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Mom to Mom Monday: Natural Remedies

Posted by Becca on 9/23/2013 to Green Living
I don’t consider myself a medical expert by any means, but the way this country over medicates is concerning to me. It didn’t seem weird at all until I lived in Spain for a semester. When I got sick and visited the doctors there, they didn’t give me the medicine I am accustomed to right away. Whatever they gave me was weaker.

I remember I got bronchitis and they started me off with something that worked like an Alka-seltzer or an Airborne. I don’t actually know what it was, but it didn’t work. Not at all. A week later I went back and they gave me an inhaler. It was my first time on an inhaler and again, I don’t know what kind of medicine it was, but it was nothing like anything I’d ever had in the US up until that point and again, it did nothing to make me feel better. A week later, I was back again in the office with a translator who explained things between me and the doctor when my growing Spanish failed me. Finally, the exasperated doctor gave me pills. They must have been antibiotics because a day or two later, it felt like I’d never been sick. At the time, I was experiencing culture shock so I just complained about these weird Spaniards who wouldn’t give me medicine. I said it over and over again to my friends, “I wish they’d just give me pills. If I were in the US, this stupid bronchitis would be gone already. I’m done with all this herbal junk!” What I didn’t realize until later was that my body was so accustomed to heavy medication over the years that it wasn’t able to heal itself as quickly as it should and the “herbal junk” that was working for Spaniards unaccustomed to heavy medications, wasn’t working for me for that reason.

Later, while at the end of my study abroad in Spain, I went with a friend and her parents to translate when they had to visit a doctor because her mom had broken her arm. When they asked her mom (a typical, middle aged, American woman) what medications she was on, she proceeded to give a list of at least five medications—for heart, blood pressure, etc. As she was talking and I was translating, one doctor shook her head and looked to the other and said in Spanish, “Have you ever heard of the movie El drogadicto—The Drug Addict?” My jaw dropped as she was so blatently rude in front of my friend’s mother because she knew she could say it in Spanish without being understood. She either forgot I was in the room or she didn’t care. I kindly didn’t translate that part to my friend’s mom, but now, after taking my daughter to the doctor for one bug or virus after another and getting medicine prescribed each time, I kind of see their point. I worry every time she’s prescribed an antibiotic or a pain medication. I worry that we’re teaching her body to depend upon these chemicals. So, since her birth, I’ve been doing my own research and trying some natural things to avoid going to see the doctor. Now, when we do go, I always accept the medication they give, but this is after trying other methods at home first.

breastfeeding The following is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is some of the things that we’ve tried as a family to avoid and/or heal sickness.


If you eat a bad diet, you’re sort of setting your body up to get sick. We eat a majority of whole foods as a general rule, and for awhile we ate Paleo because my chiropractor suggested it as a way to avoid sickness. It was a hard diet to follow at first, and expensive because of all the meat and fresh produce, but I did feel amazing once I’d been on it a couple of weeks. Also, my chiropractor told me it would help me get pregnant, and I was pregnant not even a month after going on it. However, now that our baby is born, we’re just going back to whole foods and clean eating because I really like my grains and legumes!


I try to keep vitamins around so that we can take them every day. During my pregnancy this is easier as I have to take Prenatals. I usually buy children’s gummy vitamins instead and my daughter and I take them together.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has many topical uses from what I’ve heard—such as being used in tiny amounts in your baby wipe solution. In it’s concentrated form, I’ve used just a little bit on a Q-tip to kill ringworm. This can be irritating to some skin, though, so be careful. It didn’t irritate my daughter at all but killed the ringworm after only one or two applications.

Amber teething necklace

I’ve read that amber teething necklaces act as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, so I bought both a necklace and a bracelet for my 9 week old son. He isn’t teething yet but I’m assuming it can help with other discomforts as well. I can’t tell if it’s working or not because there are so many variables that could be contributing when he’s uncomfortable (and he certainly isn’t teething yet), but I have a couple of friends who used it just for teething and they’ve promised me that it makes a difference. I had it on him when he got his 2 month old vaccines just in case it might make a difference. I don’t know what he would have been like without the amber, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

doctor appointment


Some people skip vaccinations, but I feel that their benefits far outweigh the risks. Kids used to die from things like measles and Rubella and a friend of mine made a good point that we forget how bad it used to be for children because our vaccines are so effective now. If you choose to vaccinate, you can always space out your vaccinations so as not to overwhelm your child’s immune system. It may make a difference. It may not. I didn’t space them out for Bunny, but I’m doing so now with Bear and he seems to react less strongly to his shots.


