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!