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11.12.2012

Herbal Remedies to Keep on Hand: Respiratory Ailments

Infections of the upper respiratory tract, including ear infections, are the most commonly dealt with maladies during the winter months, especially for those of us with kids.  For me, one of my biggest priorities when learning to treat my family with herbal remedies was to find effective treatments for these annoying infections.  The good news- there are a lot of really simple, easy to find, easy to take remedies to both help your child rest easier and to support your child's immune system.


Respiratory Remedies:
  • Breath Easy Chest Salve-  This is a replica of that brand name chest rub often used to open airways during colds and coughs and the like.  Only it doesn't contain petroleum or any funky preservatives.
  • Mullein Tincture- Mullein is an easy to use and effective treatment for coughs.  For the kids I usually disolve some tincture , but a tincture is also effective and faster and easier to use.
  • Elderberry and Elderflower tinctures- the leaves and fruit of the elder bush are great for treating many conditions and generally for supporting the immune system.  For respiratory issues I like to make a syrup by mixing a glycerite of elderberry with honey, making it easy for my kids to take. 
  • Echinacea and Oregon Grape tincture- great for fighting infections of all type, but particularly those of the upper respiratory tract.  Unlike antibiotics, this combination has shown itself to be effective against both bacterial and viral infections.  It is best when taken regularly at the onset of an infection.  I know I listed this under preventatives, too, but I also have to point out that I would never use this as a daily preventative.  It has not been proven to be effective at prevention when taken daily- I only use it during times of stress when infection is likely.
  • Calendula tincture- use to sooth a sore throat either by ingesting or gargling the tincture diluted with water.  Tincture can also be applied to sore gums or sores inside the mouth to give relief and speed healing.
  • Nettle tincture- useful for treating allergies and allergy-like symptoms, as it's both a natural anti-histimine and anti-inflammatory. 
  • Slippery Elm, Marshmallow, and Mullein teas.  Look at your local grocery or health food store for Traditional Medicinal brand teas (they will say "respiratory tea" etc, which makes them super user friendly), or order from Mountain Rose Herbs.
  • Ear Oil and Mullein Oil- a few drops of mullein oil or an herbal ear oil can relieve the pain of an ear infection.  At my house it's a catch 22- the stress of convincing the child to allow the drops, then the tears they cause when they initially go in (I don't think they hurt, I'm convinced the kids psych themselves out, but I can't seem to convince them...) is often greater than the benefit of using the drops, especially since my kids don't seem to have much pain when they have ear infections.  But I remember well how much ear infections can hurt, so it's a worthwhile remedy to have on hand.  
Many of these remedies, particularly my favorite and one you won't often find me without, the Breath Easy Chest Salve, are available in my Etsy Shop, Wild Oaks Naturals.

This post has been shared at Homestead Revival's Barn Hop.

1 comment:

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

Good to know! Thanks so much for sharing these remedies....I'm all for natural healing over conventional drugs. Visiting from the barn hop :)

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