Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Treating Cold Naturally

Chances are most children (and adults) have experienced common cold in our lives. "It is the most frequent infectious disease in humans with the average adult contracting two to three colds a year and the average child contracting between six and twelve." (source)

My family used to take Panadol, Nyquil, or Advil the moment we felt cold coming. I never felt the need to research what those over-the-counter medicines are made of or whether they are safe or not, because they worked like magic. My first baby, Elin, caught her first cold when she was three months old. At the time she was exclusively breastfed and we rarely went out of the house so I didn't know why or how she caught the cold (and fever). That was when she took her first antibiotic. I wasn't peaceful about it but I didn't know what else I could do. Afterwards, I started my research on natural remedies that I can prepare at home to fight cold.

How Can We Treat Cold Naturally?

We try to boost our immune system by consuming healthy food, but when cold does strike, here are some natural ways to treat cold symptoms:

- Essential Oils. Use eucalyptus/peppermint essential oils to relieve congestion. 
  • Put a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil in a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel, and breathe in the steam. (If you are pregnant, please check the safety of the oil you are using).
  • Rub either essential oil with a carrier oil (olive oil or sweet almond oil) under the nose, on the neck, chest, back, and feet before we sleep.
  • If you have an air purifier that uses water (not filter paper), you can add a few drops of essential oils in it and let the machine run. 
  • Use the oil to make homemade vapor rub (no more Vicks).
- Onions. I've read that placing a cut-up onion in a bowl near where you sleep will help relieve congestion. I haven't tried this yet, but there is no harm in trying if you're running out of options.

Drink ginger tea. It is soothing, speeds up circulation and helps to decongest. I grate a lot of ginger, let it sip in hot water, and add a little bit of manuka honey to sweeten.

- Make lemon, garlic, ginger, and honey tea.

- Make this cough and cold syrup at home. I tried it before and didn't like the onion taste in the syrup, but I drank it anyway.

Vitamins. Consume immune-boosting foods that are high in vitamin C, zinc, and D (such as cod liver oil).

- Coconut OilFlu is caused by a virus that has lipid coating. Coconut oil makes pathogenic virus disintegrate and encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria. Adequate vitamin A is critical for fighting infection, so the combination of coconut oil and cod liver oil is ideal for preventing bacterial infections. 

Sun Exposure. The sun is the best source of vitamin D that is especially important for our immunity.

For the little ones:

Snotsucker. I use Nosefrida snotsucker to help my baby decongest since she can't blow her nose yet.

Homeopathic Remedy. I buy Hyland's Kids' Kit for my baby or this one for older children.

What natural methods have you successfully tried at home to relieve cold and congestion?

Disclaimer: Although I am passionate about healthy and natural living, I am not a certified or a licensed medical practitioner who can counsel anyone in medical issues and cannot be held responsible for any decision you make regarding your health. What I am sharing are what I have learned and applied to my family but may not necessarily work for yours. My only hope is that this blog may encourage you to learn more about healthy and natural living which will hopefully help you as you make decisions for your own family.

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  1. I throw a couple handfuls of Epsom salts in a super hot shallow bath (1/2 way up my thighs) and lay down. When the water is cool, I can repeat. Drinking plenty of filtered water. This pulls the toxins out.