Natural Remedies for Colds and Flu

 

natural remedies

One of the things that I have decided to do in our house is reduce the amount of over the counter and unnatural remedies for colds and flu. The more I read about some of these remedies and what’s in them, the more I feel that there are better more natural ways to combat the flu season and naturally boost our immune systems.

I have become more conscious of what we put in our bodies and what it does to us. Some of these over the counter remedies, though they may provide relief actually suppress our immune systems and it then takes us longer to return to health. In my journey to find more natural ways to heal our bodies and even prevent us from getting sick I have discovered a number of natural remedies and preventions that work.

Oscillococcinum – I believe in prevention first and foremost so one of the things I do before about 6-8 weeks prior to flu season is give the kids and I a homeopathic protocol using oscillococcinum or ‘flu buster’. This was suggested by our homeopathic doctor; we take half a tube (1/4 tube for the little ones under 6) once a week for six weeks. This helps the body’s immune system to ‘boost up’ and prepares it for the cold/ flu season that is coming.  As a result we usually don’t get colds/ flu at all and if we do it is a very mild and short case. And if we do get it, then we take a whole tube to kick it out!

Ginger tea – drinking ginger tea on a regular basis is also a great form of prevention but works well if you do get a cold/ flu. It is easy to make using fresh ginger root and water. As soon as I start to feel a cold coming on I make a batch of tea right away. Ginger tea is also great for nausea.

Honey and cinnamon – are great combinations for a number of diseases and ailments. Different proportions target different ailments. For colds it is 1 tbsp. honey to 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon

Homeopathic remedies – the great thing about homeopathic remedies is that they work with your body to help boost your immune system as well as heal the ailment. It not only relieves your symptoms but helps your body to move through it faster. There are a number of homeopathic remedies to aid colds and flu. Oscillococcinum, as mentionned above, is great for prevention as well as when you have it. Aconite is great when you first start feeling the cold coming on, take it right away, as well as other homeopathic remedies. Homeopathic remedies work best when you can match your symptoms to the remedy so it is best to either consult with your homeopathic doctor or have a book on remedies for self diagnosis. The great thing about homeopathy is if you choose the wrong remedy it will not cause you any harm, it simply won’t help you get better and you’ll have to try a different homeopathic remedy.

Rum, honey, cinnamon, lemon in hot tea – this is an amazing remedy. Recently I had a cold that just would not go away and continued to get worse and worse each day instead of better. All I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head, but my aunt who was visiting at the time suggested and made this remedy for me. It cleared my head like that! and though I still had a bit of a cough, I felt like I could function and enjoy life again 🙂 You can use any kind of hot tea that you like and then add the rest into the drink.

Vitamin C, D, & B12 – boost these vitamins during cold and flu season. They all help boost your body’s immune system and vitamin B12 helps you to cope with stress.

Sleep – sleep is one of the best healers and immune boosters. Get adequate sleep on a regular basis for prevention but when you feel your cold coming on make sure you get to bed early and get lots of rest.

No Sugar – sugar weakens the immune system very quickly, so if you have sugar in your diet, avoiding and eliminating it when you are sick will help strengthen your immune system and recover faster.

Garlic Lemon and Honey Syrup – this remedy comes from a book called A Kids Book of Herbs, is very easy to make and kicks your cold super fast!

Eat more of these foods – ginger, garlic, onions, licorice root, honey – these all strengthen the immune system and support healing.

A lot of these remedies you can use apply on a regular basis in your diet/ day to help prevent the colds and flu from even coming on, but they all work great if you or your family do get sick. I believe too that one remedy will work better for one person than another so to find the one that works best for you. I also believe that anything we do to help our body naturally boost our immune systems is not only going to be better for us in the long run but will also help prevent us from getting as sick or sick at all in the future. Many of these remedies too are ones that kids will easily take without fuss, and is easy to incorporate into their diets and routines.

Do you have a favorite natural remedy that works? Comment and share below.

 

An Abundance of Apples! & Sugar Free Apple Crumble

Tis the season of apples! Fresh juicy apples right from the tree or at the local farmers market. They are sweet and delicious and in abundance at this time of year.

Apples have long been a symbol of good health and an easy grab and go snack. They are a great source of vitamin C, K and B vitamins; as well as a great source of fiber and natural sugar. They aid in the prevention of cancer, tooth decay and heart disease and are a great natural substitute for sugar in recipes as well as an enjoyable snack for the kids.

Luke and Chloe picking apples

A few years ago we planted an apple tree in our backyard. I have always liked going out into my own yard and being able to pick fresh fruit from the tree. There is just something about having grown it yourself and being able to go and help yourself that gives me a feeling of pride as well as a good feeling knowing that it is pesticide free and where it has come from.

The kids love the apple tree. Once those blooms in the spring start growing into apples it is hard to get the kids to not pick them off the tree. Matthew is now at the age where he understands that they need to grow and will get bigger, that they won’t be ready until September. But Luke and Chloe just see an apple, they are curious so they pick it. It’s pretty challenging to explain to a 2 year old that they aren’t ready yet.

Chloe placing apples in the basket

Nonetheless, we had many apples ‘make it’ to September and they are now ripe and ready for eating. They are so ripe that they were starting to fall off the tree, and I knew that in order to keep them from rotting on the ground that it was time to pick them.

