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Cheeky Bums Blog , as well as our Market, is dedicated to bringing back the vintage traditions that we have lost as a culture – and that means in all aspects of life – from what we eat and how we treat illnesses to how we clean our homes and even how we parent our children!  We will be posting a myriad of articles covering all of these things over the next weeks and months, but if these concepts are totally foreign to you – you’re not alone! and we want to start by building a strong foundation of knowledge and resources so that you are better equipped to raise vintage kids in a modern world…

So join us for this series on “living naturally” and read on to see what the hype is all about, and to find some great resources to start exploring on your own!

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Man alive, this has been a weird winter.  We live in the midwest, about 2 hours from Chicago and about 45 minutes from Lake Michigan, so our weather is across the board, especially in the late winter and early spring.  Once spring finally arrives in Indiana, it’s not uncommon to use your heater in the morning, as you scrape ice from your windshield, but to need your air conditioner and flip-flops in the afternoon! This winter has been unseasonably warm…which means my kids have yet to build a passable snowman, and my sinuses and allergies have been on the fritz!

We are smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season, and in true Cheeky Bums form, I want to give you some tips for getting started with building a Natural Medicine Cabinet – it’s cheaper and healthier!

As you get started with natural remedies, there are a few things to keep in mind…

  • herbs, essential oils, and vitamins are STRONG.  Just because they are natural does not mean they are safe! Do your research FIRST!
  • herbal remedies work differently than over the counter and prescription drugs.  OTC drugs/pharmaceuticals are not meant to HEAL you.  They are meant to take away the discomfort and symptoms so that you can hopefully rebound quickly.  For example, if you take a nasal decongestant, it may dry you out, but it doesn’t mean that your cold is gone – it just means that you can go to work and make it through the day without using up an entire box of kleenex.  Herbal remedies, on the other hand, DO treat symptoms, same as the OTC/Rx drugs, but in such a way that it encourages your body to heal itself.   Example: you take echinacea and QBC Plex (more on this to come) instead of a nasal decongestant.  It doesn’t work as strong as the OTC drug (ie: you don’t feel like you swallowed a dozen cotton balls), but your nose did stop running and your sinus pressure has gone down.  That’s because the QBC Plex has naturally relieved the swelling in your sinus cavities so that,  as the echinacea has encouraged your nose to drain, the swelling has gone down so that it can actually move.
  • Because Herbal Remedies work differently, they may not feel as strong, or seem like they are “doing the trick” as quickly as their chemically-based counterparts, but in many instances,  your body rebounds FASTER and the duration of your sickness will be significantly less than with OTC drugs alone.  Example (source) “According to Prescription for Herbal Healing, ‘a clinical study of elderberry found that it cured 90 percent of flu infections within seventy-two hours. In the same trial, patients receiving a placebo needed six days.’”

If you are JUST getting started with herbal remedies and you’re interested in finding some cheap and user-friendly ideas, then take a look at the list I’ve put together!  Below you will find my staple items for a natural medicine cabinet, as well as a list of resources that I have drawn upon in my own personal research.

(editor’s note: I LOVE doctors.  I love that I live in the country where I have access to amazing healthcare, and I never discourage going to the doctor.  That being said, I DO encourage you to read up on what kind of common illnesses and injuries can easily and safely be treated at home.)

This is just a starting point, but here are a few MUST HAVE items:

Natural Medicine Cabinet:

