Kick a Cold — Herbal remedies

To continue with my Kick a Cold series, I want to share some of the array of herbal remedies lined up on my counter as I battle my 3-year-old’s unpleasant cough. After visiting her classroom this week, there’s no question as to where she picked up this one.

As someone with an auto-immune disorder (multiple sclerosis), I have a vested interest in avoiding viral infections that may cause a flare-up, or exacerbation, of my disease by igniting a peculiar malfunction of my immune system. When I get a cold, it hits me hard. The best way to handle these times is to take to bed for a few days, but as a working mother of preschoolers, that is rarely an option anymore. So, while I’m not a medical doctor, I have spent a lot of time learning how to keep my body healthy and have a certification in a holistic medicine discipline (nutrition). Please keep this in mind whenever I share remedies with you.

A great way to avoid illness is to try to avoid sick people. As I told my massage therapist recently: If you’re sick, please put me first on your list to cancel, even at the eleventh hour. I’d rather miss an appointment than pick up a bug. But I don’t want to live in a bubble of isolation, either.

It’s harder to avoid germs when they come in with your kids. The first years in a classroom or daycare environment are the worst, as that’s when they pick up everything.

As for my daughter, she hasn’t had a fever, has been energetic though not very hungry, and doesn’t cough very frequently during the daytime, though the cough increases as the day continues and can be bad at night. It’s a wet cough with a stuffy/drippy nose.Cranberry Pomegranate juice

I kicked off the campaign with some garlic tea made more potent with Organic Pomegranate and Cranberry juice and a tablespoonful of Han’s Honey Loquat Syrup. Honey Loquat syrupThe antiviral properties of the garlic tea combined with the sweet desirable flavor and anti-oxident properties of the juice to help her body fight the infection, and the cough suppressant throat lubrication of the syrup to help her stop coughing long enough to get some sleep.

I wasn’t sure how she would take to the Honey Loquat syrup as it has a sweet flavor up front followed by a slightly medicinal aftertaste and aroma. I shouldn’t have feared as she will now slurp it up directly from a spoon.

I prefer not to suppress a cough during the day if it is “productive”, as this is the body’s way of expelling some of the sickness. However, a body can’t heal if it can’t sleep deeply, so I will suppress a cough at night if it interferes with sleep.

A nasal rinse also helps clear a cough, particularly when it is caused by post-nasal drip. For my daughter, it was a couple squirts of Little Noses (see Kick a Cold – Kids sinus rinse post) followed a few minutes later by a spray of Euphorbium (see Kick a Cold – Homeopathics post) in each nostril.

SambucolI followed with a teaspoonful of Sambucol, a virologist-developed formula of black elderberry and echinacea that is an immune-system enhancer. I have found this syrup to be very effective for my kids, however I do not take it myself. As someone with a disfunctional immune system, I avoid echinacea and other immune-system boosters. I would rather not put my immune system in overdrive because, while I don’t know where it might land, it likely won’t be fun. I do think Sambucol is effective and helpful for people with normal immune systems, though. There is also a Sambucol For Kids version of the formula.

Finally, I am thrilled to have discovered Horehound, an herb which provides respiratory and lung support. I use a tincture of horehound and let me be the first to tell you: it’s a pretty nasty taste. Regardless, I love it for battling those wet, lower respiratory coughs because it is pretty powerful. Herbs For Kids brand makes a “Horehound Blend” of herbs that promote easy breathing in a dosage for kids. I sometimes mix it in a teaspoon with Sambucol to make it more palatable for picky eaters.

To finish off this series we’ll look at vitamins and teas. Stay tuned…

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