Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Monday Mission: Stock Your Natural Remedies Medicine Cabinet

September 12th, 2011 · 102 Comments · Monday Missions, Natural Health

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to get ready for sick season by stocking a few ingredients for fighting infection.

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fight infection and congestion naturally

Last spring I came home from a doctor’s appointment with my child carrying two bags: one with a super-strength prescription antibiotics from the pharmacy, and the other holding two tiny bottles clinking together from the health food store.

My husband and I had to pray together (and consult Dr. Google) about whether to give our son the drugs – which had complications like diarrhea, and we were traveling on a plane in four days – or the garlic and oregano oils.

He had just battled a case of strep throat, finishing his 10-day regimen of antibiotics the day before he got sick again. (And yes, I’m convinced that the antibiotics wiped out his system and made him prone to the next infection.)

We were also testing him out on a gluten-free diet, but we couldn’t tell if the poor kid was having any positive effects because of the sickness and medication!

It was touch and go all day, watching his fever, his mood, his pain threshold.

The garlic and oregano are pretty nasty little buggers to drink, even in a shot glass of orange juice. I can tell you which option my son would have chosen if given his say.

We decided to hold off on the antibiotics until morning, and finally in the middle of the night he turned the corner. He was feeling much better in the morning and in great health the following day.

I felt a little guilty tossing out the antibiotics, but I’d rather feed the trash than my little guy.

Do I Know What I’m Doing?

I feel like I’m still a total rookie at the natural health gig, but over the last year since this first foray into treating ear infections naturally, I’ve realized I’ve picked up quite a few tips and tricks and added a good deal to my natural medicine cabinet.

My disclaimer?

Most of my knowledge comes from helpful people on Twitter and Facebook, with the remainder straight from Google searches. You  know, this social media thing is like having the best of the village elders right at my fingertips. Literally.

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that it’s much better to be prepared for the sicknesses and pains before they arrive rather than consulting Twitter and visiting the store when your child is already in pain.

Allow me to help. Here’s what I wish I would have had on hand have stocked now in preparation for whatever may come along this winter. Or summer.

Preventative Measures to Stay Healthy
  • fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture, one of my awesome sponsors this month – one of the best foods out their for general health
  • dried elderberries to make elderberry syrup (or buy the syrup) – an immunity booster
    • You can find a recipe to make the syrup in Herbal Nurturing, along with a treasure trove of other natural healing ways to save money by doing it yourself
    • This stuff, by the way, tastes MUCH better than cod liver oil. Just so you know.
  • probiotics – the adults in our family take probiotic powder regularly; the children take the liquid version daily as well, and we all have more when we get sick or someone else in the family is sick.
  • homemade chicken stock – always a good food to include in your meal plan at least once a week, especially in the fall/winter.
  • fresh garlic – one of the top foods with natural antibiotic properties, another good habit is definitely to include garlic as often as possible.
  • coconut oil – also a natural antibiotic food, the healing properties of coconut oil are many and diverse! We use it all the time in cooking…
To Fight Infections

Natural antibiotics are still quite potent and can also unbalance your natural flora, but not as recklessly as drug antibiotics, and without many of the iffy side effects. Worth buying for your medicine cabinet:

  • garlic oil
  • oil of oregano – infuse into air, run onto feel WITH  a carrier oil, but don’t take my word for it. Read this from a reader…
  • probiotics – take during and after
  • For pain relief from an ear infection, gently warm olive oil on the stovetop and carefully pour into the affected ear, then tip out. You can infuse it with crushed garlic, too, but take care not to get any garlic actually inside the ear.
  • I haven’t stocked them yet, but folks recommend goldenseal and Echinacea; see the comments at this post for lots of advice. Like I said, social media is the best way to pass on age-old information these days.
  • Shop for essential oils at Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs (be sure to get food grade “therapeutic” grade if you want to take internally)
  • UPDATE: Here’s a new post with more personal experience and lots of information on how to fight infections naturally without antibiotics
To Ease Congestion
  • Lots of brands and small businesses have chest rubs with eucalyptus, menthol, camphor, and more – our newest September sponsor, SweetBottoms Baby, carries two of them – these are a great alternative to Vick’s because they have safe carrier oils like olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, etc. There’s also a recipe in Herbal Nurturing.
  • A vaporizer
  • To put in your vaporizer:
  • Use hot steam by running the shower or sink and tenting the head with a towel
  • Saline water, either purchased or homemade, is a simple and effective nostril-flusher-outer (I believe you can just dissolve 1/4 tsp. salt in a cup of water and drip into little one’s noses)
For Coughs

My mom used to give me whiskey and honey as I mentioned HERE, but my new favorite is TriLight Health‘s Lympha Rub – we rub it on the throat and temples before bed, but if a cough is really keeping someone awake, one drop right at the back of the throat has knocked out the cough within 5-10 minutes 100% of the times we’ve tried it. Amazing.

And for that tickle in your throat? Try gargling with apple cider vinegar, or better yet, do this: drink a splash of ACV mixed with as much cayenne pepper as you can stand, crushed garlic, honey and lemon juice. Nasty, but effective on a sore throat or impending cold.

UPDATE: The steam treatment described in this home remedies for pneumonia symptoms is great for any chest congestion.

