Monday, October 4, 2010

Thoughts on Natural Healing

One hundred years ago, women learned how to feed their families by watching their mothers and grandmothers. They learned to garden, they learned to prepare simple, nutritious meals that satisfied taste buds and nutritional needs. Recipes and techniques were passed down through the generations, a knowledge embedded in the culture of our nation.

Sixty years ago, we stopped listening to our mothers. We started letting the Department of Agriculture tell us how to eat. We started cooking with microwaves, preparing soup from a can, and buying our dinners in boxes in the freezer section. And look where it's gotten us - we're suffering from terrifying epidemics of cancer, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart disease.

Exactly the same can be said for the medicinal culture of our nation. One hundred years ago, women relied on home remedies and simple, natural medications and herbs to treat their families' illnesses, aches, and pains. And much of the time, those home remedies worked. I'm happy to admit that there are some true benefits to scientific progress. At the times when home remedies don't work, we're lucky that we live in a day in age when we can turn to the medical profession for help. But I don't think that means we need to give up those tried and true home remedies and herbal medicines. In fact, I think we should try them first. We've learned in the past five or ten years how bad antibiotics really are for us, and we're learning more every day. We're learning about the risks of vaccinating our children against common diseases. We're watching children's medications like Tylenol and Motrin get recalled. There aren't any side effects from a dose of cod liver oil or a concoction of herbal tinctures.

Many of us are re-learning how to feed our families. I think it's time we started learning to care for our families' medical needs as well.

I had a happy success over the weekend, when my Littlest One came down with a bad cold, and then a case of pink eye. Poor kid was sneezing and sniffling, and refused to open her eyes. It was about the most pathetic thing I've ever seen. The first thing I did was start feeding her herbal antibiotics. In a shot glass, I mixed half an ounce of warm water, a dropperful each of echinacea (immune booster) and olive leaf extract (antibiotic properties) with 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract (also antibiotic) and half a teaspoon of honey (to mask the awful taste.) I gave her that mixture four or five times a day. To help ease the discomfort of the pink eye I tried a compress made of grated potatoes (an anti-inflammatory) wrapped in cheese cloth and then soaked in warmed raw milk with honey (antibacterial properties) mixed in. We called it her "squishy" and she held one on her eye every so often through the day.

Forty eight hours later, she's bright-eyed and bushy tailed and you'd never know she was sick.

I'd decided that if she wasn't getting better by Monday I'd take her in to see a doctor, but I'm glad I didn't need to. No icky antibiotics, no side effects, and Littlest One is back to normal again.

Have you had any successes with natural healing? What are you favorite remedies? We may not be able to ask our great grandmothers, but we as mothers can certainly trade ideas and build up our knowledge banks!


Anonymous said...

Go, you!!! So proud of you, Mamma!!!

Wendy said...

Great story - I think you should submit this piece of writing for others to read (well, like, beyond the blog).

I am definitely opposed to unnecessary medical intervention, but am typically a bit too lazy to try to fight things that come up here and there. When I start to feel a cold coming on, I think about all the things I should do to try to fight it, and then get tired/busy/whatever, and basically just accept I'll feel crappy for a week.

I guess the most I've been involved with natural healing was when I was trying to conceive and has trouble ovulating. My cycles would be like over 150 days long, and never regular. I saw a Chinese herbalist a few times a week for about 6 months, charted my temp, and boiled up a horrendous concoction of herbs into a thick sludge and drank that 2 times a day. My cycles did begin to get regular after a few months.

Aside from that, I have had 2 natural childbirths. Of course, pregnancy is not an illness, but I think of this because there's this conception that it is sometimes - as illogical as it sounds, medications are prescribed to alleviate pregnancy symptoms, and the entire birthing process is often soooooo UNnatural and so contrary to as you said - what happened 100 years ago. My mom scoffed when I first mentioned having a natural childbirth, and even nursing my babies. She great up in THAT era. I was like, hello??? What do you think YOUR mother did??

Julie said...

Thanks, Shawnna! I love your blog about your common remedies - I've got it saved in my faves.
Wendy - thanks. :-) I'm too chicken to ever submit my writing to anywhere but my own little blog though. LOL Glad to hear Chinese medicine did help you a bit - Eastern cultures are so much more in tune with the human body than our Western culture is. Love your thoughts on childbirth. Crazy that pregnancy is considered a medical condition, isn't it? My mom about had a heart attack when she witnessed Cora's birth in my living room. That whole generation has been brainwashed into doubting what our bodies are really made for and are capable of. Glad to hear you had good experiences with your natural births, go you, Mama!