‘Most everyone I talk to seems to be cleansing and healing from something at the moment. In our household this past few weeks it’s Chilli and I – Papa and Marlin are the wellness warriors here through this bout of cleansing. At times like these, I always hear our wise Naturopath’s words ring in my ears, reminding us that it’s quite possibly not a cold but a cleanse! In Autumn and Spring our bodies traditionally purge themselves – cleaning away built up toxins, mucus and waste. Sure, there’s definitely the reality of Winter Lurgies that make their rounds, but often we’re also just having a good clean out with our body’s natural cleansing functions.
Tucked up in our cosy little home from deep under an array of doonas, blankets and pillows that cover our lounge – rendering it looking more like a bed at the moment. With essential oil aromas wafting through the air and a stock bubbling away on the stove – this post has taken shape slowly through the space of this week, to share a few Winter Remedies that are helping us heal and restore. I loved Jodi’s recent Winter healing post, which reminded me of a few basics always helpful and handy when the Winter ailments come knocking on our door. I didn’t want to repeat the one’s she offered, but thought I’d write a post to share a few other remedies we find therapeutically wonderful. Therefore, please do head over and have a look at Jodi’s recommendations – all wonderfully nourishing and healing. We consult seasonally with the same wise naturopath as Jodi – in fact I think most of the naturally inclined families back home consult with this very same woman, who’s more than a practitioner, she’s like a family member to every one of her patients! Therefore it’s always great to read the suggestions Jodi shares incase something slipped my mind – such as soaking in an epsom salts bath, which our whole family has enjoyed on several occasions this week, or a big glass of freshly squeezed citrus juice, which we’ve added some of those 135 kiwi fruits to for an extra vitamin C boost! Tamarillo’s are also a phenomenal Winter vitamin C boost. Luckily the ones in our home food garden are just starting to ripen!
Without further ado here is that round up of helpful healing remedies we’ve been using the past few weeks.
Herbal Mixtures; There’s always a stand by bottle of general immune herbs here in the home. At the first sign of any ailments, this becomes part of our regular healthcare regime. Further to this, when we have a seasonal consultation with our naturopath, she sometimes recommends a supportive blend to either heal or help cleanse the body of current niggles. We are also blessed to have a fabulous apothecary close by, staffed with qualified and amazing naturopaths who we can chat to for general first aid and ailment needs. This time, the mucus Chilli and I are trying to clear out really seems to be a bit stubborn, resulting in a very mild but wet sounding cough – not persistent at all, but there none the less. The naturopath at Goulds put together a beautiful herbal formula to support this healing. We also keep on-hand a sore throat herbal mix which is in a handy little spray bottle that can be sprayed onto the back of the throat to relieve sore/dry throat symptoms. This is brilliant!
Essential Oils; We use essential oils in many ways, every day in our home; oil burners, massage blends, balms, on hankies and in baths. When we are healing – these uses get stepped up a notch and added to our cleaning as well. Last Winter we made a fantastic Winter balm which can have added any blend of oils to create a lovely chest rub. Dropping oils onto hankies to carry with us for inhaling and also to have by us for coughing into are great. The oils on the hankie are good air purifiers when being coughed into! I take two small crocheted granny squares, knit them together leaving the top edge open to create a pouch, finger knit a strap – attaching at both sides. These sweet little ‘pocket hankens’ are great for toting around oil filled hankies! For clearing out mucus we massage with a respiratory or immune blend – down across the bridge of the nose, along the cheek bone over to the ear, from the ear down to just under the jaw line. Then with alternating cupped hands folding around the neck we massage lengthways down the neck, moving all the mucus out of the head area. Respiratory oils on the chest are then good to keep it all moving out of the body. Our favourite Winter oils are; Woody for dilating the airways as well as building the immune system (Juniper, Pine and Eucalyptus are great), Citrus and Mints for their cleansing and refreshing properties, Tea Tree and Lavender for their anti bacterial properties. We rub garlic infused olive oil into the soles of our feet for both an immune boost as well as for cough treatment. All these essential oils also get wiped around benches and bathrooms often – particularly the vanity. Whether the ailment is contagious or not, anything being spat into the sink is normally full of bacteria the body is expelling to heal. We also use essential oils very mildly with internal applications such as in a spoon of molasses for treating certain conditions – but that’s definitely something best done under the care of a qualified health care practitioner. Opinions are wide and varied on the use of oils internally. For external use in massage oils, I always remember the old aromatherapy rule of halving the amount of mls in carrier oil I have and adding that many drops of pure essential oil into the carrier in total. I like to use a blend of three different essential oils for a powerful synergy effect.
