Caring for yourself and your family is no easy task, especially if you want to use more natural remedies to stimulate and support the immune system. It can be very easy to become overwhelmed searching through all the natural health books, websites, and blog posts. I remember feeling so lost reading through all my books when my oldest son was a baby. There was just so much information and most of my treatment was trial and error. Learning just a handful of natural remedies for the most common ailments can help to bolster your confidence in using natural medicine.
Here are our favorite solutions to common ailments and illnesses broken down simply so you can start using the remedies right away. Consider this a cheat sheet for healing your family.
The Common Cold
Lets start with determining what is a cold? A cold can be so nasty that we can really think it is something worse, like the flu. While a cold can last 7-10 days much like the flu, there is usually not a fever associated with it, the onset is gradual, unlike the flu, and chills and body aches are very slight if present. A cold can absolutely make you tired with all the sneezing, sore throat, and coughing, but is significantly milder than the flu. Now that we have that squared away, on to the good stuff.
•Hot water with lemon and honey (if over 2yrs)- this not only breaks up congestion but also really soothes a scratchy throat and tames a cough
•Fresh garlic in maple syrup or honey- chop finely and take 2 tsp/day
•ginger- make tea with honey, add it to soups and broths
•Master cleanser – lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, water
•Eliminate mucous producing foods such as
• Banana• Wheat• Dairy • Orange juice
Contact a local homeopath for more info on proper homeopathic prescribing. However, luckily homeopathy doesn’t work the way herbs or allopathic pharmaceuticals do, so you cannot cause toxicity with these remedies. They are the cute little blue tubes found in the health foods section of the grocery.
•Aconite: for use during 1st 24 hrs of a cold. Usually comes on suddenly- though
without the violence and heat that belladonna has. Weak and drowsy, feels cold,
better from sitting up and a cold, open room (use for 1st 24 hrs of fever)
•Belladonna: violent onset (always) bright red, flushed face, burning fever. Better
for hot drinks, heat. Worse from lying down. (use for very high, burning red
•Ferrum Phosphoricum: beginning stages, red, burning eyes (not as violent as
•Arsenicum: profuse, thin watery, acidic irritating discharges. Restless, anxious,
weak and exhausted
•Gelsemium: band around head, drooping eylids, better for motion, bending
forward, good remedy for summer colds
•Pulsatilla: copious, thick yellow nasal discharge- not burning- weepy, wants to be
held, better for open air, no thirst, pulsatilla is changeability
Vitamin C – we love emergency because it is so easy to drink
Goldenseal (adults only) (do not take longer than 1 week)
Elderberry or bayberry
Slippery elm- for coughs
•Pineapple (breaks down mucous)
•Miso soup with garlic and ginger
•Eliminate mucus producing foods
•Garlic (especially helpful as an antiviral/bacterial in lung afflictions)
•Thai spicy curries
•Eat cooked, easily digestible foods
Homeopathic remedies (in addition to those listed above)
Oscillococcinum: take immediately, take 1/3 the bottle several times/day. Begin taking even if you do not feel sick but your family is sick (this is a great remedy for any flu type sypmptoms such as a breast infection)
Influenzinum: begin taking immediately; for acute take 2 pellets every 15 minutes x 4 doses. For preventative, 1 pellet 3-4 x/day. It is formulated each year to match the current flu strain, so make sure you are using the current formulation.
Bryonia: “the Bear” does not want to be moved, angry if moved, better if lying on affected side, very painful cough
Supplements (in addition to those listed above)
Ness 419 enzymes- must be taken an hour on either side of eating protein. Hide in applesauce for the little ones
Tummy ache got you down?
•Miso soup (make sure to not boil your miso or you could kill it, eek!)
•Acidopholus (jarrodophilus has been my longstanding favorite and they make a children’s formula)
•Brown rice with Tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos (very gentle on digestion while adding protein and trace aminos and sodium if using tamari
•Nux Vomica: overindulgence, the “hangover” remedy, too much of
•Colocynthus: very sharp intestinal pain, doubled over with pain, intestinal
•Veratrum album: excessive vomiting, great feeling of apathy, completely wiped
out. “ I don’t even have energy to call an ambulance”
•Activated Charcoal: #1 remedy to have in your medicine cabinet for vomiting
•Aloe vera juice (don’t take if having excessive diarrhea as it is also helpful for relieving constipation)
Random yet very helpful remedies:
•homeopathic arnica cream is a great remedy to keep in your diaper bag or purse and is great for bruising or trauma
•homeopathic arnica pellets are another easy remedy to carry with you
•homeopathic apis pellets are amazing for allergic reactions
I hope you have found the tricks, tips, and remedies helpful and remember, none of these suggestions are meant to replace the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.
-by April Bullock, Family Nurse Practitioner at Austin Family Health & Wellness Clinic.
April is passionate about bringing holistic healthcare that empowers rather than inhibits, throughout the life span, and is located in South Austin.