Fall and winter are full of the year’s best things. October-February golf many of my favorite things, but they also hold some of the worst: germs. Ohhh winter germy season, how I loathe thee. I’ve recurved many questions about our natural medicine cabinet and now feels like the best time to share how we prevent illness and how we treat it if need be.
The items we use daily or at least regularly during this season for prevention are elderberry syrup, essential oils, probiotics, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, vitamins, limiting white sugar and flour and frequent cleaning.
I start giving the kids Elderberry Syrup daily mid-September to start building their immune system for the germy months to come. The minimum dose is wonderful for prevention and boosting their illness fighting capabilities but this stuff really goes to work if they do catch a bug of any sort. It eases the worst of it and always shortens the length of the illness by at least 2 days!
Both kids have consistently started their day with water and probiotic for a year now and the change in their health has been paramount. With all the traveling we do, they used to catch colds far more frequently than I’d like. Since implementing this daily routine and changing nothing else, they have been such healthier and happier kids. Probiotics are crucial for the gut health of our kids. It supports vaginal and urinary tract health, helps aid in food digestion to retain key nutrients and decrease gas and constipation, helps develop a healthy metabolism and supports brain growth and development. Our kids take these daily. (I ignore the age recommendation on this one. I gave Keogena half for about 7 months and now just give her a whole one.)
Essential oils can be a beast in themselves and it opens up a whole new world of learning and exploring, but I cant express how life changing they are. I’ll go more in depth in a separate post, but the most important thing I can share about oils is to be sure you’re getting the best quality possible. Doterra and Young Living are my favorite. I make a roller with Thieves and fractioned coconut oil and roll it on their feet or down their spine every single morning and night. While it can be a bit tricky to navigate ordering them (the sites aren’t always the most user friendly) my sister is a rep for Young Living and you can email her at email@example.com
Limiting processed sugar and white flour is key to help them fight off bugs. Eating or drinking too much sugar hinders immune system cells that fight off bacteria leaving our kids really vulnerable in a season of battle! Of course, suggesting limiting sugar during the time of year overflowing with candy corn, pumpkin pie, hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls sounds a little crazy but after seeing how it’s affected all of our health there’s no turning back.
A hand-washing routine has also been a crucial step to keeping these two healthy. We have step stools in every bathroom so they can hop on up there which is a double edged sword because this also means they can reach my pumpkin Mrs. Meyers soap and dump the whole bottle into their toys BUT that’s neither here nor there. Foam soap is my favorite since it bubbles up the most and if you’re a mom, you know bubbles=everything. The kids will often sing “happy birthday to you” while they wash and the “you look like a monkey and you smell like one too” rendition is quite a hit.
We use the ‘Let’s Read and Find Out’ science books for school and Oshiolema was amazed by the “Germs Make me Sick” book. It explains how eating healthy foods and getting lots of rest helps to keep our bodies healthy and strong and after reading this, he felt such an ownership of his own health and I saw such a shift in his perspective. I highly recommend it! We make sure to add a Biblical aspect to it since the book is certainly science based and very matter-of-fact. We remind them not to be afraid because God is our protector and even if they do get sick, He is our healer.
Now, for treating illnesses when those germs find their way in.
First things first, we run this large-room diffuser downstairs filled with Thieves or OnGuard Oil + Breathe. Both kids have a diffuser in their bedroom and we plug that in and fill it on up with whatever they need in the moment. Steam showers while diffusing Breathe oil and “cupping” their back helps break up any mucus and really gets the drainage going.
At the first sign of sniffles or coughing, I whip out the Briar Rose and Lithy Tree drops. Briar Rose was first given to us by our naturopath for runny noses and congestion in the kids. It’s also super beneficial for their immune system so if they’re really ill, we do 8 drops in water or a smoothie a couple times a day. It works wonders for everything ear nose and throat. Lithy Tree is natures medicine for respiratory and lung issues so when the coughs get really bad and breathing is strained, this is your best friend. I typically use these two simultaneously and the same goes for Lithy Tree, 8 drops in the first beverage of the morning and again later in the day. These are key to keep on hand all season long and while one bottle will last us a year, if it’s low I re-order just so we’re never without them!
We have thishumidifier for each of their bedrooms which is a Winter essential in itself. Humidifiers reintroduce moisture to dry air and when littles are sick and so uncomfortable in bed, this helps some of the symptoms a dry throat and nose can bring.
I mentioned how we use Garlic Oil Ear Drops in my travel post, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s quite the miracle worker and despite having a double ear infection, it seems to soothe discomfort immediately and heal it quicker than ever. At the first sign of ear pain, I drop this into their ear before bedtime and let it work its magic overnight.
We don’t often need to use cough syrups, but in the thick of RSV and a horrendous flu last Christmas, Hylands natural day and night version was so soothing to their throats. We also use Chestal which has a honey base that the kids can’t get enough of.
Rubbing this salve on their chest always seems to be such a comfort to them and I’ll always add Breathe oil with a bit of fractioned coconut oil to their chest as well.
Now, I’m going to leave you with this essential oil blend that was an answer to prayer two years ago when our 23 month old Oshiolema and 3 month old Keogena came down with a terrible case of RSV. I’m so thankful for our pediatricians here in Dallas (where we were at the time) because they’re some of the best naturopaths I’ve ever come across. They gave us an oil regimen to follow to a T and we did just that, but sweet little Keogena wasn’t recovering quite as quickly as Oshiolema. A friend of mine sent me this concoction as a last minute effort before having to take her to the hospital and friends, it worked within a few hours. The cough was still awful and we had to do regular steam showers and that cupping technique, but she healed at a rapid pace after that. Now whenever the colds take a turn and I can tell we’re going to need something a little more than Elderberry syrup, I’ll mix up these oils and roll it on their feet. Works like a charm every time.
RSV blend (Doterra):
10 drops Breathe
10 drops Lime
5 drops Frankencense
2 drops Oregano
1 drop Thyme
28 drops of Fractioned Coconut Oil to dilute
Mix it all into a rollerball and you’re all set! These are my favorite rollerballs to keep on hand.
I keep oils on this nail polish organizer and have this bin for “boo-boos” which holds Neosporin, more band-aids than any human could ever need, the thermometer and things like that. I keep another bin for “colds” which houses everything listed here, aside from their probiotics, vitamins and elderberry which they take daily. I use that same bin in all different sizes to store food in our pantry, for our homeschool area and many of our closets too because it’s so simple and makes things look cohesive. Lastly, this first aid box is home to different bits and bobs relating to oils and lives in our family room because it’s so pretty.
I hope this was helpful! It’s been one of my most requested posts so if there’s anything I missed, please let me know! Here’s to a happy and healthy Winter season, may it be our best yet!