Steeped in lore and tradition, this lovely member of the rose family has a long history of use in healing humanity’s woes. It’s historical use stretches around the globe from cultures in Europe to China and on to the Native Americans.Read More
Inside a simple cup of tea is the power to transform! Indeed, here we can find the power to comfort, nourish and even heal. Inside a simple cup of tea is a little world of tasty, soothing magic.
Many herbs give themselves easily to water, imparting their healing virtues, vitamins, minerals and even oils. Once extracted in water all that goodness is made readily available and is easily absorbed into the body.
Did you know you can infuse herbs in honey? Well, yes you can! And you end up with a little jar of heaven. The herbs kindly give themselves to the honey resulting in a sweet, gentle preparation that not only tastes amazing but has the healing properties of the herbs and honey all contained in a little jar. The perfect present for friends, family, teachers and, of course, for yourself!Read More
Some nights call for a tasty little something with a kick. Something to warm you up and help you feel calm. This yummy rum is full of warming herbs that gently stimulate digestion and circulation. It also has relaxing nervine herbs which help to calm the nervous system and ease you right off to sleep.Read More
In my yard resides a beautiful gnarly grapevine. It grows along my fence and at times threatens to overtake a lovely Italian plum tree I have planted there. Every year perfect full bunches of grapes form all along the vine. In the Autumn they hang heavy, deeply purple and full of seeds. Their flavor is intense and beautiful, almost too much to sit and munch on for longer than a few minutes.Read More
Typical of most mint family members, rosemary is rich in antibacterial essential oils providing wonderful support for the immune system. As a mom and preschool teacher I have seen plenty of kids come down with illness at the beginning of the school year. So why not give little immune systems some gentle support as the school year starts? Having a lovely action on the nervous system, rosemary simultaneously relaxes and refreshes an overwhelmed, tired mind as well as easing tension headaches. When your kiddos come home tired and exhausted from school offering them a nice cup of rosemary tea, relaxing foot bath or full body bath with rosemary in the tub will help them let go of the stress of the day and clear away muddled tiredness from their heads.Read More
When I hear "a sniffle and a sneeze" coming from one of my kids, my brain starts to spin with questions about what action if any I should take in regards to the sounds/signs their body is making.
"Is Violet getting sick or did she just inhale a bit of something that is making her sneeze?"
"Nyssa has coughed five times this morning, how is she doing?"
I try not to be an alarmist because I know the innate vitally of my kids is strong and that they will be fine. And further, that sometimes, we need to be sick. We need a break and that is ok too.
Everyone has their own protocol for how to help their sick kid. For my family I do try to catch things early if I can. I have a general idea of what my kids' normal is.... how does their tongue normally look? Are their eye's sparkly and their cheeks rosy? What does the temperature of their skin usually feel like when they wake up? I pay attention as best I can and when things begin to look/feel a bit off, I take measures to help them right away and I start to give my kids things from the following list. This is my first line of defense for my kids. If a cold or flu settles in we move on to other remedies.
Here is what I have found works well for my kids and my family.
- Elderberry Syrup ~ Click Here to learn all about elderberry and how to use it.
- Catnip Tea ~ When my kids need catnip tea, they suck it down like soda pop. Great right before bed to aid sleep and fight infections. Brew one tablespoon in a big cup of just boiled water for 10 minutes. You might want to sweeten it with honey or agave.
- St. John's Wort/ Lemon Balm Tea ~ Blend together a small handful of each, cover with just boiled water and steep for at least 20 minutes. These herbs are great antivirals and relaxants. My girls have their own little personal tea pots and they love having a special pot all brewed up just for them when they are feeling crummy.
- Umcka ~ I found this product recently. All I can say, is that it really works! My kids love the taste of the syrup so it is really easy to give it to them.
- Vitamin D ~ Wonderful for prevention during the winter months. Check out this video from one of my amazing teachers, Paul Bergner, for info about using vitamin D.
- Essential Oils ~ Lavender & Spearmint for kids age 2 to 6 years with the addition of Ravensara & Eucalyptus for older kids. Use any of these in the bath and in a humidifier, are great. But my favorite thing to do is to dilute a couple of drops of essential oil in a generous teaspoon of carrier oil and use this mixture to give my child (or myself) a nice firm foot massage before bed. Follow up with snuggly socks and sweet dreams.
- Homemade Soup ~ Chicken is my favorite with lots of veggies, garlic and medicinal mushrooms.