For Throwing Up

Other than avoiding putting anything IN the victim, activated charcoal is the only thing I know of that works as a natural anti-vomit solution.

Ginger (in tea or gum) or peppermint (tea, in vaporizer) are good anti-nauseal remedies.

When they’re throwing up anyway, here are my 3 quick tips for throw-up clean-up.

For General Pain

I’m still working on this one naturally, but especially after reading Erin’s great post on the dangers of children’s medications, I’d like to seek out better solutions. I have a NaturoKit which includes homeopathic arnica, a remedy for general pain (more info here). Any other ideas? UPDATE: Here’s a new post I wrote on natural remedies for pain relief.

Other Natural Health Posts:

UPDATE: I forgot to include this amazing post on natural remedies from a country doctor’s daughter, Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist. Read it for everything on how to handle a fever to how long to wait after vomiting before giving liquids. Truly insightful; I loved every word. You may also want to look at how essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs can help keep your family healthy.  The Practical Guide to Children’s Health and Common Sense Health are great resources as well for becoming your family’s first line of defense. 

Got It Covered?

If you’re an over-achiever and already have tools to battle the sick bugs, you can branch out further by making your own skin care products. Stock your apothecary with the tips in this post from Renee of MadeOn Hard Lotion.

What are your “go to” remedies for the general pains of sick season?

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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.

Disclosure: Not only am I not a doctor, nurse, or naturopath, I know very little to nothing about natural healing. If you trust Google, you can trust me. But don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Your decisions about medical care must of course be your own with a real doctor helping.

Amazon  Mountain Rose HerbsPractical Guide to Children’s HealthCommon Sense Health and Herbal Nurturing have affiliate programs that give commission if you shop there starting here. Green Pasture and SweetBottoms are September sponsors receiving their complementary mention. Any other mentions are simply because I actually use the products myself, and not via advertising. (I use FCLO too; that’s why I asked Green Pasture to advertise with me!) As of 10/24/11, I am an affiliate of NaturoKits and receive commission. See my full disclosure statement here.

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102 Comments so far ↓

  • Jennifer O

    We use coconut oil to fight all sorts of infections – preventatively on a cut under a band-aid, warmed and dropped into an infected ear, and by mouth – mixed in smoothies is the best bet. Coconut oil is naturally antimicrobial and antifungal – it even works on virus!

    [Reply to this comment]

    cory Reply:

    I recently fell in love with coconut oil for diaper rash. My son had a horrible, blistered, bleeding rash. One week of coconut oil and a few butt-soaks later, the rash was gone! Other remedies have not worked, even after weeks of treatment. Improved the rash, but not cleared it up.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Missy via Facebook

    I have started taking Echinacea and garlic pills before I get sick this winter, to help build my immunity system. There are some great essential oils, would you like for me to send you an invite from a FB page that we discuss essential oils?

    [Reply to this comment]

  • jennifer

    Do you know of any brand names for the garlic and oregano oils? I have oregano essential oil but it cannot be taken internally. I love that I’m not alone in getting my natural/herbal winter medicine cabinet together.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Vanessa Reply:

    One of the best brands (IMO) is DoTerra. Their oils are perfectly safe to be used internally, by every age. I use them myself and they are terrific. Just Google them and you can order online.

    [Reply to this comment]

    jennifer Reply:

    Thanks I’ll check them out.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Joshua Rogers Reply:

    They’re probably one of the best companies out there when it comes to straight essential oils. If you’re looking for herbs I’d go with Nature’s Sunshine, but doTerra has them beat with oils since thats their focus. High quality stuff, for sure.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Kathy Reply:

    Our family trusts Young Living Essential Oils….we find they are like no other. I love that they have their own farms and distilleries…
    Let me know if you’d like to know more. We have used them for all of our health needs…even Staph, and internal infections of all sorts.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Kara Reply:

    Do you use the germ fighter synergy blend for infections?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Kara,
    We just used On Guard, the doTERRA version of Young Living’s blend, to battle pneumonia in my 1yo, along with oil of oregano and some other stuff. (On the feet, in the air). So far, so good. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Trina Reply:

    Hi. My grand daughter has extremely bad eczema and so it turn, often gets staph bumps. It has been a long process to convince her parents of all natural remedies. The one thing they do for her skin is coconut oil but nothing for the staph. Is there something internal and external that I can do for her? The first time I got it, it was horrific and I ended up on the antibiotic:( My daugther now has is and I dont want her to endure that. We have Goldenseal, and Garlic to take internally and several essential oils. Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Trina,
    That sounds like a real challenge. :( It seems like you’re on the right track for sure. I would also think any infection could use the same treatment. You’ll find some info here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/03/27/3-steps-to-fighting-candida-naturally-part-2-of-the-story/

    and maybe here:
    http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2013/03/12/is-the-war-on-infectionsor-against-antibiotics-themselves/

    Good luck and God bless! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Jennifer,
    Pretty sure mine is the NOW brand I saw on Amazon – I got it at our local store. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Kathy Reply:

    Katie, Does the label say “therapeutic grade”? I would not ingest it if it does not. My experience is that you get what you pay for.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Delena

    1.) Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg’s). Every time someone in this house starts coughing or sniffling, I start downing the ACV, and the bug seems to pass right over me. I’ve even made my husband and kids do it, and it WORKS. Start small (2 tsp.) if you’ve never tried it, and make sure you take it with food in your stomach. The other day, the kids were starting to come down with something, and I marched right in and took 2 TABLESPOONS (mixed in water) of the ACV. Next day, felt great. And then I continue to take it until everyone is feeling better.

