Thursday, March 8, 2012

My 10 Steps to Natural Living // Natural Healing

Another thing on my “one-day-soon” list is to learn more about natural healing methods. This is SUCH a vast topic covering everything from vitamins, to medicinal herbs, to healing salves and rubs. I don’t imagine I will learn everything I want to about this topic this year. I just plan to get a start and see where it goes.

The reason I am interested in natural healing methods is because I believe in God’s provision. Even though man and woman were created on the sixth day, I believe God made everything else on earth as a provision to human beings to be able to live a happy, healthy, God-glorifying life. Included in this is the food from the earth and animals that provide nourishment. The resources of creation also provide healing. I want to learn more about how intricately God designed us and the world He placed us in, then thank Him for the natural tools to live a healthy life. My hope is by taking advantage of God’s resources (His healing power and provision through creation), my family will have less need for drugs and doctors throughout the years.

I am not completely anti-drug…I do hesitate to take medicines on occasion though. So many of the man-made solutions to sickness may ease suffering in one area, but then cause problems (i.e. side-effects) in another area. Natural remedies can do the same thing, specifically if one has allergies, but as far as I know it is to an overall lesser degree. However, pharmaceuticals and doctors DO have their place and I am thankful for those resources as well.

What I want to focus on is how to ease a sore throat, subdue a cough, alleviate muscle pain or treat a scratch without putting a lot of extra chemicals on or in my body. Herbs are perfect for all theses ailments. And when I learn about them, I will be sharing them for sure!

A couple things I did tinker with during this last winter were a replacement for vapo-rub and a homemade cough medicine. 

Eucalyptus Vapo-Rub:
Eucalyptus has a camphorous smell, perfect for relaxing airways and loosening tight lungs. Some people will use eucalyptus essential with mint or white camphor essential oil in a beeswax mixture to make a rub similar to Vick’s (like this).

I do not have beeswax and wanted to keep it simple. I simply poured a couple tablespoons of olive oil* in a little jar and added drops of eucalyptus oil until I had a scent that worked. Using a cotton ball, I rubbed this over my chest and around my nose at night. It was just as good as the petroleum (yuck) based vapo-rub from the store!

* Essential oils should be used with a carrier oil (like olive, coconut, sunflower) to keep the strength of the essential oil from irritating skin.

Homemade Cough Syrup:

This cough syrup is made with honey, onions and a mixture of healing herbs. I got the recipe from this blog.

1 cup chopped onion
½ cup raw honey
1-2 Tbsp herbs (I used ground ginger)

Cook the onion, herbs and honey in a stainless steel or glass pot (not aluminum) on low for a simmer. Keep the temp low and a lid on the pot, removing only to stir every few minutes.  

Simmer for 20 minutes then remove from the heat. Strain the onions and herbs out and store the remaining honey (which might have flecks of herb in it and this is fine) in a small glass jar with a lid and keep it in the fridge.

The syrup can be used as often as needed, up to every half hour. Recommended dosage is 1 tsp. for a younger child and 1 Tbsp. for anyone 10 years and older.

This cough medicine is definitely different! Haha! It is a shock to the taste buds, but ends in a strangely sweet aftertaste. I used it a couple of times and it seemed to do more for the tickles in my throat than it did for the congestion in my chest. However, I did not take it that often (just a spoonful before bed) and I question the efficacy of my store-bought powdered ground ginger. Perhaps fresher herbs (and a mix of them) would have been better. I’ll keep trying it.

In the future, I want to make a healing salve for scrapes and burns, a muscle rub…and anything else that seems like it could come in handy at our house.

Have you ever tried all natural remedies? I’d love to hear about them!