Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Staying healthy

Keeping my family healthy is a priority at this time of the year. With five kids, a cold or flu can keep us housebound for weeks, not to mention the cost of doctor's visits. I have spent some time studying herbal health remedies and I thought I would share some of the things that have worked for us.

For colds, coughs and sore throats, dried sage is wonderful. It dries up mucus and soothes the throat. By drying up the mucus in the nose and throat, you may be able to stop a cold before it gets too bad. A perfect tea blend to use at the onset of an cold is:

1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried lemon grass
1 teaspoon dried echinachea leaves

Steep the herbs (in a teaball) in 2 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes and drink 1/2 to 1 cup as needed. For my younger kids, I have them drink 1/4 to 1/2 cup and they usually begin to feel a difference within 10 minutes. (If you are pregnant, 1 cup of sage tea per day is the maximum!) By tackling a cold as soon as it starts, you may be able to keep it from settling in and getting worse.

As soon as we feel a sore throat coming on, we take "Zinc and Echinachea" throat lozenges. These work great and we find that, typically, the sore throat doesn't progress any further.

I like to buy all of my herbal items at the health food store. Our local store sells a wide variety of dried herbs in 1 ounce packages; they are very affordable.

A great book to read is Kids, Herbs and Health. It contains a wealth of information as well as recipes for an allergy glycerite and an expectorant cough syrup that we use seasonally, as needed. (It is out of print but you can buy it used through Barnes and Noble-click the link-or you may be able to find it through your library.)

Another thing we do at this time of the year is to give each child their own tube of toothpaste (yes, that means 7 tubes of toothpaste scattered throughout our house) and they also have their own bottle of antiseptic mouthwash (like Listerine) that they use twice a day. A pharmacist friend recommended these precautions to us and they have been helpful in stopping sickness from spreading throughout our house.

I would love to hear any suggestions you may have for staying healthy or combating sickness at this time of the year. As of yet, we have stayed healthy this season, and I want it to stay that way!