By Melody Haldman
It’s that season again…here come the sniffles, fever, flu and chills! While I’m not a doctor, I am passionate about keeping my family healthy. We don’t have time to be sick. Who does? I’ve learned much about effective natural remedies from other moms, herbal experts and my own fantastic doctor. God created many amazing healing compounds and I prefer to utilize those safely before considering giving or taking any sort of synthetic medication. I’m sharing a few of my family’s favorite remedies today.
Prevent. The first defense against sickness is avoid catching it in the first place.
• Avoid unnecessary public gatherings. During flu season I limit my boys’ germ exposure by NOT taking them with me to the grocery store or other errands. I try to take one quick trip to the grocery store every week and plan to go after the children are in bed and dad is at home. Those cart handles and crowds have more germs then my little guys can resist. We’re attempting to teach them good sanitation habits however, at this age it’s not beyond them to lick the cart or rub their face up against the glass doors (ewww…). Yes, there are places like church and preschool that they will encounter germs regardless but lowering their overall exposure seems to help.
• Eliminate, or greatly reduce sugar. Sugar can suppress your immune system for hours. We can’t have that! I try to limit their sweet fix to a swirl of raw honey on their porridge & some homemade stevia-sweetened goodies. Personally, I haven’t been sick once since cutting out all sugar almost a year ago. That’s testament enough for me!
• Probiotics. Around 80% of the immune system is in the gut, so healthy digestion and bacteria balance is key! We use a powdered probiotic that I slip into their afternoon smoothie snack.
• Vitamin C. Well known for supporting the immune system through the functioning of white blood cells. Also has antioxidant superpowers helping us recover from stress and fight free radicals. In times of distress the body can use greater amounts of vitamin C then the daily recommended dose. Overdosage isn’t much of a concern with this vitamin because it is water-soluble and unneeded vitamin C will pass through the body. I use Hylands Baby C tablets for my youngest and a vitamin C powder for my toddler. Personally, I take between 1000-4000mg vitamin C daily.
* Vitamin D. Deficiency in vitamin D is linked to a wide range of illness. Since this one is known as the “sunshine vitamin,” I make sure we supplement during the winter to maintain immune function and emotional well-being. We use liquid vitamin D drops by adding a few drops in our yogurt or smoothies.
• Elderberry Syrup. Recognized for generations for it’s immune supporting properties. It’s also been found in medical research to have a profound effect on the flu virus and other viral infections. My boys are crazy about this immune boosting elixer! They love it and beg for extra doses every day. For maintenance they take one size-appropriate dose every day and if they start to come down with something I increase that to a dose every four hours. This stuff WORKS for us. You can make it yourself as I often do, or pick some up at the vitamin store (watch for brands with lots of added sugar).
Defend. As soon they start to show the first signs of sickness like a sore throat or extra tiredness, we add a few things to the arsenal.
• Liquid Garlic. Sounds unapealling but it’s actually not bad. I mix this into their elderberry syrup and they don’t mind. Garlic has detoxifying, antibiotic and immune boosting properties, WOW!
• Essential oils. I hesitate to mention this because “essential oil wars” seem to be just as divided as “mommy wars”. While they are natural they are also quite powerful and must be treated with respect. I choose to err on the side of caution when it comes to children, by only using the most gentle oils around them. Specifically, Plant Therapy has a KidSafe line and we use the Immune Boom and Germ Destroyer blend from them either diluted and massaged on their feet or diffused in their room at night.
• Herbal tinctures. You can make you own or purchase them pre-made. I love the Gaia KidsDefense tincture. I picked it up on amazon and am happy with how powerful it is against viral bugs. We also use Astragalous tincture, a wonderful immune modulating herb that seems to especially help respiratory function.
This combination helps us destroy colds and sickness before they start. It’s amazing to me and I am thankful to have options for treating my family and avoiding serious illness and doctor visits.
Again, I am simply sharing what works for my family and kids. Please do your own research before using a product with your family as everyone has different sensitivities.
Do you have any tested and true natural health remedies? Here’s to a winter season with less sickness and more fun!