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Mothering › Health Articles › Winter Wellness Remedies

Winter Wellness Remedies

With the winter season upon us, I thought I’d gather a collection of the herbal, homeopathic, & home remedies that I regularly use to keep myself & my son healthy.  Being in school, if either of us gets ill it is a downward spiral of missed classes, extra studying, & a hectic schedule that takes a while to get back on top of, but my son is in school too where he & his friends like to pass their various illnesses around so preventative care is essential

I found a swell liquid vitamin for kids that my son drinks every morning.  It’s the Buried Treasure brand, “Children’s Complete” version.  It is vegetarian safe & is full of B vitamins, 200% vitamin C, 100% vitamin D & A, plus a whole host of other vitamins & minerals.  I can’t say that I know a lot about vitamins, except that it’s important to get a whole food, raw, or liquid version to be sure it is absorbed properly.  I feel good about giving it to my son, as he likes to avoid food when he can– he’s far too busy to eat, you see.  He is 2.5 years & is still breastfeeding, but I like having the extra boost to his immune system.  I give him this supplement in addition to a whole-foods, organic, high-fat, vegetarian diet in which I regularly feature fruits & vegetables. 

I’ve found the Herb Pharm brand to be a handy one; they have special products for kids that help keep sickness at bay.  I give my boy the “Children’s Winter Health” tonic as well as “Children’s Echinacea.”  The flavor of the Winter Health compound is not very delicious, so I mix it with a bit of water, or juice if we happen to have any.  I’ve had some talks with my son about just drinking the darn thing, & he does it willingly because I’ve expressed that it will help him feel good.  Oh, & I give him gummy Yummi Bears in vitamin C & D3 afterward, which is the closest thing he’s ever had to candy.  :)

I recognize that it’s possible that some of these tinctures are a waste of money.  Could it be?  Perhaps.  Maybe the whole foods we eat are enough; maybe I don’t need to purchase these things to keep us healthy.  But it really does help me to feel like I am doing something to prevent illness & treat illnesses once they settle in.  I like being able to take some kind of action & I’d probably be happy with even giving him a placebo because it makes me feel less helpless.  I don’t like spending money on most things, but when I buy these products I never have buyer’s remorse, especially with the ones that I know work well! 

There are 2 products that I have tried regularly & have complete faith in.  One is Herbs For Kids Willow/Garlic Ear Oil for ear infections.  I have not only used it on my child, but I also used it for myself when I found myself with an earache & I can attest that it worked overnight!  You can also make a cheap homemade version easily.   

The other product that I sing the praises of is Young Living Thieves Essential Oil.  It is relatively expensive, but it works wonders!  The history of Thieves Oil is said to be based on thieves during plague-eras who would cover themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims; the potent oils with their antiseptic properties would protect the thieves from germs & viruses.  During the cold season & if we ever come down with the sniffles, I sprinkle Thieves Oil in a hot bath.  The oil must be diluted before coming in contact with skin, as it can burn!  I often dilute Thieves with coconut or olive oil & give my son foot massages, & put a little below his nose so he can inhale it (again– dilute!).  The oil has a warming quality that is comforting & its antiviral effect seems to be very strong.  I also put a few drops in a pot of boiling water to diffuse throughout our home.  It is powerful stuff & worth the money!

One method that I have not tried but certainly will this winter is the Cold Kicker Remedy paired with a homemade fever.   The Cold Kicker Remedy is a homemade liquid packed full of spicy, warming, antiviral foods that are bound to kick the cold right outta ya.  If you start feeling sick, make this remedy then drink it while in a hot bath with Thieves Oil, just before bedtime.  Then give yourself a quick diluted Thieves Oil foot-rub, put on warm socks & a few layers of pajamas, turn the heat up high in the bedroom & have a long, sweaty sleep!  This will produce a fever that will burn off any illness looking to settle in your body.  It should be known that a fever is typically a positive thing & treating a fever immediately in a child doesn’t allow it to do its job.  My son may get a little cold once in a while, but while the rest of his classmates usually get sick enough to be out for days, he tends to just get a fever for a night, burning off the illness & keeping him well. 

Eating a diet lush in fruits & vegetables is most important to obtaining & sustaining health, particularly during the cold & flu season.  Fruits and vegetables known for immune system benefits include cherries, berries, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, citrus juices, bananas, broccoli, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.  If you own a juicer, making a concoction of citrus juices, leafy greens, & ginger is an excellent way of keeping illness away!  I love my juicer, & my blender too.  They are especially helpful when we have no appetite– making a fruit smoothie with added ginger can be so soothing.  A juicer provides a live-vitamin shot of nutrients that is wonderfully beneficial, even is small doses.  If you can handle a straight shot of ginger, spinach, & lemon, drink up!  Gnawing on raw garlic is a good way to kill unhealthy germs too, as is eating cilantro, which is actually a powerful heavy-metal detoxifier.          

