A year ago, my son had a terrible dry cough for almost two weeks. In the daytime it was fine, but at night he would cough and cough all through the night. He would wake up tired and cranky. The doctor gave us some prescription cough medicine to try and the pharmacy listed all the dangerous side effects.
We gave him the medicine, because that is what loving parents do right? No change. He still coughed through the night and on top of it, couldn’t sleep and in turn we didn’t sleep. The next day I was reading up on natural cures just to see what else was out there. I read over the suggestions, one of which was honey. I thought: “well it cant hurt.”
He began his nightly hacking and I came in with a spoonful of honey. He liked it better than the cough medicine, so I got points for that. Even better, the cough subsided. Silence filled our hallway and everyone got to sleep. The cough medicine sits in the cupboard; one dose used. I have since been through several honey jars.
When sniffles and sneezes surround us it's tempting to reach for over the counter drugs for relief. There are a number of natural remedies that work well and here's a secret: some work better or just as well as over-the-counter medications, especially for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents avoid using over-the-counter cold and cough medicine for children under 6. Some flat out don't work for children under 12 and others are suspected to do more harm than good.
So let's dust off those old home remedies. Below are some of the less known and highly effective remedies for the common cold and flu.
Kick the Vicks habit. We all know Petroleum is bad and synthetic camphor is worse. Vicks has both. Follow this easy recipe to make your own vapor rub: How to Make Your Own Petroleum-Free Vapor Rub.
Impress your friends; give it as a gift with some chicken soup for an ailing friend. If you miss the menthol scent of Vicks then- pssst… I have a secret for you – you can get camphor essential oil to add to your homemade vapor rub. It’s the real thing and not harmful. You'll never want to pick up the toxic overpriced crud again.
Added bonus: this vapor rub can be used as a diaper rash cream and a bug repellent. Don't believe me? I dare you to give it a try.
Honey is a natural antibacterial, and more than just a natural sweet tooth’s wet dream. Take one teaspoon for cough. Honey will smooth out a dry throat. Cough medicine has nothing on this remedy, especially for children. Mary Poppins was on to something with the "spoonful of sugar" rant. (Warning: do not use honey on children under 1 year).
Gargle salt water for sore throat relief. Try adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a 1/2 cup water and gargle for a minute. Afterwards drink a cup of tea with lemon balm in it. Lemon balm has been shown to be a powerful anti-viral and promotes relaxation.
Epsom salt is by far the best-kept secret of natural healing. Ease achy muscles by taking a bath sprinkled with a 1/2 cup of Epsom salt. If you have essential oils, try a splash of eucalyptus, lavender or rosemary. Don't like baths? You can get the same benefits of Epsom salt by just soaking your feet. Read more about the benefits of Epsom salt baths.
I will finally throw out that old cough medicine. My simple remedies work well and I would rather buy one item that has several uses. I have been working on cleaning out our cupboards of medicines we don’t use, trinkets that I forgot how to use, and measuring cups that have no use- when I own a set of teaspoons for cooking already. Some things I will hang on to until I find an alternative, but I am happy with my homemade remedies that I don’t have to run off to the store to buy at the first signs of a sniffle.