When you have a collection of little ones around, this is the time of year a bug will do the rounds. We have been quite lucky so far, in that our kids don't get sick too often (counting blessings!) but a particularly nasty stomach bug has been passing through the community here. Only three of us... me, my husband and the tot, have experienced stomach pains and vomiting for a couple of days each.
Doctors' surgeries are always asking people only to book a consultation if really necessary. Luckily, tot only vomited once, so didn't become dehydrated, and was lethargic and clingy for a couple of days before perking back up. The other children have been fine. I do feel their diet, demeanour and regular fresh-air exercise fortifies them.
Of course we do go to visit the doctor if necessary, and have even used the A&E and Walk-In Centres occasionally in the past, and we most certainly do not eschew modern medicine at all! While folk remedies are not a substitute for modern medicine, I find a couple of folk remedies (ones with chemical reason... we aren't talking threads and pebbles under pillows here) are incredibly useful to know and have helped no end to cope with mild issues before visiting a doctor if we need to.
- Stomach pains caused by indigestion/heartburn
- Colds and coughs
A cough brings something most of the kids love... the silver lining of a hacking chest, if you will. In a jar, pile up layers of soft dark brown sugar (preferably molasses sugar or dark unrefined Muscovado,) well crushed garlic and thyme. Leave it alone for a few hours so that the sugar breaks down on its own into a syrup. Have a spoon of the stuff at mealtimes. It is best to start as soon as you get that metallic taste in the back of your mouth and throat that threatens to turn into infection - for the kids, at first evidence of a cough. Garlic is an antibiotic so although you will find it has not proved to cure the common cold, we are using the antibiotic here to help fight infection on the chest before it sets in. Thyme is an antiseptic also used to fight infections so it works with the garlic here to stop infection getting hold on that chest. As far as anecdotal evidence goes (not far, but this isn't a medical journal... I have just linked to Wikipedia after all!) this syrup has worked better for us than when replaced with over-the-counter syrups i.e. when I'm the one who has been feeling poorly so try to avoid making it up! As vile as the combination sounds, it is actually more pleasant than some cough syrups! The cold masks most of the garlic hit, so you just get treacle sweetness and fragrant earthy thyme with a strong twang that feels as if it is fighting the infection already!
Again, if a cough hasn't diminished in 2 weeks, or infection truly has set in, you must go to the doctor.