I just wanted to share what we do when we have illness in the house and the various remedies that have been very helpful in keeping illness at bay, treating symptoms, and hastening the healing process.
****As with any medication or natural product with medicinal action – please take the time to educate yourself on any herbal remedy you might take or give to your children.****
The first step is prevention during times of increased exposure to illness – we try to stay on top of taking elderberry syrup religiously through the cold and flu season. I have a recipe you can find here with details on how we use it. Also avoid excessive amounts of treats (which is hard with the holiday season happening, I know!) and processed foods will go a long way in keeping your immune system in tip top shape.
When anyone in the house starts to feel a tickle in the throat, a funny feeling in the nose, starts to cough a little bit, I give them a weight appropriate dose of astragalus root, echinacea root, licorice root, and additional elderberry or elderflower, all in the form of tinctures or glycerine extracts, 2x a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. I make most of our herbal remedies at the moment (which saves our family hundreds of dollars over the course of the year), but high quality extracts are available. For children – “Herbs for Kids” is an excellent brand available from many online retailers including Amazon and Vitacost. For adults, I have been pleased with the product I tried from TriLight Health, but any brand of herbal extract will do – most come with clear dosing instructions and or possible contraindications. Licorice root is the only one that may need to be omitted or reduced depending on the pre-existing health conditions of the person taking it.
If viral illness has taken hold already or if it seems severe, I increase the frequency of how often they receive the same herbal dosage as above to 3-4x a day. We’ve seen first hand how it has gone for one child who did not receive adequate herbal support right from the get go vs one who did with a severe viral illness (hand foot and mouth disease) and the difference was striking.
Natural Symptom Treatment Options:
For Swollen Lymph Nodes & Sore Muscles: We use a blend of lavender, frankincense, copaiba essential oils diluted with olive oil and gently rubbed into the lymph nodes and for sore muscles we dilute it further and the sick person gets a little massage with it :). Any of these would work on their own, but I like them as a trio.
For congestion (head or chest congestion): fennel seed and/or anise seed extract (or a syrup made just like the elderberry recipe using a mix of half fennel and anise seed instead) has been very effective at thinning and breaking up congestion, preventing mucus build up and decreasing the likeliness of infection. This also prevents that dreaded “thick cough” that children can get that can cause them to gag and throw up in the middle of the night.
For that dry tickle in the throat: Humidity is always and ally, as well as “cooling” essential oil vapors (such as peppermint, eucalyptus, & tea tree), but there are hundreds of blog posts on those and I actually reach for a different remedy more often than those. We have a tea we make called “Peter’s Cold Tea” because I first made it combat the cough that my Peter usually gets. Mix equal parts marshmallow root, peppermint leaf, and lemon balm leaf and make into a tea. Sweetening with honey adds to it’s cooling / soothing properties. Using a glycerine based peppermint extract is also effective – the peppermint cools and glycerine is a humectant, drawing moisture to itself helping to create a soothing barrier on the throat.
For a deep seated thick cough: Along with the above treatments, licorice root is a potent remedy that reduces inflammation in respiratory tissue and helps to thin mucus.
For Fevers: A blend of yarrow and peppermint tea, or extract is a time honored way to bring down a fever and has worked well for us. Also, for older children and adults, peppermint oil applied directly to the skin can also aid in bringing down a fever (I prefer to dilute our oils in half with olive oil in a roller top bottle (purchased in bulk from amazon) when using them in this way.
For Sore Throats: Nothing makes a sore throat feel better than a cup of cinnamon and clove tea 🙂 The tea mentioned above works well too (Peter’s cold tea).