Garlic has so many uses! From lowering your cholesterol to curing ear infections— the list is pretty long! Using garlic regularly in your meals is one way to keep your family healthy. Just having it in your system will help your body fight off infection.

When I have an ear infection, I also use garlic oil drops in my ears to help combat it and when my daughter has a cold, we put cut up pieces of garlic into her socks so it can absorb into her blood stream and help her fight the cold better.


Onions are similar to garlic in their sickness-fighting, body strengthening properties.

My favorite way to use an onion is to cut it in half and place it in our bedrooms in a bowl. I know it’s crazy, bug I’ve read from a couple of sources that this helps to draw germs out of the air. Also, I read about how one mom cuts an onion in half and puts it against her children’s ears when they have an ear infection. I’ve never tried it, but I have no doubt it helps. Cooking with and eating onions can help as well, but be careful not to save bits of an onion after it has been cut open. I’ve heard that since it draws germs, an onion that has been cut and not used immediately can make you sick.


If garlic and onions are medicinal wonders, breast milk is more so. The stuff is liquid gold even after the colostrum is gone. I’ve used it instead of saline solution to clear out sinus passages and my friend said she gave some to a friend of hers to use as eye drops to clear up an infection and it was reported back that it worked better than anything else she’d tried. It’s no wonder. Breast milk is designed not only to nourish, but to boost a baby’s immune system. It’s amazing and I’ll be sorry when my supply is gone years down the road and this medicinal wonder is no longer at my fingertips.


Anytime I feel that familiar tickle coming on, I take a spoonful of honey sprinkled with cinnamon. This is an antibacterial combination and can help stop a coming cold or shorten one that’s on its way. Also, honey is a great cough suppressent— chemical free and one that your child (who’s at least one year old) will actually love to take.


Though I’ve never used it as such, tumeric is supposed to have great medicinal properties as well. It’s disinfectant, antibacterial, and apparently a pain killer to name a few of it’s awesome benefits. I’ve also heard that it’s antifungal, which doesn’t surprise me. I love Indian food which uses a lot of tumeric and now I know that eating it is actually good for me!

Neti pot

The neti pot is great for health maintenance and for cold and sinus infection remedy. We use it any time we’re sick. One time in particular, my husband used a dose of antibiotics that didn’t actually clear his sinus infection so once he’d finished the medicine, he just kept on with the neti pot. After another week or two, the neti pot cured the infection rather than the antibiotics.

baby chiropractics,chiropractor


My chiropractor is wonderful and he is part of the reason that I now look to natural remedies before medicinal ones. He always emphasizes that a healthy spine is the first step towards a healthy life style because your spine houses your spinal chord which affects all of the systems in your body. Often, simple spine adjustments can fix subluxations which are causing things like viruses or even infertility. In addition to adjusting the spine, my chiropractor has adjusted my knees, arms, and even my sinus passages. When I’m pregnant, he adjusts my round ligaments and prepares my pelvis for delivery (which also helps get the baby in the head down position). I also get my children adjusted regularly which can help their bodies in proper development.

Again, I’m no medical expert—just a mom who seeks the best for her kids—so if you’re going to use natural and herbal remedies, please do the research on your own and consult a professional if possible. But the great thing about these remedies is that they can’t hurt the problem, only help it. I also don’t exclusively lean on these things for my family’s health. I use them to try to avoid a problem before it’s begun or assist a problem when it’s small, but if they don’t work, I go to the doctor. I do accept antibiotics for my children, I’m just judicial about it. I try other avenues first. My son, for instance, is on Zantac for his reflux, but we didn’t try that until we’d already tried natural remedies first.

So since I’m no expert and I’m sure some of you reading this actually are, can you comment with your favorite natural cure? I’d love to add more to my repertoire.