Garlic lemonade, colloidal silver, roots, herbs and homemade tinctures, diatomaceous earth….. These are just some of the remedies and healing sources that I know some families use. What’s in your home wellness cabinet?
I’m always interested to hear what other families use to heal and treat the various ailments that are inherent in having a household with children because it opens my eyes to new possibilities. I try to keep basic supplies on hand and as I tend toward more natural remedies for most things, I’ll share with you what has worked for us so far. This is not a comprehensive list, nor is it any sort of advice as to what may work for you – it’s just giving you a peek into what works for us as well as serving as a reminder to myself. I hope you’ll share with me what other things you consider essential to have in your home for your family’s health and well-being!
We bought a family care homeopathic kit from Boiron and use quite a few homeopathic remedies. Our top 5 remedies are arnica, apis, calcarea phosphorica, belladonna and histaminum. We also have arnica/traumeel gel on hand for topical use. I refer to The Family Guide to Homeopathy often and I’d have to say homeopathy is what I turn to first in almost any situation.
Our most-used essential oil is thieves oil (we also use lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint). I put a few drops of thieves oil into a carrier oil or lotion and rub it into the soles of the feet at night or the neck and lymph areas. I also drop it on the pillowcase or use it in a diffuser.
We use breastmilk for nasal congestion in whoever is still breastfeeding. I just squirt or slide a few drops in the nose as the baby lies on her back, similarly to letting breastmilk slide into the eye to clear any eye gunk issues. Works like a charm. And of course, I like to think of breastmilk as the ultimate preventative to start out a lifetime of general health and strong immunity.
Earache? I put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in the ear of anyone who complains of ear discomfort. I have them lie on their side, drop it in, massage the whole area behind and below the ear. I’ve only had to do this maybe half a dozen times but it works! Our kids (9, 8, 5 and 9 m) have never had an ear infection or antibiotics or ear tubes. And we even have a pool! It’s also good for cleaning out minor cuts.
Kids have a cough? I use homeopathics for that too and consult my handy book to determine which remedy is best for the type of cough they have. For a persistent cough, I also pull out the cherry bark with horehound. I have to say they hate it. My 9-year-old daughter can burst into tears at the mere thought of cherry bark. But it’s a heck of a lot better, in my opinion, than the over-the-counter products containing dyes and artificial flavors and other ingredients I don’t care for.
If a little one is having a hard time keeping anything down, coconut water is great for rehydration. It’s totally natural and contains lots of electrolytes needed to replenish the system without the dyes and not-so-natural ingredients found in some OTC products.
A cool washcloth helps – it can help the child feel a bit more refreshed, and help cool a fever a little. I don’t fear fevers so as long as the child is not lethargic and showing other signs of struggling; a fever in itself does not worry me much. I personally go by touch rather than a thermometer too, unless it seems warm enough to warrant tracking it. Fortunately, that has been rare for us.
Of course, when kids are sick, they need lots of TLC. I really can’t emphasize the tender loving care enough. Taking the time to sit with them, hold them, offer drinks, massage body parts, let them sleep on you, make a cozy nest for them in your own bed, read to them or watch a show with them, give forehead kisses, tell stories…. it does wonders. Sometimes we so want to help heal them and hurry them to feeling better, we lose sight of the fact that sometimes the best way to fix the problem is to just be there for them as they work their way through it. It means you have to put other things on hold but I think they’ll remember that love and feeling of comfort from their parent’s hands for many years.
Bach flower essences in the form of Rescue Remedy help my daughter deal with her nightmares and anxiety. A simple spray on the tongue or on the top of the head can help. I let my 9-year-old do this herself as needed.
We get plenty of cuts and scrapes in this household from all the running and biking and jumping and ripsticking. Heck, one of my kids ended up in the ER for stitches just for not watching where she was sitting while she was reading a book. Calendula ointment is our homeopathic version of neosporin or antibiotic creams.
We try to use Badger or another more natural sunscreen for our little ones but I’ll use any sunscreen that’s on hand when needed as I believe our risk for skin cancer is greater than the risks presented by non-ideal sunscreens. Check out how toxic your (child’s) sunscreen – or any other personal care product – is at the Environmental Working Group‘s online cosmetics database. Great resource!
My mom’s green thumb skipped a generation – in fact, I can kill just about any plant, but even my aloe plants have survived. (Probably because they’re out in the yard, safely protected from my neglect.) This is a must for us for sun burns or when we get too much sun. I know raw honey is supposed to help with this and while we do have it, I haven’t used it for sun yet. Aloe and homeopathics seem to do the trick quite nicely. The only thing they don’t relieve is the guilt!
We have Juice Plus children’s chewable gummies but they don’t have them every day – just when we think of it or need a boost.
Other things we do that I believe contribute to our children’s overall health include some of our general lifestyle choices:
- we provide lots of time for the kids to play indoors and out
- we make sure they get plenty of sleep
- we try to offer a nutritional and balanced diet most of the time
- we encourage them to stay hydrated with water (no sodas for them!)
- we reduce stresses for them where we can
- we limit television (a lot) and encourage reading and play
Equally important, in my opinion, is what we don’t do:
- we don’t use bleach or other harsh cleaning products in the home
- we don’t overuse antibacterial soaps or hand sanitizers
- we don’t fear dirt or grime (but we don’t take unnecessary risks either)
- we don’t bathe little ones daily (unless needed) so as not to upset the natural pH balance in the skin (which plays a big part in immunity)
- we don’t let them in the home or car of a smoker
This covers most things that we’ve encountered so far. I haven’t touched on our lesser-used remedies, such as probiotics, bee pollen or epsom salts, or therapies for which we’ve seen practitioners, such as Body Talk or chiropractic care. I also haven’t really touched on things we’ve used for adults only so far, like acupuncture, certain teas or herbs and emergen-C for that vitamin C boost.
And while I use pharmaceutical drugs as a last resort, I firmly believe there is a time and a place for them. Just as cesareans do save lives in some situations and I am grateful for those who are trained in such surgery for when it’s very much needed, I’m grateful to have the option of turning to conventional medications when an ailment goes beyond my comfort level. So, for example, we have used Benadryl for allergic reactions, and Children’s Tylenol for pain (broken bone).
What works well for your family?