I don’t remember when I became interested in essential oils. Since I am by no means an expert, I asked my friend Stephanie for some of her expertise. She originally posted this on her blog and has let me post this on mine.
Check out her blog, My Mischief Managing, for gardening adventures, home DIY, and herbal tips and tricks.
I’m all about the home remedies. Herbs, vinegars and tinctures are an immediate resource for me when I feel The Ick coming on, choosing to avoid over-the-counter meds that generally block symptoms rather than treat source problems. And I’ll avoid antibiotics at all costs.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of modern medicine and am extremely grateful for its existence in the world. I just happen to believe it’s grossly over-prescribed, over-used and in many smaller cases of simple illnesses, do more harm than good to overall immune system well-being.
I’ve comprised a list of all of my favorite go-to remedies for dealing with The Ick which have kept me and my family healthy over the years.
- Olive Leaf Extract
In my humble opinion, a sadly overlooked and vital addition to any herbal home apothecary. Olive Leaf is what I go to first (meaning, I was just sneezed on at a birthday party by a wheezy, snotty 5 year old and have a busy week planned that can’t afford a sick day). I pop a handful (okay maybe just a few) of these bad-boys and I avoid the down time all together. The beautiful thing about Olive Leaf is 2-fold. First, it’s available everywhere, online, health markets, plain ole grocery stores, even at Target. Second, it fights viruses. Not just nasty infections and bacteria, which can be wiped out with antibiotics, but viruses. I’m not trying to claim it will cure your viral diseases, but I am saying it won’t hurt to have the extra hand fighting for you. It’s GOOD STUFF. Bonus round: Safe for kids! If they don’t like taking pills, it’s available in liquid form, or you could just be like me and break the little capsule open to dissolve in food or liquid.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
I could write a whole separate blog about the infinite benefits of ACV (in fact, I will; stay tuned) but as far as a germ-fighter, this little baby saved me a whole lot of grief in my younger I’m-in-public-school-but-I-still-bite-my-nails days. Strep throat? Take a shot of ACV. Congestion? Take a shot of ACV. Nausea? … Well, maybe not nausea; let’s just say it’s an acquired taste. Achy flu body? Taka a shot of ACV. (Are you getting the picture?)
The point is this: ACV kills germs. All kinds of germs. Like Olive Leaf, it helps prevent the onslaught of illness like a champ. Better than Olive Leaf, it CURES minor yuckies (particularly things like strep) with the quickness! Since it’s liquid (and might be less than delicious) I usually mix it with tea and raw honey for the added benefits and to make it more palatable. Though once you’re a tenured user like myself, you can drink it straight out of the bottle with only the most minor, “DEAR GOD THAT’S HORRIBLE” face. Bonus round: Also safe for kids! Though good luck getting them to drink it unless you have weirdo kids like me that looove the sour stuff. Plus it’s super duper cheap (and easy to make if you’re feeling all DIY-ish)
- Fresh Ginger
You remember when you were a kid and you had a tummy ache and grandma would bring you the Gingerale? (Just me? I accept that possibility). Well there’s a reason for that. Before gingerale was commercialized and basically turned into yet another fizzy, sugar-bomb soft drink… It actually used to be made with fermented ginger and consumed a few weeks shy of turning to alcohol. And there is simply nothing better for an upset stomach than ginger. Fresh ginger is cheap, can be brewed in a tea… Dried ginger is available at any herbal supplier, and can be taken in pill form as a supplement. Add a little fresh peppermint for the added boost and bye-bye belly-ache. There are numerous circulatory and brain-focus-type benefits also, but for now, we’ll keep it simple.
- Vitamin C & D
I’ll keep this one short because it’s a no-brainer. Everyone knows to grab some Emergen-C when they’re feeling a little under the weather. And Vitamin D can do the same thing. Neither one will cure your illness, but it does put your body in a good position to better aid your natural immune system as it battles The Ickies that are invading.
- Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil)
Anit-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-ICK! Used in essential oil form can be placed on chest, feet, wrists to help kill off nasty bacteria. Diffused in the air can help protect everyone else in the family/house/daycare/gathering from the contagions. Combined with eucalyptus oil in a chest rub can even ease symptoms of bronchitis, croup or other really rough upper-respiratory Ickies. This is an oil-of-all-trades. It disinfects surfaces (and can even treat mold!). Keep it handy, use it often.
Those are my top 5, but I would be remiss if I didn’t add in the margins that part of my ‘secret’ to staying healthy pretty consistently is that I drink pickle juice like that weird, dirty, homeless-looking neighbor kid that won’t stop coming over and always eats dinner at your house even when you don’t invite them. (Full disclosure: I was that kid). I’m not making this up. The vinegar (like with all fermented foods) helps keep your gut healthy by flushing toxins and balancing PH. Don’t believe me? Here are a few examples of its uses! I wasn’t performing any scientific research on the matter, but I tell ya, my inner 10-year-old is pretty proud to have unofficially discovered this 2 decades ago.
Stay healthy, friends!
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I do not pretend to know more than a doctor. I cannot diagnose, prescribe or treat your illnesses. As always, consult your doctor with any questions.