Natural Cold Remedies

Since Emma started daycare back in September and I went back to work, we've been dealing with nonstop colds, coughs and runny noses!  It's nothing serious but it's certainly not fun!  The last bout started a week ago.  Emma infected me and now Eric has it too.  I've had this cold and cough for almost a week now and believe me, I hope we can nip it in the bud soon.  While I won't use traditional cold remedies for myself and Emma, Eric still prefers to use the Advil cold and sinus and Nyquil.  Believe me, quick remedies sound great in theory, but all they do is stifle the symptoms--and in the long run, it can actually interfere in your body's natural capabilities to heal.   And your body is having the symptoms for a reason.  I believe we need to aid the immune system to keep it strong and your body will heal on its own.  However, there are lots of things you can do to fight a cold naturally!  While I am not an expert, I thought I'd list some of the things we do around here...

First of all, Young Living essential oils are a staple in our home!  We use them for everything--from healing a minor cut to headaches and infections!  For a cold, the ones we use the most are Thieves, R.C., peppermint and Eucalyptus radiata.  Thieves is a blend that's great for immunity.  I like to put a drop in my cold care tea when I'm not feeling great.  I rub it (diluted) onto Emma's feet when she's sick and we diffuse it through the air too.  Rub a little R.C. on your chest, under your nose, on your neck and you'll be able to breath better!  Peppermint is great for headaches--rubbed on your temples, also good for fevers and congestion.  Eucalyptus can be used in the same way as R.C.--and any of those oils can be diffused--great for airborne bacteria.  Young Living oils can't be purchased in any health shops.  You must order them through a distributor (which I happen to be).  If you use another kind of essential oil, you really need to do your research to make sure it's safe for ingestion and topical use.  Go with a therapeutic grade oil, not an aromatherapy grade oil.   Just let me know if you'd like to learn more!

Eric and I drink lots of tea when we're under the weather.  I love the varieties by Traditional Medicinals--cold care, the sore throat one and herba tussin (cough tea) are staples in the winter months.  Add a drop of Thieves to any of those!  This morning I'm drinking some fresh thyme tea.  Thyme is great for it's antimicrobial properties.  Remember the honey and lemon your remember as a kid?  Still great--add some grated ginger or chopped garlic for the microbial effect. 

Apple cider vinegar is also antibacterial so boil about 1/4 cup with 1/4 cup of water and inhale the steam--great for your sinuses.  You can also gargle with a shot glass full of apple cider vinegar and some cayenne (anti-inflammatory and will numb the pain of a sore throat).  Or just some warm water, sea salt and cayenne. 

There are lots of great resources out there and I'm constantly adding new remedies to our toolbox!  I love this book--Naturally Healthy Babies and Children:  A Commensense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition and Health.

Credibility duel: Hyland's and the FDA

Making the news in the holistic health-care world this week is the recall of Hyland's Teething Tablets.

First, the chuckle: It's FDA-approved to use Botox (a neurotoxin, yes?) to treat certain illness, but it's FDA-banned to use a homeopathic (natural, yes?) to treat a different issue?

Second, the concern: Understanding the questions that have been raised about the manufacturing inconsistencies, I still find the language of the FDA release and Q&A nearly as much cause for concern as the issue itself.

Viewing the statements from the company about its "voluntary" recall, there seems to be a major disconnect between the fundamental language in the respective pieces. Witness: "The FDA has not evaluated Hyland’s Teething Tablets for safety or efficacy" and "homeopathic medicines are regulated as drugs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as required in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act." Likewise, "Adverse events have been reported but the FDA has said that a conclusive link has not been determined" versus "FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in children taking this product that are consistent with belladonna toxicity."

So is the FDA recommending my family discard a product with a (anecdotal) track record of success in our use because of ... hearsay? Has the FDA evaluated the product or not? Given the small quantity of the substance at issue in the product, what range of inconsistency in quality control has been found? Are we talking about a level that can cause this toxicity? The company denies this ("After in-depth analysis, a comprehensive review of the company’s adverse event report log, and more than 85 years of safe usage, the company is confident that Hyland’s Teething Tablets are safe for infants and toddlers.") but the FDA offers no specificity in its statements and openly states that it has not conducted a safety evaluation of the product itself.

Manufacturing issues are no laughing matter. But neither is a governmental insistence on a product ban (because that is what this amounts to) without concrete evidence of the danger of the product. Would the public not have been better served by an evaluation of the safety of the (inconsistent) product and a demand that the company fix its manufacturing process, possibly even requiring a hold on further manufacturing until satisfaction is achieved? The screaming subjectivity of the first article linked above may not be the fairest portrayal of the situation. But the entire affair certainly reeks of what I have come to think of as Big Pharma as Big Brother.

