Monday, June 17, 2013

sniffle season

The season of sniffles has well and truly arrived in these parts. With two out of three kids succumbing to it during the past week, we had a house full of hankies, steam and a variety of concoctions on the kitchen bench. Not that it has totally passed, but now only the littlest member is still sniffly and grumpy. Such is life with kids though, and colds and the flu tend to come and go quite easily at this time of year. Night time coughs can certainly wear the whole family down, and we've had some of that this week too.

Our usual treatment for coughs and colds is to tend to let nature run it's course. Helped along by the occasional honey and lemon drink (preferably raw honey, lemon juice and just boiled water, somehow easier to drink with a spoon), an immune booster (I had Astro Plex on hand this time, which contains echinacea and olive leaf extract) and Comvita Children's Manuka Honey Elixer. Crushed garlic in honey is also a remedy I've used in the past.

We've always found steam vaporisers to be quite handy for croupy or dry coughs, or even a pot on top of the combustion stove. Sometimes we add a few drops of eucalyptus oil. A chest rub is a good idea too, especially just before bed. I quite like Tinderbox Breathe Easy Chest Rub.

For coughs it is always handy to have something natural on hand to treat it. The best we have found is Nin Jiom, a traditional Chinese herbal cough medicine (I find this mixture quite addictive when I've been sick!). Of course the propped up pillow is not to underestimated either.

Meat broths made from chicken or beef bones are also excellent for the immune system. We went through quite a bit of that this week. It's always useful to have some put away in the freezer. For once I had some on hand. I am not usually so organized.

The traditional Chinese medicine lady that we went for for several years recommended special herbal powders, a plain rice diet, warm socks, herbal tea with sour plum, oil rubs and often a few acupuncture needles. I do remember that it was quite effective.

Most viruses tend to run their course, do their bit at boosting the immune system, and go away on their own. There are times though, where painkillers such as Panadol have been resorted to, or a visit to the doctor has been necessary. Thankfully though this is not very often.

Of course it is always helpful to remember that saying "this too shall pass".

Books I refer to often:
The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care
The Green Pharmacy
The Herbal for Mother and Child (though you might need a comprehensive herb garden for this one)

How do you treat coughs, colds etc?
What treatments do you find to be effective?
Do you have any interesting concoctions to share?


  1. Hi Tania, I swear by lemon and honey drinks but always using Manuka honey. It needs to have a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor)of at least 10 to be of any real benefit. I have an everyday jar of honey for sandwiches, baking etc and my medicinal manuka honey for soothing drinks and cuts etc. I keep this separate from the other honey as it is really expensive. We can get Manuka honey lollipops/lozenges here too for any little ones that won't take the drink xo

  2. I'm another manuka honey user-i splurge and use it with maple syrup in our museli so i have a dose a day. Otherwise im quite partial to chilli for symptomatic relief-in tom yum soup especially which is like a tasty vapouriser. I have a preference for food/nutrition based remedies and i loathe cough mixtures which are just sugar syrups x

  3. I've come down with a cold today. I am toughing it out with cups of loose leaf tea and peppermint tea, hot steamy showers and rest. I shall take my hot water bottle to bed with me tonight. If it goes to my throat I will be making cups of hot water, honey and lemon juice too. There's nothing quite like that combination for a sore throat, is there? xx

  4. You have gone to so much effort to make your family comfortable and healthy again, you inspire me!
    I push fluids, buy lotion-tissues, and rub on the Vicks vapor rub. We also have Emergen-C, which is a packet of dry mix to add to water and drink down w/lots of vitamins.

    Hope you all feel better soon!

  5. Cod liver oil is a fantastic immune booster - taken as a preventative everyday, or when a cold first comes on. I've got a very mild cold at the moment, and I'm sure it's all the fresh ginger and lemon tea keeping it at bay! Kellie xx
    PS My German neighbour swears by this onion syrup she makes, I think it's with brown sugar (which you could substitute for honey), brewed up on the stove with some fresh herbs (although I can't remember exactly, which is extremely unhelpful now!). Kellie xx


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