With the fall and winter approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I need to stock up on to be prepared to battle the upcoming cold and flu season. We are a “natural” family and while we are not against Western medicine by any means (it has saved my son’s life twice now and we are grateful beyond words), we choose not to get flu shots nor to wait for symptoms to show up and then treat with pharmaceuticals. We believe prevention is the best medicine so we strive to keep our diets clean and to support our body systems with immune boosting products and supplements. However, realistically we know that it is not possible to prevent every illness and that some level of sickness is actually beneficial for strengthening our children’s little immune systems, so we like to have some natural options on hand to deal with symptoms as they arise. Here are my main essentials both for helping to prevent and to treat sickness in our family this season.
Young Living Theives products are an absolute must have in our home! We use Thieves as a natural hand sanitzier and spray for icky grocery carts, restaurant high chairs, and airplane seats. We also clean our home with Thieves regularly and especially whenever someone in our family has come down with something. This powerful essential oil blend is the main ingredient in our immunity roller that we roll on the bottoms of our feet every single day and we also diffuse it whenever we know we have been exposed to some nasty germs. If you have toddlers (who lets face it, are basically just cute little cesspools of germs) and you don’t have Thieves in your life, you are fighting an uphill battle my friend! I carry it on me in some form always and I really attribute my ability to stay healthy, even around a ton of small children at library story time, to this magical oil!
This one is my son’s favorite item on this list because it tastes delicious and he literally cannot get enough. Elderberries are very high in antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins, which boost the production of cytokines, proteins that are crucial players in enhancing the body’s immune response. Elderberries also are believed to contain antiviral agents, further improving the ability of the immune system to fight colds and flu. To harness the power of these tiny berries, I simply combine one part dried elderberries with two parts water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about thirty minutes. Strain the liquid, mashing the berries to get all the goodness out, then let the decoction cool to room temperature and mix with equal parts raw local honey. Super simple to make, super tasty, and super easy to get kids to take! We try to take a teaspoon every day during the fall and winter months, and increase it to a teaspoon every couple hours if sick.
We love a good bath around here and there’s really nothing better than soaking in some essential oil infused Epsom salts! Epsom salts are a compound made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. When dissolved into a nice hot bath, they release the magnesium and sulfate ions into the water, providing a multitude of benefits. For one thing, magnesium deficiency is rampant in our society today and is responsible for a host of diseases and ailments in the population. Magnesium is very readily absorbed through the skin and increasing your levels can help improve sleep (always a good thing when fighting off germs), reduce stress, and relieve pain and inflammation. The second thing is that the sulfates in an Epsom salt bath actually help to detoxify the body by flushing out heavy metals and toxins. We are exposed to environmental toxins all the time and making sure to assist our bodies in cleansing them out is going to improve our immune system’s ability to fight off illness. We use one part baking soda and two parts Epsom salts (the actual amount varies, the adults get a stronger bath than the kids) with a drop or two of lavender essential oil and as hot of water as we can stand for about twenty minutes.
Bone broth is super popular these days and the benefits are being shouted from the rooftops so I won’t spend too much time here. We incorporate bone broth into our diets regularly in soup or rice or sauces, but we also always keep bone broth on hand for when we are fighting illness. It’s full of minerals that a sick body needs and easy on the digestion when nothing really sounds good. I like to drink it hot with some fresh garlic and ginger added in for extra cold fighting power.
Vitamin C is a popularly known remedy for fighting sickness and in my experience it definitely works. We are not talking drinking some pasteurized orange juice here though. The studies that have been done on vitamin C were done using megadoses, much higher than what people might normally assume. Since vitamin C is water soluble, anything your body can’t absorb will just be peed out, so you don’t have to worry about overdosing. I have successfully fought off a cold I felt coming on by taking 2000 mg about every two hours for an entire day.
It really can’t be overstated how important it is to try and eat cleanly and to include a wide variety of fruits, veggies, and fats in your diet if you want to have the best chance at staying healthy during cold and flu season. However even then, we all need some help sometimes, and I have found the above items to be absolutely essential for naturally improving my family’s immune systems and fighting off unwanted germs.