How To Kill A Cold for Kids and Moms

Cold season has hit my house.  I’m wiping snotty kid noses, and sneezing like crazy.  It’s no fun.  But, instead of running to the drug store, I hang out in the kitchen reaching for natural remedies that don’t create negative side effects, have yucky food dyes, or chemicals.  I’m not interested in adding any more chemicals into my kids’ body than they already get in our modern life.  If you are pregnant and sick, over the counter (OTC) medicine is generally a no-no, as many are not safe for babies.  The same goes for young children.  It’s important to remember that a cold is a virus, and viruses must run their course.  There is no “cure” to a virus, but you can help reduce symptoms and may shorten the length of it.  If you are used to taking these meds pre-pregnancy, it can be a struggle to figure out what to do to kill your cold.  Here’s your chance to learn natural ways to heal yourself and your babies!

Over the years, through out my two pregnancies and postpartum, I’ve invested many hours and dollars into learning how to naturally keep healthy and balanced for my growing family and myself.  In the last few years, I’ve been obsessed with Ayurveda, the ancient Indian health system.  This system looks at health on a macro level with the seasons, as well as micro level to your unique constitution.  As the weather changes, your body will need different things in order to feel in balance.  In the winter, when cold season hits, inner warmth works to burn off illness. 

In western culture, we tend to believe that our bodies will crave what we need.  However, a core concept from Ayurveda is, like increases like and opposites balance.   We tend to eat foods that our constitution is geared for, however this creates imbalance in the system.  Generally speaking, grounded people tend to eat heavy and sweet foods, light and airy people tend to eat light foods, and spicy, driven people like spicy and acidic foods.  To cultivate balance, we need to train ourselves to eat foods with the opposite qualities we tend to eat.  When we catch a cold, we need to build up heat in the body to burn it off. 

Here are my go-to, Ayurveda inspired natural remedies for winter colds :

Chicken Bone Broth Soup – Traditional cultures from all over the world use bone broth as a healing food for health and wellness.  You have probably heard about bone broth.  It’s the new rage in the American health and wellness field –and for good reason!  It’s full of minerals, amino acids, collagen, healthy fat, and protein.  There are tons of benefits to drinking bone broth: 

Reducing inflammation in joints

Building blood and soft tissues

Increasing hair, nail, skin health

Healing gut lining

In Western culture, chicken soup has long been a food served when sick.  Unfortunately, now chicken soup is most often served from a can and doesn’t have any health benefits whatsoever.  To bring back the nourishment in our house, we are in the habit of roasting a whole chicken about every other week.  After eating the meat, which usually lasts at least two meals for our family of 4, we save the bones and carcass to make broth.  I can usually get at least two batches of broth from one chicken carcass by freezing the bones for future use. While many bone broth recipes use beef bones, I have found chicken bone broth tastier for eating on a regular basis.   

Chicken Bone Broth Recipe:

Add a whole chicken carcass in a large pot with:

3 Tablespoons salt,

-10 peppercorns,

 -two bay leaves,

- one chopped carrot

- one chopped celery

 -and one chopped onion

Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer between 2-48 hours.  I realize 48 hours is a long time, and not super safe.  Longer simmer time increases the likelihood of getting the nutrients out of the bones.  I use a pressure cooker, which cuts down the simmer time to just a few hours.  I usually roast my whole chicken with onions and lemons and then add the whole thing to the pot for broth.  Be careful with adding too many lemons, as it will make your broth bitter. 

After the broth cools, I either put it in glass canning jars and stick in the fridge for later, or I create a soup to eat that day.  To make the soup, I simply add whatever veggies I have on hand.  I might spice it with some cayenne for a kick, or a squeeze of lemon for acid.  Most of time, it’s already got plenty of flavor.  

I serve the broth to my kids as often as possible.  Most of the time, they love it –especially when not feeling well.  Drinking broth rather than eating heavy foods helps lighten the digestive system so that the body can fight. Dehydration is a major issue in the dry fall and winter months.  It’s good for children to be given many different liquids in order to stay hydrated.  And, they are getting plenty of cold fighting nourishment! 

Honey Spice Candy –This is a quick and easy cold buster that everyone in the house loves.  I adapted this from my Ayurveda teacher, Cate Stillman of Yogahealer.  I serve this to my kids with a spoon.  They can have as much as they want.  Many times, I’ve seen a cold disappear after 1 day of eating some of this. 

Recipe:   ¼ cup of honey, 1 tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp cloves, ¼ tsp ground ginger (or fresh –even better), ¼ tsp nutmeg.  Mix all together.   Keep covered on counter.  Mix a bigger batch to keep on hand.

Essential Oils –EO has become my substitute for OTC meds.  To break through congestion, I mix Breath Deep from doTERRA with a carrier oil (usually coconut oil) on the chest and drab on throat near lymph nodes.  Breath Deep is a blend with melaleuca, peppermint, and other oils that open up the sinuses.  It’s refreshing and minty.  We also use a cool mist humidifier in the children’s room (they share a room and it’s so cute) and put 15-20 drops of On-Guard

Lemon water –Drinking warm water with juice of a whole lemon throughout the day can be a great way to get in more liquids.  Warm liquids are soothing for the throat, and lemon helps for flavor and adding more vitamin C. 

Gargle with warm salt water –Studies show that cleaning the throat with salt water can help reduce cold symptoms.  Salt water acts like a natural detoxifier, cleaning the tongue of germs.  While it won’t cure your cold, it can help ease the soreness in your throat. 

 Avoid dairy and wheat –According to Ayurveda, dairy is cooling to the system, which doesn’t help when it’s cold outside and the body is fighting off a virus.  Dairy is hard to digest, which taxes the system.  Children are naturally mucus makers –and so are pregnant moms! Backing off on all dairy products will help reduce mucus and congestion while keeping the digestive fires warm to fight off the cold. 

Utilizing natural remedies from traditional healing systems attunes you to back into balance and health in your own constitution.  Reaching food healing foods rather than OTC medicines will help you have more tools in your toolbox (or natural meds in your pantry) when you get sick while pregnant or when your kids get sick.