25 tips for getting over sickness naturally

Posted by  | Thursday, November 4, 2010  at 8:25 PM  
As you might have noticed, all of the POH authors have been super busy this week and haven't posted anything. Sorry about that! We decided to save the "Creative Playdate" topic for a week when more of us could share and let this week be a free for all. So I decided to share some tips that I recently posted on my family blog for getting over over sickness naturally. I'm sure you've heard of some of them before, but I hope you will find them as a helpful reminder. It seems that everyone I know is fighting a bad cold or virus, so I thought it was a good time to share these :)

1. Oregano oil -- Personally, I think this is THE MOST EFFECTIVE natural remedy available! If you don't do anything else, please stock up on oregano oil. It is simple and effective. If I start taking it at first notice of a scratchy throat, I can pretty much avoid a bad cold because most symptoms are gone within 24 hours. If I don't start it right away, it might not go away as quickly, but it will still help a ton! I put a few drops in an empty pill capsule and take about 3 times a day. For children, just rub it on the bottom of their feet. Oregano oil is a hot herb and kills bacteria and viruses, very much like an antibiotic but without the dangerous chemicals. Make sure you read the label, though, and buy some that is not watered down with olive oil.

2. A tsp. of raw honey with 1/4 tsp. of good quality cinnamon. Both of these have great anti-bacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. If I'm feeling sick, I will mix up a bowl full of honey and cinnamon and take a spoonful 3-4 times a day. It soothes a sore throat tremendously, helps fight your sickness, and tastes great, too! For even stronger honey for medicinal purposes, purchase raw Manuka Honey.

3. Gargle with hydrogen peroxide or put drops in your kids ear.

4. Garlic -- If you google garlic you will be amazed at how effective this anti-bacterial natural remedy is. You can simply cut it up into pill-sized bites, or (if you are like me and don't like swallowing those pointy edges :) chop up finely and put in an empty pill capsule. For my girls, I slice it and just rub it on their feet. Their feet are very porous and absorb it very well. I also try to make meals that contain large a mounts of garlic when we are sick. For instance, I will make a pot of our favorite cheesy potato cheddar chowder and add a whole bulb of chopped garlic to the recipe. Or you can generously spread Donielle's "Cold Kicking Garlic Herb Spread" on your favorite bread or crackers :)

5. Probiotics -- These are so important for replenishing your good bacteria! You want to take them on an empty stomach if at all possible.

6. Collodial Silver -- Another super effective way to fight bacteria and viruses. You have to make sure you have a good source, but it really works! I take a mouthful about 4 times a day when I am sick.

7. Unpasturized Apple Cider Vinegar -- If you can, taking a mixture of 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with honey and plenty of cayenne pepper really works well. Take it 3-4 times a day. I can't do the pepper, but I just pour a little ACV in my water or tea and drink it throughout the day.

8. Steam Pot for chest/broncial/mucus issues. -- boil water on the stove in a glass pot – if you don't have a glass pot, boil the water in a tea pot and then pour into a glass bowl. When the water is boiling hard, remove from heat and add three shakes of Euchalyptus, lavendar, and pine oils into the hot water. The oil effectiveness lasts about 15-20 seconds so move quickly to get yourself over the steam. Breathe in through your nose, turn your head to the side and breathe out through your mouth. Continue this process until the scents aren't as strong. Be sure to close your eyes. With children, place a washcloth over their eyes as it can burn. You could also make a tent over the top with a towel for really young infants, but if they can get the concept of breathing through their nose, then it will get deeper into their lungs. You're doing it right if it just about takes your breath away or make you cough!

9. Grapefruit Seed Extract -- I add it to my smoothies, tea, or juice all year long just to boost our immune system. When I am sick, I take it in a capsule with my oregano oil.

10. Elderberries -- anti-viral, contains high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants, has cell-protecting components, soothes sore throats, and supports the immune system and respiratory system. I add some dried ones to my morning tea or make a simple elderberry syrup for the girls when they are sick. Lindsey gives a great little video of how to make your own on THIS post.

11. Kombucha -- it cleanses the body from toxins and aids in digestion and metabolism. Click HERE to see my review of it and some links explaining why I love this drink and how to make it yourself. My toddler and I drink this regularly (I'm still working on my husband :), and I was amazed that my baby would even take sips of it when she was sick! When I make it, I usually try to leave a small jar of it fermenting for several weeks so that it will be even more potent for killing off illness.

12. Mullein for chest/cold issues -- Take mullein capsules – The amount taken depends on the size of the capsule. The larger 0 sizes can be 1-2 capsules 3x per day. The small 000 capsules can be 3 capsules 3x per day. This is not a hard science, can take larger doses if the lung infection is bad or persistent. Mullein is a safe herb. You can also make a tea for kids who can not swallow pills. Or add a small amount to applesauce or yoghurt and have them take it that way. I add it to bone broth through out the winter.

