As the winter months are coming on, I thought it appropriate to revisit the topic of children’s health and a few home remedies to have on-hand BEFORE sickness happens. While many mothers view illness as an unwelcome interruption, I view it as a blessing for three reasons. 1. It is a wake-up call that something is not working in our home. I carefully evaluate what we have been eating and are we getting enough sleep? What are the stresses in our lives at the moment? In, short what do I need to fix. 2. I use it as a reminder to not take my children for granted. Everyday is a gift. Children are a gift. Health is a gift, and 3. I use the time to grow closer in my relationship with my children and pray with and for them during their trial.
Even though we can do a lot of preventative care at home, there will be times that a doctor’s visit is necessary. A few months ago, we had to make an unexpected visit to our local Urgent Care facility. My son needed some stitches. As my husband and I sat with him for a “short” wait, I had over two hours to observe the demands of a doctor’s day. I was amazed to find so many “emergencies” in the children’s waiting room. One mother next to me had a five-year-old daughter who “hasn’t eaten since yesterday afternoon.” (I was surprised, by-the-way, to see such an ill child running so ferociously in and out between patients!) To the other side of me was a single mother with her newborn, who appeared to have an ear infection. Across from me was a family of two children and their mother. They appeared to have a fever and flu like symptoms; but the soda seemed to help.
Although slightly embarrassed that we knew nothing about giving a stitch, I was more embarrassed at the lack of know-how we posses as a society to care for minor grievances and ailments. As the government dollar stretches ever farther to reach the demands of a sickly people, the people become more dependent and less likely to figure it out themselves. The purpose of this short synopsis is not to denigrate the medical profession. I believe that there are many circumstances that require allopathic care, especially in the case of emergencies. However, in many instances, we have at our disposal the necessary means to help the discomforts, or dis-ease of our family.
Here is what to have on-hand BEFORE sickness happens: (these can be purchased from a health food store or homemade)
- Elderberry syrup – immunity boosted. A must-have for colds.
- Arnica – bruises and inflammation. Comes in topical or homeopathic tablet form.
- Ear oil – make an infusion of 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 clove garlic (mince garlic, soak in oil for 30 minutes, strain, use 1 drop per ear two times per day). Alternatively use 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 2 drop tea tree or lavender solution. Administer the same as garlic oil.
- Red raspberry leaf tea – use for flu and stomach virus. Give to others in the house to prevent spread of illness.
- Hybiscus leaf and mint tea – used for any type of oncoming flu, cold or general “yuk” feeling. Add stevia or honey to sweeten.
- Hypericum homoepathic tablets – used to stop toe and finger throbbing pain.
- Chicken stock – made from simmering bones for several hours, onion, and garlic – for colds.
- Essential oils – be sure to use “essential” not “fragrance” oils. Place 15-20 drops in a crockpot filled with hot water. Leave “on” and add more oil/water each day as needed.
- Rosemary and eucalyptus – coughs, colds and flu symptoms.
- Clove, cassia (cinnamon) orange and bergamot to refresh the winter home as well as make a “front” against germs. Clove is especially useful to fight infections.
Additionally, avoid “anti-bacterial” soap, synthetic air fresheners (including public restrooms if possible), food coloring, MSG, processed foods, bleach and other environmental toxins. Include in your diet LOTS of berries and citrus (cranberry and orange relish would be appropriate this time of year), root vegetables such as potatoes and onions, and cultured foods such as homemade sauerkraut and other vegetables. Also use “sweet” spices liberally this time of year: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Make lots of homemade applesauce and spiced fruit (sweeten with honey, rapadura or maple syrup).
As of course, WATCH for signs of illness: stress, exhaustion, irritability, lack of appetite etc. and start a course of action (soup, tea, elderberry syrup, sweet spices, citrus etc.)
Lastly, enjoy this poem:
There is a medicine cabinet entrusted to my mother’s care
I see her standing there in the recesses of a restless night
Reaching for her salve to relieve my ache.
I do not know how she found it or where she learned to be an apothecary, I just know her as Mom.
Come to me Mama when I’m weak, let me know that I’m not alone and that I am loved. When others are too busy, don’t be far off. Rock me in your arms and sing me a lullaby. Let me forget my pain by being taken in your prayers. Like warm tea, let your love trickle down my sore throat. Like healing oils, be a balm of health to my soul.
Mama, Are you there?