Oh no… The dreaded sneeze, sniffle, or fever has made its first appearance.
Immediately your mama mind fills with questions: Are they getting sick? What kind of sick is it? Where did they get it? Did we expose anyone else? Are their siblings acting sick? Can I keep them from getting it? Can I avoid getting it? Do I need to cancel our upcoming plans? How long will we be quarantined?
And then, the most important question that we will cover today: What can I do to cure it quickly?
I’m not a doctor, but I will say that over the course of the last seven years I’ve spent a lot of time researching, studying, and applying natural remedies to myself and my family.
The journey started when my oldest was sick with croup. The cough that made it difficult for him to breathe still haunts me. The phone call in the middle of the night to our pediatrician, who urged me to rush him to the ER, still plagues me! But I’m grateful because much good came from that experience. When we got to the ER, they put my son, Trooper, on a nebulizer and gave him a steroid. They sent us home with that same steroid and an inhaler, but the medication made him act like a crazy version of himself. My mommy instincts kicked into high gear because this did not seem normal.
After some quick research online, I discovered the medicine they gave him caused a lot of terrible side effects and possibly long-term damage to his bone density because he was under the age of two. Panicked, I called a friend of mine who often inspired me with the way she raised her six children in such a holistic approach. She calmly and matter-of-factly told me to go to a health food store or Whole Foods and grab the homeopath, Spongia tosta. I didn’t even know what a homeopath was, but seven dollars and five small, white pellets later my son was breathing normally, playing normally, had zero symptoms, and even more shockingly, zero side effects. This absolutely fascinated me and whetted my appetite for all things health.
Over the next several months and years I discovered not only how important nutrition is, but how imperative it is for good health. Essential oils, nutrients, herbs, vitamins, and minerals are just a few of the many things I learned about that can naturally help your body heal. Our bodies are absolutely amazing! We were created with the beautiful ability to heal, and there are so many things in nature that can aid in or speed up the healing process. I have come to believe we should start with natural things and if all else fails then resort to Western medicine. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a place for it! I certainly am grateful for technology and the blessing of doctors and hospitals when necessary, but if we can avoid chemicals and surgery and give our immune systems the ability to respond, we can avoid a lot of unnecessary side effects and trauma.
All that to say, a cold is a great place to start with a natural approach!
The minute I notice a symptom, I up the intake of vitamin C immediately. Like, way more than you would think. For children, I suggest 3,000-4,000 mg and for adults at least 5,000-6,000 mg. Research shows that taking high volumes of vitamin C cannot harm you; it could possibly cause loose bowels—which would then show you your body’s limit. So if that were to happen, simply back off from that amount.
The next thing I do is vitamin D3. It’s great if you have some on hand for your kiddos, but if it’s sunny outside—that’s even better! Get outdoors and expose as much of their body as possible to sunlight for about 20 minutes.
My third recommendation is to monitor their diet. I immediately take them off of any dairy or grains (which can produce mucus) and make sure they are not getting any sugar whatsoever. Sugar is like a poison to your body that your immune system has to attack, so if it’s focusing on sugar then it can’t fight the virus.
A few other things that I’ve implemented are elderberry, which is great for immune support and respiratory issues, Beta-1,3D Glucan (again, immune system support1), probiotics, cod liver oil, lots of water, bone broth, fresh veggies, and garlic! When fresh garlic is chopped, it forms the enzyme allicin which acts as a natural immune booster and antibiotic.2
While we’re on the subject of antibiotics, I know there is a time and place for them (and I’m grateful they are available!), but if you can avoid them, I recommend doing so! The root form of the word “anti” means against and the root form of the word “bio” means life, collectively meaning against life. Not only does an antibiotic kill the bad bacteria in your body, but it kills the good bacteria too. So, if you have an infection that absolutely needs an antibiotic, make sure you take a strong probiotic afterwards to help replace all the good bacteria that was killed. In addition to the probiotic, drinking kefir and eating fermenting veggies can help you replace that good bacteria as well.
If your child is fighting a fever, be cautious with Tylenol. It can be hard on their organs, and having a fever is a good sign that your immune system is doing what it’s supposed to do.3 Make sure they get lots of fluid and rest, and let that fever do its job!
If they are fighting a cough that doesn’t want to go away, a ginger bath and/or tea can be helpful. Peel and boil some ginger root and add a little honey and maybe some lemon for a tea or peel and boil some ginger root, let it cool, and then add it to a bath.
There are a lot of essential oils that can help with coughs and colds, such as eucalyptus, lemon, frankincense, oregano, tea tree, and lavender.4 These can be diffused, added to baths, or combined with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, or almond oil and then applied to the chest or bottoms of the feet. Be very careful with the kind of oil you buy! It’s important to pick a good brand from a reputable company, and with children you will want to dilute oils a lot. Oregano is a very hot oil that cannot be used “straight” and must be used diluted, but lavender is a much gentler oil. So, you’ll just need to do a little research in that regard. I’m not an expert on oils (yet!), but I am learning so much about their healing capabilities as an antiviral, anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, aid in circulation, and immune support and expectorant.
This is where I would encourage you to learn, too!
Grab a book, follow a health-centered blog, sit down with a knowledgeable friend, and find a good holistic doctor you can ask a lot of questions and learn from. You will be shocked by how much there is in nature that will aid in healing and it will give you great peace to know you have things on hand you can put into action immediately when your child starts to feel unwell.
When I feel panicked or draw a blank, one trick that helps me is to keep a list of remedies and things I’ve learned taped inside of my “medicine cabinet.” Inside the cabinet I have an immune-boosting box where I keep supplements and oils all in one place to save time and mental energy instead of trying to recall all the things I did the last time my children came down with something.
I used to be so afraid every time my firstborn became sick. Three kids in, I still feel that initial onset of fear, but then calmly start to apply these remedies and reach out for help from trusted sources.
I hope this article will inspire or aid you in your journey to health. I also hope it removes some of that fear and helplessness that can be so overwhelming as a mama!
You’ll also like 7 Easy and Natural Methods to Boost Your Immunity, Why You Need to Try Ginger, the Magic Spice, 3 Morning Health Rituals to Try Right Now, 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Nutrition, How to Go Gluten-Free (Without Hating It), and 5 Everyday Essential Oils for Beginners