    2.) Sore throat: Water with cayenne pepper mixed in. Gargle with it. It encourages blood flow to the throat and heals naturally. IT WORKS.

    3.) Silver Shield from Nature’s Sunshine.

    Love your site!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Delena,
    I forgot about the gargle! I have gargled with ACV mixed with cayenne and honey and garlic. Yowza! It’s nasty stuff, but it does seem to work!

    Thanks for the reminder (and some new ones), Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Mae Anne

    I love using elderberry syrup for… everything, especially on gf pancakes or ice cream. Right before and during the cold/fu season I find a way to get it in our food weekly. Traditional Medicinals make a fabulous cold care tea sampler that we use a lot as well. Echinacea is in most of the cold care forumlas and tastes great. I make a cup, cool it and then mix a 50/50 ratio of fresh apple juice and tea. The kiddos drink it up. Goldenseal is a strong herb, but does a beautiful job when nothing else will cut it. It’s bitter and even hard for me to swallow, so picky tastebuds may not enjoy it as much as the elderberry! However, it’s my favorite anti-microbial herb and works so well. I like St. John’s Wort or Black Cohosh for pain and inflammation. A few drops of the tincture under the tongue does the trick for everything from headaches to sore muscles and growing pains.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    I love herbal medicine and I’m planning to make my own cold/cough syrup here soon — totally safe for the little ones (over a year)! A humidifier with some oils in it is great for colds.

    If they are throwing up, this works every time: NOTHING to eat or drink for at least one hour after the last time they threw up. If they will sleep, let them sleep as long as possible. Then, offer either breastmilk or gripe water if they are little (under 2) and plain water if they are older. Ginger tea also works at this point. Let them sip SLOWLY. If they keep that down after an hour, offer a small snack — soaked breads make a good snack here. None of my kids has ever thrown up more than 2 or 3 times following this protocol. Except once. If it’s REALLY stubborn, try very strong black tea with raw honey mixed in. This worked for my husband after 4 or 5 miserable hours. He still didn’t feel great but he was better and keeping things down. Then lots of probiotics once you can keep stuff down!

    FCLO is one of our favorite preventatives, too. I forget what else! I’m working to stock my medicine cabinet more right now too.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Mae Anne

    One more thing! For herbs / teas / tinctures / oils, I love Mountain Rose. Everything they make is ethcially and organically cultivated and they are a truly fabulous company out of Oregon. I trust them over anything from an unknown company through amazon. They also have great tutorials and videos on making your own salves, tincutres and other herbal produts.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • jennifer

    I love Mountain Rose as well! I just got a big order from them with half of my winter herbs! We also love Elderberry and I am in the process of making an Elderberry elixir….we’re got tinctures going now! I love this!! There is a website called HerbMentor.com and I love it. They have a basic herbs course that takes you through 18 lessons so that at the end you can put together a herbal first aid kit. Good stuff!!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Darlene

    I have used oregano oil to successfully treat bladder infections and toenail fungus. If I feel a bladder infection “coming on,” I immediately start taking about 3 drops of oil (read that 3 DROPS, not dropperfuls) in 1/2 oz tomato juice, two-three times a day. I have another oz. or so of tomato juice as a “chaser” after that. So far, my bladder infections have cleared up rather quickly (like 2 days). I had been having bladder infections way too often and was concerned about all the antibiotics I’d been prescribed, so I love this oregano oil. I use “Oreganol – P73″ from North America Herb & Spice. It isn’t cheap, though…to the tune of about $40/oz. But it lasts a long time. I order mine from Nutrition Express in California. I also recommend the book “The Cure is in The Cupboard,” by Dr. Cass Ingram for other ideas about using oregano oil. The oil also comes in capsule form, but I don’t think the taste is sooo bad; I think “pizza” when I eat it!

    As far as the toenail fungus (sorry, gross), I and my teenage daughter had gotten a fungus about the same time a few years ago. We went to the doctor, got some medicine to go on it and treated it for over a year, with no luck. I tried all the “natural” cures I could find on the internet. This went on for about 2 years. I put the oregano oil on my toenail. It would keep it from spreading, but would not clear it up totally. I was so frustrated. It was not until we started taking oregano oil internally that the fungus cleared up on both my daughter and me. It took about a month. So yeah, I’m pretty convinced about my oregano oil! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Tricia

    A great tip my MIL gave me for ear infections is massage. Start with pressure behind the ear where it meets the jaw and stroke downward. Repeat for 20 minutes every couple hours. This helps to open the tubes and release the trapped fluid that is causing the infection. Massage was the only thing that ever worked when my BIL & SIL were kids.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Beth @ Turn 2 the Simple

    I try to get garlic and probiotics into all of us often. You can buy empty pill capsule from many health food stores — this is a much easier way to take oregano or thyme essential oils ! Just put a couple of drops into the capsule, close the capsule and swallow like a pill!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Mareth

    I really need some recommendations for teething pain. I really don’t like giving my 6 mo. old son Ibuprofen often. It seems to be the only thing that last a long time especially for getting more sleep at night too. I’ve been doing chamomile tablets from Borion and teething gel from Hyland’s. What to do when a fever hits too?? Dosage seems an issue with natural stuff for children under a year as well. Ugh.