Raw Honey: 
  • What: This is honey that has NOT be pasteurized, so it retains all of the natural enzymes present from nature.
  • Why: Because raw honey contains naturally occurring enzymes and minerals, as well as trace amounts of pollen, (plus it’s thick and tasty, making it a winner with the kiddos) it makes a WONDERFUL cough suppressant.  It is also naturally antimicrobial, which again helps with sore and irritated throats, and we’ve been known to slather it on a boo-boo or two to ward off infection, which is a very common “vintage remedy”.  Use it for shallow topical abrasions, as well as sore throats, coughs and seasonal allergies.  (note: it’s wonderful in tea, but cool your tea slightly, (preferably just above room temperature) to avoid destroying the enzymes)
  • Honey (and it’s health benefits)
  • Honey and Cinnamon: A Simple Cold Remedy That Kids Love
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):
  • What: Naturally fermented apple cider that has not been pasteurized and still contains trace amounts of the cutlture used in fermentation, as well as probiotics, enzymes and minerals.
  • Why: In short, the ACV will restore proper ph levels in your body, it’s an immune booster, will help cut a cough and runny nose, as well as flu symptoms, it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal and can (and should!) be taken daily during the winter months to help fight infections!  It’s also great for yeast infections, skin/intestinal detox, and digestive disorders. My kids take this almost daily, much like I would give them a multi-vitamin.  Simply mix with raw honey and make “apple tea” as my 4 year old calls it.
  • The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: The Amazing Health Benefits of this Economical “Old Timers Home Remedy”
  • Simple Nature Cures: Apple Cider Vinegar
Echinacea:
  • What: herbs from the purple coneflower (kinds looks like a purple daisy)
  • Why: This is my favorite go-to supplement for upper-respriratory troubles (stuffy noses, sinus problems, etc).  Echinacea will help dry up and flush out excess mucus, and many beleive that it aids in strengthening the immune system.  It’s not recommended that you take this longer than a week, and it’s most effective when taken with QBC Plex (this one is a little hard to find and usually must be purchased at a health food store.  it’s a combination of Quercetin, Bromelain and Vitamin C and is AMAZING at cutting down sinus inflamation and swelling. You can purchase these 3 things separately, but it will cost more and it’s easier to get them already mixed in one capsule.)
Ginger:
  • What: just your plain old ginger root that you can find in the produce department.
  • Why: Ginger is very popular for reducing nausea (it’s especailly great for long car rides, and you pregnant ladies out there trying to survive your first trimester!) Simply peel off the tough outer layer and slice off a few inches.  I typically use about an inch of the root and slice it into thin discs and then add then to a hot cup of water.  Allow it to seep for 10-15 minutes and enjoy with some raw honey for a wonderful, soothing and warming tea.
  • A Year of Herbs: Ginger (this is a GREAT and very thorough post on the uses and benefits of ginger!!)
Peppermint Essential Oil:
  • What: oil extracted from the peppermint leaves
  • Why: Peppermint oil is wonderful at relieving stress and calming a headache.  It’s naturally refreshing and stimulating, and will help to release and relax blood vessels.  For headaches, (adults only) place a few drops on your finger tips and massage into stiff muscles and around your temples for headache relief.  For children, you can dilute peppermint oil in a 1:1 ratio with another oil (olive oil or coconut oil works great) for toddlers and older, and massage onto their heads and necks if they stiff muscles and/or a headache.
Chamomile Tea:
  • What: chamomile is a small, daisy-looking flower that has been used since ancient times.
  • Why: Chamomile (easiest taken as a tea) is wonderful for aiding in digestion, and is known for its calming effects on the nervous system.  It’s great for calming down little ones before bed, and for relieving stress headaches (and for stress headaches caused by little ones that need to calm down before bed… just sayin’…)
  • Chamomile
  • Chamomile (description and uses)
These seem like simple ingredients, but they are very effective and a WONDERFUL way to start building your natural medicinal stash.  The items I have listed above are things that I have in my medicine cabinet at all times – they are easy to find and  economical.

Here are some other EXCELLENT RESOURCES and articles that I have stumbled upon in my own research:

Treating a Toddler’s Cold

Natural Cold Remedies for Children

Using Kudzu to Fight a Cold (A Simple Remedy for Children)

Medicinal Uses of Common Culinary Herbs

Natural Remedies for a Stomach Ache

Herbs for the New Mama

5 Simple Home Remedies That Really Work

PLUS – if you are looking for a GREAT book to get you started on your own herbal medicinal journey, scroll up just a smidge and check out our affiliate link in the blue box on our sidebar for Herbal Nurturing – a WONDERFUL e-book written by Michele at Frugal Granola!

These are just the beginning!!! Over the next few weeks, join us as we add to our natural remedies stash! I’ll be looking at various herbs and supplements, as well as how to use them, so keep checking back on Tuesdays for our Living Naturally Series!

What kind of herbs do you keep in your medicine cabinet?

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And for the record: I’m not a doctor, I’m just a mama, so everything that I list here comes from my own experience and research.  Please consult with your doctor if you have a serious or lingering illness, and talk with a naturopath/holistic practitioner for certified herbal recommendations.


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