Just when I'm starting to feel better, Kyan came down with the same nasty cold I caught upon arriving Shanghai. I have had several friends ask me what I use for natural remedies when we get sick so I want to share here with everyone. Please note that these are home remedies that worked for us over the years. A balanced diet and nutrition, outdoor activities all combine to maintain good health, but today I shall focus on what we use in our household when we do catch a cold.
Our go-to remedies for fighting off a cold has evolved over the last few years since Kyan came along. We started using essential oils when Kyan was around 1.5 years old and getting sick more frequently when we started going to libraries and playgrounds. We have come to depend on our oils greatly because we've witnessed the tremendous difference it's made on our health especially at cutting short the recovery time from colds and the increased feeling of wellness during a cold. Kyan is rarely sick for more than two days since we've started using oils. My colds normally don't last for more than three or four days except that always lingering cough which ends in a week instead of several weeks before we started on oils. Even my once ibuprofen-pepcid-popping husband is now a convert.
We use mostly DoTerra oils only because I find that their food grade therapeutic quality far surpass many other brands. I am not involved in the multi-level marketing of their products. I just share what I found work good for us. You can sign up for an annual membership to get member pricing and not deal with the marketing side, if that's not your cup of tea. Drop me a note if you wish to learn more. I have heard good things about Young Living oils too, but have never tried them personally so I can't comment.
If you're interested to start using oils but find that there are too many choices, here's what we always use on Kyan when he starts sniffling. To me, these are must-haves especially when we travel.
1) Essential Oils
At the onset of a cold and during, every 2-4 hours:
On bottom of feet: 1 drop OnGuard
On chest (rubbing upwards towards throat) and on nape of back of neck: 1 drop Breathe
Cough: we use 1 drop Oregano on the bottom of his feet after OnGuard.
The key is to layer the oils. Be sure not to touch other parts of the body especially the face after using Oregano. It is a strong oil and stings the delicate skin.
Fever: We use 2 drops each of Thyme & Lemon on the bottom of his feet. These two oils combined helps bring down Kyan's temperature and provides relief within 20mins of applying. I always monitor his temperature during a fever and allow his body to build up immune and fight off the bug during the day as much as possible without administering ibuprofen or tylenol. Sometimes, if the fever rages, I will administer ibuprofen at night so that Kyan can get some relief from the symptoms and sleep through.
Headache: Past Tense
Maintenance: During the cold / flu season, I apply OnGuard each night on the bottom of his feet to boost his immune system and to help cleanse any virus that he might have caught during the day from preschool or public places. I have noticed a significant decrease in him catching a cold even when his friends at school are sick. And even if he does catch something, he'll almost always kick it in a day or two.
Kevin and I drink the oils. The DoTerra oils are food grade and so are safe for consumption. Our killer concoction is 1 drop each of Oregano, OnGuard & Maleluca in 6 - 8 oz warm water. On the 2nd and 3rd day of the cold, we often carry around with us a thermos flask of warm water with oils in it. It's proven to help significantly with symptoms. We also rub Breathe on our chest and throat. This helped prevent my sensitive throat from getting a full blown sore throat during a bad cold.
We have recently started using Frankincense oil first and then layer the other oils on. Frankincense help the other oils penetrate deeper into the cellular level. I love it for my throat problems and believe it encourages deeper and faster healing.
2) Homeopathic Medicine
We use homeopathic medicine that you can find in Sprouts or Mother's. Our favorite is Umcka. It really helps with with relieving symptoms and shortens the cold duration. I could actually function during a cold after I started on these. Boiron makes a homeopathic cough pellets called Drosera rotundifolia that is especially good for those pesky, relentless night dry cough spasms worsened by heat.
3) Hot Baths / Showers
We take steamy hot showers and baths at the early onset of a cold and many times it helps nip the virus in the bud. Taking frequent hot showers and especially in the morning and right before Kyan goes to bed also helps clear his airways and nasal congestion so he sleeps better.