    [Reply to this comment]

    esther Reply:

    I have used a Baltic Amber teething necklace with much success, might be worth a try. Check out Hazelaid and like them on facebook to get discounts.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie @ Wellness Mama Reply:

    We use chamomile tincture on the gums and internally and it works great! You can also make it yourself… http://wellnessmama.com/2395/homemade-chamomile-tincture/

    [Reply to this comment]

    Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker Reply:

    Try soaking a washcloth in chamomile tea and freezing it. The cold AND soothing chamomile seem to help! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Leanne

    For fever, I take white willow bark tincture. They say not to take it if you have any aspirin sensitivity (just in case). I can’t find anywhere where it’s advised for younger children, but it did work on a stubborn fever my little one had. I also give my little one teas w/ ginger and elderflower (usually mixed w/ other things) to fight fever and infections.

    In his book “Herbal Antibiotics”, Stephen Buhner recommends using echinacea tincture dribbled into the back of the throat to fight Strep. I’m not sure about strep (haven’t had that here, as far as we know), but it works for us for very sore throats.

    Dosages should be based on the weight of a person. So if the dosage is meant for a 150 lb adult (I got this idea comes from Buhner’s book, too, among others), then take your child’s weight and figure the percentage. For example, a 30 lb child weighs 1/5 of what a 150 lb adult does, so if the adult dosage is 30 drops, the child’s dosage would be about 6 drops.

    Just some random input. :-) I’ve only been using herbs for 3 or 4 years, but I’m learning! :-) We get most of our herbs from The Bulk Herb Store (really like their Double E Immune System Booster, their Eden Salve, and their Heart Health Herba-Smoothie) or Mountain Rose Herbs.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Vikki Kay

    For teething we used Gripe Water mostly. But I was surprised that giving ice chips actually made so much difference. You are right to be wary of ibuprofen! Some of the homeopathic remedies for teething might not last as long, but they can be given more regularly.

    And I would add Colloidal Silver to the natural antibiotics list. It is tasteless, and added to water, so quite easy to keep down.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kathryn

    Oh, Manuka honey is the best for skin infections (fights the dreaded MRSA better than antibiotics), cough, sore throat, canker sores, and even stomach ulcers. Myrrh oil also fights skin infections and is a good healer (but it is pricey and has to be properly stored or it turns hard; it is a tree rosin).

    D-Mannose is the best for UTIs and to prevent UTIs. If you have a UTI, the pain (not the infection itself) will quickly resolve if you sip 1/2 tsp of baking soda in 8 oz of water.

    When we first start feeling ill, high doses of Vitamin D3 (NOT D2 or prescription) will help fight this. D3 has been vilified as being “toxic” at high doses, but they don’t know what they are talking about. If you have concerns, check out Doctor yourself website. Good info there.

    There are so many other good natural fighters and immune boosters, including silver, tho the allopathic medical community has folks scared of this.

    Above all, never, never, never take a fluoroquinolone drug (Cipro, Levaquin, Maxaquin, many others) without first doing significant research. These drugs can have severe, life-threatening, and permanent side effects. They frequently are given for UTI or a cough, but they should be reserved as a last resort. Young people have had tendons in their bodies rupture with no warning, and others have had severe muscle weakness as a result – some are unable to walk or even to breathe on their own following taking this drug. Check out fluoroquinolone toxicity in a web search.

    I know i sound extreme, but Cipro has devastated my life, and that of many other people. Don’t trust your doctor to know this. They often disregard what they consider “coincidental” reactions.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Linda Reply:

    My son is on the generic of Omnicef right now for a bad ear infection. Is that included in the ones you are talking about?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Kathryn Reply:

    Well, here is a website: http://www.emedexpert.com/lists/antibiotics.shtml

    It is listed under: Quinolone Antibiotics

    I don’t see Omnicef listed, but Omniflox is.

    A Wikipedia search of Omnicef states that it is “third generation of the cephalosporin class” and the chemical formula is: C14H13N5O5S2 – so it contains no fluoride.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Sheila Reply:

    I agree — that stuff is nasty. My husband had no “serious” side effects, but he suffered from extreme anxiety and paranoia the whole time he was on it! He was a little depressed before he took it, and since he finished the course he’s been much more depressed. Most people don’t know the severe effect it has on your moods.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Tim Cross

    I’m really surprised you didn’t mention saline solution for congestion… it’s just salt and water, and we all use it (parents and baby) in our house. Do you have anything against it?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Tim,
    Whoops, nope, just missed that one! The post was a victim of situation – my “medicine cabinet” is in a box in the basement, and there’s so often a nursing baby on my lap…so I didn’t actually get to take a peek, just went by memory. ;) I need to add saline to the post – thank you! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Darlene

    Oops…did I do something wrong?? What does “Your comment is awaiting moderation” mean? This is only the 2nd time I’ve ever posted a comment on this blog, so maybe I don’t know the “rules.”

