A Natural Antibiotic

On Saturday Elijah started sneezing and sniffling. Last night my nose was feeling a little stuffy. I am pretty sure it’s due to the high allergen counts from spring being sprung here in Florida.

Today I whipped up a new batch of my elderberry syrup and put together my first line of defense for the sniffles—

Homemade antibiotic blend

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Why Garlic?

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Garlic has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-septic properties.

Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine,” prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue. – check out this article from MedicalNewsToday

Garlic has been used around the world to treat various illnesses and problems for thousands of years. I must caution you on this though, DO NOT use garlic as an antibiotic for serious ongoing infections that truly need medical care.

Why Honey?

According to an article from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, honey is a powerful antibiotic as well. “Indeed, medicinal importance of honey has been documented in the world’s oldest medical literatures, and since the ancient times, it has been known to possess antimicrobial property as well as wound-healing activity. The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too.” You can read this article in depth here.

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How to use it:

I try to use raw local honey, but I haven’t made it to my local produce market yet, hence the store-bought honey and garlic in the picture. 😦 You gotta do what you gotta do, don’t judge me 🙂

Anyway, I take a few tablespoons of minced garlic and cover it in honey. Throughout the day I take 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture. The honey really helps make the garlic palatable. It’s much easier just to gulp it down than trying to chew, unless of course you just love chomping on garlic bits…you do you boo.

We give this to everyone in our house, even the 5 year old. Yes it was a battle at first, but now everyone knows the drill. Just try singing “A Spoon Full of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down” 🙂

At the first sign of sniffles, cough, or runny nose go ahead and start this regimen. We have noticed that in the case of the common cold it helps to alleviate symptoms and reduce the duration of the sickness by a few days. Combine this with the Elderberry Syrup Recipe and you’ve got a knock-out punch for the mucus gobblins!

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I pray that this helps you take the plunge into natural treatment for you and your family. If you have any questions let me know in the comments!

Much Love,

Brandy

 

Note: This is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases. Please seek medical attention when necessary. I am not a Dr. My comments have not been evaluated by the FDA…and I don’t think they ever will. You do you, boo.

 

Best Natural Cold Medicine DIY

Tired of giving your kids medicine full of ingredients that sound more like a pesticide than something you should ingest?

Most folk fall into two categories on this topic.

Either skeptical- they don’t believe anything natural will actually beat their cold compared to over-the-counter meds,

or intimidated- they hesitate in thinking they can actually pull off making a medicine.

Let me tell you- I was intimidated. I saw all these words that I didn’t understand. Tinctures, elixirs, and extracts …..I had heard of these things, but didn’t know what it meant. I thought that it would be so difficult to do and I was scared to try something new. We’ve all been there right?

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I started out in my natural medicine adventure trying different medicines at the health food store. If we had a cold, I would get different remedies and we would try them out, noting what worked, what didn’t, how we felt, etc. The best experiment was when all six of us got the flu. Seriously! Kris and I decided to try an expensive natural medicine that we had heard worked great from the sweet lady working behind the counter. This little bottle of dark grape-colored juice had the hefty price tag of $20 for a bottle that (maybe) was 20 oz! Not cheap.

We decided to split us up to get a good control group, lol. We gave half of us elderberry syrup everyday and half of us an O.T.C med that I won’t mention (Ahemmmmm quill something or other, wink* wink*). Every night at dinner we discuss how we felt and how we personally thought it was working.

The Results Were IN-

Not only did the people who took the expensive natural medicine feel much better overall than the ones that took the over-the-counter stuff, but the cold duration was THREE DAYS LESS than the well known brand. I was impressed! No bad side-effects. No weird disconnected head feeling…….and it tastes good.

So what am I talking about?

ELDERBERRY SYRUP

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We spent the last two years buying that health food store brand before I decided to try to make it myself. I researched researched and researched. I saved so many Pinterest pins that I look like I might have an obsession problem with the elderberry plant or something.

Now that I’ve been making it myself for a while I can’t believe I EVER bought that stuff for that price *insert face palm here*. I figured that I can’t be the only one trying to find natural safe products for my family, so I decided to share with you all what I do and where I get the elderberries from- side note, I can’t wait to get the garden up and going in Virginia because I am DEFINITELY planting some elderberry (among all the other plants I use for my family’s medicine)

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But first- a little on herbalism and why you can trust it

*The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. According to the WHO, approximately 25% of modern drugs used in the United States have been derived from plants. (More on that here)

*Pharmaceuticals are prohibitively expensive for most of the world’s population, half of whom lived on less than $2 U.S. per day in 2002.[15] In comparison, herbal medicines can be grown from seed or gathered from nature for little or no cost.

*Herbal remedies are very common in Europe. In Germany, herbal medications are dispensed by apothecaries (e.g., Apotheke). Prescription drugs are sold alongside essential oils, herbal extracts, or herbal teas. Herbal remedies are seen by some as a treatment to be preferred to pure medical compounds that have been industrially produced.[29]

*(links to wikipedia, although not a verified reliable source, the links will bring you to legit organizations and their data on the issue)

So if the rest of the world rely on medicinal plants why do we, as Americans, fear anything that doesn’t come from the pharmaceutical industry? Well, #1 BigPharma is a huge cash cow that is much too large now to take to the butcher, and #2 We’ve been duped into feeding that cow.

