Below is a list of some of the natural remedies we use in our house.
Cold or Flu – The main things we use are Virastop, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Emer-Gen-C, and lots of water and fluids (but not sugary ones). Echinachea is also good. Teas are good fluids if your kids will drink them. Mine like tea.
I give them either organic chamomile tea or the kids teas they have at the health food stores. They have one that is a Cold Care one. Avoid sugar as it will suppress the immune system and make it harder and it will take longer for the body to fight off the virus or bacteria. Lysine can be given to fight viruses as well (see “Warts” below). For coughs, we use Herbs for Kids brand Eldertussin Elderberry Syrup, or B&T brand kids cough syrup. I find both of these at the health food store or Whole Foods. Elderberry is a great herb for colds and coughs. Or my midwife makes her own cough syrup that is awesome! She moved to Arizona, but she will mail it wherever. She makes it with horehound, echinachea, honey, a little brandy :), and I can’t remember the rest, but the stuff works great! Her name is Diane and her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. She makes her own teas and other herbal remedies as well. I haven’t been able to stump her yet. She can tell you an herb that will fix any ailment. Humidifiers are good as well. We also have a diffuser, where you put oils in it and it disperses the oil into the air. You can also do this in your regular humidifier if it has an area for adding stuff like VaporRub. We add a couple drops of tea tree oil (this kills germs and viruses in the air), peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil. These will help your child breathe better.
Virastop by Enzymedica: I get at the local health food store. (It does cost about $23 a bottle, but I figure it’s cheaper than multiple trips to the doctor and Walgreens). They are capsules. For a young child, empty half a capsule into their juice. I take one capsule at bedtime and one in the morning as soon as I feel a cold coming on or if the flu is going around. You can take this as a preventative measure too, not just if you’re sick. It kills viruses, including any latent viruses you have hanging around in your body. When I have a cold, I take this, and my colds only last about 3 days, where the person I got it from has the cold for two weeks. The first day I started taking it, my nose ran like crazy. I think this is your body ridding itself of a virus, so don’t be surprised if this happens. My colds are also less severe. I’m not dragging or super sick like I normally would get. Drink more water to rid the virus faster.
Vitamin C – Your body can only use so much vitamin C at a time, so I usually take 500 mg at a time at different times throughout the day, up to about 2,000 mg a day. You could probably go higher when you’re sick but I don’t because I take it in combination with zinc and Virastop so I don’t feel more is necessary personally.
Zinc – About 20 to 30 mg a day is what we take. My kids take this every day as part of their daily supplements. It is great for the immune system. I think every school aged child should be taking it with all the sicknesses that go around. For brands that we use, see my “All About Supplements” post. I’ve read for maintenance, only about 15 mg is needed.
Vitamin D It’s well known here in the midwest that you get sick way more in the winter months. Part of the reason for this is a lack of vitamin D in our bodies. You can get some vitamin D from the sun, but even if you live in a warm climate, you usually aren’t getting enough. Mercola talks a lot about the use of Vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of colds and flus. Google it on his web site. We take between 400 to 2,000 mg a day.
Emer-Gen-C – This is a powder packet that you mix with water to make a Gatorade/electrolite type drink. There are lots of different flavors. I like orange the best. This is great for cold or flu and gives you energy. It contains a lot of vitamin C and other vitamins. They have big boxes of these at Sam’s now. Emer-Gen-C works great for the stomach flu for some reason. My midwife took it for food poisoning and she felt better within a couple of hours, and her friend was sick for a couple of days. It does settle the stomach, but drink sips every 10 minutes.
Stomach Flu – After my kids have stopped vomiting for at least a couple of hours, I have them take tiny sips every 10 minutes of Emer-Gen-C or Coke! My midwife told me that there is something in the cola bean that settles the stomach. If you can get caffeine free, that’s better obviously. I open it and let it de-fizz first before giving it to them. They never give me a hard time about drinking it. 🙂 I’ve tried it when I was pregnant and sick and it does seem to work for some reason. But make sure you wait until the stomach has settled first or they will just throw up again no matter what you give them. After a little bit of the Coke, I give them Emer-Gen-C the rest of the day. Sprite will do nothing but suppress their immune system from all the sugar and increase yeast overgrowth. Ditch the Sprite and Gatorade. Gatorade is loaded with sugar and dyes and is terrible for you. Emer-Gen-C tastes almost the same and is actually good for you.
Headache If you already have a headache, here are a few suggestions, but the best treatment is prevention. Rub pepperment oil over your liver. I think it’s the bottom right side of your abdomen. I do this for my son. I just do both sides b/c I can never remember. It’s supposed to help the liver get toxins out of the body. My DAN doctor recommended this. It does seem to help my son, but I don’t know how much of it is a placebo effect. 🙂 If you google pepperment oil though, it does say it helps headaches. If you have a diffuser, put in pepperment and lavender oil.
