I would like to start by saying that each family is entitled to what works best FOR them. However, my desire has been, and always will be, to do my part in empowering individuals and families to take proactive part in their holistic well-being. I am here to remind you that you can be your own health advocate. Again, I am not saying that you do not need a Medical Doctor’s opinion. What I am saying is a doctor’s say MUST not always be the final say over your life.Research is revealing a lot these days, and past findings are changing. Even Doctors admit that they are constantly learning and unlearning, and so can you! 🙂
Over the last 7+ years, I have been committed to researching non-toxic alternatives to all the things, and I am always happy to share what has worked for my family and others I have made recommendations to. Today, I am sharing the non-toxic/natural ways we prevent and/or manage infections in our home. I have mentioned before that, as a new mother, I used to feel so defeated and helpless whenever my baby would go down with a cold. It felt I would work my hardest to avoid it, and then we get together with cousins/friends …then boom, my hardwork all comes tumbling down.
But not anymore. I believe in being #PreparedNOTPanicked. As a Christian, I believe first and foremost that The Lord watches over His own (us), and has placed the desire in me to pursue a holistic lifestyle. I consciously work on not fretting over what I cannot change, while committing to what can be improved. I endeavor to ensure that our kids are guarded. On the other hand, if and when they are exposed to infections (which are practically inevitable), I now know a couple of tried and tested ways to manage the situation.
With all this being said, I still prefer to put majority of my effort in PREVENTION than curing. We now have what I call a ‘prevention protocol’ that we implement the moment I know my kids have been exposed, or one of them has a sniffle.
My Wholly Kombucha brand was birthed out of how much probiotics have helped us as a family! Majority of diseases stem from inflammation, and a dysfunctional gut. For this reason, I make sure that we are populating our guts with good bacteria, that will enable our immune systems quickly fight off any infections. Two probiotic-rich foods you will find in our home are : Milk Kefir and Kombucha. My kids were introduced to kombucha at an early age and so they actually like it. I do however limit the serving size to a quarter cup since they are young. They also consume Milk Kefir almost daily – either as is, or as a base for their smoothies. My older daughter actually requests plain kefir 2-3 times every day, and I love that for her!
Kefir is a tart and tangy cultured dairy drink packed with protein, calcium, potassium, and contains a higher amount of strains of bacteria and yeasts, making it a much more potent source of probiotics than many other fermented dairy products. This is why I specifically prefer Kefir to yogurt. You can find more information on my brand here
I always keep elderberries on hand. always. I make a huge batch of elderberry syrup, which lasts us about 4 months (keep one jar refrigerated and the rest frozen) and it always comes in handy. Although there’s no specific medicine that prevents infections, research shows that the elderberry fruit is one of nature’s most versatile solutions for ailments.
Research, again shows that black elderberry extracts and flower infusions help reduce the severity and length of influenza. One 2004 study of 60 people with influenza found that those who took 15 mL of elderberry syrup four times per day showed symptom improvement in 2 to 4 days, while the control group took 7 to 8 days to improve. While it is safe to take elderberry syrups daily, I have found that offering 10-15 ml of the syrup to my kids 4 times a day in the event of any exposure to infection, has significantly reduced and sometimes even PREVENTED the contraction of the infection completely. I love that its actually a fruit, and so I do not have to worry about being careful with dosage.
Note: Elderberries are NOT to be consumed raw.
Here’s a simple recipe for elderberry Syrup:
- 3 ½ cups cold water
- 1 cup dried elderberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- 1 cup raw honey
- Add water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer 45 minutes to an hour, or until the liquid has reduced to almost half. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool.
- Carefully mash the berries then pour syrup through a strainer into a large bowl.
- When the syrup is completely cooled, add the honey and stir well.
- Pour into a sealable jar and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.
Research on echinacea suggests that it offers tons of impressive health benefits. It is best known for its beneficial effects on the immune system, helping it fight off infections and viruses, which could help you recover faster from illness
This study presents a finding that, that taking echinacea may lower the risk of developing colds by more than 50% and shorten the duration of colds by one and a half days. Sign me up for that! lol!
4. A Healthy Diet: I consciously make the effort to avoid an ‘over-dependence’ on processed foods in our home. As a young, working mother, I’ll be the first to tell you that quick, prepackaged meals do come in handy on certain days. But I do also know the benefits of a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, protein and fibre over a highly processed, high sugar, high fat diet. The latter negatively influences your gut bacteria and may contribute to many health conditions. Especially when it comes to kids, I have learned that it is our responsibility as parents to develop a diverse palate for them. No matter how many million times they reject it, keep offering until they succumb. Out of 4 vegetables they are exposed to, I bet you, one day they WILL try one.lol. And I am careful to look into the prepackaged meals I buy. Trust me, there are better brands committed to doing good 🙂
Now, here a few recommendations for MANAGEMENT once there is a full blown infection.
- My first and foremost recommendation is …… (drumroll please)…. A SALT WATER BATH!