Check out this short clip from Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, who discusses-rather candidly-how the drug companies work with your Dr. to give you meds that you don’t actually need, all for the “Almighty Dollar”.

There are so many plants that work just as good or BETTER than synthetic drugs. Keep a lookout in my “Natural” section for new posts on this.

Ok, Here It Is-

It’s as easy as making your favorite herbal tea on the stove! How to make your own elderberry syrup to treat colds NATURALLY for your family:

Ingredients
  1. 1 ¾ cups pure water
  2. 1/3 cup dried elderberries
  3. 1 Tablespoon ginger (freshly grated or dried)
  4. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  5. ¼ teaspoon cloves
  6. 1/3 cup raw honey (local is best)
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 45-60 minutes. When the liquid has reduced by about half, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, mash the elderberries using a potato masher, spoon, spatula, or similar utensil.
  4. Pour mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl and allow the liquid to cool to lukewarm.
  5. While the liquid is still warm, add the honey and stir well.
  6. Pour your finished syrup into jars or bottles and seal with lids.
  7. Store in the refrigerator, and put any extra in the freezer.

………………………………   and that’s it!

To see the lovely blog that I got my recipe from click here. She also has some really good information on the ingredients and why they are used…as well as LOADS of info for making other medicinal blends.

Oh yea- and here’s where I get my elderberries. I get the 1 lb. wild-crafted organic option for $27 and it makes about 4-5 jars of syrup! That’s 4-5 X’s more syrup than the $20 bottle from the health food store!! (Get them straight from the vendor at the link -Amazon is about $2 more for the same thing, unless you have PRIME and save on the shipping)

 

 

Alright friends-You CAN do this! Try a little experiment of your own and let me know the results in the comments. I hope I have given you the inspiration and tools to jump in and make it for yourself. If you do make it please post a pic! Can’t wait to see you guys whipping up a batch of your own.

Much Love,

Brandy

I have to add this for the irresponsible folks (insert eye roll here, SMH):
I am NOT a healthcare professional and I am NOT giving you advice on how to treat or cure any illness. Before using any medications please consult your healthcare professional. If your baby isn’t eating honey yet don’t give it to them. If you’re nursing or pregnant please do your own research because I have no knowledge on those specifics…..,,,. Don’t sue me. I am NOT responsible for your own personal decisions. The FDA hasn’t evaluated these comments and I’m sure they won’t anytime soon. I’m sorry for cluttering up things, but I gotta put it *shrug*.
P.s-
But seriously, use common sense. Don’t take my word for it, do your research whenever you make other people’s recipes for this kind of stuff. I love using natural stuff, but I don’t just read one article on it and neither should you. There’s lots of good ingredient substitutions you can use. You can also use other bases besides water so check it out and read from more than one source.

How To Treat Allergies Naturally

It’s that time of year again!

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As I look around I see the suffering in puffy eyes, runny noses and the long list of other ailments that accompany seasonal allergies. NOT FUN!

I reach out at every chance I get to offer options to people who even mention allergies around me. And the reason why I am so passionate, to the point of getting on your nerves about it, is that I used to suffer just like the rest of those watery-eyed uncomfortable folks walking around in their misery.

BUT THERE IS AN ANSWER!!

One day while reading an article, which I can not remember for the life of me where to find, I had an epiphany that was LIFE CHANGING!

My first thought was “Why isn’t this the prescription for everyday allergies??”

1. Take local raw honey everyday!

          I take a TBSP every morning, either in my coffee or right off the spoon, delicious nectar of God…….

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My son, eat honey, for it is good,Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;Know that wisdom is thus for your soul;If you find it, then there will be a future,And your hope will not be cut off.–Proverbs 24:13-14, NASB

                                                                                                 

but seriously, taking raw local honey everyday is like taking a natural immunization for pollens! You are inoculating yourself with all the pollens in your local area so that your body can get accustomed to the small amounts over time, which will better help the immune system handle the bombardment during allergy season.

2. Take a shower every night before bed.

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             During the day you are bombarded with allergens. If you leave your home to go to work or school, think about all the junk that is floating around in the air. You hair, skin and clothes catch little hitchhikers all day long, including pollen, mold spores, dust, animal danger, and ever colds and viruses. If you don’t rinse off you each night then you are then sleeping with all these trigger causing allergens…………rolling around and cuddling the very things that are making you sick.

Some of us have sensitive that get dry and flaky if we wash everyday…For those people, you can just rinse with water! At least get in the shower, rinse from top to bottom and wash those pesky hitchhikers right down the drain!

3. Use a new wash cloth and new towel every night.

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             Yes, you may be one of those penny savers that use the same towel a few times after getting a shower (psss, you’re not alone, I did it too), and for some in the population that are blessed with never having to live with chronic allergies it is totally fine to do it that way if you wish….but for chronic allergy sufferers, this is not an option!

