Natural Remedies When Illness Strikes

Guest Post: Natural Remedies When Illness Strikes

By Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama

Sick In Bed
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Cold and flu season is upon us which is made abundantly clear by the barrage of commercials encouraging us to buy every cold and flu remedy under the sun. However, not all of us prefer to use the standard over-the-counter treatments when we fall ill.

I am a natural parent and real foodie and am very picky about what goes into my body and that of my toddler’s. I make most of our food from scratch and most of our personal care and cleaning products from scratch. So why would I put harsh chemical concoctions in our bodies when we fall ill?

Today I am providing you with recipes for several of my at-home remedies to help bring some relief should you become plagued with a cold, flu or virus this winter. I am intentionally not discussing fever remedies as I believe fevers are there for a reason and should be left alone. You can read more about this as well as some information about how to support and draw out a fever (as opposed to suppressing a fever) in my post Childhood Fevers.

Bone BrothBone broth

Homemade bone broth is a powerful healer and something that really should be consumed on a daily basis. However, when you feel yourself becoming ill or have been exposed to a germ, it is time to start consuming bone broth in copious amounts. I have a secret recipe for broth that has been known to knock out a cold in less than 24 hours. I am sharing it today in hopes that it has the same positive effect for you.


· 1 medium chicken, preferably organic and free range

· ALL of the cloves from one large garlic, peeled

· 3 large carrots, rough chopped

· 2 celery stalks, rough chopped

· 1 medium onion, peeled and rough chopped

· 8 cups of distilled water

· 1 tablespoon apple cider or white vinegar

· Dash of sea salt


1. Put all of the ingredients into a crock pot or stock pot.

2. Cover and set to low for at least 12 hours.

3. Remove the chicken and save to make a second pot of broth.

4. Remove the carrots, celery and onions. Discard or compost or eat.

5. Leave the garlic in the broth. Garlic is incredibly healing.

Drink one cup of broth every 2 hours while you are awake. Do this for 2 days or until feeling better.

Homemade Vapor Rub

In a crockpot or double boiler on high, drop two huge tablespoons of vaseline and 2 tablespoons of beeswax. When melted together, turn off the heat and add:

· 10 drops of peppermint oil

· 10 drops of wintergreen oil

· 3 drops of tea tree oil

· 10 drops of eucalyptus oil

· 5 drops of thyme oil

Break open 2 Vitamin E capsule and pour that in.

Blend well and pour into a sterilized glass jar and let set. Cap tight. Keeps at room temperature for about 6 months.

Elderberry SyrupElderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is one of the most popular herbal cold remedies in Europe. Elder has been used for centuries and is one of the most well documented herbal cold remedies. You can give the elderberry syrup by the teaspoon (kids love it) every 2-3 hours while sick, or even use it regularly in your food, such as on pancakes! Elder is VERY high in bioflavonoids and is a great antioxidant. For kids under 2, add the syrup to hot water to kill any microbes in the honey that might make them sick.


· 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries (best place to purchase them is Mountain Rose Herbs)

· 3 cups water

· 1 cup honey


1. Heat the berries and water to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30-45 minuets.

2. Mash the berries, strain, and add 1 cup of honey. I add a half cup of the purple liquid to a measuring cup, then pour in honey until the total volume is 1 1/2 cups. Then stir to mix well, and add to the rest of the reserved liquid.

3. Bottle and store, refrigerated for 2-3 months.

Enjoy a tablespoon daily to keep the immune system strong, use more often when afflicted with the flu.

Better Than Tylenol Herbal Tincture

Ingredients (best place to purchase them is Mountain Rose Herbs):

· 2/3 cup dried chamomile flowers

· 2/3 cup dried yarrow flowers

· 2/3 cup dried peppermint leaf

· 2/3 cup dried catnip herb

· 100 proof vodka


1. Put all herbs in 1 quart mason glass jar

2. Pour 80-100 proof vodka over herbs, filling jar

3. Let steep at least two weeks, but preferably 2 months, shaking daily.

4. Store in cool, dark place.

5. After 2 weeks-2 months, strain liquid through cheesecloth and store in glass dropper bottles for easy use. Store in a cool, dark place and it will last indefinitely.

Use 8-10 drops for persons over age 2 whenever ill.

