children · health · homeopathy · kids · supplements

Natural Supplements for Bruising

Think there’s nothing you can do for a bump or bruise? Think again!

(This guy looks like he could use a few supplements.)

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alternative medicine · children · health · Herbs · homeopathy · kids

Homeopathy

Years ago when I worked at a natural foods store, there was confusion over that word, ‘Homeopathy’. Some used it in reference to all alternative or traditional forms of healing, when it is in fact, a very specific form of medicine. Homeo, just like homo, means same or similar to,  while pathy means disorder in the body, which is exactly the theory behind homeopathy know for action based on “like treats like”. In other words, homeopathic medicine uses substances that would create the same symptoms that one is trying to treat. Sound crazy? It should actually sound familiar, because this is the same theory behind vaccines~ small doses of a trigger element inspire the immune system to kick in and heal the body. While herbalism is best used as a daily practice to maintain balance and work to fix issues long-term, homeopathy is in its element when something is in need of immediate attention, such as when you fall and bonk your head, or come down with a cold despite the fortress of herbal walls you’ve built around yourself (like I did).

There are several homeopathic remedies I always carry with me, especially since I have two young boys who tend to collect bumps and bruises like others collect Star Wars paraphernalia. Arnica is for bumps, bruises, falls, sprains, anything that surprises your body with unwelcome force, including surgery. It works incredibly well, especially for kids who are usually surprised at putting little pellets under their tongue after falling down and they forget all about being hurt.

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Another one that is always in my purse is Hyland’s Motion Sickness for obvious reasons. If I’m not in the driver’s seat, I’m sick, and my boys tend to get sick on long trips too, especially when they can’t keep from reading in the backseat. This stuff really works well and even though everyone says ginger or peppermint will help motion sicknesses, I’ll stick with homeopathy over herbs on this one.

hylands-motion-sickness

To ward off flu symptoms, nothing beats Boiron’s oscillococcinum. It’s a homeopathy remedy with a nearly unpronounceable name and yet during flu season it sells off the shelves like candy at Halloween which is proof this stuff packs some serious power. Oscillococcinum

When my kids get a cold I use Hyland’s Cold n’ Cough (if they are coughing) which is a liquid and works quite effectively. It is similar to over the counter brands where you give a dose every 4 hours or so but it isn’t toxic in any way and it doesn’t make kids tired or feel drugged at all.

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I also like Hyland’s Defend Severe Cold and Flu packets that you add hot water too and drink like a tea. They work really well and don’t have that weird suppressing feeling where the cold has been temporarily buried deeper while I walk around in a lethargic daze extending the time the cold resides in my body.

defendTea with lemon and honey works great too, but the homeopathic boost is a great addition to the winter virus battlefield. After all, the more tools in your toolkit, well, medicine cabinet, the better.

alternative medicine · ecology · essential oils · food · health · Herbs · homeopathy · modern life · slow food · technology

Herbal Enhancement and Enchantment

Every single day I use herbs in a multitude of ways and they are not necessarily ‘curing’ anything (although they might be!) nor are they making me super-human. What they do is enhance daily life in meaningful, beautiful ways and I’m on a mission to get others to think about herbs as enhancing their lives, instead of thinking of them in a pharmaceutical way. If people can change the way they think of herbs, they are far more likely to start using them and enjoying their benefits, which is great in itself but also it is beneficial because herbs work best as promoters of long-term balance, so not only would one get the most out of one’s herbal usage, one would also be able to retain balance and avoid imbalances (dis-ease). In other words, more herbs means less drugs, less sicknesses, less doctor visits.  Now I’m all for modern medicine~ absolutely would not turn back time to any romantic bygone era because I wouldn’t want to lose access to our modern medical wonders. I am most definitely not talking about replacing modern medicine with herbs~ if you have a medical issue, go to the doctor. Herbs can do so much more though, and if you start incorporating them in your life, it’s my firm belief you’ll have less medical issues for which you need to go to the doctor. And even though modern medicine may be full of wonders, the truth is not many people enjoy the time spent in doctors’ offices, hospitals, or going through the newest medical techniques~ miraculous or not. This attitude reminds me of the slow food movement so I like to think of it as slow health. Herbs alone won’t make a person healthy, but thinking long-term about health is a great way to start thinking about your personal tendencies and imbalances and how to counteract those things long-term. Many things might help: exercise, yoga, dietary changes, brain games, homeopathy, social changes, journaling, essential oils…the list can go on and on because we are all such different individuals. At a time of year when so many of us are reviewing our daily lives and resolving to do better, be better, I hope in the rush towards better-ness we can all pause and instead of just downloading a new app on our smart phones to track diets, or upping goals on fitbits, we can all think of slowing down this rush which is itself out of balance. Perhaps the best part of adding herbs into daily life is the connection with nature that moment provides.

