Of Elderberry, Humility, and Volcanoes

We’re a little under the weather here, folks.

I feel like a volcano boiling away but unable to erupt. I lost my voice – woke up this morning and it was gone. I wasn’t surprised – I’d had a cold all week and, though I hadn’t felt that bad, it had lodged in my throat and stuck there.

So, here I am. Three kids and no voice with which to call, correct, or tell them I love them. That last one’s really killing me. I’m a real verbal person, and words of affirmation are my love language. Not being able to tell my babies that I love them at least 32 times a day has me feeling quite backed up.

Oh, and did I mention that Jeremy has been gone since 6am? Ski season started and he worked Sat. and Sun. this week at the adaptive ski program he teaches with. So, I’m going on 12 hours of single-parenthood as I type, and all of it spent under my breath. HELP! oops, I mean, help.

I find myself wishing I had taught them more sign language. And that they were better at coming the first time I call. Forget calling, I should have trained them to come at a whistle, like little dogs. Yes, that would have been handy now.

We’ve been sick more often this winter than ever before. It’s been humbling for me, ’cause I have realized that I’m rather prideful about our good health. I tend to get on a soapbox about eating nutritiously, and use my family as an example. God has showed me this is an area of my heart that needs more of Him and less of me in it.  (My apologies to anyone I’ve been obnoxious to on this subject!)

It also has me thinking about a lot of things I ‘should have done’ and making resolutions for the new year. My mom is a master at herbal remedies and has an amazing herb cupboard. I grew up with her making salves and tinctures and poultices and teas and a particularly potent potion we called “hoopty-poops” that could knock the snot out of you, if not raise the dead. We rarely went to the doctor (maybe 3 times in 10 years?) and treated cuts, bruises, colds, and even Dad’s broken foot with herbs we grew and gathered ourselves when we lived on the homestead.

I observed, gleaned some, but have failed to carry on the tradition in my own home! Part of the reason for this is that we are rarely sick – there just wasn’t a lot of motivation for me to build up my herbal medicine cabinet when we didn’t seem to need it. But now I have a little family of my own, and when one of us gets sick, we usually share it. Soon, ’cause I’m up during the night with one or the other, I get run down and eventually succumb as well. And it’s harder to kick something ’cause I don’t have the luxury of lying around on the couch till I’m better, and I can’t use the two biggest guns in the home remedy arsenal – garlic and cayenne pepper – while I’m nursing ’cause they make my baby very unhappy and spitty. I realized this month that I need to get more proactive when we get sick.

  • I have resolved to educate myself further.
  • I have resolved to stop everything and take time to actively treat any sickness that comes in the house, rather than just letting it run its course.
  • I have resolved to take my kids herb gathering this summer to find mullein, elderberry, and yarrow.
  • I’m gonna make some of my own tinctures with echinacea, goldenseal, and thyme.
  • I’m gonna find a source for beeswax so I can make salves, and cultivate some good medicinal herbs to put in them, like calendula, comfrey, echinacea,  and chamomile. 
  • I’m not going to let the things my mother taught me be forgotten. 
  • I’m going to take an offensive stance with the health of my family.

For now I’m doing what I can with what I have. Our diet this week has been homemade yogurt, soups made from homemade broth, and absolutely no sugar. In the morning we have a kefir smoothy with raw eggs, steamed swish chard, coconut oil, elderberry, frozen fruit, and anything else I feel like throwing in. A little maple syrup and the kids love it. We have vaporizers in every bedroom. Giving the kids plenty of naps and rest, and making the couch a priority for myself in between housekeeping and cooking. I found locally made elderberry syrup and elcampane tincutre (elderberry: immune system support, elcampane: loosens cough) and the kids and I are taking that 3 times a day in sour cherry juice I canned two summers ago. I can see the benefit of all this, because though we technically have colds, the symptoms are minimal. No fever, no runny noses, no one is miserable, we’re sleeping well at night.

Oh, and I’m praying. Not a bad idea for anybody, but especially fervent on my part ’cause I’ve got a wedding to coordinate this weekend and I need to be able to talk!

Update Monday morning: I can talk again! Just a little hoarse. Off to take some tinctures and make another cup of tea…prayers still appreciated.

5 responses to “Of Elderberry, Humility, and Volcanoes”

  1. Kateri Avatar

    Mountain Rose Herbs sells beeswax….

  2. Jessica Avatar

    My parents just bought us an entire homeopathic kit for Christmas….it's awesome and it's all in capsule so you don't have to worry about it losing potency (it's by boiron).

    Glad to hear your feeling better.

  3. Natalie_S Avatar

    Zinc, ginger, and vit D are also in my personal sickies arsenal. I'll make a ginger pau d'arco tea with honey and lemon to open up my sinuses, and zinc and D are supposed to help shorten the duration of a cold.

  4. Trina Avatar

    sara, Elderberry is new to me, what I know has come from this site – http://www.modernalternativemama.com/blog/2010/11/20/how-to-make-elderberry-syrup.html

    I'm posting some more home remedies tomorrow!

  5. rahraht Avatar

    I feel the same way. I caught a cold from my baby niece when I was visiting my sister. If I had been at home when the sneezing started, I would have started up with the Elderberry. I need to remember to travel with it ๐Ÿ™
    Now, I had thought that taking Elderberry after you have already succumbed was a waste. Can it still be affective after the cold is already full blown? If so I will start taking it again. I haven't had a cold in years, so I forgotten how to “do it” ๐Ÿ™‚

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