Monday, January 13, 2014

Motivate Me Monday: Treating Colds & Coughs Naturally

Hello there! Welcome to the first edition of Motivated Me Monday, a new serious of posts that are written to encourage our readers in positive ways in the area of healthy living.  I hope you'll leave a comment and let me know what you think, what you'd like to hear about, or with your favorite healthy living tips! Thanks for being here!
A couple of years ago, when new agencies were reporting severe warnings to parents about the use of over the counter cold and cough remedies for children under the age of 6, I really woke up and paid attention.  Often times, it's all too easy trust a product on the pharmacy shelf without actually knowing what's in it, or what sort of side-effects it may have.

One thing we can all agree on is that taking care of sick children is never easy.  It's hard to watch your little ones suffer, to see them struggle to sleep and eat, let alone play or take on any normal level of activity while feeling under the weather.  A natural response, for us as parents, is to seek out a quick fix, one that will relieve our child's discomfort and ease our own heart ache as well.

One thing I've learned over the years from experts in chiropractic, homeopathy, and nutrition, as well as from my own experience, is that the body is an amazing machine, and it has the capacity to heal itself if we give it a chance to fight by offering it a few "helpers" to boost it's power against the bad bugs.

Last week our entire family (except for my husband) was down and out with a cold, sore throat, and cough. When the symptoms for these conditions start to show, I immediately reach for my go-to cold cold and cough task force. For us, it's a regimen that really works. In a couple of days, everyone was on the mend and back their normal routine.

Note: I am not suggesting that these formulas are for everyone, nor are they your only options when it comes to easing cold/cough discomfort.  They are also NOT instant cures.  Natural healing requires consistent dosing and patience, but the effort is worth it in the end!

{The following products are not listed in any particular order.}

1. Winter Breeze Vapor Rub is one of my favorite remedies for our entire family when anyone has a cold or cough.  I prefer this natural version over Vick's, because it doesn't contain petrolatum (processed crude oil) or turpentine (a toxic chemical), and it works as well, if not better, than Vick's.  Rub it liberally on the chest, the back and the bottoms of the feet (then put socks on) before bedtime.  It's amazing!

2.  Did you know that the powerhouse of your immune system is in your gut? Keeping a healthy flora balance in your intestinal tract is one of the key essentials of vital health.  I give my kids Probiotic Power from Nature's Sunshine (there are several good brands you can buy at your local health food store or online) on an empty stomach once a day.  Taking a good probiotic is especially important if you have ever given your kids an antibiotic, or have taken one yourself.  I use the adult version of Nature's Sunshine probiotic.

3.  Zinc is a fantastic immune booster.  At the first sign of the sniffles, or even if you or your kids are feeling run down, try sucking on a zinc lozenge.  Zand Herbal Lozenges are my favorite so far. The boys also enjoy this Chewable Version from Animal Parade.  Be sure to follow the proper dosage.

4.   A few years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to medicinal teas as a way of improving comfort and healing during colds, coughs and sore throats.  I've been hooked ever since. The Breathe Easy formula from from Traditional Medicinal Teas is my favorite. Their Throat Coat version is also very soothing.  You can find their teas in most major grocer chains and many health food stores, which is so handy! Check out their website for teas formulated just for kids.

5.  Homeopathy is medical system that originated in Europe and is used, but not popularly accepted/practiced in the U.S. today as it is in Europe.  You can find more details online if you care to do your research, or read this short summary for a simple explanation of what homeopathy is.  I appreciate homeopathy, because it is a natural way of treating symptoms, one that doesn't interfere with your body's own ability to heal itself.  Hylands Nighttime Cold & Cough is a must for any of our kids who are suffering from cold/cough symptoms at night.  It soothes their symptoms and helps them to rest well.  They also have a daytime formula, which works wonderfully, too.

6.  Everyone knows that vitamin C is a fantastic immune system booster, but most of us don't take enough of it. There are cancer clinics in the U.S. that actually dose Vitamin C intravenously to the tune of 10,000mg. per dose! When I'm really sick, I double (sometimes triple) the recommended dose on the bottle, if it's just pure vitamin C without any other added vitamins (I prefer the Ester-C brand). The Emergen-C brand is popular in our household and a fantastic way to get more fluids while you take your vitamin C. They make a great tasting kids version that my boys love. Most pharmacies, health food stores and Wal-Mart carry it, but if you're looking more flavor and formula varieties, is a great resource.

7.  This is seriously old medicine, but drinking plenty of water every day, and especially when you're sick, is vital to the aiding the body's healing process.  When anyone in our family is down with a bug, getting them to drink plenty of fluids isn't an easy task.  I like to set out a clear glass pitcher filled with cold water and orange slices to help remind everyone to drink as much as possible.  You can read more about water's importance and also find more "flavored" water suggestions on this post.

8.  Echinacea is one herb that most of us are pretty familiar with, and if used at the onset of cold/cough symptoms can be an effective way of speeding up healing.  I like to give my kiddos Echinacea Drops formulated just for kids straight out of the bottle.  I believe it to have a remarkable effect on colds, but only if used consistently for the duration of the cold, and at the very first sign of symptoms.

