Monday, January 30, 2012

7 Home Remedies to Keep your Family Healthy

As a child, it seemed that every cold virus that came along, I caught. My dad would refer to me as 'the carrier' because I would usually be the one to bring home a germ & infect the entire household with it. Colds, strep throat, stomach virus, and bronchitis loved me. (I didn't love them back.)

Once I left home & went to college (in a Philadelphia Hospital) this didn't happen any more. (Hmmm, maybe my mother's house was TOO clean and what I really needed was exposure to more germs!! ) Now, working with children all the time, I rarely get sick and when I do, its usually short lived.

However, this month, I have not been resting, exercising or eating the way I should, and I have 'caught' something that seems to be lingering, so I am revisiting my collection of  'home remedies'.  

My grandmother was the first one to use a home remedy on me. I remember one time, at her insistence, eating a big plate of fresh scallions from the garden (with olive oil to dip) that she said would 'chase away' the cold I had gotten. (Well, the scallions did get rid of the cold-and all of my friends-as they did their best to avoid me and my 'fresh green onion' aroma.)

Garlic (roasted) was another favorite remedy of my grandmother's. She told the story of her brother, who was a medic in WWI during the influenza pandemic, & how he stayed well because he kept a clove of garlic in his mouth at all times, like a lozenge. (The flu killed more people between 1918-19 than the war itself.)

It was not until years later I understood why scallions (Green Onion)  and garlic were given to me when I was getting a cold: scallions have antipyretic (fever reducer), expectorant, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. They are also full of vitamins A, C and Calcium.

Garlic has more than 150 health benefits and has strong antibiotic and anti fungal properties. It strengthens the immune system, detoxifies the blood, relieves of bronchial coughs, asthma & head colds. My grandmother, having grown up on a farm (in Pottstown, PA) with 11 brothers and sisters, knew many of these natural remedies for staying well and she used them throughout life. (There must be something to the natural way and home remedies, because she lived to be 98 years old and was rarely ever sick. But good luck getting your kids to eat a plate of scallions and roasted garlic!)

My mother's favorite remedy was pastina soup-or "Star Soup" as I used to call it. Homemade chicken broth with star pastina added was the standard 'cure' when me or my brother got sick. (One study has found that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that will ease cold symptoms, however there has not been any double-blind scientific study to explain why chicken soup helps us feel better. Is it the steam? The nutrients? Or maybe its all that love from mom that goes into making it.)

Here are a few other remedies I have usedover the years to ease cold symptoms and strategies I use to keep my children andmyself well:
  • The best remedy for colds is a proper diet, especially fluids to clear the kidneys. Warm water mixed with lemon juice and honey or fruit juice and hot water. This helps to neutralize the acid condition in the body. Pineapple juice in particular is beneficial for this purpose.
  • Ginger is a common remedy for colds and coughs. It is a known digestive aid and can help settle the stomach and controls nausea and vomiting. Ginger tea, ginger ale and candied ginger will all help symptoms of cold and flu.
  • Lime Juice (well diluted) is highly beneficial for reducing colds and fevers. Rich in vitamin C, it eliminates toxins and reduces the duration of the infection.
  • Honey and Lemon Juice will help sooth a sore throat and help eliminate congestion respectively. Honey has antibacterial properties and will help prevent throat infections. Mix a tablespoon of each and warm slightly over stove or in microwave for about 20 seconds. Swallow it one teaspoonful at a time. (Do not give honey to children under one year of age.)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar will help relieve aches & reduce fevers. Pour 2-3 cups in warm bathwater. Yo u can also use with a compress for  muscle aches or on forehead for fever.
  • Rest and sleep helps boost the immune system and allow the body to repair and heal itself. Rest and sleep are not the same. Resting is when you are calm but fully awake and aware. Sleeping is when you are not aware. Your body needs both in order to heal and maintain balance. I have learned when to say 'no' to a project because my body needs to rest and my mind needs relax.
  • Exercise helps reduce stress, maintain metabolic balance and boost immunity by eliminating toxins from the body. Daily activitity and light exercise (such as a 10 minute leisurely walk in the absence of fever, or dehydration.) when you are starting to feel better will help  you get back to full strength much faster.
Have you tried any of these methods? Have any methods of your own? 

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