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Darlene,
    sometimes the blog software marks a comment for me to “approve” before it shows. You didn’t do anything wrong at all – in fact, I don’t even understand why some are caught that way. It’s there now! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Darlene Reply:

    Thanks, Katie. I was getting paranoid. I’m new to the blogging world, but love it, especially yours! I know you spend a LOT of time and effort providing all this info and I, for one, really appreciate it!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Jen

    You list looks great! Our big preventatives are similar, and our favorite is elderberry syup. I’m getting ready to make a batch soon. We begin taking 1-2 T every morning in September, and continue throughout the winter. My 3 1/2 year old LOVES it.

    Also, last winter I began diffusing a Thieve’s Oil blend of essential oils in our home. It smells great, and it will kill just about everything.

    I ordered so many supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs to make remedies, but the trick is finding the time for it all!

    For sinus relief, my husband drinks a cup of ACV/local honey tea every morning and evening during allergy season, and anytime he thinks he needs it. He used to have to get 1 – 2 rounds of antibiotics each year for sinus infections. He hasn’t even been to the doctor for 3 years since starting this. Just add 2 T ACV (raw) and 1 tsp. local honey to 1 cup of hot water. You don’t want the water to be too hot or boiling, or it will kill all the good stuff in the ACV and honey.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Shelle

    Great post natural healing is dear to my heart. I highly recommend aviva romm’s book naturally heathy babies and children, it is a great reference and a wealth of information.
    My favorite remedy for pink eye– fennel tea cooled and swabbed on the eye, this was what my son’s anthroposophic doctor prescribed
    I carry rescue remedy for any trauma it helps calm everyone down
    Learning herbs.com has a ton of free information by the family that made the wild craft game.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Stacy

    We keep a bottle of elderberry syrup in the medicine cabinet at all times. We start taking it any time someone is feeling under the weather. I HATE the taste even mixed in water with a bit of flavored stevia, but it does seem to work. DH came down with what we were sure was the flu and elderberry syrup kicked it in a day or two (you have to take it within 24 hours of the first symptoms for it to work well).
    My other favorite natural remedy is apple cider vinegar- it cures athletes foot in a hurry! I soak a cotton ball in it and stick it between my toes.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Kelli

    Pouring straight raw ACV directly on the affected toenail and let air dry twice a day also helps. Works fast too!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Becky

    Thank you for the words of advise. I am new to the homeopatic way of thinking. I have been leary of perscription and over the counter medications ever since my sister passed away from an accidental OD of her perscription meds – she became addicted to them. Not to be a downer – I just thank you all for the wonderful advise and wisedom with this issue. This one is definately one I’ll bookmark. THX

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Becky, how awful and frightening. I’m so sorry to hear your story and pray that your sister’s family is healing after a horrible loss. Blessings, Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Sarah

    Where can I learn more about buying and using a vaporizer? I searched on amazon and the range of prices was huge, plus the comments in the reviews suggest less noble uses… confusing!
    Also, how exactly do you get a drop of lympha rub into the back of the throat? My sons have a cough for over a week; I’ve been giving them scout out and lungs plus from Trilight; one boy is better, the other worse. He’s not good at opening very wide; I tried but he moved and the drop of lympha rub landed on his tongue – now he won’t open for anything. Thanks for all the helpful info!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Sarah,
    Honestly, my vaporizer was under $15 at Meijer. It gets moisture in the air, and that’s pretty much what I’m looking for. Some are probably harder to clean out and get completely dry than others, but this one is not bad. The one we got when our first was born is much harder to keep clean and I do worry about bacteria growing where it doesn’t get dried out very well…

    I just add 8-10 drops of each essential oil right into the water. The cold mist vaporizer tends to get the scent and therefore the healing properties of the oils into the air better, and the warm air vaporizer makes the air feel more moist for a dry cough.

    I’ve missed with the Lympha Rub too. Best successes are when the child is screaming their head off! Husband holds said child on her back on his lap, and I aim and wait for a big one! My older son knows what’s good for him and will open and say “ah” – “ah” is key too, to open the throat.

    Good luck! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Christina

    I just found your site, it’s filled with great information! Seems like you are probably environmentally conscious as well. If that’s the case, please do not toss prescription medicines in the garbage. They should be disposed of properly: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm

    Also, as a note for others, you should also NOT flush most prescription medicines. They eventually end up in our water.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Christina,
    Thank you for that! When I had to throw out the scrip, I asked the ped’s office what to do and they didn’t have any ideas. This is good info! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Sheila Reply:

    Personally, I’d keep old antibiotics in case of emergency (natural disaster, etc.). Of course you would also want to educate yourself about when they should and shouldn’t be used.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Angela Costanzo

    Hi! I’m a massage therapist and I took a class years ago b4 children and turning all-natural…it was using essential oils to heal spinal problems. Reading through your list and the comments above brought it to mind. We used a blend of 7 oils one of which was oil of oregano and mixed them with a carrier oil. These were very gently rubbed along the spine. I wonder if people with kids who have trouble getting it down orally could still benefit from rubbing in through the skin (always use a carrier oil as the essential oils can sometimes irritate sensitive skin). And I also rub my kids ear/throat area when they are sick. Maybe a combo of massage and oil of oregano would be great for ear infections! I’ll have to try it.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • GinaB

