Thursday, December 20, 2012

Natural Remedies for Colds Natural Living Carnival

Welcome to the December 2012 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Natural Remedies. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they use natural remedies in their homes.
It never fails.  Sometimes you can have a super clean diet, stay away from the processed foods, try and do everything right and your or a family member gets sick.  It's OK, the body is just working out something that is out of balance.  Sometimes what we eat is to blame, but other times its just natural eliminations of toxins built up and needing to be released. 
In our house we like to take a Natural approach to allowing and assisting the body to rid itself of any imbalance.  Whether it's a fever, sniffles, sore throat, or throwing up, we take a step back and think about what the body is trying to tell us.  Our bodies are masterfully designed to heal and rebuild.  The body is constantly at work to keep in a balance of homeostasis, and the illness is a message that something is off balance.  When we get an illness, before rushing off to the Doctors to get a script we can allow and assist our body to heal naturally.  YES, there are times when a Doctor is needed and why they are there to help when natural approaches are not enough.  With that said, try these natural approaches I will be sharing with you, but know when it is time to see a physician if needed. 
When one of us gets a runny nose we make an Ayurvedic Drink.  Ayurveda is a type of Indian Nutrition using herbs to heal the body.  They break it up in to wet, dry, hot, cold, and so on.  You can use certain herbs that have specific benefits to dry out, increase heat, decrease heat, and naturally heal.  When we get a runny nose we like to allow the body to detox what is going on and assist in drying it up. The first thing I tell my kids is when we are sick, we need to slow down, rest, and allow the body to heal.  At the first sign of a runny nose we make a Turmeric Warm Milk. 
Turmeric Warm Milk
1 cup of Milk warmed slightly over the stove, NEVER in the microwave.
1 tsp of yellow turmeric spice, powder
1/2 tsp of cinnamon spice. 
The milk is warmed, not heated or scalded.  Remove and placed in a tea cup, then add in both spices.  Turmeric is used to remove excess mucus in the body.  We usually will drink this in the morning and before bed, when the sinuses can be most bothersome.  The cinnamon is used to warm the body, it has a heating quality.  I love this drink and find wonderful relief from an stuffy or runny noses. 
Ear Infections and Pain
2 tbsp. of coconut oil
1 clove garlic chopped, crushed
For painful earaches take a small sauce pan and add about 2 tbsp of coconut oil, or Olive Oil, to the pan and just heat until warm, remove from heat. And 1 clove of chopped or minced garlic to the warm oil and allow to cool enough that it does not burn, but still warm (Test against you wrist).  Strain the garlic out.  You can drop a few drops of the oil into the ear and lay on your side to allow the oil to flow slowly down the canal.  Then gently message the outer ear area.   I then place a cotton ball in the oil and saturate it, then squeeze the oil out.  Then place the oiled ball in the ear. The cotton ball keeps the oil in the ear and blocks any cold wind from annoying the sensitive ear canal.  I will make balls and place in a plastic baggy for the kids to take to school. It provides a great deal of comfort and healing power from the garlic oil.  This was a remedy my grandmother shared with me and was passed from hers.
When colds set in with little ones it is important to keep their hands clean.  Not only from keeping the germs from spreading to others around the house or classroom, but to keep from an eye infection.  Pink Eye tends to always rear its ugly head around cold and flu season.  This is because kids rub their noses with their hands and then later rub their itchy watery eyes.  The germs get in the eyes and now we have pink eye as well. 
Ginger root for the throat.
When I have a sore throat one of the first things I pick up is fresh ginger root.  I sometimes will make a soft cough drop if my throat is dry, sore, or tickles.  On one spoon I add half a tsp of raw honey and then juice of ginger.  I have a press I use to juice the ginger right onto the spoon and then swallow.  This is thick and coats my throat while the ginger cleans it. 
Have a cold? Make a Tea with a purpose. 
When we have colds we literally drink them away.  I love the quality of herbal teas and think we should hydrate and pushes these toxins out.  Why not enjoy and great tasting and comforting tea to help that?
Thyme: Thyme is an internal remedy for inflammations and infections.  A cup of Thyme tea will ease headaches, nervousness, and helps with queasy stomachs. While a great spice it is also antiseptic.  Whenever I make a soup or stew I throw some thyme in and when we have a cold I make a tea out of it.  You can also gargle with the Thyme when you have Strep Throat and sore throat. 
Ginger:  Ginger has been used in folk medicine to aid in digestion, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.  It is also used to purify the liver and blood which helps to rid the body of illness and toxins. 
Pine:  I love making this tea.  We have grabbed fresh pine right from the trees and made a steam for congestion and then drink the tea to give our bodies a higher dose of Vitamin A and C.  To make the tea or steam, just boil a quart of water and add in a handful of pine needles.  Remove from heat.  Grab a towel to place over your head and breathe in the vapors deeply.  The vapors will break up any congestion fairly quickly.  Don't waste the tea!  When you are done breathing in the steam, strain the needles and then drink it down.  You can add in some lemon and honey to sweeten, if needed. 
Have some Yogurt!  Yogurt helps produce antibodies to kill invading organisms.  This makes a great tasteful snack to build the immune system, but also a great preventative choice.  I use only organic variety and plain.  If you need to add some flavor that reach for fruits to sweeten.
Cold and flues will come and go, but try and be as preventive as possible.  Stay clear of processed foods, sugars, additives, and increase your vitamin rich fruits and vegetables.  Increase your good fats for a full belly and add in a few more hearty vegetable stews and soups.  Remember to cover your ears and head on windy days to keep from aggravating your ears or catching head colds.  
These natural approaches have been used for ages and passed down from generation to generation.  We have unfortunately become a society of "give me a pill and make it all go away", as soon as we are sick we head to the Doctor for a script.  Allowing your body to heal naturally makes it stronger in the long run, and not as likely to develop a dependency for meds.  Although there is always a time and need for Doctors, if fevers rise, or symptoms continue seek the advice of your Doctor, you never want an infection to set in.  The best way to avoid illnesses is to be proactive in your health, and then use natural methods at the start of a cold. 
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  1. You have some great tips here I haven't tried before. We live in the middle of a forest and my yard is always littered with pine needles. I need to try making a tea with them!

  2. The Turmeric Warm Milk sounds interesting. I'm always reading about the benefits of turmeric but I've yet to actually try it!

  3. Great tips! I just recently read about pine tea...can't wait to try it!

  4. I've never heard of turmeric milk! That's awesome!

  5. Love these ideas, so great. My parents are probably true hippies, but they always treated us with things they "hunted" in the woods like roots, leaves and other stuff. Vinegar is excellent for the ear too, it corrects the ph balance to fight infection!

  6. There's no cure for the common cold, but it's important to make yourself comfortable while you recover. DB Mall

  7. great ideas! my friend's mom told me about the oil in the ear trick when I was in high school!

  8. Wish I would of read this earlier. 4 out of the 6 in the house are sick right now including me! I would do anything for a quicker recovery :) PLH