Last week my kids were ill with a virus, which triggered a secondary virus in my son, hand foot and mouth disease.  I had heard of it before, but we had never experienced it in my house.  It ended up being extremely mild, for which I am incredibly thankful.  I loaded them both up on my best anti-viral natural remedies and they only felt bad one day each.  We still stayed home all week as to not pass on the contagious junk to anyone else though.  I attribute the mild illness to my natural medicine cabinet.

My medicine cabinet has evolved over the years.  It used to be full of over the counter cough syrup, cold medicine, acetaminofen, ibuprofen, allergy medications, and more.  Now those are replaced with natural remedies that look quite different from the former.  We use antibiotics sparingly so when we do need them, they will be most effective.  My son has never had an antibiotic and my daughter has needed one in her six years of life.  I am certainly not anti-modern medicine.  Goodness no!  I’m thankful we live in a time of great medical advances and access to stellar healthcare.  You better believe if my kids had broken bones, severe injuries, or life threatening illnesses we would be dashing to the nearest ER.  Thank the Lord for the medical field.  With that said though, we do try to support the body nutritionally as much as possible and rely on natural methods for treating illness before resorting to conventional care.  For us, it just makes sense, and I have seen first hand how it has strengthened our family’s health by doing this.  Do we still get sick from time to time?  Absolutely.  But we are gaining confidence every year on how to treat common illness with simple natural remedies.  I thought I would share my natural medicine cabinet and our best tips for staying healthy in the cold and flu season.

In My Current Natural Medicine Cabinet

  • Essential Oils:  There are lots of great options and companies out there, and I use several brands, but I will say that I am enjoying these KidSafe Essential oils for my kiddos.  It’s nice not having to worry about if a certain oil is safe for my children or not.  Peppermint, eucalyptus, and blends like thieves are great for adults.  Lemon, lavender, sweet orange are also great general oils to have on hand for children.  Diffuse in the air, use in soaps, spray down surfaces, apply to your body with a carrier oil.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar:  Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar is all I use.  Great for digestion issues, thinning mucous, heartburn, and more.
  • Raw Honey: excellent for sore throats and general illness
  • Garlic: Great for colds, bacterial and viral infections, and ear infections.  You can take in capsules, on their own, or heavily in cooking.
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D3 drops
  • Colloidal Silver:  can be used for pink eye and taken internally as a natural antibiotic
  • Zinc
  • Echinachea tea and other herbal teas
  • Cod liver oil:  high in Vitamin D and A
  • Throat coat tea
  • Epsom salt:  detoxification, soothes aching muscles
  • Clay:  I use this for several things from vomiting to bee stings.
  • Homeopathy:  Our current family doctor practices traditional medicine and natural remedies.  He turned us on to homeopathy.  I don’t have enough knowledge on my own to give you specifics, but we have seen good results using cell salts and homeopathic tablets.  They are just another great thing to have in your arsenal.

To Make

I still have a couple of things I plan to make in the upcoming weeks to prepare for cold and flu season.  Both of these can be used as preventative measures or to help shorten the duration of illness.

  • Fire Cider:  Combines the power of probiotics with many immune boosting foods. Powerful stuff!
  • Elderberry syrup:  Fantastic for boosting the immune system and mainly for preventative measures.  You can buy elderberry syrup commercially if you don’t want to make it yourself.

Supporting the immune system

  • Stocks, broth, soup:  Don’t underestimate the power of a good homemade stock for building the immune system and strengthening the gut.  In the colder months I always have stock on hand.  It’s a must.
  • Colorful vegetables:  Go heavy on the bright colorful vegetables, roots, and herbs.  They are loaded with vitamins and minerals.  A body that is supported nutritionally can fight off illness much better that a body that lacks.
  • Reduce sugar intake:  I am not one that supports a no sugar diet, but I do support lower sugar and using natural forms of sugar like honey and real maple syrup.  Skip the sugary drinks and snacks with added sugar.
  • Probiotics/fermented foods:  A healthy gut means a healthy body.  Feed your gut the good guys.  I prefer to make probiotic rich foods at home like kefir, kombucha, yogurt, and cultured vegetables.  If that’s not your thing, consider a good probiotic supplement.
  • Food rich in Vitamin D
  • Plenty of sleep:  Sleep is some of the best medicine out there.  By getting plenty of restorative sleep, you will be doing so much for your immune system.

Most Important Tip for Avoiding Colds and Viruses

WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!!!

I can not stress this enough and I’m trying to really instill this in my children, but it’s a difficult thing to do.  Skip the hand sanitizer.  Use some good old fashioned soap and water, and scrub scrub scrub for long enough for you to say your ABCs.  Then use some friction and rinse off your hands thoroughly with clean water.  Wash before eating, after eating, after using the bathroom, after shaking hands, after coming in contact with crowds.  By doing this one step, you will greatly reduce your chances of picking up a nasty bug this cold and flu season.

Stay well, my friends. What do you keep stocked in your medicine cabinet?