It’s happened many times. A family member will call late at night, and either a spouse or one of the kids was sick enough to be worrisome. Most of the time, I’ve been able to figure out how the worried parent could cobble together a remedy that would at least let them wait until daylight to head for the doctor’s office.
Various foods in your shelves can have an alter ego. Baking soda, honey, spices and even fruits and vegetables can be used in various ways to help start the healing process. Here is a quick overview of a few:
Baking Soda: It’s for more than just an upset stomach. It is a superb drawing agent and can soothe insect bites, stings, poison ivy and other skin problems. In a bath, it can help with the itch that comes from contact dermatitis.
Cloves: The oil is often used as a dental analgesic, due to the numbing quality it has. It can also be made into a tea and taken for a sore throat. The same numbing quality works there.
Dill: An infusion of dill can help settle an upset stomach. In older babies, it can also have a relaxing effect. Ask the pediatrician at what age it would be appropriate to use it.
Garlic: This bulb can help lower blood pressure and fight against infections. There are many who believe it can also lower cholesterol, but that point is currently being debated. A few preliminary studies suggest it may also help prevent certain types of cancer.
Honey: Mixed 50/50 with lemon juice, this is a valuable cough remedy. It’s also easier to get down a cranky child than some of the ones sold over the counter. Never give honey to a child under two.
Marjoram: If you know you’re going to be somewhere that has a lot of biting insects, you may want to start drinking marjoram tea a few days in advance. This will cause your sweat to smell spicy and discourage casual diners from alighting.
Nutmeg: This is more of a warning than a remedy. Nutmeg is extremely potent and can shut down the central nervous system if enough is ingested. That and the strong taste are why most recipes only call for an eighth of a teaspoon. One whole nutmeg is strong enough to kill a child, and two could kill an adult.
Rosemary: This plant has a number of uses. It can cause blood pressure to go up, help soothe depression and if applied to your hair it could make it darker.
Sage: If you are breastfeeding, you’ll want to have some sage around. When it comes time to wean the child, sage tea could help dry up the milk.
It is important to check with your doctor before using any new herbal supplement. That will help you avoid dangerous side effects and drug/herb interactions. You may want to do this in advance so that the next time you are awakened in the middle of the night, you’ll know what to do.