Tuesday, January 22, 2013

natural cold remedies for mom and baby

I had big plans last week. I had errands to run, banana bread to bake, friends to meet up with. You know, a life to live. And then I got sick. Ughhhh. I felt it coming on Monday evening. The scratchy throat...gross. So I got up and immediately started on my usual arsenal of natural remedies to try and attack this cold before it had too much time to develop. Tuesday I woke up with a definite cold. And while Wednesday it seemed to peak, by Thursday I was feeling much better and by Friday I was at about 90%. I would say that is pretty good (3 days!) considering I also had to chase a toddler around and generally continue mom life. No pity from the 15 month old this time around. But I digress. Here are my recommendations for kicking a cold without any over the counter meds. All of these are also safe for baby and for breastfeeding.

Oregano Oil - We really use this for everything. It is such an amazing anti microbial, anti bacterial, and anti fungal supplement that it can be used to treat so many ailments. I have used a few different ones but I find that this one is good quality and well priced. For adults, you can take it orally. I generally take 2-4 drops under my tongue (depending on how sick I am) a few times a day. For Phoenix, I rub it into the bottom of his feet before bed and put some cozy socks on over. It works brilliantly.Oil of Oregano

Apple cider vinger - Bragg's is the brand I have been using forever. The reason it's important to use the raw and unfiltered variety of ACV is because it has natural probiotics. Those probiotics are killed off during pasteurization. ACV is alkalizing for your body. The more alkaline you are, the stronger your immunity and healthier you are. Conversly, the more acidic your body is, the weaker your immunity. I put a shot in a glass of water and take every morning when feeling unwell.Bragg's

Kombucha or other probiotics - Just like with the ACV, kombucha has lots of beneficial probiotics. Probiotics are essential in building and maintaining a healthy gut. Having a healthy gut is important because it's where we absorb all our vitamins and nutrients (among other things) and hence, we need to keep it strong to get better. If you're not accustomed to the fermented flavor of kombucha (I love it) than you can take a good quality probiotic supplement. Phoenix takes the kids one you see in the photo above. I just mix it in his hemp milk every morning.This kit from my favorite kombucha brand looks awesome!

Chest rub or eucalyptus oil - I usually burn eucalyptus oil at home when one of us is under the weather. It decongests the chest and cleans the air. I also rub it all over P's little chest before bed as well as my own. He nuzzles his little face into me at night so that way he breathes it off my skin too.Chest Rub

Eliminate dairy - Not forever, but dairy (mostly cow) is mucous forming. If you are stuffed up, you may want to hold off for a few days and let your body clear out the mucous. Dairy also causes a lot of inflammation for most people so even if you are not stuffy, you want to make it as easy as possible for your body to fight the cold (which is why you're meant to rest) and cutting out difficult to digest foods does just that. 

Citrus! - I like to include a lot of citrus this time of year for all the extra vitamin C. When I am feeling run dow I do include about 2000 mg of a vitamin c supplement but some delicious oranges and clementines never hurt anyone. Also, along with what I said about mucous, citrus breaks down mucous so even if you are taking a supplement, consider some fresh citrus for this reason.

Super garlic, tahini, ginger dressing - I made this the day after I started feeling sick (Tuesday) and ate it for almost every meal all week. I also gave some to P and forced Scott to eat it as well. He didn't mind. It's delicious. I do a variation of this dressing all the time. You basically start with as much garlic as you can handle. In this case I took about 3 whole raw cloves. You can put it in the food processor with some raw ginger root (again, as much as you can take. I used about an inch.) and one or two spoonfuls of raw tahini. Raw is important again as sesame has a lot of great nutritional benefits. Among them, tahini has a lot of magnesium which is essential in maintaining respiratory health. Zinc is also in tahini, which has been proven to shorten the length of colds. At this point, you pour in some good extra virgin olive oil and then thin out the paste to your liking. When thinner, it's a great salad dressing. A thicker paste works great on crackers and sandwiches. You can also stir it into soups, beans, hummus, or add to marinades. You basically want to get as much of this in your body as possible. Garlic kills everything. Ginger works wonders for colds and sore throats. 

Elderberry or Sambucus - The tea I drank (pictured above) has elderflower in it but Sambucus has elderberry in it as well. If you're not familiar with Sambucus, it has black elderberry, which has been used for centuries in Europe as a cold remedy. I noticed that it works right away at lessening our symptoms. Obviously we have the kids version. Scott and I take double doses twice a day. Sambucus for Kids/Cold Care Tea

Ginger, lemon, honey tea - I do sip on that cold care tea all day as well as give it to P in a sippy. Either in tea or on it's own, ginger, lemon, and honey tea is great for soothing sore throats and clearing up congestion.

Bikram yoga or just sweat! - On Thursday I was starting to feel better but I just needed to knock the last bits of the cold out of me. I bundled my sick self up and went to a Bikram class. It was just what I needed! If you've never done Bikram style yoga before, it's not as fast paced as the more popular Vinyasa or power yoga. And although it definitely get's your heart rate up and your blood flowing. that pace is slow enough that it's managable when sick. At least for me. Also, the room is about 1000 degrees so it helps you sweat out toxins. In fact, that's the whole point of the practice. I digress. That's another post. The point is, just sweating all the sick out made me feel amazing. By the next day I was feeling a million times better. 

These are most of the item that are our first line of defense. While I do think there is a definitely a time and place for drugs, we practice a lot of holistic medicine in our home as well as treat with herbs. I hope you don't get sick this season, but if you do, you may find that these may help you. Along with as much rest as you can get. (Not much for me!)


  1. Thanks for sharing all these great tips! We do a few of them, but it's always nice to have new ideas and gentle reminders.

  2. i looove this. i do a few of these already but the garlic dressing!! done. and i use an essential oil based eucalyptus spray in our rooms in the winter, but i want to know more about burning it! will you share?!?

    it's nice to read this -- we are like-minded!

    1. Thanks! The dressing is amazing. I actually made it today and added raw spinach to it for another healthy dose of greens. I mixed it into P's dinner. Boom!

      I burn eucalyptus oil at home in a diffuser (the ones with the tea light underneath). It makes the house smell so lovely, especially if we are sick, and helps bring up the congestion in our lungs. I also sometimes burn frankincense since it also is an air purifier. Plain beeswax is meant to be an air purifier too. I alternate between all of them I guess. Also clove oil is anti bacterial, anti fungal, etc. so I use it to disinfect door knobs and things that we touch all the time.

      We do think alike :)
      Hope this helps!

    2. oh that makes perfect sense. i don't know why i wasn't thinking about burning it before!!! i do eucalyptus chest rub too (in fact i have a eucalyptus themed post coming up!) so burning it will be added to the list! thanks so much. and i am really going to try that dressing!

  3. I was just about to write a very similar post after looking around our kitchen at similar potions. I'll link to yours instead! Love all of these...treating my sick kiddos today.

  4. Great tips you have here! That dressing sounds killer!