Watching my kids suffer through a cold is just one of the hardest things. If there’s any upside to ailments such strep throat or ear infections is that at least there are antibiotics that fix things pretty quickly. But there’s no easy fix for a cold. The recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics have been so mixed lately on the usefulness of decongestants, that they have been no help at all. I generally avoid them. This is where homeopathic remedies come most into play in my household. For the scratchy throat we have honey lemon tea; for the scratchy eyes we have warm, moist washcloths; for the coughs we have humidifiers. For the congestion we have Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint or Eucalyptus Castile soap.
There are two ways to go about this. If they are really young, go with a warm bath – as warm as they can take it – with a good squirt or two of the liquid Peppermint castile soap. The Eucalyptus has some of the same menthol effect as well. Don’t turn on the bathroom vent; let the room get good and steamy. Let them sit in there as long as the water is warm, taking some washcloths and soaking them in the water and laying them over their backs and chests. If they’re old enough, encourage them to blow their noses gently to add to the clearing.
If your children are older and can sit still for several minutes together, here is a remedy that my grandfather himself partook of. Pour hot, steamy water into a bowl. (Do not do this over boiling water, which is too hot and can cause burns.) Add a squirt of liquid peppermint or eucalyptus soap. Have the child lean over the bowl and drape a towel over his or her head and breathe deeply. If you’ve ever given yourself a facial, this is the exact same technique. The nasal passages will open up and drain out.
Then bundle them up nice and warm and send them to bed. A little of the Magic Balm around the nose will help heal any irritation or chap from frequent nose blowing. Prop them up if they’re old enough to keep the drainage coming out the nose and not back down the throat and into the lungs.