Just when I think we are turning the corner on the wintry flu season, our home gets ambushed with boogies and runny noses. With three kids, I sometimes feel that we are never without a cough, some congestion, or the sniffles.
This winter we were often on house arrest, missing Christenings, birthdays, and play dates due to the avalanche of nasal mucus that was sure to render us the pariahs of the party. At times like these, I’ve been heard to say: “Thank God for Children’s Tylenol Cold and Flu; but, as a mom who uses all natural almond butter for Skippy and Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Oats for Cheerios, I like to use a natural remedy when I can.”
That’s where Grammie Kate’s natural remedies are so useful.
My great grandmother Kathryn (Grammie Kate) was a firecracker. She was a little 5’1″ beanpole that never took “no” for an answer. She was born in the 1890’s and raised in Panama, Iowa. A farmer. She drove when it wasn’t in vogue for women. She would pick poppies and take them into town to sell them for an extra penny and she had an attic full of hats.
She was that kind of woman who made everything more fun. She had a room in her house that was full of odds and ends, marbles, string and such. She called it her “junk room” and nothing was off limits in there.
She knew how to console. She knew how to make you feel like you were the only important thing in her life any moment you choose to pour your heart out to her. She loved fiercely and showered that love on all she met. She was the grandmother I long to be someday; such an expert at that magical relationship between grandmother and grandchild.
When my grandmother (her daughter) had her six kids, Grammie Kate would get into her green car and come over everyday to help, to love, and to care. She had a remedy for everything, passed down from her mother and her mother before her. They lived in a time when antibiotics were science fiction. Healing happened with tenderness, rest and the fruits of the earth.
A lot of Grammie Kate’s remedies work! In our household, as much as I can, I try to employ them. Especially as a prevention measure when one of us comes down with something.
Here are some of her best that science now smiles upon...
Elderberry, garlic and onion have been shown to have potent antimicrobial effects including antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects.
Ginger also has a positive influence on the gastrointestinal tract.
Eggs and liver are great whole foods, full of fat soluble vitamins and essential amino acids.
For the flu: Elderberry, garlic (preferably raw), eggs, and liver. Hot tea with cinnamon and milk
For congestion: Horseradish, homemade onion broth, cayenne powder, raw ginger
For a cough: Elderberry, chicken noodle soup, olive oil with roasted garlic and oregano
For a sore throat: gargling with very salty water, hot lemon water with honey
For a tummy ache: peppermint and spearmint, ginger tea
For a headache: a bit of aspirin and a good hair brushing
Grammie Kate’s remedies supplemented with my own love of using vitamins like C, zinc, the Bs, and D prove to keep us in line most of the time.
May you enjoy a healthy springtime with your loved ones!