Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to get ready for sick season by stocking a few ingredients for fighting infection. We want to have home remedies on hand for infection, congestion and more. It’s so valuable to use herbal antibiotics, natural antibiotics and other natural remedies to stay healthy.
A few years ago during the 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.
RELATED: If you do end up using them, here’s how the best probiotic when taking an antibiotic.
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.
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
- 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
- Elderberry syrup should not be used by people with certain conditions – be sure to look it up!
- homemade chicken stock from bones – always a good food to include in your meal plan at least once a week, especially in the fall/winter.
- vitamin C superfoods – it’s pretty well known that vitamin C is a great way to boost your immune system and prevent getting sick. But did you know the very best way to get vitamin C is through whole food sources? My favorite way to get the most potent vitamin C rich superfoods is with Essential C Complex from Paleovalley.
- 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 (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site) – also a natural antibiotic food, the healing properties of coconut oil are many and diverse! We use it all the time in cooking…
- 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.
Some Quality Probiotics
Some of these I’ve used, some I’m planning to use, and some have been recommended by friends and professionals alike. It’s good to remember a few things about probiotics: 1. People should get different colonies of probiotics, so switching brands/strains every so often (6 weeks?) is good practice. 2. What works great for one person’s needs doesn’t always work for another.
I’ve personally tried:
- Just Thrive Probiotics – this one can be taken during antibiotics and not be rendered ineffective, which almost all other probiotics are! It’s the top recommended probiotic overall by Paleo Mom Sarah Ballantyne. 😮
- Seed Daily Synbiotic – the new player in the field but recommended by superstars like Chris Kresser for its unique probiotic/prebiotic synergy. Here’s my full review including a number of surprises for my thinking and a 15% off code! Ooooooo, Merry Christmas to you! How about 20% off your first month instead with the code STEWARDSHIP20 through Dec. 25th!!
- RightBioticsRX – the top recommended probiotic of all soil-based options by an expert I’ve been working with. Read more here. Use Subscribe and Save to save more!
- Note: If you’re struggling with digestion, especially constipation, or you feel like you really need to populate your gut with healthy probiotics, I would recommend Saccharomyces Boulardii in addition to any other you choose (except the 2 above which include this strain). Saccharomyces Boulardii is research-proven to get through the digestive tract without being killed, which is rare.
- Balance One probiotics with a unique time-release formula (use the code KITCHENS15 at either Balance One’s site or even Amazon to save 15% either place! Wow! Use the code at checkout on Amazon btw.)
For Little Ones (we use all of these):
- Mary Ruth’s liquid probiotic is a soil-based, liquid probiotic that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and tastes like…nothing! It’s my new favorite for administering to kids!
- WellBelly by WellFuture (9 strains of probiotics in apple and banana carrier – it’s a powder)
- Buddies in my Belly probiotic powder (2 strains of probiotics + potato starch carrier and prebiotics) or chewable tablets
Recommended by experts I trust:
- Biokult – highly recommended by many, including the GAPS diet
- Klaire Labs Pro-biotic complex V-caps or Ther-Biotic Complete (25 billion CFU)
- Probiophage DF (7 dairy-free strains)
- Transformation Enzymes (5 billion CFUs that may get through digestive tract…)
- Primal Blueprint (6 strains, 10 billion CFUs)
- Pharmax high potency (4 strains + FOS) or long-term HLC maintenance (2 strains)
- Pro-Bio from Enzymedica (8 strains)
- Syntol from Arthur Andrew Medical (13.6 billion CFUs with prebiotic, spore germinating blend, yeast cleanse)
Did you know that essential oils have a shelf life?
Katie here, popping in to tell you that those essential oils that have been sitting in your cabinet for a couple years and are still half full may have expired. Read more about what I learned when researching this topic, and you can even have the handy printable I made to help me remember how long which oils last.
Natural Antibiotics: Home Remedies 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:
- Oregano Essential Oil – infuse into air, rub onto feet WITH a carrier oil, but don’t take my word for it. Read this from a reader…
- Read my post on the potential dangers of essential oils. They can be great if used correctly, but you need to know enough to know what you don’t yet know…
- We successfully use KidSafe Germ Destroyer essential oil blend. I prefer to source my essential oils from Plant Therapy and love their KidSafe blends!
- Here’s a post with more personal experience and lots of information on how to fight infections naturally without antibiotics
- 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.
- For skin infections, check out my Home Treatment for Cellulitis.
Do you know how to properly dilute essential oils?
Katie here, popping in to tell you how important it is to be sure you’re diluting those essential oils properly.
Sure, you know not to use EOs straight (neat). But do you know the 1-2-3 math so it’s not too strong or weak?
Print this chart to keep with your oils so you never have to do math in the middle of the night when your LO is congested:
Natural Remedies To Ease Congestion
- Lots of brands and small businesses have chest rubs with eucalyptus, menthol, camphor, and more. These are a great alternative to Vick’s because they have safe carrier oils like olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site) , beeswax, etc. There’s also a recipe in Herbal Nurturing.
- A vaporizer
- To put in your vaporizer:
- eucalyptus oil (Note: not for kids under 10!)
- Kid-Safe alternative to eucalyptus: Cedarwood Virginian
- camphor oil (Note: not Kid-Safe)
- lavender oil (very safe for even young children when diffused!)
- Kid-Safe Sniffle Stopper synergy – Professionally blended “synergies” (i.e. mixtures of multiple oils) are usually more effective than single oils, and Robert Tisserand blended all Plant Therapy’s Kid-Safe synergies!
- You can also put the garlic and oregano oils in the vaporizer to fight infection – smells like a pizza joint!
- eucalyptus oil (Note: not for kids under 10!)
- 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)
Natural Remedies For Coughs
My mom used to give me whiskey and honey, 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.
The steam treatment described in this how to treat pneumonia naturally at home is great for any chest congestion.
Natural Remedies 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-nausea remedies.
When they’re throwing up anyway, here are my 3 quick tips for throw-up clean-up, along with the real food B.R.A.T.Y. diet.
Natural Remedies For General Pain
I am always grateful for the community at Kitchen Stewardship® – it’s like having the smartest natural moms in the world all living right next door. I’ve compiled the best natural remedies for 12 of the most commonly discussed ailments here at KS, and am making this resource available for free to all my readers!
Imagine this ebook as a virtual chat over the backyard fence with your own neighbor, a wise older mom who raised a bunch of kids with intention, trying to avoid unnecessary medication and being kind to the earth.