One thing I always dread about winter is the colds. It seems that no matter how healthy we start off, we'll be down at least two or three times in the course of the winter. Considering that we have four preschoolers, I guess that's not too bad. But I still really dread those times.
We have the first one right now -- a super nasty cold that hit everyone at once. On Saturday night, three (count-em) three kids had croup. By Monday, the other kid and Mom were sick too. Oh, joyful times.
So now that you're all scared off from reading my blog because of the potential germs, let me share with you some all-natural ways to deal with those nasty colds. My wonderful Mother-in-law deserves credit for all of these. She has thirteen kids, (I'm married to number two, the last is now ten years old), and over the years developed a lot of methods that worked for her kids. She passed them on to me, and now I'm passing them on to you.
Garlic oil is my best trick in the bag. Warm it up ever so slightly, then rub it under sore ears (right along the back of the jaw) to soothe a minor ear infection, (if your kids will let you, drip it in the ear to kill that infection quickly). Rub it on your chest and back for a cough, rub it on your feet for almost anything that ails you. It'll smell bad, but it feels so much better immediately.
To make garlic oil: Chop 3 or more cloves of garlic into small pieces -- I do about 1/8 inch sized pieces. Chopping is better than crushing because you want to be able to strain the pieces back out. In a glass jar or cup, add 1/4 cup or more olive oil. Cover and shake, Then let set for two days, shaking every time you think of it (a few times a day). After two days, strain off the garlic and put it in a clean bottle or jar. If you keep it in a cool cupboard, it'll last about a year. I usually end up running out in a few months and making more.
To use it, I usually just put the whole bottle in the microwave for 12 seconds or so. But you can also drip a bit out on to your hands and rub them together to warm it.
This is the best for keeping kids' immune systems healthy and strong. But you're not used to loose teas, it can take a bit of effort. To make the tea, combine 1 Tbsp. Elderflowers (E), 2 Tbsp Peppermint leaves (P) and 1 Tbsp. Yarrow (Y). You can buy each of these loose at a good health food store. I make up bigger batches (with more like 1/4 cup E and Y and 1/2 cup P). To make the tea, add 1 Tbsp. of the mix to a cup of boiling water. Cover the cup with a towel to steep for 5 minutes, then strain off the herbs. You can drink it hot or refrigerate it. My kids require it to be diluted before they'll drink it. This is a great wintertime all-purpose drink, and it really does make a difference in congestion. EPY ice cubes are great in water to make a weak tea in either the winter or the summer.
Removing Germs from the air:
Every winter, my mother in law makes up a spray bottle of water with 10 drops of tea tree oil, and sprays all the rooms in her house (just spraying it in to the air). The moisture attaches to germs, and brings them to the floor, and the tea tree oil kills them. Or so she says. I use it too, and figure it can't do any harm.
Finally, herbal tinctures are really what makes natural medicine work. Just like with "normal" medicine, you have to be careful not to overdose. But when used rightly, they are much more effective than the medicines you get from the pharmacy.
To learn how to make your own herbal tinctures, and to get my secret favorite herbal mixtures, you'll have to keep reading! I'll post about herbal tinctures next week.
So there you have it. My favorite herbal remedies. These work for me - they might for you too!
And, If you're still reading, you have a chance to win some of my EPY tea (Pre-mixed) and some home-made tea bags to go with it. Just leave a comment (and make sure your email address is in it). I haven't made the tea bags yet, so I can't post a picture, sorry! But I'll make them tonight, the draw a name on Saturday, November 1st. I'll contact the winner and mail out the tea and bags on November 6th (or before).