4) Manukha Honey UMF 15+
Manuka honey is made by bees that feed on the flowers of the manuka bush, also known as the tea tree, in New Zealand. In Australia, the tree used to make manuka honey is called the jellybush. The honey is distinctively flavoured, darker and richer than other honey.
Manuka honey has an antibacterial component that sets it apart from other honeys. This activity is stable and doesn't lose its potency when exposed to dilution, heat or light. Manuka honey has been found to be effective against a range of bacteria including Helicobacter pylori (which causes most stomach ulcers); Escherichia coli (the most common cause of infected wounds) and Streptococcus pyogenes (which causes sore throats). It is antimicrobial and antiviral and is an antioxidant that can help to increase vitality and immunity. When Kyan is coughing, I feed him a teaspoon right before he goes to bed.
Trials have also indicated that manuka honey can heal wounds and skin ulcers that haven't responded to standard treatments. I have used manuka honey for healing painful cracked lips to bad sunburns and cuts that healed beautifully and left no scars.
The minimum UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating recognized is UMF5, however, it is not considered beneficial unless it carries a UMF 10+ level of antibacterial activity in the honey. Anything ranging from UMF10-UMF15 is a useful level, and anything UMF16 and up is considered a superior quality. We've been using this one for a couple of years now and like the taste and consistency.
5) Vitamin C
Everytime I'm sick, I find myself craving orange juice. Taking vitamin C won't help the average person prevent colds. However, taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of cold symptoms. There are many other foods that contain more vitamin C than oranges. Chilli pepper, red bell peppers, broccoli, the all mighty kale, strawberries, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, pineapple, kiwi and mangoes, just to name a few.
6) Colloidal Silver Spray
We spray our throats with colloidal silver during colds and flu. Kyan gets 4 sprays, we get 7 sprays every 2-4 hours. Since Kevin had his tonsils, his cold/flu goes straight into his lungs. I started getting him to spray colloidal silver into his nose and breathing it in. This way the silver directly contacts the germs residing in the lungs, working speedily at clearing it up within a couple of days. His feedback has been very positive. It has helped with speedier recovery of an otherwise, long drawn out deep, chesty cough. Here's an in depth look at the other benefits of colloidal silver. Make sure you use true colloidal silver and not silver protein or ionic silver. Misuse of non true colloidal silver may lead to an irreversible condition called argyria (when people turn blue - yikes!). Another point to note is that, because colloidal silver is such a potent antibacterial agent, you should be sure to supplement with probiotics during use to be sure that you maintain a proper balance of microflora.
7) Drink Lots of Fluids
Fluids help thin out the mucus in our system. It is in the mucus that viruses and bacteria thrive. When we remove the host, the viruses die off quicker. We refrain from mucus forming foods like dairy products and wheat flours especially during colds. We drink lots of warm water with lemon juice and raw honey in between oils. Cinnamon in our drinks also help with coughing and respiratory illnesses.
8) Traditional Chinese Medicine - GeGen Tang
This is the Chinese version of the American Tylenol / Sudafed / Benadryl, combined. When I can get my hands on these pre-packaged Chinese herb packets, it helps "flush" out and release wind-cold in the exterior and muscle layer, generate fluids and relieve muscle-ache in the neck. Chinese medicine believes that wetness trapped in the body causes illnesses, so this Gegen Tang targets at removing wet cold and toxins in our bodies that encourage the cold virus. Contrary to western medicine which offers a temporary symptom relief, Chinese medicine attempts to treat the root of the symptoms and provide healing.
9) Plenty of Rest
Nothing beats slowing down, breathing and resting. Being sick is our bodies' way of telling us we need to slow down, rest and recharge. We avoid strenuous activities and energy taxing distractions here at our house. I try to do quiet activities with Kyan like drawing, building blocks and marble runs. In the heat of his cold and fever, he is usually a cuddle bug anyway so activities are often short. I especially treasure these times with him and pour in plenty of gentle love and care.
These home remedies are what we use when we get sick around here. It may or may not work for you and your family. We use them because they have helped with our ailments and improved our general well-being. If you or your child are seriously ill, please consult a physician before trying any remedies.
(Manuka honey pic from here)