This post by Rodale is a compendium of natural cold and cough remedies. The only caveat: there are brand names used that I would NOT recommend. For honey, use raw and wild (less pesticides, and all the enzymes intact). For salt, use any bulk salt that is natural (Himalayan pink, sea salt, etc.) because they don’t contain additives (like anti-caking agents). For black pepper, get certified organic: not sprayed, not irradiated.
When I went to look at my stats for this blog, especially what folks were searching for, I found cold and flu prevention for kids…and I thought, oh good, now I know what I’m blogging about!
First: limit sugar as much as humanly possible. Why? (other than we all know it’s not good for us, empty calories, mood swings, etc.) Because the nasty micro-organisms LOVE sugar, and our immune systems are compromised almost immediately after consuming sugar, and can take hours to rebound back to their robust selves….
Second: everyone needs to sleep WAY MORE than they realize, and children especially need sleep to be regular: same time every night; a dark room if possible (night lights may help anxiety, but if your child is a poor sleeper it may be too much light in the room); bedtime stories really work (for adults, too), and leave plenty of time to brush teeth, etc. so family members aren’t unduly stressed before bedtime.
Third: for children who get frequent ear infections, there is good research showing that prophylactic use of xylitol based nose sprays help prevent ear infections by destroying bacterial cell walls. Iris Herbal’s Mullein Garlic Oil really helps clear infection if used at the first sign of ear infection. Many folks (parents for their children, and adults for themselves) have found this combo safe, easy and effective. Mullein oil (made by infusing mullein flowers in olive oil) and garlic essential oil (a very strong anti-bacterial oil) together are quite potent; just don’t use if the eardrum is perforated.
Fourth: WASH YOUR HANDS, often. Before meals, after the bathroom, after blowing one’s nose, after being in a public space where folks are coughing and sneezing. Teaching children the hand washing habit really helps because kids touch their faces a lot (well, so do adults, but we’ve often curbed some of those tendencies…), and hands deliver germs to the eyes, ears, and mouth.
Fifth: in one of the latest AARP newsletters, a very simple remedy was mentioned: gargling! Although young children may not be able to do that yet, anyone of any age who can: do so several times a day with warm water. It really lessons the number of time folks get sick.
and Sixth: take a supplement to increase immunity. Some folks swear by Echinacea and/or Elder berry at the first signs or if exposed. Some people are helped by herbal immune adaptogens like Astragalus, Bacopa, Eleuthero, and/or Spikenard. But often children don’t like the taste. So I recommend a supplement called Epicor (easily found on the web) which really does have good science (and my clients’ experience) to back it up. You can order this from me through my supplement buying club, whose next order is this coming Monday morning (and happens every month around the 15th). Just call (toll-free 877-286-2970) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) me this weekend and I can order you either adult strength or kid strength at a more affordable price that just about anywhere on the web.
pS: it’s also good to drink water…and if plain water is too boring, then add the juice of lemon or lime: tasty and helpful both!
In a just-published shocking study virology researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands have demonstrated that a regular flu vaccine in children actually worsens a key aspect of their flu-fighting immune system. This research was not conducted by vaccine-disliking scientists. Rather, it was conducted by pro-vaccine researchers who have spent their careers trying to develop better vaccines. Lead author Rogier Bodewes delivered the sobering message as he explained that flu vaccines “have potential drawbacks that have previously been under appreciated and that are also a matter of debate.”
Please send this info to anyone you know who has children and is contemplating a flu shot. Please go HERE for the whole story.
Here is a question for you. What do grapevine leaves do when they come under attack from a viral infection? Answer: make more quercetin for their natural defense. There is no question that quercetin is active against many viral infections including the flu. If this sparks your interest, HERE is the whole article.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an important nutrient for respiratory health and immunity, including defense against the flu. The nutrient has been used longer than four decades to help break up and clear mucous from the airways. The latest research continues to show that it is a potent anti-viral compound warranting widespread use in the winter months to help ward off the common cold as well as the flu. I’ve been recommending NAC for all my clients with any kind of breathing issues. You can go HERE to read more about this inexpensive and wonderful supplement.
And then there’s the simple, elegant, and tasty habit you might cultivate this winter of drinking warm lemon or lime water every morning when you first wake up. Delicious, nutritious, alkalizing, and a bit of Vitamin C…
Autumn is in full swing and winter is around the corner. With these changes, vitamin D levels among the population on the North American continent north of the Mexico border drop. The fact is above the 45th parallel it is reported that from November to February/March, even on a sunny blue-sky day, the angle of the sun is such that vitamin D production when bare skin is exposed is dramatically diminished.
Many of us experience shifts in mood during the winter months. To offset winter mood imbalances, alternative health practitioners recommend that folks have their vitamin D 25 OH levels measured. The range is 20-100 for most laboratories. Yet, falling within the range does not necessarily mean you are good to go. For many, a target blood level of at least 55, for a 25 OH vitamin D blood test is considered beneficial. Of course the target blood range is different for everyone, and one’s health care provider can best determine what the best range is for a given individual. Also, it’s very important to take the blood test now through December, as Vitamin D declines in fall and winter if one isn’t taking any supplemental D.
From GreenMedInfo comes this great compilation of natural substances to take to increase immunity, or to hit a cold or the flu at the first signs:
While there are a broad spectrum of natural substanceswhich have been studied for their anti-influenza properties, vitamin D deserves special consideration due to the fact that it is indispensable to produce antiviral peptides (e.g. cathelicidin) within the immune system, and can be supported for pennies a day.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, revealed that children receiving 1200 IUs of vitamin D a day were at 59% reduced risk for contracting seasonal Influenza A infection. Moreover as a secondary outcome, only 2 children in the treatment group versus 12 for the control group, experienced an asthma attack.
There are actually a broad range of preventive strategies that are evidence-based, and available without prescription.
1) Echinacea Tea: J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):327-34
2) Elderberry: J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.
3) American Ginseng: J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Mar;12(2):153-7.
4) Green Tea: J Nutr. 2011 Oct ;141(10):1862-70. Epub 2011 Aug 10.
5) Probiotics: Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-9.
6) Vitamin D: PLoS One. 2010;5(6):e11088. Epub 2010 Jun 14.
And be sure to take Vitamin D3, which is the natural, assimilable form. Vitamin D2 is synthetic, and does not work as well.