When I was little my grandmother – my Abuelita, lived with us. She always kept a fresh patch of Yerba Buena growing in the yard and would brew us a fresh cup of tea any time our tummies ached. She knew what was up.
Exactly one week, almost to the hour, after discovering our house was broken into, I found myself the sickest I’ve been for as long as I can remember. It came on suddenly, beginning with a subtle sense of nausea that just wouldn’t quit. Thirty minutes after that initial feeling I was vomiting nonstop for almost 8 hours. Other yucky things were happening too, but nobody wants to hear about that. Nobody probably wants to hear about this either, but this is important. Besides, this is real life.
It’s funny how everything I know about healing, herbalism and food flies out the window when one of us is sick. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does my mind immediately starts imagining horrible things. A little stomach virus is suddenly a very real threat to my life and I don’t know what to do. Go to the doctor? The trouble with that is that they’ll probably prescribe antibiotics. For me antibiotics are serious business and an absolute last resort.
I’ve come to learn that the first line of defense against illness is to calm down. Illness is a natural part of life. Remember this. Illness is important. It’s how our bodies build our immune systems and become stronger. Embrace your illness, I say. Be one with it; let it take you over; let it teach you what you need to know…
With the stomach virus, or stomach flu (at least that’s what I think it was – I really don’t know for sure), it’s important to just let it run its course. It’s obvious the body is trying to expel something. Let it. At some point the body becomes dehydrated and this is where the danger lies. For this, make some yerba buena (spearmint) or peppermint tea. Mint teas are readily accessible and good for any age. They’re soothing and so much more palatable than water. Add some honey for extra benefit. Our son got the virus just one day after me and this really helped. Nettle tea is a great option too, though a little harder to find in grocery stores. It’s worth going the extra mile for though.
Add some oil of oregano to a bit of tea and drink it. Oregano oil is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial ally. Use it with caution. For children, mix a drop or two of oregano oil with another carrier oil (whatever you have – coconut, sweet almond, olive oil) and rub it on their feet. I did this for my son immediately after he started vomiting and his illness never got as bad as mine.
Lavender essential oil is also antibacterial and has great calming effects. Diffuse some in the bedroom or dilute it with oil and rub some on your temples. It helps relax the mind and will help you get some much needed rest.
Within 24 hours I was back on my feet, walking around the neighborhood trick-or-treating with my kids. I was tired, but the fresh air helped a lot. I stayed home from any other Halloween celebrations and made sure to get extra rest. Resting is critical.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is that every person responds to particular treatments differently. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the other. It’s good to have ideas though, because being helpless is not an option – especially as a parent.
Stay healthy and don’t take this advice in place of Doctor’s orders. See your doctor if you need to!