Steam Inhalations and Humidifiers; The oldest trick in the book is a bowl of hot water with essential oils floating around. A towel over your head, hankie nearby to blow out into and under you go – head over the steam, breathing and healing. Inhalations work wonderfully for clearing and cleansing the airways. We’ve also just, during this bout of healing, invested in a Humidifier – which is worth it’s weight in gold. I don’t know why I didn’t think of one of these sooner. I guess because the cough Chilli tends to get with her mucus clearing, is normally a more wet sounding cough. I didn’t think about a wet treatment of steam. The naturopath at Goulds however, recommended one to us and the benefits have been wonderful. Chilli would cough a few times when she woke up through the night. The first night we used the humidifier, the bit of coughing she’d had of an evening was greatly soothed – we were quite impressed. It’s also great to have another way to disperse healing oils through the air. I didn’t realise that with keeping the mucus membranes lubricated, it soothes the chest and reduces the coughing. Of course I did a bunch of googling around before we decided on which humidifier to choose. As always if you read far and wide enough, you’ll read the good and the bad about any product – but I was quite impressed in the end by the new model TAAV humidifiers. We do use our own oil blends in the machine – against the manufacturers advice, but I’m a bit particular about what is dispersed into our home air. I merely take 15ml of glycerine and add our own oil mix – normally eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender – sometimes with a bit of juniper or tea tree and mix it well before popping into the water mix. This does of course void your warranty! However, I’d much rather be able to use organic oils and know exactly what was going into the steam infusion for our home. Our TAAV machine is working beautifully for helping us to heal. We have it on in the bedroom through the night and then in the main living space through the day. Naturally, each morning I need to wipe down and open wide the bedroom windows to air the room from condensation build up through the night. I also like to wipe an essential oil such as tea tree, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus or rosemary around the window sill. Rotating these impregnates the wood of the sills with a nice aroma – adding those healing oils to yet another space in the home! Indoor fires are also quite drying to our air, so we sit a kettle in a safe place atop our pot belly which also, of course, has a sprinkling of oils in the water.
Infused Honeys; Rosehip for Vitamin C boost, sage for sore throat relief, onion for coughs and turmeric as an expectorant. These honeys are delicious taken by the spoonful, drizzled over porridge or a vegan custard such as the one Jude Blereau has in her Wholefood for Children book on page 131. We use almond milk instead of soy as during the Autumn and Winter we avoid dairy and soy as much as possible, eliminating them entirely when journeying through cleanse/healing periods. Surprisingly, a large portion of people that have mucus activating reactions to cow’s and other animal milks, also have it to soy.
Ginger Syrup; This is great for soothing sore throats, coughs and for general immune boosting. We take a teaspoon or so in a cup of fresh water – it has quite a zing, so straight up it’s a little powerful. We use rapadura in the syrup as I like the inclusion of minerals from the full, unrefined cane syrup.
Onions; These little babies pack a huge antibacterial punch. We take a whole onion and pierce it all over with a skewer. Chilli loves this job! It then goes in a bowl and sits in our living area as well as bedrooms of those who are unwell. These little bundles do a great job of helping to keep the air in a home cleansed. Onions also make a wonderful natural cough syrup. We peel and cut an onion open across the middle, exposing the centre part of the onion. Place centre part up in a deep, wide top bowl and pour a good few tablespoons of honey over the onion. The honey will drizzle down through the onion. I periodically keep spooning the honey back up over the onion for an hour or so before using it by the teaspoon full as needed. I keep spooning the honey over the onion randomly through the day to further infuse and replenish the honey over the onion as needed. Eventually the honey becomes quite thin as it infuses deeply with the onion. It’s quite fun to watch the onion layers unfurl and open up as the infusion progresses further and further. We most definitely dispose of the onion with all the holes that has been attracting bacteria from the air, but the onion which has been drizzled with oodles of honey – once we’re finished using it for cough syrup, it makes a delicious addition to a pot of homemade baked beans or sweet curry.
