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!

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alternative medicine · children · health · Herbs · kids · parenting · supplements

Natural Anti-Anxiety

This was definitely one of those days where I needed some good news. Our refrigerator is on the fritz, the sky can’t decide whether rain or sleet is better for pelting, and my son made a huge deal about walking to school this morning~ not a fun way to start the day. It was sunny then, by the way, when we chose to walk, OK I chose to walk them, and that is one of the reasons I thought they should walk~ the forecast was not a happy one so all the more important to take advantage of the sun, right? Well, my oldest didn’t agree and he certainly knows how to make his feelings well-known. But, here’s the good news: I saw our family naturopath today to talk about my oldest son’s needle phobia which is causing him to dread turning 10 in a month b/c then he’ll turn 11 and have to get some shots. I know kids in general hate shots, but his fear goes well beyond the norm~ he has seriously talked about his fear of turning 11 due to shots at least once a week for about two years now. The last time they tried drawing blood to test something they literally could not do it b/c he was screaming and hitting and thrashing around so much. They actually gave up after one person tried to control him while the other tried to poke him and all the while I tried distraction techniques, not that he noticed. (I guess I don’t have a future in puppeteering.) So, that’s how badly he dreads needles, but our naturopath gave me some great suggestions and I have a sliver of hope they might actually help him. The biggest piece of advice is to use GABA which apparently is a neurotransmitter that helps keep the body calm, in other words a natural anti-anxiety supplement. After looking around the web a bit for side effect information, this article seemed to sum up what I found, and WebMD has similar information. There is actually a ‘listen’ option on WebMD which is nice if you are sick and tired of reading articles on your screen, and believe me, I can relate. I guess I got so excited about this because I know so many people with anxiety triggers and I’m always talking about kava and other herbal sedatives with them, but this is something that’s found in the brain already and is supposed to keep you calm but alert, something herbs don’t necessarily do as well. Everyone is different, so herbs might be one person’s answer and GABA another’s, or a combination of both. Of course, talk to your own doctor first, or better yet, your naturopath (who has actually studied these things.) And if you want a recommendation for a naturopath is Bellevue, I think ours is the best and I’d be happy to pass along her info.