Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Garlic to make the sick bugs go away

October 28th, 2010 · 24 Comments · Natural Health

We’ve been talking natural remedies this week, and you may want to revisit the Monday Mission HERE to read the good ideas for fighting the sick bugs that readers shared in the comments section.

One thing that always stops all my progress with fighting germs naturally is the massive amount of ingredients I don’t have that most natural remedies require. I do have a health food store trip planned for Monday, and I’ll be taking my list from the Herbal Nurturing eBook (win it HERE), but if you aren’t comfortable with essential oils because you’ve never seen one in your life and wouldn’t have the faintest idea of where to find them in your community…I assure you, I understand.

That’s why I’m always happy to hear time and again that plain old garlic is great for fighting germs. It’s antiviral and antibacterial, and there are a great many ways you can use it. garlic

Ways to Get Garlic in Your System
  • Eat it
  • Rub it on your feet/put crushed garlic in your socks
  • Pour garlic-infused olive oil into your ear
  • Rub mixture onto chest
  • Can you inhale garlic essential oil? I wonder…

Using Garlic to Fight Germs

The best of these posts are not mine, because I’m still learning a lot about these natural remedies and I would rather send you to those who are more well-versed than I!

Eating Garlic: Favorite Recipes
Other Natural Remedy Resources

I feel like I need a course in how to do this stuff, complete with a package of ingredients on the way out. Garlic is in my fruit bowl (isn’t that where everyone keeps theirs?), so I can handle that. I use it and cook with it often.

But when it comes to fixing my daughter’s cough in the middle of the night, I know how to steam her out with hot running water (tent yourselves over the sink with two towels and breathe deeply), but I relied on a homeopathic cough medicine from RiteAid for the rest. I’m not even sure if the ingredients are safe, but I was desperate. The guilt!

I’m taking some time to read the following posts and try my hardest to be prepared for the next Kimball family illness. (Michele’s book Herbal Nurturing does include “quick fixes” for when you’re not ready, thank goodness for that!)

Phew! No wonder I get overwhelmed when I try to make headway in this category. My recommendation for you? Bookmark all these post tagged “natural remedies” and wish you had done more until next flu season.

Just kidding. That wasn’t a very good plan, it’s just what I ended up doing.

Choose one area you most wish to improve, one recipe you will try, either for overall health (like elderberry syrup) or to fix what’s broken (like the vaporizer solution). Find some essential oils (my sponsor Provident Essentials sells them, along with many others out there!) and get started. Buy Michele’s eBook if you’re really serious (25% off with code kitchen25 HERE).

Most importantly of all, question any prescription for antibiotics, not because you mistrust your practitioner or think you know better, but to be informed. Is it 100% necessary or are there other options? Is it possible this issue will go away on its own in time? Is the antibiotic for comfort or the only way to beat the germ? Our family has avoided antibiotics twice in the past year by asking lots of questions, waiting a few hours, and doing some Google searches.

I would never do anything to put my kids at risk or keep them in pain, but I always question to make sure a medication is truly in their best interests.

How about you? Natural remedies or Meds all the way?

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This little announcement is actually sort of related to the post, because keeping your stress low is certainly a way to stay healthy. I mostly want to share with you because it’s time-sensitive information. Lisa Byrne, who you met here, is coming out with a new guide for the holiday season. Lisa will share a plan for boosting your immunities, doing food right even during the holidays, and keeping your focus on what’s important instead of piles and piles of to-do lists. For $45 you get one video, 3 audio classes and a 50-page workbook. Lisa is a certified holistic health counselor who knows what she’s talking about.

The time-sensitive part? As a pre-launch sale, Lisa is offering HALF OFF the Roadmap to a Healthy, Happy, and Meaningful Holiday Season, but only through Saturday! That’s some significant savings. You may want to click over to Lisa’s explanation and see if this is something for you before the price is set back at $45.

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I’d love to see more of you!  Sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

I love to help my blogger friends out, so I am an affiliate with Michele and Lisa and will earn commission on sales. They are both incredibly talented women, however, which makes it a good thing for you and me that I can share their products with you. See my full disclosure statement here.

