I am a total wimp. Approximately 2.5 seconds after KCWC was over (um, your comments were amazing, thank you), I came down with a cold. I am still fighting it and am trying so hard to honor my body right now, slow down and give it the rest that it needs. Easier said than done. Over the past year or so I’ve been photographing our natural cold remedies, and it feels relevant to share a few with you now. Rather than bombard you with all our remedies at once, today I will focus on teas, salves and syrups. These are all so simple and satisfying to make, inexpensive, completely natural and best of all, gentle. Make them ahead of time and save your hide when illness strikes.
The last time we were at the coast, my son developed an extremely high fever. Being away from home, and quite ill, is always a bit scary. Without my books at hand, I turned to the Internet and found this recipe for fever-reducing tea, originally from Mothering. I quickly drove to the nearest herb shop* and gathered the supplies, minus boneset flowers and leaves, which they were out of. But within minutes of administering the tea, his fever started to drop, I kid you not.
2 tsp. dried peppermint leaves
2 tsp. dried yarrow
2 tsp. dried elderflowers
In a small bowl, gently mix the herbs. Measure out 1-2 teaspoons of the mixture and pack into a mesh tea ball. Boil a kettle of water. In a mug, pour boiling water over the herbs, place a saucer over the mug and allow to steep for five minutes before sipping. If your child will not take the tea, try adding a bit of honey, or allow it to cool, pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Add remaining tea to a bath. Store excess loose tea in a glass jar with a screw-top lid, in a cool dark place.
The elderberry is a powerhouse, used to support the immune system, treat colds and flus, and contains loads of antioxidants. I have made this elderberry cough syrup countless times over the past year or so and it has become a family favorite.
I do not just use it for colds with coughs, but whenever a cold strikes and intermittently throughout the heavy cold season due to its immune-boosting effects. My husband and I take 2 tsp. off the spoon every few hours; my son receives 1 tsp. We also like this added to bubbly water. I use the simple recipe found in Amy’s emailorder #11; there is similar recipe found in my favorite herbal recipes book.
One of the simplest and fastest ways to heal from a cold is to keep your feet covered at all times. Rubbing a simple, healing mixture onto your achy feet adds another layer of cold-fighting to the mix. This economical and easy recipe can be whipped up in less than a minute and is seriously soothing.
Healing Coconut Foot Oil
- 2 Tablespoons organic cold-pressed coconut oil
- 2-5 drops essential oils** – try lavender, eucalyptus, sage, clove, an immunity blend, or peppermint, or use a combination
Gently mix the coconut oil and essential oils in a tin or small glass jar. To use, rub a small amount of oil onto the sickie’s feet and cover with warm socks. Repeat often. I make a fresh batch each time illness strikes and have also used olive oil, tripling the amount, and keeping in a small squeeze bottle. It is also excellent to apply all over the body after a hot bath.
I adore the vapor rub recipe featured in Amy’s emailorder #11, and it is a favorite for rubbing onto backs and chests if there is any congestion present. So soothing, pleasant smelling but not too strong, and best of all, healing. Just like the healing coconut foot oil, my son takes great pleasure in smearing a bit on his chest, under his nose, and then repeating on me.
What are your favorite natural remedies for healing and soothing illness?
* Locally I purchase herbs from The Herb Shoppe, New Seasons and this bizarre little shop inside an Old Victorian house on Hawthorne Street just west of The Herb Shoppe. While at the coast in the Lincoln City/Gleneden area, I purchase herbs at the The Herb Store and Trillium Natural Foods. I have also purchased herbs online via Mountain Rose Herbs, which just so happens to be an Oregon-based company as well. There are a lot of hippies in these parts.
** It is important to note that these concoctions work well for me and my family. If you are sensitive to any of these herbs, please do not use. When I prepare natural medicines for my son, I often halve the amount of herbs and oils, or dilute. Tea tree and lavender should never be used on baby boys as it is a hormone disruptor. Sage and clove should not be used while pregnant.