Beeswax Candles; I look forward to the shorter days and longer nights because I love the gorgeous energy, sweet honey scent and gentle flicker of a beeswax candle. Seriously, who doesn’t love the ambiance of a glowing candle in a soft lamp-lit family room? Besides their aesthetic appeal however, beeswax candles offer a wonderfully therapeutic reason to keep them burning. Beeswax promotes negative ions in the air – negative ions are the pollution eating, cleansing, feel good, happy ions. Positive ions are the bad guys – the one’s you want to eliminate and minimise in the air. Last year we converted all candles in our home to beeswax – even the tea lights we burn in oil burners. I figured I wanted any candles that were on in the home to be health promoting, not possible toxic hazards. We make all our own tea lights as well as a pillar candle that is lit each evening and morning through the cooler times of the year to keep the air clean and fresh. We order all our candle making supplies from All Australian Candle Making. Their beeswax is really wonderful wax – I’m mindful to make sure the wax we buy is filtered and as clean as possible. It makes a huge different to the way the candle burns. Dirty wax will spit and make an awful mess.
Nourishing Meals; When I’m feeling a bit ‘under the weather’ it’s the time I least feel like spending a few hours in the kitchen, so I always make sure there’s a few nourishing meals to fall back on, in the freezer. These are always on rotation through our pyrex’s and freezer space; busy days, late nights or times of needing rest – I don’t always have the available time nor energy to be bustling around in the kitchen. This time I was grateful for frozen goulash, lentil stew, stocks and easy serve cubes of nutrient dense baby food.
Healthy Oils; Cod Liver, Hemp, Flaxseed or however you get your healthy oils – Autumn and Winter are the time we ensure these are a key part of our healthcare regime.
Tea Infusions; Year round there’s always something infusing in our mugs. I think a special tea cup is essential for everybody to wrap their hands around and identify with as their own. There’s something really special about moments spent together drinking tea. When we’re healing; rose hips, juniper berries, peppermint, lavender, chamomile and elderflowers, complimented with citrus, ginger and turmeric root slices find themselves steaming amongst our infusions. Of course in Winter all the earthier tones of cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg and star anise find themselves making their way into our brews as well.
Oral Care; Amidst our regular routine of brushing with Weleda pastes, flossing and pikstering, I always make sure we’re tongue scraping, gargling with warm salt water that has a drop or so of beneficial oil, along with a few drops of propolis and running around our; teeth, gums, tongue and all through our mouth with oral care powder on our brush. This formula is developed by our naturopath and in a base of bicarb, blends beneficial oral oils that cleanse and eliminate bacteria. It’s good to use all year round, but essential when our immune system is rebuilding. Tongue scraping is definitely not some new passing fad. It’s a wonderful oral hygiene tool that has countless benefits. Reducing the severity and length of viral infections is one of those benefits as it’s fantastic to remove the bacteria that naturally clings to our tongues. Trust me, tongue scraping is A LOT different to merely tongue brushing. I was quite disturbed when we first started scraping, at the gunk that can be removed from a seemingly ‘clean’ tongue. We’ve been tongue scraping for the best part of the past few years now and really noticed great benefits.
Fresh Air and Sunshine; Of course when we’re feeling ‘under the weather’, the inclination is to stay ‘under the doona’, but if we can muster the strength and determination to take just even a brief walk outdoors, then we’ll be all the better for it. I always love the saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!” So we rug up to get outside, even if just for a bit so as to let Father Sun work his magic on cleaning out our airways, uplifting our spirits and in general just brightening our day. Even when the days are cold outside, with the fire ticking over inside, I always like to have the windows open just a touch to let the fresh air flow through.
Scarves; Those who know me personally know you’ll most likely not often catch me without a scarf on – even if it’s a barely there lightweight number in the Summer. I feel naked without scarves. Aside from my scarf obsession however, keeping our chests warm – the place our immune system resides – really is so very important especially once the days start to cool. My personal fave – hemp and organic cotton wraps that bundle into cosy lengths to drape around your décolletage.
Warm Clothing; Without getting into a long conversation about the benefits of warmth for not only children, but all of us – I’ll just say that natural fibre clothing, organic where possible with close fitting woollen and silk base layers is as nourishing to the body as the most nutrient dense meal you can muster. Our favourite warm gear supplier is Lana Bambini.
Tell me, do you write a blog – have you written about your favourite Winter Healing Remedies? If so, please share a link to your post or even just your favourite Winter remedies in the comments so we can all network our natural healing remedies.