I’ve had seasonal allergies most of my life. Growing up I remember taking all sorts of different allergy medications – some worked, some did not. The summer months are probably my least favorite because I am usually sneezing, blowing my nose, and trying not to itch my eyes. The three years that I ate a strict raw food diet I had NO allergies – none. I loved being able to go outdoors and not have to stuff my pockets with tissues! I almost forgot that I ever had allergies, until I started to ease up on my strict diet and introduce some cooked food into my diet. Well this year I’ve had allergies, although they aren't as bad as they've been in the past. Some days are worse than others and those bad days have left me annoyed and frustrated. I don’t want to use an over the counter medication and the past weeks I’ve been experimenting with herbs and essential oils to find relief. As I’ve mentioned before, I love HerbMentor and on that website there is Village Herbalist course that teaches about colds, flus, hay fever and allergies. I finally decided to sit down and listen to it a couple weeks ago and was amazed at the wealth of information I received. I took notes and have been experimenting with the suggestions and recipes that were shared.
“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Hippocrates
If you want to learn more about herbs but are feeling overwhelmed with where to start I highly recommend checking out LearningHerbs.com. John Gallagher has a great no-nonsense approach to learning about herbs, starting with what you already have in your kitchen. I just finished watching a new webinar that John put together called the Herbal Ninja. You can access it for FREE by clicking here and signing up. We really have so many simple tools that we can utilize in keeping our families healthy. If you aren’t interested in really becoming an herbalist and getting into making more difficult remedies, then the information on Herbal Ninja is perfect for you. If you do want to get into more difficult remedies and learn all you can about herbs, the information on Herbal Ninja is for you. This is basic information that is wonderful and amazingly simple for everyone! We all want to save money these days and what better way to save then in health care costs. Of course you want to seek professional help for serious issues – you know what those are and when you need to get help. However, there are so many little things that come up on a daily basis, especially with kids that can be solved with simple remedies such as garlic, honey, onion, and peppermint tea. I’ve recommended LearningHerbs.com before but it’s a great way to get your feet wet when it comes to herbs without drowning in the sea of herbal information. Check it out and let me know your success with herbs by leaving me a comment with what works for you and your family.
Fresh ginger root
Ginger has so many amazing health benefits and is so simple to use. My favorite way is to make ginger tea. You first start by getting fresh ginger root from the grocery store then using a knife or peeler to remove the skin. I usually use about a 1 inch piece at a time which I grate into a little pile. Yes, the actually root can be rather stringy, so if it’s hard to grate, simply chop into small pieces and it’ll have the same effect. Put in a pan with several cups of water and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 min. Then add honey to taste and drink! Beware though, ginger is warming herb so it can be kind of hot. If it’s too hot, simply add more water until you get the taste that is just right for you.
Just to name a few of the ailments that can be relieved through the benefits of ginger: nausea, indigestion, cold, flu, poor circulation, menstrual cramps, bloating, heartburn, arthritis, motion sickness, headaches, toothaches, coughs, bronchitis, and more. I’m sure that you are dealing with at least one of the above ailments in your household, so go buy so ginger and make some tea!
*********I just found a great site after posting this that shows how you can simply peel ginger with a spoon. Check out the video here!
Licorice root helps to break up and expel mucus that has settled in the lungs. It is also a calming herb that can help when we need rest when we are sick. Honey is anti-microbial that can help get to the cause of a cough. With the cold and flu season upon us I made a batch of cough syrup for my family and have used it with great success. You’ll simply need to purchase some licorice root at the health food store and you should be set. Here is the recipe and instructions.
Licorice Honey Cough Syrup
½ cup dried licorice root
2 cups water
Bring to a boil then let simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is reduced by half. Strain. Add ½ cup honey while tea is warm and stir until dissolved. Cool and then pour into a glass jar with a lid. Store in the fridge for about a month. Take 1 tsp. for cough as needed.
A great simple herbal remedy that I’ve made for my family this winter is elderberry syrup. Elderberries are great in boosting the immune system. You can find more about the medicinal properties of elderberries online. A site with some great articles is vitanetonline if you want to learn more! With only 3 ingredients this is a sure fire way to save some money this year by boosting your family’s immune system before they get sick. All you need to do is make a quick trip to the health food store for some dried elderberries and you’re set!
½ cup dried elderberries
3 cups water
1 cup honey
Place berries in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 min. Mash the berries with a potato masher or a fork then strain mixture through a mesh strainer. Add honey and mix until dissolved. Pour into a jar then store in the fridge for lasting several months. Make sure as with any home remedy you make that you label and date your creations.
You can give yourself or your child a spoonful every 2-3 hours while sick or everyday as a great way to boost the immune system during the winter months. You can add it to your recipes to get those great health benefits to your diet.
I’m on an herbal learning kick right now, so you may see more posts of that nature right now more than anything. My desire to learn more about herbs has been in an effort to gain confidence and knowledge in taking my family’s health into our own hands. For quite some time I’ve been wanting to take the Family Herbalist course from the School Of Natural Healing. This is an entry level class that is designed to empower you with the knowledge and confidence needed to tackle almost any health issue. My hubby got a nice Christmas bonus at work so I was able to purchase it and just before their sale ended! I have 3 months to complete the course so I have been working hard on my study guides and online classes. At this rate i hope to be done by the end of the month.
Another place I’ve gone to learn more about herbs is learningherbs. This is a wonderful free website that introduces you to John Gallagher and his simple approach to learning herbs. Go sign up for the free Supermarket Herbalism course that gives you extremely simple remedies with ingredients you probably already have at home. I love this site and his partner site herbmentor – which is $10/mo with unlimited site access. I signed up for the site and seriously I could be on it for years and still not get everything out of it. There are e-books, courses, and video files that you can download once you are a member. If you have ever been overwhelmed with learning about herbs, this is the one website you SHOULD go to. Check it out! Let me know what you think once you do. I welcome comments and would love to hear about your journey!
I discovered one day that my six year old son had athlete’s foot. He hadn’t complained about it at all but I discovered him picking the soles of his feet and was shocked at how severe it was! I had athlete’s foot several times in high school thanks to the locker room floors and never had it this bad. I immediately researched my herbal references and found a simple calendula antifungal home remedy. I had him soak his feet in the recipe below for 30-45 min a day for several days and it’s cleared up with no over-the-counter creams or medications.
Calendula Anti-Fungal Foot Soak
2 cups boiling water
4 TBSP dried calendula flowers (can be purchased at the health food store)
Pour water over flowers and steep for at least 20 min. Drain flowers and pour the remaining infusion into a bucket for foot soak and add the following:
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup Epsom salts
10 drops Lavender essential oil (EO)
Add enough warm water to cover feet up to the ankles. Swish the feet around to mix the EO and dissolve the salt. Soak for 30-45 min a day (or more frequently) until cleared up.