There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about the flu, so I thought that it would be fitting to start off with some home remedies for the flu.
Fever, chills, stomach cramping, aches and pains. Thoughts of these strike fear in all of us, making the flu shot very popular. But there are sometimes that the flu shot doesn’t quite work or some of us decide not to get it for various reasons. I love using things that support my body in fighting illness. Here are some of them and I have stumbled upon something that I am always going to keep in my medicine cabinet from now on.
First, we use probiotics right from the start. These little guys help to sooth an upset tummy, stop cramping and ease nausea. Probiotics come in capsules or powder and either way is effective. Probiotics also help to support your immune system so if you take them regularly you will notice a decrease in minor illnesses. There are many good brands out there, but I generally stick with the refrigerated brands from reputable health food stores. I know you can also get a liquid probiotics, but I have not used that type. Use the dosage that is recommended on the bottle for normal use and we increase this when we are feeling the beginnings of the flu coming on.
We also use miso. Miso is a paste made out of fermented soy, barley or chickpeas. You don’t need very much to enjoy the healing benefits of it. It is simple, nourishing and warms you up from the inside out. Our favorite and easiest way to make it is to make a batch of rice in the rice cooker (or on the stovetop), boil water in your teapot or saucepan, pour the water into a coffee mug, take about 1/4 cup of the rice, put it in the coffee mug and add 1 tsp or so of the miso to it. Stir and enjoy. Try not to boil miso because that kills the beneficial bacteria that are in it. It dissolves very easily in warm water. It is one of my daughter’s favorites.
My latest discovery, something that has been around for a very long time, came when my little guy was recently fighting a stomach virus. I was talking to a friend that has great herbal knowledge and in the course of the conversation mentioned what was going on at my house. She told me to burn a piece of toast, grind it up, mix two pea sized balls with honey and give it to him. I did this and within 15 minutes the whimpering/crying that had been going on for hours stopped. It was incredible. Within 25 minutes he nursed and smiled at me. 45 minutes later he was playing a bit. As I did a little research, I discovered that having a bottle of activated charcoal around the house is not a bad idea. Activated charcoal absorbs all types of different toxins, is used in many hospitals and emergency rooms to counteract the effects of overdoses. It is helpful with the flu, because of the toxins as well as helping to decrease gas and gas pains. You can even take activated charcoal as a gradual detoxification program as well as fighting candida in the body. Activated charcoal has more uses than I will list here (that is a whole other post in itself!) but the bottom line is, get a bottle to have on hand for when you need it. It really works! The recommended dosage is 1 tsp in 8 oz of pure water. For toddlers/children I would start with 1/2 tsp mixed with small amount of honey or maple syrup. There is also no reason that you cannot mix the adult dose in with some honey or maple syrup, that is what I will do. I don’t really like to drink gritty things and activated charcoal is gritty!
Another remedy that is helpful in our house is popsicles. Not just any popsicles (though those will do as well) but lemon balm popsicles. I have a big plant that I can go and pick leaves off of, but you can easily buy it at any grocery store that has a bulk herbal section. I make a batch of tea (dried herb use about 1/4 cup and for fresh herb a good sized handful will do) add a bit of local raw honey for sweetness and all the benefits that it contains, freeze in popsicles holders and give to sick people. It is soothing, delicious, and gets fluids and some glucose into a body that needs it. Lemon balm is a great choice because it soothes tummies, calms the nervous spirit, and stops cramping and spasming in the colon.
I cannot end this post without a helpful idea for fever and chills. This works great and can help when you just can’t get that scary fever to break. Have the sick person take a warm shower for 5 minutes. Then take a pair of cotton socks. Completely wet them with ice cold water. Wring them out well. Put them on and then pull on a pair of wool socks over them. Climb into bed or cuddle up on the couch and get warm. This stimulates the lymphatic system and helps the white blood cells to do their job and fight inflammation and infection. This is best done when the illness starts and continue for 3 nights. I have done it randomly (not following the schedule) during an illness with success and my sister used it with her 5 year old boy when he had a very high fever and it helped it to break! Using the wet sock treatment can be used in conjunction with other modalities to treat inflammation, infection or sore throat, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infection, coughs, bronchitis and sinus infections. Try this! It works!
The important thing to remember when you or someone you love has the flu, is to try not to worry so much about food intake. What is important is to keep as hydrated as possible. Whether that means lemon balm popsicles, miso soup or your own favorite herbal tea or soup to sip on, keep the fluids coming. If food intake is very low, add a touch of sweetener (raw honey, only if the baby is over 1 year, agave syrup or maple syrup) to keep blood sugar and strength up. Once dehydration sets in, it is hard to play catch up, especially if you are in the middle of the flu bug. Try to stay hydrated!
Hopefully one, or some, of these tips sound good to you and are useful the next time that you or any of your loved ones have the flu. I would love to know of any others to add to this list. Stocking my medicine cabinet with non-pharmicological items helps me feel empowered and supports mine and my children’s body to heal the way that it is supposed to.