• Combating Illness & Sharing Remedies

    The New Year celebrations have now passed, but unfortunately the season of the flu seems to have come for an extended visit.  My darling grandson (who is two today) decided that loving on his grandma over Christmas was well worth the effort of passing along the germs that have caused an abundance of forceable downtime for me. And despite my efforts to scrub away those mini-demons from every part of my life (body, clothing, bedding, kitchen) they just seem to keep reappearing in my other family members.  Don’t these germs know by now they have overstayed their welcome?

    For approximately 5,000 years, traditional medicine has been employed to combat all types of illnesses. In some cultures, alternative medicinal practices are employed, as they are embedded in the roots of health for these individuals for over 60,000 years.  Men and women across all regions have been armed for centuries with an arsenal of home remedies, becoming the first round of defense and offense during cold season.  Several hundred different viruses can cause the common cold, and although there is still no cure, there are specific ingredients with germ-fighting powers — e.g. chamomile, for starters; but did you know about pepper?

    So, as I sit here fighting my own battle against sickness, I thought I would share a few of my natural boosters and soothers with you.  


    The herb chamomile is considered a calmative diaphoretic, and may reduce muscle spasms, relieve pain, and relieve gas pressure. These properties make chamomile tea useful in treating irritability and a variety of digestive disorders. It is also suggested for relieving generalized aches associated with the common cold.


    While this powerhouse antioxidant can't prevent a cold or the flu, it can help cut down on their duration and severity. Clementines are a great source of vitamin C and are easier to eat than traditional oranges.


    Although eucalyptus must have been seen by the very early European explorers and collectors, no botanical collections of them are known to have been made until 1770.  Today, however, the health benefits of eucalyptus oil are well-known and wide-ranging. Its  properties include being anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antibacterial, and stimulating, and it also acts as a decongestant and deodorant, as well as many other medicinal uses. 


    Not only is garlic great for your heart, it has the ability to kill bacteria almost as effectively as penicillin. Today, it is still used in many regions—particularly in Spain and Latin America, in the form of garlic tea, their remedy of choice when feeling under the weather.


    In many Asian cultures, ginger is not only used in cooking but in treating illnesses.  In other cultures, ginger is believed to warm the body from the inside, promoting the perspiration that will push cold-causing pathogens out through the pores.


    Honey combats bacteria; its high viscosity creates an infection-fighting barrier. From Asia to Europe to North and South America, honey is one of the most commonly used ingredients in home remedies to alleviate the symptoms of a cold or the flu — not to mention it is soothing to upset tummies and soar throats.  It also helps to reduce coughing caused by congestion.


    Pepper has been used for cold remedies for centuries. Depending on the part of the world, different varieties were utilized to relieve symptoms, with cayenne pepper being the most popular.  Pepper increases circulation and has anti-microbial properties, which kill pathogens and speed up the healing processes which are diminished by colds and flu viruses.


    An item once used in ancient Rome to pay salaries due, this house staple item is great for respiratory infections and sore throats.  By drawing out the water, infections have no room to grow. 

    Tea Tree Oil.

    Tea tree oil is derived from the tea tree plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, and is native to Australia. Indigenous Australian people have used the oil to treat skin infections and wounds since they first made a poultice of the leaves and covered their skin with the homeopathic remedy.  Today, research shows that it can have several additional benefits as well.  This oil can be used in several different ways, including combating symptoms of colds and flu viruses—from ingesting for sore throat symptoms to topical application for massaging techniques for respiratory therapy.  

    So call it intuition or luck, but last month I just happened to have made a batch of eucalyptus soap to lather up in— at the time doing so for anti-inflammatory purposes.  Although it didn’t prevent my cold and flu battle, it has been one of the best treatments I have used to comfort and soothe myself.  I am now wishing I had also made one with tea tree oil  — but that will be available from one of our new partners starting next month in our Elevate Livelihoods store in both soap and in a line of essential oil jewelry.

    Hope everyone is well (or at least better than me at the moment!)  

    — x.  Tonya


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