    I enjoyed your Monday Mission arriving at my inbox plus everyone’s added comments. Ironically, I was also searching this week to try to identify if I had wild oregeno growing out in the field! So I came across this video that might be helpful: How To Take Wild Oregeno Oil http://youtu.be/7ryheQSdYHc
    Specifially useful was that it showed a 5 year old doing it…. My 4 year old thought this was fascinating!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Gina,
    Fabulous, thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker

    This is such a great post–and so timely! I admit, I skimmed it the other day and bookmarked it to read more in-depth later because I knew it was one I wouldn’t want to miss. I didn’t even see you had linked to my post! (*blush*) Was the e-mail a hint? (*more blushing*) THANKS, KATIE! :)

    Now, onto the post. :) Wow–I think you have things covered! We have used arnica some for general pain. When our 3-year-old had her tonsils out in June, that is actually what the doc gave us for her pain. (He was GREAT!) He also gave us a prescription for tylenol with codene (yikes!). We did fill it, but I *think* we only gave her one dose. (Hubby is a little more med-friendly than I am!) ;) We gave her the arnica after that, and she loved it! It was a little chewable tablet. She didn’t really complain of pain. She liked the arnica so much that she asked for it for WEEKS after. She would say: “I want my vitamin, probiotic, fish oil and arnica!” We had to finally explain that we couldn’t give it to her anymore! That girl was hooked! ;)

    We also take echinacea starting around October and throughout the winter, along with a Vit. D supplement and sometimes Vit. C, although I haven’t found a good Vit. C supplement we can afford. (I am sure they are available; i just haven’t taken the time to look.)

    We also use a vaporizer in our room and the girls’ room and use some essential oils in it.

    Our baby had several ear infections last fall/winter, and we used colloidal silver and garlic drops, along with chiropractic care.

    What else? Oh, we also typically take these (http://www.remedysource.com/store/influenzinum.php) instead of the flu shot.

    I think someone commented on teething pain. I will see if I can find their comment because we are dealing w/ that, too! :)

    Thanks for all the resources!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Bonnie Reply:

    Erin, we use Emergen-C at my house. It is sold at Wal-mart and some grocery stores. It has all the vitamin C and B vitamins that you need for the day and you just mix it with water and drink. It tastes like orange juice. It says to mix in 8 oz. water but to me that makes it taste so watery so I just mix in about 3 oz., stir and drink while it’s still fizzing. It’s also very affordable. :)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Megan

    Awesome and thorough post! I will definitely be referencing it often. (well hopefully not too often) :)
    Another resource I use alot is Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child. It compares typical treatments from various point of view ie, traditional, homeopathic, herbal, accupuncture. Also gives ideas for WHEN to call a dr and when to self treat.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Julie Verfurth, ND

    Katie,
    Thanks for including NaturoKits. I wanted to clarify that there are several homeopathic remedies which can be used for pain – just depends on the type of pain. Some examples (all remedies are in your NaturoKit):
    Arnica, as you mentioned, is great for blunt trauma, bruising, and muscle soreness…really pain from almost any injury.
    Hypericum is a great remedy for nerve pain, pain from deep jagged wounds, and injuries to nerve rich areas (fingers, toes, genitals – e.g. when you’ve slammed your finger in the door, have a toothache, or fallen on your tailbone).
    Cantharis helps the pain of a burn: sunburn, kitchen burn, etc.
    Ledum and Apis come in handy for pain associated with insect bites, among other things.
    When it comes to using homeopathic remedies one has to shift their way of thinking about what’s going on. We’re very accustomed in our culture to using aspirin, tylenol and other pain killers for any and all types of pain regardless of their origin. Homeopathy asks us to step back and describe what is actually going on and then choose a remedy accordingly. Hope this helps!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Julie,
    A good reminder – it is a different paradigm to figure out “what kind of pain” you’re treating. I keep referring to the package insert thinking, “Now WHICH one should I use…?” You should create a list of “100 uses for…” each one. I always want to see exactly what I’m dealing with so I know I choose the right one. (Like “stitches pain from childbirth tearing” wasn’t exactly on there, for example…) :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Sheila

    Really, it’s much better to let a fever run its course. Sometimes that does mean keeping my toddler in a carrier all day and sleeping beside him at night, because he needs a lot of comfort. But his sicknesses pass much quicker if I don’t try to bring the fever down.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Sheila Reply:

    Oops, this should have gone above in the conversation about fevers. :P

    One comment, though: camphor can be pretty toxic. I recently discovered (as I was frantically googling around to see if I should take my toddler to the emergency room when he got into the VapoRub) that it causes seizures if taken internally. My general policy is that if it’s toxic if eaten, it’s probably too toxic for using on kids.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Weekend Links {9.17.11} | More Than Mundane

    [...] Stock Your Natural Remedies Medicine Cabinet :: Kitchen Stewardship [...]

  • 10 Tricks I Use to Combat the Common Cold

    [...] if you haven’t been hit by any bugs yet, you might want to check out the really great list of natural medicines to have on hand as listed by Katie at Kitchen [...]