13. Home-made Chicken Stock -- Your grandma was right to tell you to eat chicken soup when you are sick because it is chock full of immune-boosting nutrients! But don't buy the store-bought kind full of chemicals, bad salt, and MSG. It is so simple to make your own with nourishing sea salt and immune-building herbs. Every time I cook a chicken, I make stock for soups. Any time a soup recipe calls for water, I use my stock instead and it adds tons of flavor and nutrients! And anytime we are sick, I reach for my chicken stock!

14. Home-made ear drops -- these are helpful even if the sickness is not an ear infection, because it helps to get garlic and GSE into the body which fight infection. Click HERE for 2 different home-made ear drops, one that you can use right away and one that you can make ahead of time and store.

15. Cod liver oil -- Vitamin D is so important for your immune system and I prefer to take real food rather than just a vitamin D supplement that my body might have a hard time digesting and utilizing. I take it every day but take extra when I am fighting an illness. Don't be deterred by the gross-sounding name -- it comes in pill form so you don't have to taste it :)

16. Herbal Teas -- so healing! Click HERE for a list of which herbs help different ailments.

17. Stay away from sugar and white flour!!! This is so important, because they inhibit the natural workings of your immune system.

18. Let the fever run its course -- (That means NO Tylenol!) This is probably the hardest, yet most important thing for me to do when my girls are sick. God made our bodies to have a fever because the high temp. kills the virus or bacteria. Using Tylenol ruins this natural process and makes the body unable to fight the disease. It can also cause a fever convulsion by bringing the fever down too quickly. Without Tylenol, your fever will naturally break when it gets too high, then climbs back up and breaks again, etc, until it has killed the infection. So I just try to make my girls as comfortable as possible and if utterly miserable, I give THIS special bath for helping with the fever. The main thing you have to watch out for with a high fever is dehydration, but I will write about that soon...

19. Coconut water -- This is truly nature's Gatorade or Pedialyte without all the added flavorings and sugar! I get in the organic section at Kroger or buy when on sale at Amazon and always keep it on hand for any time we are sick. Coconut Water is rich in many vital minerals, vitamins, and proteins, not just the basic "electrolyte essentials" found in a lab-formulated drink. And believe it or not, the natural electrolyte & pH balance of coconut water even make it suitable for a rehydrating IV solution! And my girls love it! Smart Water/ Trinity Mineral Water is also a good option for dehydration because it has a lot of electrolytes, but my favorite is coconut water.

20. Lemons -- high in vitamin C, which is important when sick. Once again, I'd rather take real food than a processed pill, so I add a ridiculous amount of fresh lemons to my tea or water all day long when I am sick.

Chiropractor! The relief a chiropractor can bring during illness is simply amazing. I can see immediate relief in my girls' eyes once the chiro has finished. And the amount of drainage that immediately is released is even more proof :) A chiro is particularly useful if you think your child has an ear infection and can bring immediate relief to the pain. Our family chiro has a lot of medical training and gave me much encouragement and more advice on beating sickness naturally. If you live in my area, I can recommend a fabulous Christian chiro who charges a reasonable rate and doesn't even deal with insurance. I just love her! I take my girls to a chiropractor before I even think about taking them to a doctor.

22. Coconut oil -- Filled with anti-viral and anti-biotic properties -- I eat a few spoonfuls or spread it on toast or mix in my tea. But make sure you buy the raw, cold-pressed kind.

23. Smoothies with coconut milk, coconut oil, frozen fruit, raw honey, and grapefruit seed extract --The best tasting medicine ever! It is really the only thing I can get my girls to eat when they are absolutely miserable. It is dairy-free so it won't add to drainage, has tons of vitamin C from the fruit, contains bacteria fighting GSE and coconut oil, all the nutrients of coconut milk, and the honey is soothing and has many other benefits. We actually eat these all the time to try to boost our immune system. My husband likes them so much that he was willing to give up his nightly ice cream treat for them (and if you know my husband, that is saying A LOT!)

24. "Remedies" from my Christian Holistic Doctor -- I know not everyone has this resource available but I wanted to include it because if you live in my area, I can refer you to the BEST natural doctor ever. She can pinpoint any illnesses/ allergies without invasive treatment and makes remedies based on your body's particular needs. She has such a heart for helping others and I just love her!

25. Homeopathic remedies -- I've recently started trying out Homeopathic options like teething tablets and allergy tablets. I've used the Hyland's and
Boiron brand and they both seem to work well. I plan to try out the cold remedy next time any of us get sick and I have the flu remedy in my medicine cabinet just in case! Homeopathy seems to be very safe and effective. It treats the individual with highly diluted substances given in mainly tablet form, which triggers the body’s natural system of healing. The idea is that by giving a small dose of the very thing that could trigger the types of symptoms that a person is experiencing, you can actually bring about a natural healing response that will help to relieve those symptoms! Pretty neat!

If you have any other natural remedies that have worked for your family, I'd love to hear them!!


Amy said...

Could you please clarify about the "dangerous chemicals" in antibiotics (#1-Oregano Oil)? I really think that is a very bold statement as antibiotics save lives and often have minimal side effects.

Granted, I do think antibiotics are over-prescribed by SOME doctors, but less and less pediatricians give antibiotics unless they can identify a source of infection. While I think natural remedies are okay, I do not think they can replace antibiotics in SOME situations.

I feel like the keys to a great immune system is breastfeeding for as long as you can, washing your hands often, keeping a clean home, and keeping your children vaccinated on schedule. If you do these things, you and your children will be better able to fight off infection. Two modern developments have saved millions of lives- clean drinking water and vaccinations.

Also, many natural remedies may not be safe for young children, or pregnant or nursing mothers. These are all things to consider when choosing a natural remedy.

Thanks for the post- a lot of information condensed in a easy to read format.

Meg said...

Thanks so much for your comment! I definitely want to clarify because I totally agree that antibiotics are useful and can save lives and I had no desire to start a debate about antibiotics in this post :) I was just trying to give some tips for building up your immune system. But since you asked, I will say that I also agree with you that antibiotics are over prescribed and that the body gets immune to them. So that is why I try to use all these natural remedies for minor sicknesses -- to save antibiotics for when they are absolutely necessary.

In addition to losing their effectiveness, taking too many antibiotics ruins intestinal/gut health, killing off all the good bacteria and actually compromising the immune system in the long run and causing more infections because the body is too weak to fight the next bacteria that invades. In contrast, if you use natural ways rather than antibiotics to help build up your immune system to fight the infection/sickness, your body ends up stronger and can more easily fight off the next illness. I have found that ear infections and other sinus infections can be overcome without the use of antibiotics. When Karlie was just 8 months old, she had both strep throat and an ear infection and managed to get over it with just natural solutions and lots of breastfeeding. So I'm quite a believer that these natural methods work!

Thanks for your ideas, also! While there are definitely some natural remedies that you can't use while pregnant or breastfeeding, I have used all the particular ones that I mentioned during those times in my life without any problems. I wouldn't give honey to a baby under the age of one, but most of the others would probably be ok. But I'm not a doctor, so please don't misconstrue my info as medical advice :) This is simply a topic that interests me so I've tried to read a lot on it.

Amy said...

Thanks, Meg, for clarifying that. While I certainly don't want to debate this issue either, I feel very strongly about antibiotics saving lives. Anytime a life is at stake, any side effect or dangerous chemical will pale in comparison to the life-saving ability of an antibiotic.

I commend you for helping your daughter through an illness with such natural remedies and breastfeeding.

I would caution moms who are new to natural remedies to find a doctor they are comfortable with and allow the MD to help their child through an illness the natural way- like it seems you did. It's a scary thing to diagnose your own child, then plan a form of treatment with no medical school under your belt. If you have years of experience in natural remedies, go for it. but if you're a newbie, please get a good doctor who can coach you through it the first few times.

I agree, some antibiotics have intestinal side effects, but many are very easy on the gut, esp the most frequently prescribed amoxicillin and cefalexin. Probiotics and yogurt with live active cultures is a great way to help restore the natural flora to the gut. Also eating a balanced diet with lots of veggies will help the gut restore more quickly.

I'm a pediatric nurse, formely an OB nurse. I think modern medicine is facinating and have a strong passion to see it restore lives. If I had not wanted to be a mommy, I would have been a doctor. I know not everyone shares this love for medicine, and I appreciate all your knowledge on natural remedies. I learned a lot!

Amy said...

I wanted to clarify one thing- I certainly don't believe ear infections or other minor illnesses are life threatening. Those are great opportunities to try natural remedies first. If they aren't successful, antibiotics can be used. But if it's a serious infection, I wouldn't delay antibiotic treatment for the sake of trying natural remedies, especially if the antibiotic is speciific to the infectious organism, and you know 100% that it will work.

Meg, is there research on these natural remedies? What percentage of the time do they cure? How much more quickly do they bring healing than say, a 10-day course of antibiotics?

Margaret said...

Personally, I'm not concerned about quick healing. I would rather my child fight an illness naturally and win, even if it took longer than rush to try prescription drugs when they may not be necessary.

Meg said...

Amy, I don't have a lot of numerical research on the natural remedies -- I just always try them first and they have worked for us :) Karis is 3 1/2 and Karlie almost 2 and neither of them have ever had to use any antibiotics because the natural remedies have worked just fine. Like Margaret, I don't mind fighting an illness a little longer if the body is able to do it naturally and be stronger in the long run for it. Even so, I have never had any illness run more than 10 days since I started doing the natural remedies, so it hasn't seemed to take longer than when using antibiotics. But I'm sure than more serious illnesses can. One of my friends contracted Lymes disease and decided to fight it naturally. The natural route is working just fine and she is almost all better, but it has definitely taken longer than if she had gone the antibiotic route. I also agree that it really helps to have a holistic doctor to help diagnose, guide you, and know what works the best for your illness. I would definitely have been hesitant to treat Karlie for strep throat naturally without the encouragement and advice of my holistic doctor and chiropractor. Many chiropractors also seem to be very knowledgeable about natural remedies. I have been to two different ones (due to insurance issues) and I have learned a lot from both of them!

Ashley said...

Thank you so much for all this great easy-to-read info!!

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