A big thank you to RWS lead instructor, mom of 7, and author of Nutritional Pilates, Katrina Foe, for compiling these go-to natural first aid supports shared by the RWS instructor team!
It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and your child is screaming in pain from an earache. What do you do? It’s too late to post on Facebook and find out a good natural remedy, but you don’t want them to be miserable all night….
Although you know us as functional practitioners, the team at Restorative Wellness Solutions is also mostly a team of moms. As such, we all have our “bag of tricks” that we’ve used with our kids when things come up. Below we’ve compiled our personal favorites that have proven reliable for us with our own families.
With that acute earache, our favorite technique is to sauté chopped onions in apple cider vinegar (we all have those on hand, right?) Put the Sautéed Onions in cheesecloth or reusable tea bags. Put a bag in either cup and seal the cups against the side of the head over the ears. Have the child lie down while the cups are held for about 20 minutes (until it cools). The vinegar and onion juice steaming is amazing for opening up the ear canals. A screaming child can be reduced to calmly going to sleep with this – truly food as medicine!
Garlic Mullein Ear Oil is also fantastic for ears. We’ve found it is very complimentary to the onion poultice to keep things from coming back. It is also good preventatively when things are not acute. You can either make this yourself (good to know in the middle of the night!) or purchase it (the mullein is optional).
Katrina’s go-to for most minor injuries is a salve that her family calls Tommy Cream. This is amazing for cuts, scrapes, burns, and basically any skin irritation. When she had breast cancer, she even used it to drain her lymph nodes. The recipe is attached below but just make sure that you don’t let the crock pot get dry!
Other options for wound care include Liquid Iodine topically, Raw Honey, Colloidal Silver, Coconut Oil with some Tea Tree Essential Oil, and Witch Hazel.
And because boys will be boys, it is good to know that Cayenne Powder is amazing for creating clots quickly for even large wounds. Keep in mind that there is a little kick to it but since we all have it in our kitchens, it is good to know. The yarrow in the Tommy Cream does this as well but isn’t as readily available in our kitchens.
If the bump is on the head, some Omega 3s are essential to make sure there is no brain inflammation. They are also good overall for inflammation and pain. Even kiddos can take higher doses but just make sure to eat something with it so that things don’t loosen up as well.
For bug bites, the Bug Bite Thing has got several of us hooked. It is a suction device that removes the poison directly. There’s also a method where you put a Hot Spoon on the bite that can be helpful.
Activated Charcoal is a must to have on hand. It is essential for any type of food poisoning and also makes it into our suitcases for this reason. For kids, you can open it into water (called “Black Water” by the kids) and drink it. It doesn’t have much taste and leaves a fun black mustache.
If there is diarrhea, Carob Powder is great to have on hand. You can mix between 1 tsp and 1 Tbsp of carob powder, depending on the size of the child and the severity of the issue, with something like nut butter or raw honey to slow things down. Now keep in mind, that you may suddenly have lots of kids complaining of diarrhea so tease out those that actually have diarrhea and those that just want the remedy!
On the other hand, if there is constipation, a fun and yummy way to relieve it is to use high-dose Vitamin C Powder. You can make a healthy lemonade for this and let the kids at it – they will have no problem drinking enough to get things moving if you let them. Put ¼ cup dried elderberries (for bioflavonoids, optional) into a gallon jar with 3-4 Tbsps of organic ascorbic acid. Fill with hot water and leave overnight (if you want it right now, skip the berries and use cold water). Sweeten to taste with liquid stevia (or another sweetener), probably around 12+ dropperfuls – it will need a lot because this is very high dose and tart.
For both teething babies and teenagers with braces, having Clove Essential Oil will allow the whole family to get more sleep. You’ll want to mix it with avocado oil and apply it topically to reap the analgesic effect on the inflamed area. Important tip: make sure that babies don’t get it in their eyes – if you do, use some plain avocado oil to wipe it out.
Biocidin Throat Spray is one of our favorites for many reasons, but we keep it on hand for nipping sore throats and colds in the bud. At the first hint of anything sinus/throat, use 3 squirts several times a day and you’ll be amazed how quickly the sore throat is gone! This makes complete sense since it has those lovely antibacterial herbs in it.
Quercetin + Nettles are amazing for anything histamine-related. This would include bug bites, seasonal allergies, histamine food issues, and so on. Sub it out for the Benedryl but, of course, always get to the root issue!
And the thing that Katrina will not leave the house without having is Echinacea angustifolia Tincture (not purpura, the common one). At her house, there are multiple children that have true allergies to bees, although it has not gone systemic yet. When there is a sting, usually the body part swells up and is hard and painful for over a week (think crying and can’t sleep at night). Using this tincture, none of that happens. Keep in mind that it is taken orally – a dropperful as soon as possible and a couple of times a day for the next few days is what Katrina swears by.
And it would be a tragedy not to mention that Sea Salt will stop dry heaves. If you put some on the tongue of someone that is throwing up but nothing is coming out, it will almost instantly stop the dry heaves. We ALL already have sea salt on hand, but this trick needs more press!
We purposely did not put anything in here for fevers because, as you probably know, it is important to let fevers do their job. That is the body’s way of addressing whatever is going on internally and we don’t want to suppress that.
Last but not least is the shout-out to the Neti-Pot for congestion as well as a Homemade Vapor Rub. Just mix some eucalyptus essential oil in coconut oil and rub it on the congested child’s chest.
Those are our favorites that we keep stocked and ready to go. What are your favorites? What do you ALWAYS have on hand? It’s so important that we share these so that we can all benefit from them and this kind of knowledge doesn’t get lost. Because when it comes to our families, we all want the best!
This is an all-purpose salve that works great for cuts, scrapes, burns, itchy spots, and more!
- ¼ cup dried plantain
- ¼ cup dried comfrey
- ¼ cup dried calendula
- ¼ cup dried yarrow
- ¼ cup dried mullein
- Approx 1 cup coconut oil
- Approx 1 cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup beeswax
- 30 drops of lavender essential oil
- 32 drops Vitamin E-liquid
Put all the herbs in a quart jar. Fill the jar halfway after adding herbs with coconut oil (may need to warm it). Fill the rest of the way with olive oil and put the lid on the jar.
Put a washcloth in the bottom of a crock pot and set the jar on the washcloth. Fill the crockpot as full as you can with water. Turn the heat to low and put the lid on top. The lid won’t fit securely so cover it with a towel to keep the water in as much as possible.
Leave for three days – top off the water when needed. DO NOT LET IT GO DRY! If you do, the glass will break and it will be a big mess and a lot of waste. It is recommended to check it first thing in the morning and before bed to top off the water and shake the oils.
After three days, strain off the herbs and measure the oil. Add ¼ -⅓ cup of beeswax for every cup of herbal oil (the more you add the stiffer it will be – you can add more if needed). If the oil is not still hot, you can put it all in a saucepan to melt the beeswax. Otherwise, just stir in the jar.
Add 8 drops of vitamin E for every cup of oil you have. Add a dropperful of lavender essential oil as it cools. Pour into jars or chapstick tubes for easy application.
Lavender has analgesic properties and is calming and vitamin E preserves the salve. Plantain has amazing drawing properties, yarrow helps stop bleeding, calendula is very calming to the skin, comfrey reduces inflammation, and mullein is antibacterial and antiviral.
Katrina Foe is an RWS lead instructor, mom of 7, and the author of Nutritional Pilates. You can connect with her via her website, Nutritional Pilates.