Photo by Feilpe Gabaldon

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24 Comments so far ↓

  • Leigh

    Oh, natural remedies all the way, except for an occasional aspirin for a headache! LOL

    We’ve been using garlic with great success for a long time. Ours is the not-for-the-faint-of-heart method: In blender liquefy 2 cloves garlic in 1 to 1.5 cups juice (citrus helps cut the garlic) with 1 tsp powdered ginger to make it easier on the tummy.

    Works well topically too, fresh on things like warts, dried and powdered on cuts (we use it mixed with powdered cayenne and golden seal which makes great snuff for sinus infections).

    I recently found a recipe for garlic tea I’d like to try. It’s here – http://goo.gl/FyZS

  • Jennifer

    I hate taking medicine, but I’m not completely against it. I’d rather exhaust all other avenues first!

    Garlic is the best! I know it’s more of an expense, but I really love having garlic pills around – you can find ones that don’t leave an odor :) If I feel myself coming down with something, I take a few and the next day: all better!

  • Sarah Faith

    I know about all the great properties of garlic, and it is so disappointing because I love/prefer natural remedies, that I actually can’t stand garlic in large quantity. (I use it in small quantities for cooking.) It actually makes me feel ill to consume it raw. And the smell and taste make me want to run away from myself for the next day or two, plus it makes me crave sweets like nobody’s business. I wish I could use it medicinally. I’d make my kids do it, but I just can’t bring myself to! I wish there were a non-offensive version of this remarkable stuff!

  • Milehimama

    I’m not anti-meds at all – but I prefer natural remedies that don’t require trips to the doctor and prescriptions. In fact, the children have only had three antibiotic prescriptions TOTAL for all of them in 12 years.

    I can only speak anecdotally – but I have 8 children and we’ve never had an ear infection. I use peroxide and garlic at the first sign of an earache. Breastmilk works, too!

    For colds I swear by echinacea and vitamin C.

    And Devil’s Claw cured my husband’s gout and his leg injury (he tore muscles so severely he couldn’t work (or walk) for a week.)

    We also were able to get my son off some really heavy duty medication through the combo of diet and supplements – it’s something that’s worked for us and for many other moms in the support group I’m in.
    Here’s that story:
    http://www.milehimama.com/2010/08/11/bipolar-kid-our-familys-tale-part-3/

    Katie Reply:

    Lisa,
    That’s amazing, great track record! I hadn’t heard of the peroxide, but I’m definitely tucking that little gem away. Thanks for sharing – :) Katie

  • Elizabeth

    Great remedy! I just thought it was worth mentioning that applying raw garlic topically to the skin can actually burn the skin, especially on children. We use garlic on our children’s feet by wrapping crushed garlic and olive oil in a small piece of cloth or gauze first before we tape it to the soles of our feet overnight. The younger the person, the more folds in the cloth go against the skin to separate the garlic from the skin. Even in taking this precaution, their feet usually end up red after a couple days and the skin begins to peel, so, watch very closely!

  • Camille

    A few years ago I had what looked and felt like strep throat. I was surprised to read on-line that doctors prescribe antibiotics for strep not because it heals it but to stop the spread of the germ! In other words, an antibiotic would not help me feel better faster — it would just make me less likely to pass it on. I went on to learn that often antibiotics are given for this reason alone. So definitely do your research on antibiotics!

    Pat Reply:

    It’s true that taking antibiotics for strep throat kills the “bugs” and prevents spreading it to others, but the real reason doctors treat it is to keep from spreading the infection to your heart! This can cause lifelong problems.

    Camille Reply:

    That is good to know! I do know a strep infection isn’t anything to mess with. Of course, I could just go in and actually ASK my doctor. :-)

  • Jen

    I am just starting to look for natural remedies to cure ailments without prescription meds or even over the counter ones. This really hit me this week when my 2 year old had a 102 fever for three days and I didn’t know what to do except give her Tylenol or Motrin. I just bought Herbal Nurturing and plan to have things on hand for the next time.

  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    TAKE ELDERBERRY!!!

    I cannot say that enough. Seriously.

