Battling Colds On The Homestead For All Ages

Reader Contribution by Rachel
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Fresh-cut comb honey

UGH! Nearly an entire week of snotty, grumpy, coughing 10-month-olds is enough to drive the most saintly person you know batty. We’ve called the Dr. and there really wasn’t much they could do. They suggested baby Tylenol, rest, and hydration. Things we already knew. So now what? Time for momma to bring out the big guns that’s what.

The most valuable tool in our never ending booger battle is our Nosefrida. If you have a baby that doesn’t get totally ticked off by having his hard-earned boogers stolen right out of his little nostrils then you are one lucky parent. We are not as fortunate. And if we are going to make them endure the “torture” of snot removal then we are going to make sure it’s effective and we won’t have to repeat the procedure as often as we would with a bulb syringe. It is also super easy to clean and the fact that you can see the level of your booger sucking success gives you some real satisfaction in these hard times.

Chicken Bone Broth: If you don’t have a batch already made, get your slow cooker and get to brewing. This stuff is full of great vitamins and minerals for sick baby and it helps you keep your baby full and hydrated when they really aren’t too keen on eating. (My little guys eat me out of house and home … can’t wait to see what the teenage years bring). What you need is a chicken or turkey carcass, or you can do what we do and keep a gallon sized bag in the freezer and fill it with bones as  you get them. When we have enough I dump them in the crock pot and away we go. Pour a few ounces into baby’s bottle or sippy cup. It is really nice and soothing for them.

1 gallon size bag of chicken bones, or a turkey or chicken carcass
Approximately 2 liters of water, enough to almost cover the bones
2 to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the good kind with the mother)
Rosemary to taste
One onion cut into quarters (don’t worry about peeling it)
Two or three carrots (don’t worry about peeling these either)
Salt (optional. for babies I recommend omitting the salt)

Let it simmer on low in crock pot for 12 to 24 hours. Strain, pour into jars. Drink warm.

Make some vapo-rub! The homemade stuff is safe for babies and grown-ups alike and its easy to whip up a quick batch while everyone is napping.

1/3 cup calendula petals
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup shea butter
1/3 cup cocoa butter
1/2 cup grated beeswax (if you are using the pelleted wax then cut the amount in half)
15-20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops peppermint essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil

In a small sauce pan on low heat combine oils and calendula petals. Stir and let sit on low for an hour, do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 3 hours or overnight. Strain into glass bowl. Place bowl on top of small saucepan with boiling water. Add shea butter, cocoa butter, and beeswax, stir with whisk until ingredients are completely melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool add all essential oils and beat with whisk or mixer until mixture is light and fluffy. Scoop into jar(s). Apply liberally to chest and upper lips to keep those snotty noses unchapped and happy.

HONEY! A spoonful of raw honey does wonders for a cough. (Not for those under 12 months old of course). Add it to hot tea with lemon and ginger aaaaaaaaaand maybe just a touch of whiskey for the grown-ups in the house, for the sore throat of course …

Warm Soothing Baths: What woman doesn’t like to feel a little magical and mystical at times? I know I personally love busting out all my herbs and oils to come up with the perfect potion for my family’s wellness! My favorite bath time potion is simple and easy and will draw out yucky toxins and lend some aromatherapy to the party too, easing the tub soaker into restful sleep.

In a small container with a lid combine:
2 cups Epsom salts
15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
15 drops lavender essential oil

Shake it up and scoop or shake some into every bath.

Do you have any tried and true home remedies? Please share them! I love adding to my sickness fighting arsenal!

Rachel is a gardener, beekeeper, wife & mother of three wild and crazy boys, and lover of all things homesteading. Visit to see more!

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