It’s no secret that winter in MN can be a big old germ pot. And to be quite honest, for us moms of young ones, living here from January through March can be downright miserable. I chatter back and forth with family and friends about how wonderful it would be to escape this part of the year altogether and head south for a few months. Enough people do! Maybe someday, eh? But in the meantime, let’s talk about surviving and thriving the cold season.
We held out for a long time this year without catching any colds at all, even when those around us were picking up viruses! I was keeping my fingers crossed. I wish we could report we have stayed virus free all season, but that is simply not the case – one sorry day, it happened. Papa came home from work with a cold. At least, I think that’s how it happened…. (sorry, hubby, no one is blaming you.)
I feel silly, but I often have to remind myself how to treat viruses. This year when the kids came down with their first cold, I stood there in shock like “uhhh what do I do, again?”So I started repacking my brain with good holistic tips and tricks. And remembering back to my mom’s good old fashioned go-to’s.
Eating a diet full of whole foods, as unprocessed as possible, is, of course going to be our best defense in keeping our immune systems armed and ready. So before we go any further, we need to all start here.
I personally have been able to kick each set of viruses (we are now on round three in our household, regrettably, as are many other families I know!) within 24 hours each time, so I’d like to be able to attribute much of that to this plant based lifestyle! In the past, if I was near a virus, I expected to come down with it myself within a day or two. So this is a HUGE turnaround for me, and I’m certainly not complaining. I’ve never had this good of an immune system. That being said, I’ll be sure to let you know if I just jinxed myself!
Why not just reach for the Tylenol and Nyquil? I think it’s important for us all, especially mothers, to self-educate on why we may not want to be ingesting these drugs. But without getting into that, my biggest problem with modern western medicine is that we seem to have this mindset that the body doesn’t know what it’s doing and that we need to help it do EVERYTHING by medicating it. This is simply untrue. Our bodies are brilliantly created and know how to take care of self better than we could ever imagine. Of course, having OTC drugs and clinics available to us is a wonderful safety net we wouldn’t want to be without, but for most of us who are generally healthy, we need to just trust our bodies and feel confident using natural remedies.
If you’re like me and are looking for some extra ideas on treating common viruses naturally at home, I hope you enjoy this post! As always, don’t take my ideas as professional advice, and if the virus worsens, make sure you see a doctor. Do I need to put that disclaimer in there? Probably safe to do so.
Treating the Common Cold/Fever
A mother’s back rub, snuggles, and loving touch gives the child (or anyone!) the confidence they need to be able to bravely endure through the virus and let their body do its work. Remind your children what their body is doing what it knows best how to do to help them recover! Kid’s Health has this great explanation of a fever that I used to coach my son through understanding what a fever is and how it helps him.
And when the sick one is myself or my husband, going out of our way to show kindness, bring water or a snack, are great ways to keep showing love. The ill person’s energy will lift naturally when shown love and affection. Easier said than done, to remain the cheerful caregiver – the very thought of someone being sick and having to stay home just sounds so inconvenient, doesn’t it!? But, I have to adjust my focus, put down my to-do list and be extra intentional. Cliche as it may sound, I believe a body can heal faster with love.
Here are my other favorite remedies. Oh! And as always, they’re all Vegan-friendly!
- Mama’s massages. A little back rub, neck rub, or gentle back scratch can make a world of difference. I wish someone STILL did this for me whenever I felt sick!
- Oil of oregano, essential oil, is highly effective in kicking a virus to the curb! We’ve had enormous success with it. There’s controversy on the best way to use this and whether or not to use it around children, but I’ve found that a single drop mixed in some shea butter and applied a couple times a day to the feet can greatly reduce cold fever or flu symptoms. It has tremendously worked for all of us! But again, never use my ideas as medical advice and know that I am not a doctor or medical professional. Also note that I use very safe, pure essential oils, and be advised that Oregano is very potent and should never be applied to the skin directly, especially on children.
- Thieves oil, essential oil. This is another oil that can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the bottoms of the feet, in very small amounts. It packs an immune boosting punch!
- Warm baths with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and lavender oil are so soothing, and safe for kids and adults alike. Some say this will “draw out” a fever. I do not know for sure, but it does seem to work. I’ve used this method regularly! One cup of ACV in a shallow bath with a couple drops of lavender and not only does it feel great, there’s been a significant decrease in body temperature following, and a lovely night’s sleep!
- Sleeeeeeping & staying in bed can’t be over-rated! But hang out with them and keep them company best you can.
- Brothy veggie soups with fresh onion and garlic. Emphasis on the onion and garlic being fresh and organic, I’ve made some mighty tasty vegetable broths with these, and the stems and ends of organic carrots, celery, and mushrooms! Oh, they are so delicious, nutritious, hydrating, and pleasantly easy on upset tummies.
- Diluted fruit juice or squeezed berries and a dash of sea salt in water can help replace electrolytes and be a fabulous replacement for things like Pedialyte drinks, which have added ingredients we don’t need in our bodies! I use this recipe for a cold, rehydrating drink! (I also use this or a similar one post-cardio workout to replenish electrolytes!) And go ahead and eat the thawed out berries after you’ve finished the drink! Mmmm!
- A mason jar or glass of pure clean water, 8-10 oz
- 1/2 cup frozen berries, blueberries or frozen mixed berries are our favorite
- 1/2 to 1 Tbs pure maple syrup (or <Tbs organic cane sugar)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt (or liquid trace minerals)
- Probiotic drinks like kombucha or water kefir can be very beneficial for the immune system! Not to mention a great way to get extra fluids in! Healing begins in the gut!
- Green & red smoothies. My favorite recipes contain a banana, spinach or kale, a raw greens powder, and fresh or frozen berries! This is our go to.
- Ginger, onion, garlic, when freshly minced and grated, add to your main dish for a powerful immune boost.
- Elderberry syrups or lozenges. Where do you buy these? Whole Foods carries elderberries in their dry bulk herbs section! The lozenges I also picked up from there were from on a great sale and my son thinks they’re candy. This link here takes you to my and my sister’s favorite Elderberry Syrup Recipe.
- Keep to whole unprocessed foods!
There are dozens other great ideas out there for naturally giving colds and flus the kick in the pants. And if you’re like me, more reminders and new information is always helpful. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of some of the tips and tricks that we know work best.
One of my dreams is to have an extensive education in family friendly herbal remedies. Wouldn’t that be fun?! I have signed up to take a Homeopathy workshop here locally and cannot wait to get my hands on a homeopathy kit! There are so many holistic modalities available to us when illness strikes! We definitely don’t need to feel like we are forced to reach for OTC drugs and medications. Let’s celebrate the body’s incredible intuition to heal and help it along, trusting it all the way.
I’m sure many of YOU may have a much more extensive knowledge than I do in some of these areas! What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for your family?
A Note on Essential Oils:
There are so many many ways of using Essential Oils Medicinally. However, if you’re not confident in your use of them, it’s always a good idea to refer to your essential oil’s company website to check on recommended uses. I would also recommend this course, which I am not an affiliate for, but which I have had the honor and joy of going through! I use this resource guide from this course regularly since enrolling! https://my.draxe.com/essential-oil-transformation