Winter is here and so many people are getting sick. So this morning I wanted to take some time and cover a few quick remedies that you can reference to time and time again.
Often when I teach about natural remedies, the question I get the most is: “What can I do when symptoms of a cold, ear infection, sty, nasal congestion or other minor issues arise? How do I aid my body in getting better instead of worse.”
Before I give you the list of remedies, here are just a few things that can go from bad to worse in a matter of hours or days:
An uncomfortable sensation in the ear that goes unchecked can turn into to a full-blown ear infection.
Sinus pressure and nasal congestion without proper drainage can turn into sinusitis.
A red itchy and scratchy throat can progress into a strong infection.
A little bump in the eye goes from the size of a little grain of sand to the size of a lemon seed and begins to hurt badly.
As a family we have experienced all of the above mentioned and more. The key for us has been knowing when and how to use remedies to help our body overcome a sickness in addition to eating a diet full of disease fighting foods and avoiding things that make us sick like sugar and processed foods.
In our case we have also been blessed these past 7 years to have pediatricians who agree with our preventative approach and often send patients to us for wellness and herbal education. To read a review from one of our pediatricians in previous years click here.
Before moving on, I would like to reiterate that it is very important to have yearly medical checkups and in the case of illness, visit your practitioner for a diagnosis. Now if your practitioner is knowledgeable in herbal medicine and or homeopathic treatments he or she will be able to diagnose and provide you with a list of alternative choices. Sadly however, most family doctors and pediatricians jump to prescribing an antibiotic over and over again which tends to backfire, especially in children. In my research I have seen that children who are on constant antibiotics as was my first-born, suffer from more allergies and more inflammatory diseases as their gut flora is destroyed with the constant use of antibiotics which results in leaky gut syndrome .
Now that we got the essential information above out-of-the-way lets move on to some easy and inexpensive remedies I have developed and tried in our home over the years.
1. The dreaded sty in the eye – According to Websters dictionary a sty is an “Infection of an eyelid gland. An external sty results from infection of a sebaceous gland at the edge of the eyelid; tears flow and the eye feels tender, as if something is in it.”
At home we know how important it is that as soon as we feel a sty developing we apply warm herbal compresses and herbal eye drops. Herbal compresses can be made with organic thyme and chamomile. I love to use thyme for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile makes a great addition because of its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. To prepare the compress simply make a cup of tea using 2 tablespoons of thyme and 2 tablespoons of chamomile in one cup of hot water. Steep while covered for 10 minutes then strain and place in a glass or ceramic bowl. Take a clean small cotton rag ( should be no larger than 8 inches by 8 inches) and soak in tea until its cooled down and wont burn the skin but tea should not be cold. With clean hands gently squeeze out some of the tea from the rag and apply to affected eye for 3 minutes. Once rag is cold wash with hot water and soap or use another clean rag. Repeat this process 2 more times in one sitting and apply 3 times a day.
To make herbal drops we use unsweetened organic chamomile tea that has been strained in a clean cotton clothe and then we place it in a glass dropper bottle. The bottle is then placed in the fridge and 3 drops are placed in the affected eye 3 times a day. By refrigerating the tea is gives the affected eye a cooling effect that alleviates the discomfort caused by the sty. A herbal poultice made with ground turmeric and raw yogurt is also fantastic at eliminating a sty in just a few hours. For instructions on how this is done click here.
2. The yucky sore throat – Sore throats can be caused by an allergy to certain foods, pollen, dust, mold and bacterial or viral pathogens. It’s extremely important to seek medical attention in the case of a persistent red and puss filled sore throat that does not go away. This can be sign of a serious infection that might require additional treatment. This past year my husband started out with a sore throat and in one day lost his voice completely. His throat was red and had puss filled pockets. His doctor immediately prescribed an antibiotic saying that he had an infection in his throat and in his chest. You can read the post I did about this remedy by clicking here.
3. Sinusitis, nasal congestion and pressure – This can cause the worst headaches ever. Pressure building up in the sinus cavity along with hardened congestion can be caused by an infection and be very uncomfortable. To relieve nasal congestion we use organic eucalyptus which stimulates secretions and helps clear the nasal passages. My first course of action is an herbal bath. To make this de-congestant bath I place 4 cups of dried eucalyptus leaves in a 5 quart pot of boiling water, I remove from the heat, cover and steep for 45 minutes. Once it has steeped, the herbal bath is strained into the bathtub that is filled half way with water. If you don’t have access to organic eucalyptus leaves you can try using 5-10 drops of organic essential oil of eucalyptus in your bath water. It’s important to take slow deep breaths. Adults that are able to, can place their face under water for a few seconds at a time throughout the bath to further help remove congestion from the nose.
For nighttime use or when sinus congestion seems to need a little relief we make a portable herbal inhaler. This is super easy to make. All you have to do is get a small toxic free plastic container or a dropper bottle. Fill it with organic cotton and add 5 drops of organic essential oil of eucalyptus and peppermint. Place the cover back on the container and use throughout the day by removing the cover and inhaling deeply. I also make an immunity oil using organic almond and olive oil with drops of various essential oils like eucalyptus, rosemary, geranium, peppermint, frankincense, and myrrh. Blends like this can be rubbed under the cheek bones and between the eyes and over the brows.
Warm compresses can also be placed on the head and nose area to relieve pain and pressure in addition to nasal washes like Xlear. You can find Xlear on Amazon or Vitacost for much cheaper than the cost at your local health-food store.
As a last course of action and if a sinus infection persists you can have a private Compounding Pharmacy make you a saline nasal spray that is mixed with an antibiotic. The ingredients are usually: CP Mupirocin 0.2% solution. This is a much better option that taking an antibiotic internally.
4. Ear pain and discomfort – Ear pain can be caused by pressure, allergies and other serious conditions so it should not be ignored. In my classes I always teach that its imperative that a root cause for any and all symptoms be found. Treating reoccurring symptoms without eliminating the root problem is a temporary fix and not a solution. For example my first-born was constantly throwing up and wheezing as a toddler. The pediatrician at the time loaded him up with antibiotics, steroids and anti allergy meds which I ignorantly administered. After my own research and documentation of his health decline, I discovered that he was reacting to foods and artificial colors which would make him throw up and have an asthma attack. The pediatrician denied that my findings were a possibility and said I was crazy for wanting to wean my toddler off of his 5 plus meds a day. I thank God that he opened my eyes and now my teenager is much healthier although the consequences of my ignorance still affect his body.
In regards to ear pain and discomfort, we use garlic and mullein oil in the ear in addition to onion poultices and a homemade immunity oil with myrrh and other essential oils that is rubbed around the outside of the ear 3 times a day. You can read about these remedies by clicking here.
Well, that is all for now. My little one keeps interrupting asking me if we can go to the park. So I am off and ready for another nature exploration.
Lots of Love!