Wednesday, February 27, 2013

natural medicine cabinet: fighting little colds.

We finally got hit with the nasty little cold - me first, then the girls. Luckily, Andy's been so busy with work (meaning he is gone a lot) that he's managed to avoid the grossness. Snot, coughing, draining, ugh.

My general rule of thumb for treating illness is a little quote from Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, MD:

"Do less, stimulate less, speak less, eat less...Drink more, sleep more, rest more, breathe more."

Herbal & Homeopathic Remedies

1. Hyland's Homeopathic Tiny Cold Tablets

2. Mickelberry Gardens Elderberry Honey Tonic with elderberry, echinacea, raw honey, and apple cider vinegar. This is local - you can get a good organic elderberry syrup at your local health food store.

3. Wish Garden Cold Season Herbs for Kids - If they won't take it by the dropper (depends on the day), I'll put it in their smoothie or in a little glass of water or diluted kombucha.

4. Wish Garden Kick-It Biotic for Kids - same as above, if they won't take it in the dropper, I add it to the same smoothie, glass of water or diluted kombucha.

5. Cod Liver Oil, preferably fermented (although I recently ran out and have been using Sonne's until we get our new stuff.) It is spendy up front, but the kids only take 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. per day! So it ends up not expensive at all, and is my #1 supplement out of ALL of the above.

How to get them to take their CLO? Pour a little bit of elderberry + honey syrup onto a teaspoon, then fill in the rest of the spoon with the CLO. It's been working really well. The sweet tartness of the syrup cuts the fishy taste of the oil. I started doing it this way, too, or by just putting a little raw honey on the spoon as a chaser. Don't force them to take it - if it gets spilled, it stains badly. It's not worth the fight. Just keep trying until it works! The great thing about CLO is that the vitamins A & D are fat-soluble, so we store them in our tissues as opposed to water-soluble vitamins, which we pee out. So if you go a few days between doses, it's OK. 

A tip for using homeopathic remedies: buy the box and USE IT. They aren't like medications to be saved and used throughout the year(s) - for kids and acute conditions like a cold, cough, or flu, a homeopathic dose is usually administered every 2 hours, sometimes sooner. So don't be stingy with that remedy and follow the exact directions.

Therapeutic Treatments 

1. Cold Sock treatment: Right before bed and after a warm bath, put a pair of wet, cool cotton socks on their feet, followed by a thick warm pair of wool or cotton socks. When they wake up in the morning, the socks will be dry. This therapy helps draw fever, congestion, and other symptoms out of the body. 

2. Essential oils:
Fever: 1 drop of lavender oil rubbed on the tops of both ears, on the center of the pads of both big toes, and in the space between the largest vertebrae in the base of their neck and the vertebrae below it, then massaging the oil down the spine. This can be done several times a day. 

Chest Congestion/Cough: Combine a few drops of warm olive or coconut oil with a few drops of Eucalyptus and/or Peppermint essential oil. Rub across the chest under the collarbones, down the sternum, then down the spine. 

3. Warm baths, as many as they want to take.

4. Warm homemade chicken broth (or a crockpot version), to provide important nutrients and to thin mucus.  

5. Cuddles! 

Why no baby tylenol?  Dr. Palevsky explains it well: 

"Parents are taught to believe that symptoms and childhood illnesses can and should be avoided, suppressed and stopped at all costs, with the use of over-the-counter medicines, antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs, and vaccines. Parents are also made to fear the worst-case scenario each time their children get sick, or when they choose not to vaccinate their children. 

It is important for all of us to begin learning about new scientific information that explains why children must experience their symptoms and illnesses as a necessary rite of passage, thus, allowing their immune and nervous systems to grow, mature, and develop appropriately. 

The expression of these symptoms may not always be caused by infections from bacteria and viruses. Instead, these symptoms and illnesses may develop as a sign that our children are healthy; that their bodies are strong, and working to bring to the surface, and cleanse, any accumulation of wastes that are deep inside them, having accumulated due to their exposure to varying stressors in their lives. 

In many instances, the process of bringing these wastes to the surface of the body is aided by the bacteria and viruses already living inside of them, and is a necessary step for them to become well."

I know there's some great remedies out there - what's your go-to for your littles? 

These treatments should never be used if you are not completely sure of the diagnosis of your, or your child's, health problem and should only be used after your qualified health care provider has evaluated the condition. This advice is meant to augment and not replace the necessary care of a licensed primary care provider. If the health problem is serious enough that you would consider calling your primary care provider, you should still call him or her. However, even in those cases where other treatment is prescribed you will often find these remedies and therapies helpful. 


  1. thank you thank you thank you! what a treasure trove of useful information!

    though, can you explain what the cod liver oil is for? do you use it just when they're sick or every day as a vitamin?

    1. You're so welcome Emily! I give them cod liver oil as often as they'll take it. I try and offer it to them a couple times per week. It's a great source of Vitamins A & D, plus omegas. We don't get a ton of sun up here in these parts so most everyone here is vitamin D deficient :) It's also VERY good for their developing teeth and all things dental related!

  2. Just found your blog via ^ Emily and am sad I didn't know it sooner. I have 22 month old twins (and a 4.5 month old baby). I love all the natural resources you've compiled and am looking at getting your book. I have low milk supply with even my second baby.

  3. Just found your blog via ^ Emily and am sad I didn't know it sooner. I have 22 month old twins (and a 4.5 month old baby). I love all the natural resources you've compiled and am looking at getting your book. I have low milk supply with even my second baby.

  4. Max LOVES the tiny colds homeopathic tablets - he opens is mouth so wide when he sees me grab the bottle :)

  5. Babies get cold rvery easily. One of the reasons babies get cold very often is because of immature immune system.It is surprising for new moms who have never held a baby in their hands, leave alone pacified it.


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