for overall health and wholeness. We use the Nordic Naturals brand as recommended by my naturopath. Aaron takes the EPA version, I take the DHA version (more suitable for pregnancy, nursing, and female hormone balancing) and our baby and kids take Childlife Cod liver oil. I give the children a natural liquid multi-vitamin especially in the winter as a preventative. We use PediVites (also recommended by our naturopath due to it’s completely pure contents). Beyond that, we don’t take any other supplements.
Looking for a good reference guide for natural healing? An excellent resource that every family should have on hand to use as a guide for natural healing is the Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A to Z Reference to Drug Free Remedies. We use this book all the time and it is the only one I keep on hand for frequent use!
Those are the items in our medicine cabinet! Take stock of what you have for now is the time to prepare for the winter cold/flu season! These items will save you doctor’s bills because many basic sicknesses can be solved naturally at home.
Most of these items recommended above can be found very reasonably at Vitacost. Some links above to Amazon are affiliate links and we do receive a small percentage of the sales made through our links.
Disclaimer: As always, remember that I am not a doctor and offer these recommendations from my own personal experience and research into natural healing. Please double check with your naturopath/holistic practitioner before using any of these suggestions. Find a naturopath for the health and wholeness of your family!
Do you have any recommendations for natural healing that you would like to add to the list?