Other easy things to do include eating simple soups made with potent vegetables along with garlic & ginger (these soups can be blended, which can produce a more desirable texture for kids), as well as drinking both the Cold Care tea & the Throat Coat tea by Traditional Medicinals.  Making homemade popsicles with breast milk, yogurt, & fruit is a sweet way to nourish an under-the-weather babe. 

If you do find yourself or your loved ones ill, remember that some cultures understand dis-ease to be an opportunity for reawakening, a time to assess our lifestyle & slow down for a while.  If my son does come down with something, it is usually the only time aside from reading at bedtime & sporadic nursing sessions that he feels snuggly & wants to be held close.  If I get sick, I take it as a sign that I might be missing nutrients & I am being encouraged to evaluate my choices.  If embraced, illness can be a productive time, full of naps & healing foods.    

What are your health secrets, Dear Reader?  What methods do you use to keep your family feeling good?  What recipes, tinctures, or teas do you have to share?  Leave your advice here & stay well!   


Kristen Tea

About Kristen Tea

I am a 27-year-old single, attached, informed, lactivist, intactivist, peaceful Minnesotan mother of almost 4-year-old Sun Ronin a.k.a Sunny Boy. I am an artist & lover of expression. I'm also a student with many things to learn, including nutritional therapy, lactation consulting, doulahood, yoga instructing, & more. I believe that unplanned pregnancies do not have to equal uninformed motherhood, & women have the power to restore humanity to everything we touch.

Comments (11)

such good points! We all just got over a horrible illness, and man are my priorities yet again being re-arranged. I love how in love with simple health I am when I feel better. If only we could bottle that feeling to keep it in mind! .-= Katie Huff´s last blog ..Lefse! One familys story =-.
Nice post. We have a steady supply of Elderberry syrup and cherry bark syrup during the winter months. Clementines help :) Also, plain old Emergen C is a constant. Traditional Medicinals are here in this house too :) .-= Kris Underwood´s last blog ..NEW POSTS at All Things Mothering &amp Imperfect Parent =-.
I'm also a big fan of thieves, however I am pretty sure you shouldn't put it in boiling water because it damages the active properties of the oils. I also use alot of Chinese patent medicines in our house which are pill form blends of Chinese herbs, if taken at the first sign of illness you can usually avoid getting sick entirely. I completely agree with you about fevers, I have always allowed my son's fever to do it's job without using over the counter's to reduce it and he's always better in twenty four hours, my sister on the other hand gives her daughter fever reducers immediately and she ends up sick for a week. I don't know how people got so afraid of having a fever.
I second the elderberry syrup. Seems to help shorten an illness. Also, I tend to get a lot of sinus infections and have had great results with Nutri Biotic grapefruit seed extract nasal spray. Whenever I feel like I am getting something I use it and it helps dramatically. I also use the Netti pot and for my 2yr old daughter I use a saline spray with some aloe and herbs to aid stuffiness. I also use the nasal sprays preventatively if we are around someone sick or in a large crowd. Apparently most colds start in the nose. We also have good luck supporting illness with homeopathics remedies by Boiron and Hylands!
Oh, and can't wait to try the Cold Kicker Remedy!
Thanks for reading, Katie! & Yes, it is so easy to forget how good it is just to feel well until we have lost it.
Thanks for the tip! If you happen to read this: do you use the Elderberry & Cherry Bark syrups preventatively, or more like cough syrups after a cold has arrived? I have seen the stuff at my local crunchy store, but have never bought it. Clementines are a great idea-- living in the super cold Midwest, the grocery stores here have stopped selling all organic fruit except apples, so oranges with their hard shells are a good choice this time of year.
That is good to know! & A good way to conserve the expensive Thieves oil ;) I actually have a bottle of Chinese medicine too-- it's something that my doula gave me when I said I thought I was getting sick, but I don't have the vocabulary to discuss it (limited understanding of TCM) so I left it out of this piece. I just take it & it seems to work. I don't understand the fever issue either; the whole body of "fever reducer" medicines must make a lot of money, but they are doing the wrong job. It's just one more issue that the public needs to be educated on! Let the fevers burn!
I totally agree with the nasal spray/neti pot! I wonder if I can find a homemade nasal spray recipe for kids. . . It really seems to keep illness away & it is so soothing once an illness has arrived! Thanks for adding your input :)
Me too, me too! I love assaulting myself with a bunch of potent, spicy, tangy, powerful stuff whenever I feel a sickness landing.
Occasionally as a preventative, but mostly use it as soon as symptoms of a cold, or whatever, arrives and through the sickness. .-= Kris Underwood´s last blog ..Must-Read List November 10 =-.
Mothering › Health Articles › Winter Wellness Remedies