Mold and Mildew breed in bathroom towels and clothes.

           No matter if you hand dry them or not, for allergy sufferers, mold and mildew spores are a major trigger, so why risk the chance of contaminating your already clean (You just showered) body with the very things you just rinsed off???

         Even more so: THROW AWAY YOUR LOUFFA!

Every night use a fresh towel and a fresh wash cloth to wash and dry yourself.

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4. Wear new pajamas every night

                     Getting in the habit of this will greatly help your situation if you do have a day where it wasn’t feasible to get a shower for whatever reasons (don’t make a trend of it though). Every night while we are sleeping, dead skin cells, and other things on our skin, come off. We also fluctuate in body temperature during the night which can cause sweating. These dead skin cells, moisture, and warmth are a bacteria breeding ground. Changing your clothes every night will keep that to a minimum instead of once again rolling around in allergens all night.

5. Wear new clothes every day when you get up

Listen, I’m a stay at home mom, I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING RIGHT NOW, but this is a vital key to getting rid of your allergies!!!! So you’ve followed everything up to this point. You washed all the allergens off. You’ve worn new pj’s to bed. You used a fresh towel, a new wash cloth and even threw away your favorite pink fluffy louffa….but you get up and put on yesterday’s clothes because “eh, I didn’t really go anywhere yesterday so I’m fine”….. UM NO. You have just undone everything you’ve worked so hard for!

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                Just suck it up and put on a fresh t-shirt lady!

(I’m seriously yelling this at myself right now, as I sit in my comfy pjs and don’t really see a reason to put on fresh clothes………we’re so hard headed aren’t we?! SMH)

Every person I have ever told this to has the same look across their face as I did when I read the article! Pure shock as to  how simple and logical this is.

I mean, I was slapped int he face with the question “Why didn’t I think of this before??” It makes so much sense! And why isn’t this like the go-to advice for allergy sufferers???

I have been allergy free for over a year! Go ahead and try it and see if it works for you.

If you would like to learn a little more about how to deal with those stupid allergies, take a look at this short clip by Dr. Axe as he discusses the topic in an interesting way. This video is how I got started taking care of my own health instead of running to the M.D all the time.

DIY Natural All-Purpose Cleaner

About every other week I have to make more of my all-purpose cleaner, so today as I was making it I figured you might like to come along with me and see what I do.

 

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This stuff is FABULOUS! I use it pretty much everywhere in our house! We keep a spray bottle in the kitchen and in each bathroom.

What You Need To Get Started

6-7 lemons

Castille Liquid Soap (this past month I got an off brand so that is what is pictured)

Distilled White Vinegar

A Jar or container ( I love Mason Jars and use them for everything )

A cutting board

A sharp knife

 

First get your lemons washed

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I always wash them off, especially if they are not organic.

Then you want to cut each lemon in half, taking out any seeds that you can see. I don’t spend much time on this part, so you don’t really have to get every seed out.

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Now you want to pack the lemon halves into the jar, pressing them down pretty well to get them to fit and to get some juice out of them. This helps the lemon scent really get into the vinegar so it has that fresh smell.

Next you will top the jar off with the vinegar.

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Lastly you will add 1 cap of the liquid soap. This part isn’t necessary to make a good cleaner. I just do it because people have the false assumption that if something does have suds then it doesn’t clean. You can choose to add it or leave it out. Either way this recipe still makes a great cleaner!

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Put the lid on and give it a shake!

I like to let it sit over night so that it has the fresh lemon scent infused in it well. Then just take out the lemons (and any seeds floating around) and transfer the liquid into a spray bottle. DONE!

 

DIY Laundry Soap

Are you tired of spending so much money on laundry detergent?

The cheap ones are full of unknown chemicals and the all natural brands are expensive! Here’s what I do:

Making your own laundry soap is super easy! Not only that, it is made with REAL ingredients, not a bunch of names that you can’t even pronounce.

We have a large family which means we have A LOT of LAUNDRY! Switching over to a homemade product has been such a great thing for us. Not only do i know that it is safe for everyone in our family, but we actually all really enjoy making it together!

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What you need:

 

 

You can buy the combo pack from Amazon to make it easier.

In case you have no idea about Borax-  it’s an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid.

Fels-Naptha (Fels-Naptha contains titanium dioxide) but honestly, sometimes I just get it anyway because I can get the combo pack and it’s a little cheaper. You can decide which one to use for your family, the recipe is still the same.

 

How to make it:

  • 2 bars of washing soap (Dr. Bronner’s or Fels-Naptha)
  • 4 cups Borax
  • 4 cups Washing Soda  (found by the Borax in the laundry aisle)

You can cut the bar soap into smaller pieces and then put it through your food processor, but my kids love the job of grating the soap, so that’s how we get it done.

Then just measure and mix all the ingredients together well and put into a large container.

For large loads I use 3 TBSP and for regular loads I use 1-2 TBSP (depending on how dirty the clothes are). I’ve never had any issues with clothes not getting clean. For heavy stains you can pre-soak with a little of the bar soap as a spot treatment.