    Whooping cough is going around here. My children are not vaccinated and husband and I have not had boosters…ever. Since we were babies. We believe we had whooping cough over the last two weeks (it was on the third or fourth day of the “cold” when the cold symptoms disappeared and I was up at night coughing, choking and having trouble stopping to breathe that I thought…huh, I wonder…).

    Anyway, kids and I were taking elderberry and they were fine in about a week. I’m still coughing a little but it’s no big deal anymore. my husband, who refused the elderberry? Nearly three straight weeks of constant fatigue, migraines, awful coughing. He feels like crap all the time. I’m serious. And we’re doing everything we can now — coconut oil, garlic, ginger, elderberry, etc. But he’s having a MUCH worse time with it than we are.

    SO TAKE YOUR ELDERBERRY!

  • Katarina Johansson

    The steam thing with towel that you did for your daughter should be more efficient if you put in a handful of mint leaves as well. I was told by an elderly woman that is efficient, and especially to get rid of phlegm.. Worth a try! :)

    Katie Reply:

    Katarina,
    And guess what I have in my garden that needs to be pulled and dried? Mint! I wonder if it works once dry…
    :) Katie

  • MrsKM

    We’ve been around people who smell so garlick-y (because they use so much of it) that it has turned us off to really using it medicinally. I don’t know anything about this…but is there any way to still receive the benefit without the “aroma”?

    Katie Reply:

    Hmmm, that I’m not sure, but it sounds as though echinacea and elderberry are great substitutes that wouldn’t have the odor! :) Katie

  • elaine

    Ditto @Leigh – natural all the way!!
    @Sarah Faith — I just saw something over at Cara’s blog … http://www.healthhomehappy.com/2010/09/honey-and-cinnamon-a-simple-cold-home-remedy-that-kids-love.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HealthHomeAndHappiness+%28Health%2C+Home%2C+and+Happiness%29 … that has honey and cinnamon — perhaps a more palatable alternative? :)
    @Kate – how do you take your elderberry??

  • Jennifer

    We take garlic all the time, love it and hate it at the same time. We put a dab of honey on a teaspoon, mince garlic (freshly minced is the best) and cover with honey. Down the hatch followed by water and maybe some crackers to ease the stomachache that sometimes follows and it works like a charm. Yes we still get sick, but we get over it much faster.

    Andrea Reply:

    We do this too and it works great. Add a bit of slippery elm bark powder if desired to help with the burn, or follow the honey/garlic with another spoon of honey or some plain yogurt and a full glass of water.

  • Lauren

    Wow, thanks for all of the garlic links. I love garlic, but I should probably eat it more, considering everyone is sick around me.

    And I never heard of the benefits of elderberry syrup, I’ll have to try it!

  • Heather

    A word of caution about putting garlic in your socks – it works! But it can burn, especially kids tender feet. Peel and smash and chop a clove, then wrap it in a paper towel, then stick in socks. You can also place the paper towel/garlic on the chest and back. I do this every time a child gets a fever. Just beware of burning – it may start to bother them.

    Also, a great trick to avoid the really strong aftertaste of garlic. Cut out the little green sprout in the middle of the clove.

    Another easy natural therapy given to me by a naturopath when my son had had a cold for weeks, and it just wouldn’t go away. He called it Sock Therapy. Give your child a nice hot bath for at least ten minutes. While they are bathing, take a pair of their socks and wet them – just the part that covers the feet, not the ankles. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Immediately after the bath have them put on the damp socks and then another pair or two of bigger, thick socks (we use Dad’s.) They won’t feel uncomfortable, even though it sounds strange. I’m not exactly sure why this works, but it does! Something about the body increasing circulation to heat up the feet, and at the same time it helps kick the cold.

  • Cara

    We love natural remedies, but I also love OTC pain meds! I’d rather give ibprofen than let my kids feel yucky. This year honey-cinnamon is working really well at the first sign of an illness.

  • sara

    I used GOOT for a really bad case of mastitis a few weeks ago and it cleared it up very quickly!!

  • 4 Home Remedies to Knock Out a Cold | Green Your Way

    [...] The warmth soothes the pain, and garlic is antibacterial and antiviral. (Here are some other ways to fight sick bugs with garlic.) [...]

Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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