Cold and flu season has arrived. Have you noticed? It has hit me a bit like a Mack truck this week. In the last two nights, my children have been up so much in the middle of the night that it has made those early new mommy days/nights seem like a cake walk. Cough, congestion, fever and an overall feeling of yucky-ness is the diagnosis over here. My guess is that we are not alone. So, I thought I’d share a few natural, thrifty home remedies for this-most-wonderful-season-of-all’s downside.
Garlic. This has been my favorite way to fight sickness. It contains powerful natural antibiotic and anti-fungal properties. I have generally just crushed a clove or two and mixed it into my food. Once in a while, I’d throw that crushed garlic onto a slice of toast (sprouted wheat, usually) along with a slice of cheese. It’s a yummy way to fight off sickness. Just be sure to let the garlic sit for about 10 minutes before you take it. Waiting that time period gives it time for its effective enzyme to be released.
Hot Liquids. Hot herbal teas often help boost the immune system. But, simply drinking hot drinks is effective because the heat helps fight off bacteria.
Cinnamon. Did you know that cinnamon does more than just help create that holiday aroma? It has antibiotic and antiviral properties. I’ve been mixing about a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon into a teaspoon of honey and giving it to my 2 1/2 year old this week. He likes it and has begun asking for it on his own. And, I feel good about it working on his behalf to kick this bug he’s fighting.
Diet. What we eat matters whether or not we are sick. However, if your body is fighting something off, it is important to do your best to work with and not against your body’s immune system. White flour and sugar are two of the biggest immune suppressors; they also happen to be in so much of the American Standard Diet. So, at the very least, cut out white flour and sugar and help your children to do the same. Keep in mind that when you are sick, you don’t actually need a lot of food because your body needs to focus more on healing than digestion.
Hydrate and Rest. Repeat. If the body is running a fever (which means it is fighting the illness) the best thing you can do is to stay well hydrated and rest. Our bodies need extra rest and extra water (esp. if you have a fever) to fight off illness. If you have children, then you know that they are not necessarily prone to wanting to sleep when they are not feeling well. So, just help them to rest. Instead of naps yesterday, I threw in a video and brought out the children’s pillows and blankets. I allowed them to watch one of their favorite videos as long as they were resting on the couch while they watched. Do what you need to do, right? (Meanwhile, I got a bunch of laundry done!)
What do you do to fight sickness during cold and flu season?
I’ve been using baking soda to clean my kitchen and bathrooms. I have used it to treat stains, in my laundry detergent. Oh, and I bake with it! I’m sure that none of those uses come as a surprise to anyone who has read much at all about baking soda. However, I’m going to guess that you haven’t heard about these:
1. Removing Splinters. I had never heard this one before. But, did you know that if you soak the affected area in a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda in a small glass of water twice a day, often the splinters will come out on their own? I haven’t tried this yet. But, I look forward to testing it.
2. Helping Fight Colds and Flu. Did you know that even back in 1925, during the influenza epidemic, baking soda was being recommended both to prevent and to help fight the flu as soon as the patient showed early symptoms. The suggested dosage came in several parts. Day 1: Take 1/2 tsp of baking soda in a glass of water every two hours six times a day. Day 2: The same dosage but only four times a day. Day 3: Two glasses of 1/2 tsp of baking soda each in the morning. Day 4: Just one glass of water with 1/2 tsp baking soda in the morning, every morning until all the symptoms subside.
3. Ulcers and Acid Reflux. Take 1 or 2 teaspoons in a full glass of water. Because baking soda neutralizes stomach acids, you can feel relief pretty quickly.
4. Toothpaste and Gum Health. Mix six parts baking soda to one part sea salt. Put them in a coffee grinder or food processor and grind for about 30 seconds. Wet your finger tip and dip into the mixture. Then, rub it all over your teeth and gums. Leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing your mouth. It’s supposed to be great for killing bacteria.
