The world of natural health can seem quite intimidating to anyone who is just starting to dabble in it, and it still can be for those of us who started our journey years ago! Natural or alternative approaches to health often seem expensive, confusing, or complicated with the first impression, and certainly some fields genuinely can be without some education. However, I was reminded last night while helping to take care of the sniffles my children were coming down with that many natural remedies for common troubles are very simple, inexpensive, and don’t require any special ingredients!
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When my stuffy-nosed children were getting ready for bed last night and I was desperately hoping for a (please-oh-please, Lord!) decent night of rest, I reached for the trusty bag of salt and turned on the warm water.
A simple saline solution can do wonders when you have a cold, and you can easily make it from the basic salt and water in your own house. Simply add:
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 cup of warm water
and stir until it’s dissolved. Ba-dah! I’ve seen some “recipes” call for more salt and a pinch of baking soda, as well, but this works nicely for us. The simple saline solution does wonders to thin and eliminate the icky mucus that makes us feel so stuffy!
I like to use the Real Salt (affiliate link) that our family uses for cooking because I know that there are no chemical additives. Some people prefer to use bottled distilled water or boiled and cooled water for homemade saline solution (there have been crazy, but true, amoeba stories), so also keep that in mind.
We use the saline solution in two ways: as a gargle and as a nasal rinse. The first option, the gargle, doesn’t really require an explanation. Long ago and far away I wrote this post on nasal irrigation, and the goal of this is to gently flush out the nasal and sinus passages with a warm saline solution. You can do this with a purchased Neti Pot (affiliate link), a bulb syringe, or even just by sniffing some of the water up through your nose out of your hand. We prefer the first two options. Maybe someday I’ll be really brave and post a video tutorial of this one. It could be fun.
My oldest daughter, at the ripe old age of almost-nine, remarked after using the Neti Pot last night, “Ahhh! I feel like a new woman!” And she could breathe like one.
That brown bottle of peroxide has so many wonderful uses, including being a remedy for a cold! When a cold strikes in our house, peroxide does wonders as another option for a gargle as well as a treatment in the ears.
Gargling salt water makes me gag, but I can, however, gargle peroxide, and frequently do when I start to feel the glands in my throat swelling or other symptoms of a cold setting in. I don’t really time how long I go (maybe a minute or two?), but I generally do it twice before going to sleep, and after a night or two of doing so I always notice an improvement.
A capful of peroxide in the ears can also help to knock out a cold. With the head held over the sink and tilted to one side, the peroxide goes into the ear and fizzles and bubbles as it works to clear out the infection. After a few minutes, I switch sides, and gently dry out the inside of my ears with a cotton swab. Yes, the same ones that say on the box to never put in your ears, but we all do it, don’t we? I often do this with my children, too, and they find the fizzy feeling quite interesting.
A post on natural cold remedies couldn’t be complete without a mention of God’s most natural and powerful antibiotic! Garlic does wonders beating out all sorts of viral and bacterial infections, all without contributing to the overuse of antibiotics and other pharmaceutical medications. Raw garlic is my go-to “medicine” now! It certainly deserves it’s own post, but I’ll mention a few uses here:
- Try eating raw minced garlic on buttered toast. We try to pile on 3-4 cloves on each piece of bread and keep some milk or water handy to put out the fire.
- Add some minced garlic to a spoonful of honey. Though I will confess, I tried this with my oldest and it didn’t go over well.
- Suck on a crushed garlic clove. Yes, you’ll have interesting breath, but the bad germs in your throat will be killed.
- Double, or even triple, the amount of garlic called for in a recipe.