Another remedy is Coke! Take tiny sips every 10 minutes. It’s the caffeine and the cola nut in it that can help a headache. Advil contains a lot of caffeine. Regular caffeine consumption can also give you headaches. Sometimes, you might be having a withdrawal from caffeine, and the caffeine will help ease the headache. Slowly wean yourself off of caffeine in the future. Drink green tea for headaches. Green tea is a great antioxidant and helps with headaches. Drink more water. Sometimes headaches are caused from dehydration. If you are pregnant, this is especially true. I got headaches constantly in the first trimester of one of my pregnancies and the nurse suggested to drink more water, which I did, and my headaches went away.
If you get chronic headaches, that is a strong indication that you are eating something you’re allergic to. It took me 30 years to figure that one out. I got migraines all the time since I was at least 8. In high school, I got a migraine about twice a month or more where they were so bad I was throwing up. I ate pizza, ice cream, and cheeseburgers ALL the time! I’ve discovered that if I eat dairy, I will get a headache from it two days later every time. My son is the exact same way. This is an IGG allergy, meaning you don’t get an immediate reaction. It could take days to affect you, or it could have a build up effect. My son is the same way. Two days later, he gets a headache from dairy. It’s the strangest thing.
Give magnesium, Vitamin C, epsom salt baths (from 1/4 to 1 cup in a bath, soak for at least 15-20 minutes), George’s Aloe Vera Juice (add it to any drink – has no taste), organic chamomile tea, more fluids, fruits, and vegetables if you can. If constipation is on going, look into the GFCF diet. Gluten and casein are known to cause constipation. In some, it causes diarrhea. Watch your intake of calcium and biotin. Both these supplements should be given with magnesium for proper absorption but also because alone, they tend to cause constipation. Yeast overgrowth also tends to cause constipation, so think of treating for yeast overgrowth as well. Enzymes can help regulate stools. We use Houston Enzymes. You have to order online direct from them. The most common one to use is Trienza. (Start with half a cap, and work up.) It is intended to help digest gluten, dairy, and high phenol foods like fruits, but even if you are on GFCF, it helps with digestion in general. Many people have seen improvement in stools. Take before a meal or within 30 minutes of eating. They also have chewables for kids. Another enzyme is “Digest” by Enzymedica that you can find in a health food store.
Give calcium, biotin (start at around 400 mcg), organic chamomile tea (for some reason, chamomile is good for both diarrhea and constipation. I don’t know why but it’s true). Chamomile is a safe tea even for young children and it tastes pretty good. I’ve put it in my baby’s bottle, watered down, and it did help. Watch your intake of magnesium. Too much magnesium, or if given alone without calcium to balance it out, can cause diarrhea. As a rule, you should take slightly more calcium than magnesium. If diarrhea is on going, look into the GFCF diet, or suspect food allergies. Diarrhea is a huge sign that you are allergic to something you are eating. Keep a diet diary, and see if you can pinpoint the cause. I’ve also taken Emer-Gen-C for diarrhea from the flu and it helps. If you have diarrhea from the flu, take supplements for the flu. See above. Enzymes are also helpful for diarrhea. See notes above under “Constipation.”
Olive Leaf Extract (OLE) will eliminate strep. I get in capsules. Start with half a cap and work up to one. Strep is not pretty, so if you want to give antibiotics, use your discretion. I have used antibiotics for strep, but if you have a child with ongoing strep (gets it every month or so), I would highly recommend OLE as a daily supplement. You can start it while they are on antibiotics, and just continue it. Some people take it for months. If I know that strep is going around, I would give my kids OLE. OLE is good for other reasons too. Can’t remember the others though. Mono would be another that OLE will elminate. We have not had to deal with strep here. My kids just don’t get it. My son got it twice when we tried the probiotics “Three-Lac” which contains a strep strain. The body will misread it as a bad bacteria and attack it like it is strep and create strep antibodies, causing the sore throat and symptoms. We now stay away from any probiotics with a strep strain (read the labels). This strep strain can be in yogurts as well. If your child has an ongoing issue with strep, watch for strep strains if they eat yogurt. This could be triggering their strep.
PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Disorder Associated With Strep) is another thing you might want to look into. It is something fairly new to the medical community. It is a bizarre but very real phenom. Go to the link below to read more, or do a search on PANDAS and strep.
There is not much info out there on it, but quite a few people on the gfcfdiet.com board have kids with PANDAS. The kids will act out right before getting and during a strep infection. The change in behavior is rapid, like overnight. Once they get over the strep infection, they go back to “normal.” Therefore, if your child is always OCD or defiant, they may not have PANDAS, but if there behavior changes overnight and it only occurs right before a strep infection, they may have PANDAS.