So yesterday morning we went out with Luke and Chloe and picked the apples from the tree. I didn’t think there were that many, but we ended up filling a huge basket. Now the challenge with having a tree and so many apples is what to do with them. Though apples keep fairly well, they do tend to go soft eventually. And I hate to waste good apples, so I make many apple recipes. Apple pie, apple muffins, applesauce, and my favorite apple crumble. I think it is the crumble I enjoy the most, I usually double the topping so that there is more 🙂 but that’s ok.

Apple Streusel Muffins

I find crumble to be a quick and easy dessert that I can make in about 10 minutes and pop into the oven. It is great with ice cream, whip cream or all by itself. We use a non-dairy ice cream called Rice Dream or a non-dairy whip cream. I also have an apple peeler, corer, slicer, that makes making any apple dessert very easy. It peels, cores and slices the apple all at once in less than 10 seconds. I would recommend one of these for anyone who makes things with fresh apples, it saves you a lot of time and is very easy to use.

Pampered Chef® Apple Peeler Corer Slicer

My recipe, originally from my mother, I have adjusted to a dairy free, sugar free version which is just as delicious as the original. The first time I did it without sugar I used honey in place of the brown sugar which worked well. But recently I have discovered coconut sugar, which melts just like brown sugar would. We now use it on our oatmeal in the morning and for our cinnamon apples when we go camping! And when I made the crumble yesterday I used coconut sugar instead of honey and I would have to say this is now my preference. It tasted just like the one with brown sugar.

So when you make this crumble, you choose which sweetener you prefer, perhaps make 2, each with the different sweeteners and test it out for yourself. I am sure your family will have no problems eating them up!

Unfortunately for me I only used 4 apples in my crumble, which hardly put a dent in the apples I have. I am going to have to get creative over the next little while and see what else I can come up with! In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful apple crumble, whether the apples come from your own tree or the local market, it is going to be delicious!

sugar free apple crumbleSugar Free Apple Crumble 

Topping

1/3 c. coconut sugar or honey

1/3 c. flour

3/4 c. rolled oats

1/3 c. Earth Balance

Filling – 4 large apples * peeled, cored and sliced

Place prepared apples in a 1 liter/ 4 c. corningware dish. If your apples are more tart, drizzle with a little honey, then sprinkle with cinnamon. Mix topping in a separate bowl. Place topping over apples and pat firmly.

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes in a covered corningware. Remove cover for the last 5 minutes to brown top.

*use your favorite fruit in this crumble instead of apples, such as peaches, blueberries, etc.

Serves 4

Chloe and Mum by the apple tree

sugar free apple crumble

Bananas, Bananas and More Bananas

We go through a lot of bananas at our house. We basically use them in smoothies and general eating but we make a lot of smoothies. In the morning, I make 2 smoothies for myself, a green smoothie of some sort and a fruit one for later in the day. Then I make a peanut butter smoothie for Matthew and the babies usually have a banana each for breakfast. These all include bananas so by the time breakfast is over we have had at least 5 or 6. Then in the afternoon I will make more smoothies for the kids, a green smoothie of some kind, or more like a chocolate smoothie with greens in it. Believe me this is a great way to get greens into the kids! I find the twins especially are more apt to drink their green smoothie than eat the vegetables off of their plate. But I digress, we go through a lot of bananas. We are out at least twice a week buying 12-15 so that we have enough for a few days but not too many that they go brown before we eat them.

Bananas are a great source of potassium, vitamins C and B6, as well as a source of iron. As a result they help increase strength and reduce stress and is an instant source of energy. This makes them a great nutritious snack and natural sweetener (often you can use banana to sweeten muffins or cakes instead of using sugar). Plus they are a great ‘grab and go’ snack.

Though we eat a lot of bananas sometimes we do find that they go brown before we eat them all, and personally once a banana is too soft or ripe I cannot eat it. I don’t like the texture, it’s too mushy. So as a result I use them in recipes, like banana bread and banana muffins. And when I have too many brown bananas I toss them in the freezer to use later.

I have always loved banana bread, it is one of my favorite treats and I recently found an excellent sugar free recipe in the Clean Eating magazine. It uses flax seed and flax oil as well as other tasty ingredients. It is dairy free too; so I tried it out. It was the best banana bread that I have ever tasted! It was so moist and delicious, it melts in your mouth.

I also really enjoy banana muffins as they taste just like banana bread, and have a great recipe from my mother. I have been able to adjust the recipe to meet our new dietary requirements of no sugar or dairy and they taste delicious. The first time I made them I used date sugar as the sugar replacement and though they were very good, they were even better when I tried the  recipe using agave nectar instead. Mhmmm, they turned out so moist and fluffy! They turned out so well that I made them again within a week, not because I had leftover bananas that I needed to use, but because they were such a hit.

So I am sharing with you the banana muffin recipe with agave nectar (the banana bread recipe will come soon). Give it a whirl and try not to eat them all in one sitting! This sugar and dairy free recipe is sure to please everyone in the family!

 

Banana Muffins

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. agave nectar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 large bananas

1 egg

1/3 c. melted Earth Balance

Mash bananas. Add agave nectar and slightly beaten egg. Then add melted Earth Balance. Mix in dry ingredients and mix but do not beat.

Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins