No matter what is ailing you or your pets, you can typically find everything you need to recover, in the kitchen. Mother Nature provides medicinal food, herbs and spices that rival any OTC pharmaceutical cold, flu, congestion, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, urinary tract, thyroid, diarrhea, digestion, probiotic and sinus medication, on the market (did I leave anything out?). Make no mistake, Big Pharma works very hard to emulate what our Mother Earth has always provided naturally. Think about it, hundreds of years ago, doctors used holistic medicine as their main practice, before the pharmaceutical companies took over our healthcare system and became mainstream Western medicine. Natural remedies also provide nutritional value and boost the immune system, which heals the body, rather than masking the symptoms with drugs that have unhealthy side effects.
Now, before you freak out on me, let me be clear. I’m not saying Western medicine doesn’t have its place in health care, as I know it is very important and necessary at times. I just think pharmaceuticals are way over-used and should never be your first choice for a cure. In our household, Big Pharma is our last resort and rarely used anymore. We are all (pets included) far healthier than we were when we used to reach for the medicine cabinet before the spice cabinet.
My Aha moment, while studying the medicinal properties of food, was when I was introduced to the energetic properties of food, herbs and spices, explained through Eastern Medicine. Understanding the Energetics of Food & Herbs, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is the first step to knowing how different food/herbs/spices react in the body and what path they take throughout the body. This information helps you to understand why these natural remedies work and how to use them to treat various illnesses.
As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, my research in holistic medicine began when my dog, Nola, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (incurable bone cancer) and we chose to treat her cancer holistically, since chemo and radiation would not cure her cancer. Our goal was to keep her body strong and build her immune system, so Nola could remain healthy and comfortable for as long as possible. Our vet, Cindy Baker, owner of Bargersville Veterinary Hospital & Wellness Center, practices both Eastern & Western medicine (which is why she is so amazing), and is the one who originally introduced me to the “energetics of food” concept and how it plays a huge role, when using food to fight any disease. I purchased two charts from Dr. Baker, one Energetics of Food and one Energetics of Herbs, which are invaluable to me. I reference my charts first, when seeking remedies for our various forms of sniffles, coughs, aches and pains.
Following are my favorite remedies I use the most, but there are thousands of natural remedies you can try. It’s fun and rewarding when you create new concoctions that really work. The more you learn, the easier it gets!
Cough, congestion & sinus inflammation: GINGER!
Fresh Ginger Root is my first stop for almost everything, especially everything from the chest up. I typically don’t have to go any further, as fresh ginger pretty much takes care of the symptoms before they become severe enough to call on Big Pharma. According to my Energetics of Herbs chart, ginger takes a route through the Lungs, Spleen, Stomach, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Heart and Uterus – so, pretty much your entire body. It is a warming herb, which takes the action to help cold, phlegm, & wind cold (illnesses such as common cold, influenza, & laryngitis). Ginger also promotes Qi Circulation, which is probably its most important aspect, because the Qi keeps energy flowing through your body and doesn’t let germs stay around long. Do you now see WHY and HOW it works? It isn’t voo-doo or magic – it is BASIC SCIENCE!
My homemade, natural version of Dayquil or Nyquil: One inch fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped medium sized chunks, half a fresh lemon with rind (or lemon essential oil – about five drops, or more if you want), two tablespoons raw organic honey and a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper or cinnamon. Bring them to a boil in approximately two cups of water. I only let it boil for about a minute or less, cover and let it steep for an additional ten minutes. For a “nighttime” Nyquil version of the tea, add a shot of your favorite whiskey. There is a reason why a hot toddy really works!
Following is how/why my remedy above works for chest & sinus congestion as well as other symptoms from the common cold and flu:
· Ginger - all the reasons mentioned above, plus sooths an upset stomach.
· Lemon – all citrus breaks up phlegm and take a route through the lungs as well as a great source of vitamin C.
· Raw Organic Honey – boosts the immune system and calms your cough
· Cinnamon & Cayenne Pepper – both are great for cold conditions, take a route through the lungs, and enhance Qi & Blood circulation.
· Whiskey – sleep aid and I’m pretty sure it kills germs on its way down too.
The ginger tea is great (without the alcohol) for our pets too! My dog, Suri, has congestion issues at the peak of allergy season and it works like a charm. I add the tea to her food, a small amount of canned pumpkin to spoon feed (which also breaks up phlegm and moves through the lungs) or I feed it to her with a food syringe.
Probiotic: Milk Kefir!
Instead of popping a probiotic pill with no real nutritional value, try drinking a few sips a day of milk kefir instead. I talk more about this in my blog, Got Milk...Kefir?
Inflammation: Natural NSAIDS! (NSAID = non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Garlic & Ginger:
Garlic & ginger are both excellent anti-inflammatories and they both have natural anti-biotic properties, which help to fight infection.
Turmeric with ground black pepper:
Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Always use turmeric in conjunction with fresh ground black pepper because the pepper increases the efficacy (absorption into the body) of the turmeric.
Bozweilla Extract is easy to find at any health food store and works really well, especially when blended with other natural NSAIDS like Devil’s Claw, White Willow Bark & Yucca. This combination works well for pain relief from inflammation and is common to find a variation of the blend together in one pill.
Keep in mind, when fighting inflammation naturally, it is important to combine various remedies that create synergy for healing throughout your body. If you combine all of these remedies together, you will get the best results. Not to mention the amazing boost you will give your immune system.
Diarrhea and/or constipation: Canned Pumpkin!
I learned of this remedy for dogs & cats first and, let me tell you, it works amazingly well and it works for humans too. I talk more about the benefits of canned pumpkin for your pets in my blog 5 reasons I feed my dogs canned pumpkin every day.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Uva Ursi & Juniper Berries!
If you treat a UTI early, your chances of healing it naturally are much greater. A UTI can be very painful and the remedies I mention in my blog, Natural Remedies for a Urinary Tract Infection, work well to relieve pain as well as clear the infection. These remedies work for your pets too, but if symptoms are not gone within a few days, a trip to the doctor or vet may be necessary. Especially for your pets, since they can’t tell you how much pain they are experiencing.
I hope I’ve opened your mind, even a little, to cure yourself in the kitchen and leave your medicine cabinet for toothpaste and eye cream.
Please share your favorite holistic remedies too! I bet your grandma has a few!