As we venture further into winter I find myself gathering a host of remedies to ensure coughs and colds are kept at bay.
I’m pedantic when it comes to warm feet (“put your socks on!”), singlets under t-shirts (to keep the kidneys warm) and a kitchen brimming with immune boosting foods, herbs, spices and natural medicines. When the fruit bowl is full of lemons, there’s a good supply of ginger, garlic and honey in the pantry and I’ve got chicken broth gently bubbling in the slow cooker, I know I’m set to fight the most persistent of seasonal sniffles.
Coughs and colds take on a whole new level of intensity when you’re a mum. The slightest tickle in your throat or the just-a-bit-too-warm forehead of your little one is enough to have you dreading what’s to come. Granted, sometimes you do just have to surrender to the long, sleepless nights.
Over my ten years of mothering I’ve come to rely on a few natural remedies that always offer comfort and relief when it’s needed most:
- chicken broth + vegies: take a glance at any number of cultures (Chinese, Greek, Indonesian) and you’ll find chicken broth/soup has been used for centuries to offer comfort and revitalise worn, tired bodies. It really is food for the soul and when it’s made at home from quality ingredients the result is delicious and heartwarming. Regardless of the wellness industry hype surrounding broth, it does offer an abundance of nutrients and minerals that help to boost the immune system and energise the body. It’s also very easy to digest which is important when the body is working hard to fight illness. Granted, it can be difficult to get your kids interested but in my experience, persistence is key. I always serve it alongside chopped up raw vegies (the broth helps the body digest the vegies and absorb the goodness) and sometimes offer some garlicky hommus to entice. I cook soba noodles in broth but if your kids are more likely to eat rice, cook the rice in broth and create congee (a traditional Chinese meal that always makes an appearance when colds and coughs strike).
- lemon and ginger tea: often with added turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties. I steer clear of cold foods in winter months and instead plan warming, nourishing meals to keep the digestive fire going. Lemon and ginger tea is such a soothing drink for little ones and when served with a spoonful of honey it really can be a beautiful ritual. I squeeze lemons into a small mug and add a little bit of ginger before pouring the smallest amount of boiling water over the top. I let this sit and infuse for a good ten minutes before topping up with hot water (and then a little tap water) and letting the kids stir in a bit of honey. When you’re cuddled up with books and blankets, this easy-to-make remedy really does soothe scratchy throats, warm the coldest of hands and help create lasting memories.
- eucalyptus balm + onions for bedtime: granted, this may seem a little witchy but with my hand on my heart I’m here to tell you that it works! I rub eucalyptus balm (known for its lung cleansing and phlegm loosening properties) on the chest to encourage easy breathing and on the soles of the feet for the very same reason (applying oil to the feet helps it spread throughout the body but make sure you dilute with a carrier oil or use a balm and then cover with socks). When a cut onion is placed on the bedside table it emits sulfur compounds which have anti-bacterial properties.
- Prospan (Ivy Leaf Extract): Hedera helix, commonly known as Ivy leaf, is an evergreen climbing plant and extracts from the leaves have been used. How? Well, the extract helps to loosen and thin the mucus involved in chesty coughs which makes it easier to cough up (and out!), soothing the airways and clearing the lungs in the process. If you’re keen to use a natural medicine for your little one that’s both trusted and clinically proven, Prospan comes highly recommended.
- apple cider vinegar: an all-round health boosting remedy that goes way back, apple cider vinegar (ACV) may taste horrid but it works wonders when it’s time to kill nasties in the throat. I dilute it with a bit of room temperature water and encourage the kids to swill it around their mouths before spitting it out (a spoonful of honey afterward sweetens the deal). I also add a glug to the broth when I first start cooking as it helps draw out the nutrients from the bones. And, if I’ve bought non-organic fruit and veg I give them a bath in water with added ACV to remove the nasties that may be present on the skin.
This post is sponsored by Prospan. We always recommend you check with a healthcare professional before giving Prospan to your little ones. Prospan is not to be given to children under 2 years of age without medical advice. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms or coughing persist consult your healthcare professional.