9.  Did your mom ever make a homemade cough remedy for you growing up?  Mine did! I remember loving the sweet honey and lemon flavor, because it never tasted like medicine.  I make a similar version for my kids today, and it immediately calms their cough, soothes their throat. There are a lot of great varying recipes on Pinterest (ones that also include ginger, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar and more), but if you're wanting to keep it simple, this Homemade Cough and Sore Throat Relief recipe is what I use.

10.  Just being able to breathe clearly when you have a cold is a offers a huge feeling of relief. Eucalyptus Oil is the perfect way to clear nasal passages naturally.  One way to use it is to fill a bowl full of steaming hot water, add several drops of the Eucalyptus essential oil (and Peppermint Oil, too, if you have it).  Hold your head over the bowl with a towel covering your head to trap the steam and breathe deeply.  Another way to gain relief is to add several drops to warm bath water, or shake some on the floor of the shower. The vapors will help clear your sinuses.  Finally, the oil can be diluted in jojoba or olive oil and rubbed on the sinuses and/or the neck, concentrating on the sides of the neck, rubbing from the base of the head down to the trapezius muscles. (Never apply eucalyptus oil directly to the skin.)

11.  Colloidal silver is a a fantastic immune system booster that can be taken safely by adults and children every day. I love the Silver Biotics brand, because it is highly recommended by doctors and has been scientifically tested.  In addition to taking it orally, you can also add it to a nasal irrigation for added benefit. We also use it topically for ear infections, mouth sores, eye infections and more.  It is a wonder!! (While the Silver Biotics brand is formulated to make over-dosing virtually impossible, please keep it out of the reach of your children.  Because it tastes and looks like water, kids are more likely to think it is harmless to drink.)

Do you have a favorite natural remedy to share? 
Please feel free to shre your tips in the comments!!


  1. Another super easy way to use Eucalyptus oil is to put a couple drops on a folded tissue and put it inside your pillow case. I do that for my kids at nighttime along with a humidifier in their room and I think it makes quite a difference.

    1. I absolutely am going to try this tip! Thank you, what a great idea! And, yes, a humidifier is a must!

  2. Awesome tips! I'll have to look into the vapor rub, I'm not a fan of Vick's either. We use Shaklee's Defend & Resist when we start to feel that 'tickle' in our throats. I has elderberry in it, which also helps boost the immune system. We've warded off a lot of colds and sinus infections by taking D&R.

    1. Elderberry products are awesome. I'll have to check out the D&R!

  3. Thanks for sharing your tips ! I'm a great believer in homeopathy as I was regularly treated with it for my eczema as a child back in France, but I've tried it on my 3 year old for her colds and although she "clears up" a treat it makes her so hyyyype ! I only found out the cause by a friends' comment on FB. Her daughter can't take homeopathy for the same reason. I actually think it's probably a question of dosage. Homeopathy is all about dosage and like a diet, it can't be the same for ever "body". As for grandma tricks, honey and lemon are always great soothers for the throat, but an onion cut in two in the bedroom overnight is great ! (not a fan of the smell it leaves but hey, anything to clear one's nose !). I've read a few things about onions and how they are supposed to "attract and absorb" the bacteria or some such process. It did great for a cold I had in my last pregnancy as I couldn't take anything else. :)

    1. You are right, homeopathy has to be properly dosed, and like any med, works different for everyone. My experience with OTC meds is that those are the ones that make my kids so hyper or hysterical, but the homeopathy tends to have a soothing/calming effect. Onions and garlic are rockstars for infections....but I think that could be a post entirely on it's own.

  4. Great tips!!! We've tried only a couple of those things - I pinned this to refer to at the next sickie episode here!!!
    My mom's "homemade" cough remedy was giving us jalepeno juice.

  5. Oh my gosh!! Jalepeno juice?? Wow!! That's one I'm not sure I'll ever try....unless it's a serious emergency! :)

  6. This is a great list...I'm encouraged to try the ones we don't ready (namely colloidal silver!). I swear by bone broth for good gut health and sickness-healing.

  7. I'm with Maia on the bone broth. I have a pot of homemade chicken broth on hand all winter, and usually in the summer, too. In Korea I found barley team which is very soothing and good for stuffiness. I also just used Xlear nasal spray and it helped clear up a nasty cough that wouldn't go. It has xylitol and grapefruit seed extract, so it's antiviral and antibacterial.

    I love love love Trad Medicinals teas. All of them are so great. I haven't used colloidal silver in awhile. I'll have to try it again, thanks for the brand rec. It can get confusing. Thanks so much for all the recommendations, actually. It's good to have a list handy. So far I love Motivational Monday!

  8. I am going to have to read up on bone broth for improved gut health, because I keep hearing about it here and there. I'm also going to get some of the nasal spray to keep on hand. I love anything made with grapefruit seed extract. It's a staple in our "medicine" cabinet. Thank you for sharing!!


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