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The following is a guest post by my dear friend Amy of Clothesline Alley. Amy is a bit of a mentor to me in many areas, including herbal medicine. As my herbal knowledge, and medicine cabinet, grow I am thankful to have this list of new-to-me remedies to add to it.

Thanks, Amy!

Sickness and injuries are among the unpleasant issues that can crop up quickly and take us by surprise in life, no matter how much we may try to prevent them. And as we all know, especially the parents among us, when a tummy bug erupts or an ear infection strikes, it will always be quickly, with a vengeance, and usually in the middle of the night. ;o)

While we cannot prevent these little attacks, there are little ways to make a bout of illness much more pleasant for your family with a bit of planning ahead for the inevitable.

For me this planning has encompassed many things: an icky sicky basket full of activities for my daughter should I be the one to be ill; provisions of health promoting food and nourishing liquids to help one’s body best cope with illness; comfort measures in the form of hot water bottles & rice bags, and a medicine cabinet stocked full of herbal, homeopathic, and natural remedies galore, many of which can safely pair with allopathic counterparts, providing relief for poor bodies in the throes of discomfort.

Among the many remedies abounding in my medicine cabinet, there are a few standy-bys for the most common of ailments that I find myself turning to, again and again:

  • Arnica- This is a homeopathic remedy, derived from the flowering plant of the same name. Available in dissolved tablets, topical oil, balm, gel, and tincture form, arnica is a wonderful treatment for bumps, bruises, and muscle injuries of all kinds. The sooner arnica is placed on the injured area, the better the results will be.
  • Catnip Tea- As the daughter of cat lovers, the first time I heard of catnip being used for people, I couldn’t help but giggle. The image in my head of tipsy cats rolling around in catnip toys just seemed to funny to give this herb medicinal value, but that value it does indeed have. Catnip tea can be used for the treatment of many ailments, but is especially useful for fever and teething discomfort. When my daughter was very small, I’d brew the tea and then freeze into ice cubes, to be rubbed on her puffy little gums. Once she was old enough to enjoy a cup of tea, I switched to serving this tea, lukewarm with a hint of sweet raw honey.
  • Rescue Remedy- A blend of several much enjoyed flower essences, Rescue Remedy provides relief for the emotional traumas of life. When an injury, illness, or upsetting circumstance has left a child (or adult) in the throes of emotional upset, a dose of Rescue Remedy can help them calm down and best handle the upset they are feeling at the time.
  • Rose Hip Syrup This syrup boasts a higher dose of vitamin C than a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice and provides an astringent cleansing to a body trying to fight off infection. At the first sign of illness or immediately after possible exposure, rose hip syrup supplies a much needed boost of immunity to a system on the offensive. The syrup can be given as a cough syrup, stirred into tea, or drizzled over waffles or similar food.
  • Slippery Elm Gruel- This highly nourishing food is an ideal meal during a bout of stomach upset. Slippery elm provides lubrication and comfort to a GI system in distress, as well as anti-nausea benefits, to help your precious one get on their way to healing very soon. This herb can also be consumed in tea form, providing rehydration and many important nutrients, to a sick person who may be dehydrated.
  • Garlic Mullein Oil This comforting oil is a must have in the medicine cabinet of every family with wee ones. Garlic Mullein Oil is a rich oil that provides a natural antibiotic effect to help prevent ear infections that may be developing or treat a minor infection that is already in existence. The oil is warmed in a cup full of warm oil and then a few drops placed in the ear of the suffering patient, providing almost immediate pain relief to the poor fiery ear.
  • Elderberry Syrup- This rich honey sweetened syrup is to my medicine cabinet what Triaminic was to my Mom’s. Elderberry syrup can be used to ease the discomfort of flus, colds, and other respiratory issues, while providing the immune system with a sorely needed boost of nutrients and antioxidants, allowing the body to best treat itself.

This list provides but a brief glimpse into the large world that is natural health care. I wholeheartedly encourage everybody to look into this topic a bit more and would love to recommend a few favorite books, for anybody who might be interested in becoming the best Doctor Mom they can be. :o)

Several books I recommend:

Laurel’s Kitchen Caregiving
The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook
Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal

Disclaimer: Please use caution with all of the remedies I have discussed, especially with small children or while pregnant and/or nursing. I am not a medical doctor or expert, but simply a mother with great interest in natural health care.