  • Erin

    Hydrogen peroxide in each ear for 1-2 minutes, 3-4 times a day. If you are already sick; it helps quicken healing time. If you are not sick but those around you are, it keeps you from getting it or you get it very mildly. I just got my two daughters sore throat so I am found it…I know I should have before hand but I can be a procrastinator sometimes :) also for sore throat squeeze limes and boil the juice with honey…drink while warm…I didn’t think to add the cayanne and garlic…sounds awful but I’ll try it…

    [Reply to this comment]

  • via Facebook

    This is an amazing collection of information! <3 Thank you <3

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Katherine Atkinson

    This is such an amazing post! Would you mind sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday? I’m sure my readers would love to read this!

    Thanks!
    ~ Kathy

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Beth via Facebook

    Question about cod liver oil. How do I get the smell out of my sons clothes because he drools a lot. We have been using Nordic naturals brand because I can buy it locally.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • via Facebook

    Beth, that’s a tough one! Plastic bibs…and maybe baking soda soak, OR soak in vinegar (not together) for the smell already on the clothes.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Beth via Facebook

    Thanks, he takes it in capsule form (strawberry flavored) but drools it out for a an hour or so afterword, which is why I gave up giving to him last year but apparently he’s still drooling. Nothing like taking out “clean laundry” and smelling yucky fish on his pjs.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Beth

    Most of these say safe for kids over a year. What do you do for little ones under a year?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Beth,
    I haven’t personally had much experience with natural remedies under a year because I wasn’t quite so “crunchy” back then. However, a lot of the essential oils can still be inhaled by little ones, and for congestion simple things like saline and shower steam can help. Depends what you’re talking about for that age, for sure. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Beth

    Oh…and what do you suggest for sinus headaches and migraines? I’m a constant victim of the two and I know the migraine pills I’m popping are not good for me, but I’m affected so often I would not be able to function…

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Beth,
    I’m not prone to headaches myself, but I’ve read that peppermint essential oil on the back of the neck or temples helps, and one of the homeopathics in the NaturoKit works with headaches – maybe arnica? Sinus headaches might be different as you could attack the stuffy sinus as well, right?
    Good luck! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Beth – had another thought…I’m sure many would recommend seeking out the root cause of the headaches. Gluten? Dairy? Something to think about… Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Mareth Reply:

    Beth,

    I recently went to the optometrist. I mentioned that I had sporadic headaches but more so in the autumn. She said it’s important to check for damage from frequent headaches, optic nerve, I believe. Just another thought to help on the journey to health and wellness.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Sweetums

    For viral infections, GOLDENSEAL tincture is a MUST in the medicine cabinet. Also, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in water will help a sore throat.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • scott

    Does anyone have advice on fighting a prostate infection? Its hard to get antibiotic to that area. I have already used them for 5 months and have decided to stop and find a natural way to fight it.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Reply:

    Scott, The best I can do is point you to what I know about fighting infection, period, but the depth of my knowledge is still pretty shallow there: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/01/18/kids-ear-infections-a-home-remedy/ and http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2011/04/07/fighting-illness-naturally-is-scary-especially-when-youre-blind/
    Good luck! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Kathy Reply:

    I know of an essential oil blend that is a great! replacement for any rx antibiotic!! Let me know your email and I can tell you more…our family has covered many potential trips to the dr right here at home!! Very cool!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • NADIA

    I just wanted to say that I am so grateful I found this blog! Thank you for taking the time out to do it. As a momma of an 8 month old it is so stressful to be “by yourself” when making the more natural decision. Everyone tells me to pop a tylenol or motrin or go to the ER. So nice to see others interested in God’s meds first!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • melissA

    very good stuff… i have grown increasingly wary over the years about just WHAT we are putting into our bodies under the guise of ‘big pharma’ – as you said, we must have done SOMETHING before all these pills!! i am utterly convinced that, given the right diet, exercise (and hell, even jobs play a role!), about 50-60% of our bodily ailments could be more effectively ‘cured’ with natural remedies. i’ve had several cases of MRSA (picked up while in jail.. yah, i’m a bad kid.. was only in there 10 minutes!!); doxycline, bactrim, nothing worked. LIMES are awesome… as is garlic… why do you think pirates and sailors ate so much citrus? To prevent scurrvvyy. :) Tea tree oil is by far on the top of my list for ‘miracle solutions,’ though; it’s worked on sooo many things for me, it’s incredible.

    Found your blog b/c my ears have been hurting since been realllyy sick this past week, and indeed, the garlic and olive oil bit already seems to be helping. I shoulda known garlic would be involved… great, great things, the Earth provides.. Namaste, Blessed Be!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lisa

    I put together something I found online…it is awesome especially for babies and small children you cannot get medicine into. I put 1/4 cup of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 10 cloves of garlic…blend in a blender or food processor…keep in a jar in the fridge and label Goot…rub it on the soles of their feet and cover with socks…you can also rub up their chest…I use it on my whole family and has cured my 7 month old grandson several times from sickness. Another trick for fevers in children and babies is egg whites in a ziplock bag tied to the feet it pulls the fever out of them…leave on for 20 minutes and can be repeated if necessary. My grandsons fever dropped 5 degrees after doing this.
    God Bless

