As the winds turn cooler and the trees become bare, we know winter is upon us. This season of the year is a wonderful time of celebration with holidays galore, but declining temperatures move the gatherings of friends and family indoors. The closer quarters and less vitamin D from sunshine both increase the likelihood of contracting a cold or flu. Even with fastidious hand washing (a best practice this time of year), having a well-stocked natural medicine cabinet can relieve symptoms of illness and help speed the healing process. Here are my top picks for our family’s favorite natural health remedies.
Top Natural Health Remedies
Elderberry is a powerful natural remedy, tackling inflammation and coughing and providing an immunity boost to help the body fight off viruses and bad bacteria. This syrup is a great alternative to over-the-counter cough syrups especially for children, because of its wonderful flavor.
Raw honey is often touted as best, but any honey makes an excellent addition to a natural medicine cabinet. It soothes sore throats and helps calm coughing and acts as an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial, helping purge the body of bad germs. It also helps a warm cup of tea go down just a bit smoother.
Whether a Neti pot or other nasal irrigation device, these little pots can save your sinuses and ease congestion. The saline solution helps shrink inflamed membranes while flushing out excess mucous and keeps the sinuses hydrated.
Teas such as chamomile and peppermint are excellent for easing head and muscle aches, and keeping the body hydrated during a fever. Ginger tea helps with digestion and nausea, and catnip tea aids in calming. Hydration during illness is greatly important to healing, and these teas are a tasty way to get necessary fluids.
Including garlic in your cooking is a great way to boost your heart health, but it also helps heal ear aches. A couple of drops of garlic oil (in a carrier oil like vitamin e or olive oil) in the affected ear helps sooth the discomfort, while the antibacterial properties of the oil help clear infection. Do not use on a ruptured ear drum, however.
Stomach upset is a common symptom of many illnesses. Probiotics help the stomach maintain digestive health and balance. The patient stays more comfortable, and the gut can work to digest healthful foods and medicines to bring healing to the body.
Zinc lozenges are great for immunity boosting, and herbal throat drops are a fast favorite in our family. They sooth sore throats and calm coughs while naturally boosting the body’s immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.
For additional natural remedies, take a trip to your local holistic or specialty market. If you don’t have a holistic market nearby, check the health and wellness aisles of your grocery store. I was pleasantly surprised to find a large range of the most popular natural remedies on the shelves.
Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday season!
Mimi Mason is a homemaker, homeschooler, and micro homesteader. She chronicles her family’s experiences with sustainable living on her blog, The Simple Survivalist. When she’s not elbow-deep in garden soil and bread dough, she can be found hidden behind the pages of a good book.