I am not going to take credit for this magic, detoxifying, situation changer! My mother introduced this bath to me when I became a mother, and I never appreciated it so deeply until my daughter was down with a really sad cold and cough. She had literally had a runny nose and coughed all day, it was so evident she was exhausted from it all. That day at dinner, I remembered my mother’s salt water bath she would give them when they were babies and wouldn’t nap, or would cry all day. When I tell you the difference was night and day? please believe me.
It’s an inexpensive method that works wonders. You literally only need sea salt, water and a bath tub. You can read extensively on this on your own, but salt water baths are an ancient practice, known to build immunity, increase energy, promote restful sleep, balance alkalinity, decrease congestion, aids in chronic pain relief, improve skin health and boost overall health. It’s a long soak of at least 15 minutes to an hour, that does wonderful things to the body! This long soak is incomparable to a quick bath using a bucket of salt water, but the latter is also better than nothing. It’s just much better when you immerse yourself in the water, and give your body time to soak in the minerals from the salt water. I like to add a few drops of essential oils as an extra boost, but that is not necessarily required.
NB: I would not recommend table salt, as it has undergone processing that causes it to lose the minerals that are present in sea salt.
- Add 1/4 cup of sea salt to a standard size bathtub filled to your comfort.
- Aim for a water temperature of 1-2 degrees warmer than your body temperature to experience the healing benefits of the sea salt bath.
- Soak in the tub for at least 15 to an hour
- Rinse thoroughly, dry off and apply a moisturizer to your skin.
Two words: Life Changing!!!!
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy- a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support health and well-being. The topic of essential oils can get quite controversial, and I personally do not recommend it as a stand-alone solution to any health condition. My family has, however, realized its benefits (ESPECIALLY) when used in the diffuser, or diluted with a carrier oil. My favorites when it comes to managing infections are oregano, clove, tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint. I would also recommend that you do your research and settle on a high quality brand, as there are so many brands on the market now that aren’t authentic. Our favorite is Plant Therapy because it’s an affordable brand that is also very potent!
Safe, Over-the-Counter Drugs
My favorite brand is Genexa: Genexa is a medicine brand that uses the same ingredients as you would find in Over-the-counter brands, BUT with CLEANER ingredients.
Here’s a quick rundown:
*information taken from the official website of mentioned brands
Here are the ingredients in INFANT tylenol:
Acetaminophen 160 mg in each 5 mL*
Pain reliever/fever reducer
anhydrous citric acid, butylparaben, FD&C red no. 40, flavors, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, microcrystalline cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose sodium, propylene glycol, purified water, sodium benzoate, sorbitol solution(sweetener), sucralose(sweetener), xanthan gum
anhydrous citric acid, FD&C red no. 40, flavors, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, microcrystalline cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose sodium, purified water, sodium benzoate, sorbitol solution(sweetener), sucralose(sweetener), xanthan gum.
Here are the ingredients for Calpol Infant Suspension – Strawberry Flavor
The active ingredient is: Paracetamol 120 mg per 5 ml. Other ingredients are: Sucrose, sorbitol liquid (E420),
glycerol, polysorbate 80, asulfame potassium, methyl parahydroxybenzoate (E218), propyl parahydroxybenzoate (E216), ethyl parahydroxybenzoate (E214), microcrystalline cellulose and carmellose sodium, xanthan gum and purified water. The flavouring is strawberry (containing propylene glycol (E1520)) and colouring is carmoisine (E122).
Each 5 ml of this product contains 2.2 g of sucrose.
AND HERE are there ingredients present in Genexa’s Infant Pain and Fever Reducer:
Acetaminophen, Organic Agave Syrup, Organic Blueberry Flavor, Citrus Extract, Non GMO flavor, Purified Water.
If I am picking a pain relief medicine for my kids, I’ll definitely go with Genexa over Tylenol or Calpol given the above information. I am at peace knowing that if my kids are taking pain relief medicine, they are taking just that and NOTHING ELSE!
A DIY REMEDY THAT WORKS
If you are unable to access any of the above, here is a DIY remedy that can come in handy. I have nothing against DIY remedies at all!As a matter of fact, I have lived years making a lot of things from scratch! I still do. It’s just that, in my current season of life, It’s hard for me to actually get the time to make all these concoctions from scratch *ALL THE TIME*. For example, Pineapples contain bromelain which are great immune boosters! Here’s the thing: they are not shelf stable enough for me to simply reach out for as and when I need them. And that’s why I find myself looking out for the above listed remedies. They are effective, and keep for a longer period.
2 cups of Pineapple Juice – The core of the pineapple is richest in bromelain; so I recommend you blend more of that
1 inch of raw ginger (grated or cut into cubes)
1 tsp of cloves
1/2 cup of (raw) honey
Juice of 1 Lemon
pinch of salt
Blend it all together, and strain so catch the extra fibre from the ginger.
Keep refrigerated and remember to freeze the batch you will not use within a week, since raw pineapple juice is perishable.
I know this was quite a lengthy read, but I hope it helps you make some informed decisions when it comes to managing and preventing infections in your home. Remember, antibiotics are not ALWAYS the solution, although they have their place.
In Love and Health,