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Monday, June 9

Sick & Tired (Cross Canadian Ragweed)


Try as you might sometimes, you're going to get sick.  You're gallivanting in new territory, with different germs than at home.  The key, now, is to recover quickly!  
De-fense!  De-fense!  De-fense!

          The Wise Woman herbalist has a 7 step approach to working with herbs for health.  These steps are an integrative approach of both the traditional herbal healing path and philosophy, but still giving room for the use of Western medicine. These steps are as followed:
Step 0 Do nothing; observe
Step 1 Gather information; books, dr. intuition
Step 2 Work with the energy; Brighten a room, bundle up
Step 3 Nourish and tonify; herbs used gently as food, massage, bath
Step 4 Stimulate or Sedate: Stronger herbs and medicines
Step 5 Supplements or Pharmacy Drugs; antibiotics
Step 6 Physically invade; Ultrasounds, X-rays, surgery
I think it is important to point out that there are 3 steps before even using the herbs to help with anything. Some of the most important things we can do are the simplest changes to restore balance. Susun also prioritizes the list from the least harmful to potentially most harmful. Not all herbs are created equal.   She has a wonderful book, Healing Wise, that provides more basic information.
FIRE CIDER & the COMMON COLD
Our Fire Cider jar occupies a permanent spot in the cooler.  That, along with elderberry syrup and apple cider vinegar, comprises 90% of the medication that we use on the road.  
  

Fire Cider is a remedy for upper respiratory infections with a deep cough and severe nasal congestion. It is extremely spicy, and I don’t think there will be very many kids who will want to take this remedy. Take a tablespoon full every day - it's a very potent remedy, so go slowly with it.

The most annoying symptom of a cold, to me, is the constant congestion. The pressure causes headaches, and sleeping with your mouth open can cause throat irritation and always makes my cough worse. Mucous is actually part of the body’s immune system and is not something that is necessarily bad. It is just bad when it gets infected, or causes too much pressure, all of which is due to not being able to flow freely.
          The key here then, is to help it stay free flowing. This allows the body to rid itself of the virus or bug. You can brew a very strong chamomile tea (typically found in the hotel lobby) and breathe in that steam. Try to avoid foods that increase mucous production, such as dairy, orange juice, or sugar. You can also sleep propped up, to allow gravity to help drain and get rid of the mucous. Your fire cider will help keep the mucous thinner and free flowing.

Fire Cider

Ingredients:

     1 part minced garlic

     1 part chopped whole onion

     1 part grated horseradish root

     1 part grated ginger root
     ¼- ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
     Raw apple cider vinegar
Place all of the herbs in a glass jar and cover with apple cider vinegar. Make sure to put plastic between the lid of the jar and the vinegar, or else it will create a slime due to a chemical reaction between the metal and the vinegar. Steep herbs for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily, then strain and keep in a glass jar.


FEVER
A fever is our body’s attempt at fighting off some sort of infection. We know that a body’s antibody productions increases significantly during a fever and aids in our bodies natural detoxifying abilities. There are 4 stages of a fever that we will look at.
          This is when the immune system is warming up. You will generally feel a little cold and may shiver. We naturally reach for more clothes or pile on the blankets in this first stage. This is actually helping our body activate our immune system. Drinking warm broth and the ginger lemon tea is also an aid for this stage of the fever.

Second Stage

          This is when the fever reaches its set range. You may notice an increase in heart rate and the focus on lukewarm drinks, rather than hot teas is ideal. People tend to feel very tired at this point, and if they can indulge, should take the time to rest. A lukewarm lemon balm tea and sleep are perfect for this part. To help with any aches, you can take a tepid (not hot) bath to help with joint and muscle pain.

Third Stage

          This is the “breaking fever” stage. The fever is lowered and you start to sweat profusely. It’s normal to have it fluctuate up and down at this stage, but this is the part where that dehydration is a bigger risk. Coconut water, bone broths, and any sort of oral rehydration drink is key (See Oral Rehydration recipe)

Fourth Stage

          The fourth stage is all about repairing and healing. Paul Bergner suggests resting 2 days for every 3 days of fever. This can be hard for busy moms so try and at least make it a couch and pajamas kind of day or a light load!!! Take a shower and wash away the sick, stick to very nourishing foods, and get those sheets changed. This is the stage that we are wiping the rest of the sickness away from our lives.
ORAL REHYDRATION
You should encourage sips of this drink every 5 minutes until urination frequency becomes normal.
MAMA KNOWS BEST!
The bottom line is to trust your instincts. You are your child’s best doctor! There are plenty of stories of mama’s just knowing that something was wrong, even though all the tests were saying that everything was fine. I hope that these remedies and suggestions will be able to help you feel more confident in deciding when you might need outside help or not.
If you'd like more information about using herbs medicinally, Simple Kitchen Fixes is a fantastic resource!
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