- Increase Liquids ~ Lots and lots, really anything they will drink as long as it is not sugary, though I will give them diluted juice, if that is all they will drink
- Hot Apple Cider ~ Speaking of juice... I make this with diluted apple juice, cinnamon chips and fresh ginger. I just combine about a cup of juice, a cup of water, up to an inch or so of chopped ginger and a tablespoon of cinnamon chips in a pan. Simmer for at least 20 minutes and serve. Warming, immunostimulating and yummy!
- Oscillococcinum ~ for flu exposure. My homeopathic doctor friend told me that taking a third of the tube through out the day is the best way to take it rather then taking the whole remedy at once.
- Eliminate ~ refined sugar, dairy, and citrus.
- Promote Rest
- Love ~ the most important part!
- For Parents ~ Raw Garlic is great. I mince it up with a bit of salt and add it to whatever we are eating or putting it on a piece of toast with olive oil. Everything else above is great for mom and dad too.
Note ~ There are a lot of wonderful products on the market for helping us to stay healthy. When the above measures don't stop illness in its tracks, I move on to Wish Garden Herbs formulations, they have some wonderful formulations for both kids and adults. All of their products are amazing. I have tried many for myself, my kids and recommended them often with consistent wonderful feedback. My favorites for kids are their Ear Combo for ear infections. I keep this one on hand. It is really effective and helpful when you are awakened in the middle of the night by a kid in pain. Also, their Kick-It products and Cold Season Symptoms are wonderful. I had many parents give me rave reviews about the Cold Season remedy when I worked retail.
What do you do to keep yourself and your family healthy? I am always looking for great tips and suggestions!
Nature has blessed us with so much. Looking to Nature we can find a multitude of amazing plant allies that can help the whole family stay nourished and healthy during the winter months. A favorite is elder berry which has an extensive traditional use as a preventative for the flu and as a support during the flu. In fact modern research has found elderberries to be active against the flu virus. You can easily make a yummy syrup from elderberries to take on a regular basis during flu season. This is something that most kids really enjoy taking which is a major plus! If you don't want to make your own syrup a ready-made preparation of elderberry Sambucol can be purchased at most natural food stores. And if despite your best efforts, sickness should take hold, syrups can be used during a bout of the flu to hasten healing.
We make the following easy delicious recipe for syrup every year.
~ Elderberry Syrup ~
- One cup of fresh or ½ cup of dried elderberries
- 1 to 2 tsp of whole cloves (use less if you are using ground cloves)
- 1 to 3 tsp of cinnamon chips (use less if you are using ground cinnamon)
- 1 inch of fresh ginger root, chopped
- the peel of one organic orange
- 3/4 cup of raw unprocessed honey which acts as a preservative and enhances flavor
- 3 cups of water
Directions: Simmer the elderberries and spices in 3 cups of water. Once the berries have softened smash up the berries and spices in the water. This is a fun part to have children help with. I use a potato masher and closely supervise my kids while the squish away to their hearts delight! Cook at a low boil for about a ½ hour or until the liquid reduces by one-half. Strain the mixture with a fine mesh strainer. Make sure to get all the seeds out, which can be somewhat irritating to the digestive tract. Return the liquid to the pot and add the honey. Heat until the honey just melts. Then bottle, label (include the date!) and refrigerate your new syrup. It will keep in the refrigerator for about three months. Take 2 to 3 teaspoons for adults and 1 teaspoon for children (ages 2 and up) 3 to 5 times a week as a prophylactic during flu season. If you do happen to get sick with a bout of the flu take the same dosage about four times per day. Only the blue elderberries (Sambucus nigra) should be used as the red ones are toxic. Elderberries are generally considered to be quite safe though they can be drying and irritating for folks suffering from migraines. If you have a reaction, stop taking it immediately.
Recipe and information from Brigitte Mars's Elder.
A highly knowledgeable herbalist, Brigitte Mars lovingly offers her treasure trove of information for us to all learn from. Her classes are lively, fun and interesting. Her books offer an extremely valuable resource to those wishing to study herbs and learn about healthy living.
Make your syrup special
The spices included in this recipe not only make it taste delicious but also help to warm the body, decrease inflammation and support healthy digestion. Other herbs can be added to this syrup to increase its protective properties. Rose hips are soothing and will provide nourishing vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Astragalus has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a tonic to the immune system particularly to prevent illness. However, this herb should not be used during illness as it can drive infection deeper into the body. So do not take astragalus during the flu or cold. A great herb for children’s health is lemon balm. This yummy plant is antibacterial and antiviral, while also calming the digestive and easing nervous energy. Add any of these herbs by the handful to the pot with the elderberries be sure to also add a little extra water during the simmering and a bit more honey.