Natural Remedies for Illness

Ewan is 20 months now and has started attending a Montessori school's toddler class four mornings per week.  I knew that hanging around with a dozen other toddlers would lead to his picking up some germs, but I figured that wasn't a reason to deprive him of the rich learning environment that the school provides. Now, he's home sick, and we can feel ourselves coming down with it too.  Oh well.  Time to put on the comfy nursing top and make chicken soup.

Here are some of my natural remedies when we are sick:

1) Breastfeeding (of course!)
Milk is naturally antimicrobial, so what better medicine could I possibly give Ewan than my own milk?  Ewan seems to know that milk is what he needs, because whenever he gets sick all he wants to do is nurse.  He will shun most food and just want to nurse all day.  I let him nurse whenever he wants to, especially when he is sick.  He will even begin to have newborn poop.  Remember that yellow watery poop?  I had almost forgotten about it until he had a stomach virus a few months ago and all he would take in was my milk.  He had bright yellow poop for days!

2) Chicken Soup
Real homemade chicken soup, not the stuff in a can, has documented healing properties too.  I use the recipe in Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that my mother gave me when I moved out of the house.  It's a great recipe.  My husband says it's the best chicken soup he's ever had.

Rough Chicken Soup Recipe:
It starts with a whole 3 to 4 pound chicken cut into quarters (use a large sharp knife), 1/2 cup of chopped onion, and 1 bay leaf put into a medium stock pot and covered in water.  Use filtered water for best taste.  Simmer covered for 2 hours.  Remove chicken and bones.  Then, the rest is up to you.  Add whatever chopped veggies and herbs you like: parsley, carrots, parsnips, celery, kale, etc.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add whatever noodles you like and simmer until done.  We like bowtie noodles or egg noodles.  Return chicken pieces (removed from bone) to soup and heat through.

The great thing is, you can remove the bones and simmer them again for more nutrient-packed bone broth.  Remove all useable meat from the bones and place the bones back into a stock pot.  Fill with filtered water.  Add 1 bay leaf.  Add 1/2 cup chopped onion.  Simmer on the stove for 12 hours or longer.  Strain and keep in the fridge for about 1 week.  Drink it warm or use it in any recipe calling for broth.  If you don't like the idea of a pot simmering on your stove for 12 hours you can make this in a crockpot or slowcooker on a low setting.

3) Honey Lemon "Tea"
Ewan's throat has been really sore for the past few days, so I've been making him a warm "tea" of honey and lemon.  Honey coats the throat and lemon helps too.  I can't find any research to support this, but it's an old folk remedy, just like chicken soup.  My husband's throat is sore now, and he says the tea worked for him.

Heat (not boil) about 8 oz of filtered water.  In a mug, add 1 heaping teaspoon of honey and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Stir in hot water.  I make 1/2 recipes for Ewan, since he will only drink about 4 oz.

4) Garlic and Orange Juice shots
Doctors are now realizing that we should not be taking chemical antibiotics for every sniffle.  They knock out good bacteria in the body as well as bad, and may not even do anything for your cold!  I've started using garlic instead.  Raw garlic is a natural broad spectrum antibiotic with no side effects besides temporary bad breath and possibly mild heart burn.  Take with food to reduce the chance of heart burn.  I haven't given this to Ewan because he breastfeeds, and he doesn't really care for garlic anyway.  My husband and I just took garlic and orange juice shots to boost our immune systems.  Cooked garlic loses its antibiotic effects, so the garlic must be raw.

Finely chop 1 - 2 large garlic cloves.  Allow to sit for a few minutes until pungent.  That garlic smell is caused by allicin, the oil that is released when the inside of the clove touches air.  This is what has the antibiotic properties.  Place garlic in a small glass.  Cover with 2 oz OJ.  Shoot it!  

Or, you could chop a few cloves up in a blender before adding frozen fruit, OJ, and yogurt for a smoothie.  However you take it, it's best not to try to chew the garlic bits.  The flavor of raw garlic is pretty intense.  Just swallow them.