During a PANDAS flare, they may bed wet, get defiant, have mood swings, huge tantrums, OCD (obsessive complusive disorder), Tourette’s, ADHD symptoms, etc. Antibiotics usually eliminate the behavioral issues and they will return to their normal selves, until the next episode of strep. Some parents know instinctively when their kids have strep or if strep is going around school before they’ve even had time to have them tested, just by their behavior.
Then there are some kids who have PANDAS but never get the strep infections. The strep is just residing in their gut. Kids with constant strep, most likely have strep in their guts. There is a blood test called AntiDNase and ASO that measures strep antibodies in the body. You would need a doctor’s prescription. I had the test done for my son and it did not show high strep antibodies. These antibodies can change though according to when the strep is there.
So, the reason for testing would be if you suspect PANDAS, and you would want to test during a time when you believe they are having a flare (when their behavior changes drastically). If you test then, and the tests come back high for strep, they likely have PANDAS. They may or may not get a classic strep throat infection. The strep in their body is just flaring causing the symptoms.
There are several opinions on how to treat PANDAS. One is to use OLE. One is to use antibiotics, but the strep will keep recurring, so that may not be the best bet, and the antibiotics will cause an increase in yeast. You will definitely want to increase their immune function through supplements. I’ve heard people talk about being a strep carrier. I’m not exactly sure what this means, but I would think it means they are carrying strep in their gut. This is no better than getting strep throat infections. It just means that their immune system is not fighting the strep, but allowing it to stay there.
When you get a strep throat infection, your body makes antibodies and tries to fight it to get it out of your system. If your body is allowing it to resonate and not fighting it off, that means you have a dysfunctional immune system. When strep hangs around in the body, it can travel to the brain from the gut and cause neurological issues like OCD, Tourette’s, ADHD, etc.
Likewise, if you have a child who never gets sick, that usually means their immune system is not working properly. Kids should get sick occassionally, but if their immune system is good, they will fight it off quickly and not get super sick like most kids today get. That’s why fevers are sometimes good because it means their immune system is working properly to try to fight off the invaders. It can not be good sometimes though if their immune system is overactive (gets a lot of high fevers for no real reason – I have one of those), or never ever gets a fever – that means their immune system is underactive (got one of those too). 🙂 We have had blood tests done that prove this theory in my kids.
We’ve not dealt with this in our house, so I can’t tell you much from personal experience, but this is as much as I know. Kids with PANDAS would definitely want to stay away from any probiotics or foods with the strep strain though.
Ring Worm (or any type of skin fungus)
There are several natural remedies. We elminated ring worm with tea tree oil. I put a couple drops on a cotton ball, then added a couple drops of water and applied to the area. If you accidentally use too much tea tree oil, it may burn a little. Just apply a wet wash cloth and use less next time. We saw immediate results. Within a day or two, the area looked like it was healing. I think it took about a week for it to go away. I applied it once a day at night because the smell is strong. You are supposed to keep applying for about 2 weeks to make sure it doesn’t come back, but we didn’t and it never came back. I have heard of using Oil or Oregano too and taking Grapefruit Seed Extract internally. Ring Worm is a fungus – may even be yeast. Ring Worm is often a sign of yeast overgrowth within the gut, that is manifesting itself on the skin. You should think about treating for yeast overgrowth as well. I’ve always heard that Ring Worm was something you could catch, but I’m not so sure anymore.
Lysine! This stuff is great! We had molloscum contagiosum (warts that spread rapidly) at our house for almost a full year. The warts would get infected sometimes which they would then put us on antibiotics. The antibiotics would help clear up the infection, but warts are a virus. Lysine is an anti-viral and kills viruses, including the herpes virus, which is what warts usually are a form of. Our doctor told us there was really nothing we could do, that they would run their course – maybe a year or two, and then go away. Well, ours were only spreading and getting infected. My kids got plantars warts on a finger and the bottom of the foot. I gave my kids lysine, and within 2 weeks, they just fell right off and you couldn’t even tell where they had been! Our doctor had told us to see a dermatologist to have them burned or frozen off, which would have been painful. For plantars warts, they will turn black first, then fall off. For the other warts that are just flesh colored or red bumps, it took a few weeks to dissipate. Within 2-3 months of taking 500 mg of l-lysine every day, they were completely gone and the skin was healed. The second time they got infected, I chose to not use the antibiotics, since the first time, they really didn’t help anyway (and she had a staph infection). I instead used Oil of Oregano (Oreganol brand capsules) which is a natural antibiotic, twice a day. It started to clear within a couple of days and within 2 weeks, the skin was healed over. I also put a drop of Oil of Oregano directly on the infected area. I never use a Band-Aid because every time I did, it got worse.