Lavender

If you own one essential oil, it’s most likely lavender. Add a drop to your pillow tonight, or several drops to your bath and enjoy herbalism that way. In other words, you don’t have to drink an herbal tea or take a tincture in order to benefit from herbs, there is a world of beauty in essential oils that can be tapped through so many ways. Not that there is anything wrong with herbal infusions or tinctures, but if you are new to the world of herbs, I recommend starting with something fully pleasurable and beautiful and hopefully it will whet your appetite to investigate more in the herbal world. Health regimes do not need to be unpleasant~ enjoy creating your optimal health. It’s a beautiful thing.

alternative medicine · health · Herbs · homeopathy

Cold and Flu Season

School is in session, the weather is changing from warm and sunny to chilly and cloudy, and the local drug stores are advertising flu shots. It’s that time of year, and it sure hit fast and hard this time around, at least in my little corner of the Pacific Northwest. This is week two of a nasty cold that lodged itself somewhere between my sinuses and chest, and it’s thrown me because I don’t get sick often. Usually at the first sign that some stealthy little virus has invaded my body I can knock it out with extra vitamin C, preferably in the form of Emergenc-C, sucking on Zand zinc and elderberry lozenges, and if those don’t work alone, I’ll take Oscillococcinum. This time around I was lazy. It was late at night when I first realized I was getting sick so I just went to bed, and when I woke up the sickness had obviously taken root, so I needed a different game plan. You need to take oscillococcinum right when you first feel sick for it to work, so instead of that I started taking Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (2 t in a glass of water) three times per day, along with Umcka. Actually Umcka also should be taken right when first feeling sick, but it will help reduce the length and severity of symptoms whenever you start taking it, so late is better than never. The day after I started Umcka I felt markedly better which was a relief because those first couple of days really hit me hard. Also, I’ve replaced my neti pot with a squeeze bottle because my oldest can use it much easier than the neti, and any kind of sinus rinse helps the recovery process. Instead of masking the symptoms like over-the-counter remedies do, these natural remedies actually help the body to fight the virus and they have no bad effects at all, no tiredness or liver stress. They also can provide extra benefits as well, such as building your immune system to fight other bacteria and viruses that are hanging around. If you don’t already have these on hand for when your next cold or flu creeps up, you might want to stock them, or at least choose one or two as your go-to remedies, because catching illnesses at the beginning is always far more effective. Here’s the list:

Emercengen.C emergenC

Zand zinc lozenges zand

Oscillococcinum Oscillococcinum

Bragg’s apple cider vinegar applecidervin

 

Umcka umcka

Neti pot or squeeze bottle sinus rinse

Of course plenty of rest and tea help too, as well as adding essential oils (any!) to your environment or clothing. Stay well everyone!

alternative medicine · Herbs · homeopathy

All-Natural First Aid kit inspired by more aspirin news

This is so interesting~ apparently aspirin not only works on heads and hearts, but also fights cancer. I was listening to this article on BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11930988 which emphasizes that salicylic acid is found naturally in plants, especially herbs and spices. (And willow bark which can always be found in bottles at health food stores.)  This got me thinking of putting together a little all natural first aid kit at home, instead of the random things I generally have all over the house. So, here’s what I’m starting with:
arnica for bumps and bruises
Oscillococcinum for flu and cold symptoms
ginger tea for tummy issues
tea tree oil for various skin issues
triphala for constipation, although I know a lot of people swear by smooth move instead.
kava extract for adult anxiety and
calm child for crazy or nervous kids
I’m sure there are more I’ll think of that are necessary for a stocked first aid kit.
Actually, aspirin might not be a bad thing to add, though we already have that in the ordinary place.