Better safe than sorry, or another case of Big Pharma's influence-creep?

Freedom for Family Wellness Conference

I know—it's been quite a while since I've blogged.  Emma's first birthday has come and gone!  I've had blog posts in the works for several months now but just haven't had the time, energy or will to complete any of them!

Until now.  I spent the weekend at an amazing conference—I'm giving my mind, body and soul a reboot, and so, I'm rebooting my blog as well.  We spent three nights in Reston, Va., at the Freedom for Family Wellness Summit.  I had the chance to see some amazing people speak—Peggy O'Mara, editor-in-chief of Mothering magazine, Ina May Gaskin, Midwife Extraordinaire, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Joseph Dispenza, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Dr. Jeanne Ohm, Barbara Loe Fisher, Dr. Larry Palevsky and many more!  I attended the conference with a couple friends and our family's chiropractors!  I spent the weekend surrounded by chiropractors, doulas, birth educators and fellow parents.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so much positive energy.  I came home feeling like a whole new person and ready to start a movement (our homework assignment assigned by Dr. Guy Riekeman, president of Life University).

Here are just a few key points that are fresh in my mind from the weekend.

  • A memory without the emotional charge is wisdom gained.
  • When you are having a negative thought, just whisper to yourself, "cancel, cancel."
  • Take a moment every day to compliment yourself in the mirror.
  • Time spent in nature, among the trees, will do us all some good!
  • Your birth and first year really, truly forms the person you are, believe it or not! 
  • 95% of our actions are controlled by our bodies and 5% our conscious mind.
  • It takes ONE person to start a movement!
I'm not really sure what "my movement" will be.  However,  I now have some personal goals I've set for myself, which include reading 15 minutes per day and making time to blog and journal. Here's a short list of a few books that I'd like to read in the next year.  They were all written by speakers of the summit OR recommended over the course of the weekend.  (They are in no particular order!  Some I have bought and some I still need to acquire!  I'll be adding to the list as well!)

  1. A Quiet Place: Essays on Life And Family (Peggy O'Mara)
  2. Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind (Dr. Joe Dispenza)
  3. Magical Child (Joseph Chilton Pierce)
  4. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem (Nathaniel Branden)

Goat Milk Formula

Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, nursing didn't work out between Emma and I.  It wasn't for lack of trying and I did the best I could, but when she was a couple weeks old, I decided to formula-feed my baby full-time.  It wasn't my first choice but it was the best choice for us at the time.  We tried several kinds of baby formula in search of the best one for her.  Lactose-free, soy, Baby's Only (an organic kind without corn syrup).  The one Emma has done the best with has been the cheapest too!  We use Target's up & up Prebiotic Immune Support, which is basically the exact same as one produced by Similac, but it's much cheaper! 

When we first started formula-feeding Emma, our chiropractor suggested goat's milk formula.  Goat milk is more similar to human milk than cow's milk and it also contains less lactose.  Several months ago, when I went online to look for goat's milk formula, I couldn't find anything.  If I wanted to give her goat's milk, I'd have to make my own formula, adding essential vitamins to the goats milk.  I was afraid to do that, so stuck with the up & up formula. 

So, today, I was shopping at Whole Foods, when lo and behold, in the baby section, they had just started carrying goat's milk formula.  I was so excited to see it there--but not as excited to see the price tag--almost 3 times more than the formula we give Emma now!  I briefly debated buying the formula but Emma has been doing wonderfully on the formula we've been giving her.  Besides, in a few months, she'll be a year old and we can transition her off of formula on to hemp milk.  Still, I'm glad to see the goat milk formula available now and hopefully, it will go down in price and be more available to to those who choose to use it in the future.

Raising your Child's Immunity Naturally

Tonight I had the opportunity to see Dr. Palevsky, a renowned holistic pediatrician,  speak for the second time on raising your child's immunity naturally.  If you ever have an opportunity to see Dr. Palevsky speak, I can't recommend it highly enough!  Do it!  I'd love to use him as Emma's pediatrician but he's located in Manhattan and Long Island and it's a bit too far for us! 

I really can't go into too much detail about what he spoke about--it was a lot of information!  The best take away, I think, would be that illness is a good thing!  Fever is a good thing!  Your child gets sick because he or she has an overload of toxins and the fever/sickness is the body's way of eliminating the toxins.  The last thing we should be doing is giving Tylenol to lower a fever.  But anyway, I would suggest checking out Dr. Palevsky's website and checking out the media section.  He has some good articles and interviews listed where you can learn more.