Friday, June 29, 2012

Child Friendly Herbs and Holistic Healing for the Common Cold Virus

After I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, I immersed myself deeply in the study of holistic healing.  I don’t have any professional training in this area, but I diligently researched (and read the research) on herbal healing regimens.  At first it was focused on Crohn’s, then it lead to other things and everyday ailments such as stress, anxiety, pain, inflammation, digestion, focus, and sleep.  I found that for every ailment, there was a natural remedy.  And I firmly believe that because of the powerful healing properties of herbs and supplements, I was able to live drug free for nearly 8 years; and I’ve allowed my body to heal even further by not pumping it with over-the-counter remedies often full of toxins and chemicals.  My research on holistic healing lead to many other forms of natural healing, including meditation, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, oils, and different forms of yoga.  I found a deep love and appreciation for the healing properties of herbs and foods.  When I became a mommy I carried this love for alternative healing (always with great caution) into my childrens’ healing regimens.  I remember when my daughter caught her first cold at 18 months.  Her cough was relentless and she couldn’t sleep.  So lead by my research, I sliced up some onion, put them in the toaster oven for a bit and placed them on her chest with an ace bandage…and she slept peacefully through the night.  From that moment on, I knew I would always look to natural remedies before anything else.  This sort of healing isn’t for everyone, and I can appreciate that.  You must truly believe in it and have knowledge of the powerful properties of herbs and often their harmful side effects.  I treat herbs with respect and always with caution.  They are our family’s medicine and I administer it responsibly.  Today I’m sharing some of my absolute favorite child friendly herbs for the common cold (including fever, upper respiratory congestion, lower respiratory congestion, and body aches).
Please read my disclaimer before continuing on.  Thank you. 
The following herbs bring relief from the congestion, fever, and achiness of a cold – many are also immune boosting.  I’ve given my children all these herbs, I also use them myself.  I find them in bulk at my local Natural Foods Coop.
This is my superstar for fighting viruses (cold and flu).  It makes a wonderful tasting tea.  It’s extremely powerful, and can shorten both the duration and severity of viruses.  Boosts immune function.    
Peppermint makes a wonderful healing, calming tea.  But specifically for a cold it helps loosen phlegm and sooth coughs.  My daughter will ask me to make her some peppermint tea when she’s not feeling well.
Yarrow has been around for a long time and there are no known side effects.  Yarrow can help break a fever and an excellent herb for congestion and cough.  Yarrow has a calming effect, much like chamomile.
Hyssop is my power herb for congestion.  It’s amazing.  I immediately make hyssop tea for my children when they are congested.  I also use this for us when suffering from allergies.  Take caution in using Hyssop if you suffer from epilepsy.
Thyme is another herb I use every time my kiddos get a cold.  It’s an amazing remedy for congestion in the lungs.  I use for those super wet persistent coughs.  It helps loosen phlegm and soothes the cough.  Thyme also helps fight the infection.
Mullein is another super start herb. Another must have herb for congestion, sore throats, and coughs.  I recommended mullein to my friend who was super congested and she was shocked at how effective it was, it worked the same or better than any store bought remedy without any crazy side effects.  (Mullein is also great for earaches).  It also helps with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia and allergies.
This is a child safe herb known for it’s immune boosting properties.  Don’t take for more than 8 weeks in a row.  It’s always best to always rotate herbs.
Chamomile is very near and dear to my heart.  It helped me through years of flares before I started medication.  I like chamomile during colds for my kids because it calms their nerves and helps them sleep.  But chamomile is great for so many other things too.  It’s antispasmodic and an anti-inflammatory (so it helps with those irritated mucus membranes).
Licorice is a powerful anti-viral herb.  It soothes a sore throat, helps relieve fevers and the pain of headaches.  This is the first herb I make into a tea when my kiddos are sick – it’s a super immune booster.
How to prepare medicinal tea
*As a general rule, pour one cup boiled water over one teaspoon herb.  I usually mix up to 3 herbs at a time, and herbs that target different ailments.  So, for example, I’ll do some echinacea for immune system, thyme and mullein for congestion together in the 1 cup of water.
*Cover, and steep for 15 – 30 minutes, or until cool.  Strain before serving
*I add a few drops of stevia to the tea for my children, and give it to them up to three time per day.
Homemade Remedies 
-1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries
-3 cups water
-1 cup honey
*Place the berries in a saucepan and cover with water.  Simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes. Smash berries.  Strain all through a fine mesh strainer and add 1 cup honey or adjust to taste.  Bottle and store in the refrigerator.  Will last 2-3 months when refrigerated.
-20 drops of essential oil
(eucalyptus, hyssop, thyme, peppermint, or basil)
-2 ounces almond oil or other oil
-Grind dried fruit (such as raisins, dates, apricots) with nuts, shredded coconut, carob, and a sweetener of choice (honey, brown rice syrup, agave, stevia).
-Add in your choice of ground herbs.
-Make little ball and serve
Favorite store bought herbal tinctures.
(These can be found at any health food store or natural foods Coop).
  Immune Boosting:
Respiratory: 
Resources 
(my favorite, go-to books)

An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants
-Mary Bove, N.D.Gentle Healing or Baby and Child
-Andrea Candee and David Andrusia

Herbal Remedies for Children’s Health
-Rosemany Gladstar

Prescription for Nutritional Healing (5th ed.)
-Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

*Information found in this post was derived from different sections in the three first books.

Coupon for Swanson’s vitamins 

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Labels: Herbs and Spices Summer Series, Holistic healing.

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