I started at 250 mg of lysine, then increased to 500 mg over a few days. You can go higher, but I didn’t feel I needed to because it was working. You do need to continue to give lysine after the warts go away for a time, because the virus/warts can come back. Lysine is also a potent immune booster, so it will help your child fight off any viruses. I give it when fighting a cold or flu sometimes too. Lysine also eliminates cold sores or canker sores, as those are a form of herpes virus. Lysine does increase yeast (viral die off causes a lot of yeast), so I give lysine along with biotin (start at 400 mcg and work up to at least 1,000 mcg. Can go much higher.) to fight yeast. You could use other yeast fighters as well (like grapefruit seed extract, Candex, Candidase, Oil of Oregano, probiotics, etc.).
Take melatonin or 5HTP. 5HTP is pretty safe. My 2 year old takes it. Start with half a capsule and work up. 5HTP is also used to treat depression, so it also helps with mood. We take it for that reason, but it is also supposed to help with sleep. We’ve never had an issue with sleep, so I don’t know if it helps or not, but it’s supposed to. Melatonin is used solely for sleep – to help fall asleep, and to stay asleep. If using for kids, start out at a low dose – like 1/4 to 1/2 of 1 mg. I could only find the tablets, so I broke one up and put it in a capsule. My one doesn’t like to take tablets. Some people use melatonin regularly, and some as needed. Most take about 10 minutes before bedtime. There are some that are slow release. I’m not sure what the difference is. I think I’d get the regular ones, not the slow release. They also make ones that are 3 mg. You will have to see how much you need. Some need more, some less. It also depends on your size. Melatonin tends to work great, though I feel kind of sneaky giving it to my kids, so I’ve only used it twice. The first time, I gave 1/2 mg and my 9 year old son fell asleep immediately. I had to run and get my husband to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. He told me to give it to the rest of them. 🙂 The second time I gave him 1/4 and it didn’t work quite as nicely. But, if I had a kid that had big nighttime issues (I know some kids that wake up several times a night and are school age), I think I’d try melatonin. Adults should definitely use it instead of over the counter meds. Melatonin is what we get from the sun. You often hear people say that their kids are more tired because they’ve been out in the sun all day. Today, people don’t get nearly as much sun as they got years ago. Melatonin is also produced when we are in total darkness, and this makes us sleep better. Today, we are exposed to artificial lighting from our regular lights to computers, TV’s, video games, glares from our alarm clocks, and more. It is best to sleep in as close to total darkness as possible. We use room darkening blinds. Mercola talks about this on his web site (www.mercola.com). The more light we are exposed to after the sun goes down, the less melatonin our bodies produce, which makes it harder for our bodies to fall asleep. Reduce the amount of time in front of the computer, TV, etc. in the night hours and your kids will have an easier time falling asleep. When you take melatonin as a supplement, you are replenishing what your body needs but isn’t getting enough of because of our current age. If you think about ages ago, when the sun went down, people generally went to sleep soon after and woke up when the sun came up. They were exposed to the sun a lot more because they worked their land, and they weren’t exposed to artificial light in the night hours. My 9 year old is my hardest to get to sleep at night – probably because he plays so many video games! We try to get him to read at night instead. There is a whole nother issue out there called “electromagnetic chaos.” Part of the issue there is with melatonin, but the whole subject is huge so I won’t go into it here.
Just found out about this one the hard way. We moved into a new house, and both my kids got stung by wasps within two weeks. So, I looked up some all natural remedies. So, they’re probably going to get stung in the summer. One remedy is to put fresh basil and parsley leaves (crushed) on the sting site. I happened to have some growing (probably the reason for all the bees!), so we put some on my daughter’s leg. Also, put an ice pack on the area. I also read you can put a mixture of honey and sugar on the bite. Fresh garlic can be used, but we didn’t try that b/c I know garlic will sting if you put it on an open wound, so I didn’t want to try that on my daughter. If you get stung by a wasp or hornet, it will not leave a stinger, but a bee sting will. So you first want to remove any stinger if you see one. Also, wasps will not die after they sting, but they do let off a signal to their bee friends, who will then come to the area to help attack! Yikes! So get out of the area. The area will turn red and swell slightly. If it swells a lot or for a prolonged period of time, or if your child’s face swells up or they have trouble breathing, they may be allergic to the bee venom, and you want to call your doctor. My kids cried for about 10-15 minutes from the pain of the sting, then they were fine and after about 30 minutes the swelling started to go down and there was just a little bright red dot where they were stung.