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Jennifer

    Your info looks great however I was quite surprised that you are missing one very crucial item for natural healing. COLLOIDAL SILVER is a Natural anti bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal and anti microbial. We use it for everything and it heals quickly. Here are some of our results:
    Pink eye gone in 24 hours
    Styes gone in 24-48hrs
    Sore throats gone in 24 hours
    Walking pneumonia gone in 3 days
    You can see that silver works great. You can purchase it at your local health food store.
    God Bless

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Debbie

    HONEY, a spoonful. If a person or child (babies are not supposed to have honey) cannot keep down any food or liquid, the body will accept a spoonful of honey. It works I can gladly say.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • uypoi

    I used to get infections regularly – abcess from impacted wisdom tooth, sore throats amongst other things. Yet I have not taken antibiotics in YEARS. I accidentaly discovered that taking iron supplement naturally makes the body fight infections, it is fast acting and very effective. There is a brand called floradix which is pretty well known I use that one as I find its the only thing that works. Its organic and vegetarian and contains no alcohol. If you can try it and see if it works for you it has been a miracle and lifesaver for me.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Hermetic

    Unfortunately, natural remedies do not work for all infections. I have been a herb enthusiast for many years, but I have felt quite let down in the last few months.

    Because of my stupid actions, contracted gonorrhea on February 2nd 2014 (i’m male). I had severe symptoms and immediately tried absolutely everything I could possibly get my hands on..

    Olive leaf extract, golden seal, Oil of oregano, buchu, larch, Garlic, cinnamon, parsley, thyme, chinese herbs, Luteolin, andrographis, Neem, Curcumin, Berberine, artemisinin, probiotics, colloidal silver, Hydroxytyrosol, citrus flavonoids, Grapefruit seed extract, ayurvedic herbs, ashwaganda, eucalyptus, essential oils, resvervatrol etc.. you name It, i have tried it.. It’s been 3 months, and I still have the infection
    :(

    I have a total fear of taking antibiotics, so have been very hesitant about going down the formal antibiotic route.. but I am afraid I am going to have the pluck up the courage and go as nothing seems to work in combating this infection.

    I have only now realised, after reading numerous scientific research papers that certain herbs are fantastic at killing bacteria in vitro, but when taken orally, the mechanisms and chemicals are modified and changed once within the body, and may not have the same effect as it would in a test tube.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Tabatha Reply:

    I’m not a doctor, but when I use certain things such as garlic, oil of oregano, goldenseal, for medicinal uses, I use higher amounts until the symptoms abate.

    For oil of oregano, Cass Ingram has said you can use higher amounts. I have healed myself of strep using upward of 120 drops a day, spread out over the course of a day.

    For garlic, oh boy.. when fighting something, I will use as much as 3 cloves, chopped and crushed, swallowed, every 2 hours for a few days at a time.

    I never use garlic in a pill. I don’t care if the company says it’s high potency. You can’t get any higher potency or greater effect than chopping, crushing, and waiting a couple of minutes for the allicin to release. All of the odorless garlic pills are bunk. You need that odor, and the allicin…. and when fighting infection, great amounts of it. Goldenseal, I will take up to 4 caps every two hours for 3 days, then back down, and taper off as symptoms abate.

    I use vitamin C only in ascorbic acid powder form. I have found it to be most potent and fast acting. I use it in high amounts to bowel tolerance. 1 tsp every 3 hours when fighting infection, then backing off to bowel tolerance.

    I’ve experimented for almost 13 years now and pretty much know what I can or cannot tolerate, and what is safe for me.

    I’m not telling anyone here how to take anything, but sometimes, a higher amount is needing when fighting infections. I used to run to the doctor for everything back in the early to mid 90′s and they would always, put me on a broad spectrum antibiotic. Back then, this is what they did and it led to antibiotic overuse, and now we have bacteria that won’t even respond most antibiotics now. I completely ruined my immune system with over use of these drugs, and I caused myself systemic candidiasis. I was very sick with constant sinus infections….. one after the other. It was not until I discovered colloidal silver that I realized I could fight infections naturally and from there on, I started to experiment. I hardly get sick now. My immune system has recovered.

    With colloidal silver, I will drink 8 oz a day when fighting infection.

    With children it’s much harder, because you can’t pound them full of alternatives as easily as an adult. But I have successfully beat strep throat without antibiotics. My 8 year old one year caught strep throat, and after the first zithromax script, it came back again. Another z-script… came back a 2nd time. After that 3rd time, they put her on Augmentin….. CAME BACK again. I was ready to scream, watching her suffer.

    So I got her to lay down, took diluted oil of oregano and painted the back of her throat with it, with a long q-tip. We did this 4-5 times a day, and took garlic and ooo internally and within 3 days it was gone…. and never came back.

    I am a huge believer now in naturals…although I do think regular drugs has their place to fall back on if we need them.

    My only advice to you is, seek a naturopathic MD, and consider the doses of the alternatives you have been using. It could be that your body requires more. Good luck to you!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Tabatha

    I also forgot to mention, I have used grapefruit seed (not grape seed) extract in capsule form, not the tablet. I don’t think tablets work as well. The liquid was too much for my stomach.

    I take up to 1000mg of that. I fought an abscessed tooth once with 1000mg 4 times a day. Pain gone by day two. Grapefruit seed extract is wonderful stuff!

    [Reply to this comment]

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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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