real health

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The other day I added some extra thyme to my husband’s chicken soup to help with the chest congestion he was having. His response: "This stuff is awesome and I think it’s really helping. We need to grow it!"

I smiled and said "That jar holds the last of the dried thyme we grew up in Michigan and we have thyme seeds right over there." Maybe if we can keep the chickens and grasshoppers out of our garden those seeds might become medicine and food.

It never ceases to amaze me how powerful food-based medicine really is and how incredibly skeptical people are of it. I believe part of that is ignorance, part of it is fear, and part of it is a lack of desire to truly be responsible for your own health.

What people don’t realize is that many pharmaceuticals actually start in the herbal medicine world. Unfortunately, most of these drugs are highly refined and don’t take into account the plant as a whole and end up doing more harm than good. Man tends to try to improve upon something that can’t be improved upon and then really creates a ruckus.

That’s why I like to be prepared with some tried and true remedies for those wintertime ailments. Better yet, I like to focus on prevention through nourishment. For both cases I shared how I am preparing the herbal medicine cabinet for winter in one of my recent articles at Saving Naturally.

We may not be able to grow all of these things yet, or others that can take their place in a sustainable way, but I’m always happy to start the learning process so that we know what to do when the time comes.

What’s in your herbal medicine cabinet?

I would much prefer that I or my husband were sick rather than our little ones. There’s something about a sniffling, hacking child that makes one feel so inadequate. Perhaps that is why our children get colds.

Nonetheless, they seem so much more resilient during the process than we do. Granted, at 6, 4, and .75 they don’t exactly hold a lot of responsibility around here so if they decide to lay down for a bit things don’t come to a screeching halt.

The problem, then, is that they are just so pitiful. Especially the baby who coughs and sputters when trying to sleep and wakes up screaming in frustration, and understandably so.

Since all of that is upon us I have been cranking out pots of herbal tea. This three herb (if you can call orange peel that) tea is simple, healing, and dare I say delicious.

If you’re not familiar with tulsi, or holy basil, then might I recommend it as part of your herbal medicine cabinet? It’s one of those herbs that people find adaptogenic herbs that doesn’t swing your body too far in one direction or the other, but rather works with it to restore physical and emotional balance in the case of illness or stress.

Rose hips are one of the highest plant sources of vitamin C, an all-important anti-inflammatory. It is definitely a better option that sugar-laden orange juice if you’re looking to boost your intake of vitamin C. Plus, it’s pretty tasty stuff.

Orange-Tulsi-Rose Hip Tea

For two big cups:

Add 1 tablespoon rose hips, 1 tablespoon of tulsi, and 1/2 tablespoon dried orange peel to boiling water.

Steep for 5 minutes, and then strain into mugs.

For a homemade herbal tea mix:

Combine in a large bowl and then store in an air-tight container. Use a heaping tablespoon per cup of boiled water for a strong cup of tea. Adjust to taste.

What’s in your tea pot when little sniffles strike?

Convalesce :: to recover health and strength after illness.

I am especially happy to be living a slower life these days. You see, many in our culture are greatly pressed upon to hurry up and get back at it when they’re ill. Or, even worse, they are forced to artificially suppress their symptoms instead of truly addressing the root of the illness.

A few weeks ago Papa came down with something. This mysterious illness has had him out of commission for one reason or another ever since.

And then there is the virus. This stomach virus has swept through our entire community, leaving almost no one unturned. It is hard to watch your child be so sick when the only thing you can do for them is hold them and reassure them.

Just when the worst was over for them it hit their Papa… and the next night their Mama. Our little bean slept through much of the chaos of the virus that went on around her and never caught so much as a touch of it.  I attribute that to the fact that she is still nursing like a champ.

The one thing she has caught is a slightly stuffy nose, which in the life of a baby can cause quite the ruckus with her difficulty in performing the most basics of life such as eating and sleeping. But a little eucalyptus oil and some snuggles and a song is all this little one usually needs for a smile that could cheer up even the most ill among us.

I know there are some things that just have to get done, no matter how sick you are. I know about icky laundry and preparing nourishment and work deadlines. I know what it’s like to really need to be somewhere but still having to say no. But if you can surround yourself with people who truly care about your well being they will honor the rest that is needed and the time that it takes.

And they might even wash your laundry and your dishes when they’re not knocked down themselves.

So we’ve been here, we’ve just been taking the time to recover our health – to drink bowls of broth and mugs of tea, to snuggle up and take extra naps when the baby sleeps, and to only do the most basic of living.

And maybe, just maybe, we might be getting back to normal. And normal is highly underrated.