Thankfully, this is more than just random trivia, even if it is new to you. This information turns a very inexpensive product that we all have in our cupboards or refrigerators into a powerful tool for promoting good health.
How do YOU use baking soda?
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I have heard and read that “cold and flu season is coming.” Well, in our home, it arrived a couple of weeks ago! My husband is a teacher, which means he is around sick teenagers (and teachers!) who don't always know or remember to actually cover their mouths when they are coughing or sneezing. We also have two little ones who touch everything and who are putting their hands in their mouths all the time….oh, when will that stop?! All that to say that we are now on Round 2 of being sick in our home.
Thankfully–and quite miraculously, if you ask me–I have not gotten sick. There are a few things we do around here, in addition to the standard hand-washing (which I do ALL DAY LONG when they are sick) to help prevent or shorten the duration of a cold or flu.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar. If I'm fighting something off, I'm taking 1-2 Tablespoons of organic raw apple cider vinegar throughout the day. This last week, I wanted to make sure I was drinking a lot of water, so I just put it in my water. I was probably taking 6-8 Tablespoons of the vinegar throughout the day. I am a believer in this stuff.
2. Raw Garlic. Lately, I have just made a point to add it to our meals. I like to put a couple cloves of crushed garlic into our spaghetti sauce after it is cooked. I usually like to add a little extra in our guacamole also.
3. Homemade Bone Broth. Once my husband got sick, I made a huge pot of chicken bone broth. I threw in a bunch of chicken bones that I had set aside from dinner. I chopped up some carrots, onions, garlic, celery, broccoli leaves (because we are growing broccoli in our garden) and some seasoning. I kept it cooking for about a week. Bone broth is great for the digestive system and for fighting off sickness. And, it has the added benefit of being a yummy comfort food!
4. Exercise. Did you know that exercising regularly is good for your immunity? This week I could feel the difference that exercise makes because on one of the days I could feel my throat beginning to feel like I could get sick, I went out for a run. I know that exercise is not always what you're supposed to do if you feel like you're getting sick. Wbat's key is listening to your body. I really felt like I needed a little workout. The next morning ended up being the first day (after several before then) that I didn't have that “I'm-getting-sick” feeling in my throat.
What are some of your favorite home remedies for cold and flu season?
The only times I had any real issue with acid reflux was during both of my pregnancies. It was so annoying that I remember being in the hospital after having each baby and realizing that I could eat and not get reflux! Nothing compared to the joy of the new baby. However, the absence of the reflux was delightful!
Well, I recently seem to have developed a case of reflux again. No pregnancy. Just reflux. I think it may be related to the fact that some of my very favorite foods/drinks, I’m learning, trigger reflux. Coffee, chocolate and tomatoes. Did I mention that Mexican food (with red sauce) and Italian food (like spaghetti sauce) are my absolute favorites?
So, I’m beginning to figure out what specifically triggers the condition for me. But, in the meanwhile, I’ve begun attempting to lessen the uncomfortable symptoms naturally.
So, I thought I’d share some of these methods with you, just in case you know someone who may sometimes have to deal with acid reflux.
- Apple cider vinegar. Add 2 teaspoons or almost 10 ml to a glass of water and drink three times per day.
- Glutamine. Add 1 tsp or almost 5 ml of this powdered amino acid with 4 ounces of water and take with each meal.
- Licorice root extract. Take 600 mg or 0.6 g of this herbal extract twice per day with meals.
- Aloe vera liquid. Take up to 4 ounces per day, preferably before eating.
- Carrot or cabbage juice. Drink one cup per day.
- Sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda!). Add 1 tsp or almost 5 ml of baking soda in a glass of water to alleviate acid reflux symptoms. I’m sipping on my glass of baking soda water even as I write this.
What do you do to alleviate acid reflux symptoms?
A couple of evenings ago I was eaten alive by mosquitoes. These were mosquitoes on steroids too. These were the worst bites of all time. I searched the internet for the best home remedies. In the last two days, I’ve tried almost all of them. Some worked, some did not! Here’s what I tried and if it helped. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in the situation I did, but you’ll be ready if you do!
I had all of these thing in my house, so no added expense of medicine from the drug store.
1. Calamine lotion. This may be the oldest remedy in the book, but it’s that old for a reason. I do think it helped a little but I needed to keep reapplying, so I gave up.
2. Hemorrhoid cream. It helped and it lasted longer then the calamine lotion. It has a local anesthetic in it that really helped with the burning and the itching.
3. Toothpaste. It has to be paste and not gel, but this helped with the oozing. Yes, my bites were so bad they were oozing. It really helped dry that up.
4. Ice. The numbing effect of ice will help with the itching. It will also help with the swelling that too much scratching brings.
5. Tea bags. Used bags really do help. The tannins in tea act as an astringent. It wasn’t as effective of the other methods, but I saw a difference!
What ways do you treat mosquito bites?
For years I’ve heard that Apple Cider Vinegar is the most amazing product out there. It’s good for you with the ability to be used internally for healthy digestion as well as even externally for your skin. And of course, the recipes you can use it in are amazing! But there is so much more!
1. Hair care. This is amazing! You can rinse your hair in it after shampooing a few times a week for amazing shine and body! It’s really fantastic what it does.
2. Skin Care. It can even be used a toner a few times a week. Just dilute a small amount in water and dab it on your skin. It will help with wrinkles and scars too if you leave it overnight.
3. Wart Remover. Take a cotton ball and put ACV on it and put it on the wart and cover it with a bandaid. Keep doing this overnight until the wart falls off.
4. Teeth cleaner. Rub ACV directly onto your teeth and rinse. Keep doing this until you reach the whiteness you’d like.
5. Weight loss! Everyone likes this one. In a 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, “it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides. Triglycerides contribute to the bad cholesterol that we want to avoid.” Add 2 teaspoons to 16 oz of water and drink everyday.
Do you use apple cider vinegar? What are your uses?
Is winter over yet? Our house just can’t seem to get well from things like the common cold. So now, we are on a mission to boost our immune systems, but we’d really like to save some money by not investing in a ton of over the counter remedies. Instead we are trying these more natural and more thrifty options.
1. Garlic! This is my favorite immune booster and it really does work. I cook with a lot of it and when we are sick, I boost that amount. If you don’t like the smell, you can buy garlic capsules, but it’s definitely cheaper to cook with it.
2. Yogurt. The probiotics are great for the health of your gut. A healthy gut will help you fight off infection and just overall make you feel better. Try THIS crockpot recipe and save even more money than making it yourself.
3. Eat less processed and sugary foods. Sugar suppresses your immune system. Eating less will definitely help your immune system.
4. Sleep. Whoever thought of this obviously doesn’t have small children, but sleep really does help. It’s in those hours of sleep your body is able to repair itself.
5. Gargle with salt water. Japanese scientists say doing this simple thing twice a day can reduce your chances of a viral infection by almost 35%. And of course if you have a sore throat it really does help with the pain.
What are you doing to stay healthy?
I don’t know why it does, but it bothers me to throw away orange peels. They smell so amazing. I just knew there had to be uses for it, so I researched, tried it and here’s what I’ve been doing.
1. Deodorizer for your garbage disposal. Those things can get stinky and now you can even buy little scent beads to help. However, throwing a little orange peel down will help just as much. Lemons help as well.
2. Skin care. Orange peels have powerful ingredients for your skin. Check out this awesome tutorial for making your own body scrub from orange peels.
3. Room freshener. Simmer your peels in water and it will freshen your room.
4. Infused oil. If you like the flavor of orange you can infuse olive oil with the peels. Just throw some of the zest in there and let it soak for a while.
5. Garbage can deodorizer. Throw some peels in the bottom of your trash can and it will help with any strong odors.
6. Fire! Did you know that oranges are pretty flammable? Next time you go camping, use it to help start a campfire.
What do you do with orange peels?