And a few other home remedies with items you should already have on hand…

Hydrogen Peroxide– At the first sign of cold, flu, sinus infection, or ear infection, put a dropper full of hydrogen peroxide into each ear. Have the person lie still with the hydrogen peroxide in the ear until it stops bubbling. Do this on both sides. This is especially effective for kids. Repeat every few hours until infection is gone.

Cinnamon – an effective antiviral and antibiotic. When sick, mix 1 tablespoon with 1 teaspoon of honey and stir to make a spicy and very effective tea that helps relieve cough and congestion and lower fever.

Coconut oil is high in lauric acid and is thought to dissolve the lipid coating around some viruses and make them more susceptible to attack by the immune system. If sick, aim for 5-6 tablespoons per day in food or melted and stirred into hot tea. Coconut oil has many other health benefits as well and is known to boost the immune system. I wrote a post about the 80 Uses for Coconut Oil if you would like more information.

Onions and Garlic on the Feet at night– For extreme cases of illness, I slice onion and garlic and place all over the bottom of the infected person’s foot (rub olive oil on the foot first). I then wrap the foot in saran wrap and place a sock on overnight. Onions and garlic have been shown to pull toxins and help the body heal. Some natural practitioners even claim that having cut onions around will absorb toxins and keep others in the family from getting sick, though I have not tried this.

Apple Cider Vinegar Gargle and Drink– drink a tablespoon in water (gargle first) at the first sign of illness and repeat hourly until symptoms disappear. This alkalizes the body and helps kill viruses and bacteria.

Important Notes: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be a doctor. I cannot treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any illness. If you have concerns about any illness, talk to your doctor. Do you own research on natural remedies to ensure that you think they are safe.

I hope you give these recipes a try. Not only are they simple and effective but they are much better for an ailing body than anything you will find in a store!

Yours in health,


Jennifer, author of Hybrid Rasta Mama, is a former government recruiter turned stay-at-home mama to a precious daughter (“Tiny”) brought earthside in early 2009. She lives in the Sacramento, CA area with her husband and various pets and is passionate about breastfeeding (especially extended breastfeeding), bed-sharing, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, cloth diapering, green living, babywearing, peaceful parenting, a Waldorf approach to education and parenting, playful parenting, getting children outside, as well as cooking and eating Real/Traditional Foods. A life-long lover of reggae music, Jennifer takes a little of this and a little of that and blends it all together into something that works for her family.

Hybrid Rasta Mama: A Natural Parenting, Healthy Living Blog


  1. ggmix says:

    A great and informative post I have booked marked this it is sooo good my new go to. I agree with your biews about keeping things natural and use garlic on myself and my family and lovw how you have opened a new window to natural remedies thankyou (“,)

  2. Shay says:

    this post is going to be first on my bookmarks bar!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my is this helpful! I had no idea this items I have sitting around the house, can be so helpful. I know I will save a bit of money now. Thanks!!

  4. Samantha says:

    my husband likes to use honey as well

  5. Callista says:

    I'm always unsure about trying natural remedies which doesn't make much sense as they are more natural then the medicines I use LOL. These are some good ones I've never heard before though, something to consider… Thanks.

  6. Wow! So much info in one place! Love this!!!

  7. Great post! We usually do mineral oil to clean out the kids ears, but the hydrogen peroxide sounds much easier, I might try this today! Big Bro has an earache :(

  8. Great post! We usually do mineral oil to clean out the kids ears, but the hydrogen peroxide sounds much easier, I might try this today! Big Bro has an earache :(

  9. Jennifers Savings says:

    Great post!!! I am a nurse as well as a blogger but I definitely believe we take too much medication as a society. Using natural remedies is a great alternative:) Thanks for sharing!

  10. DisneyMom says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. I prefer natural remedies whenever possible.

    Last night I accidentally burned myself and quickly used Coconut Oil on my burn throughout the night and it helped ease the stinging/pain!

  11. I love Hybrid Rasta Mamma! Great article! I honestly love this stuff…….I use hydrogen peroxide on my kids ears and I use coconut oil for everything!

    Healthy Baby Beans

  12. Becky says:

    Great list of homemade remedies! We will have to see if our Whole Foods has elderberries that we could use. Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Greens!

  13. Emily says:

    I could have used the homemade vapor rub a few weeks ago! This is a great list – thanks so much!