Making Fire Cider – Immune Tonic

Thank you to herbalist Barbara Gladstar for coining the tonic, Fire Cider in 1980.

Rooted in History, Fire Cider traces back to “The Four Thieve’s Tonic” from Medieval Europe. Legend has is that grave robbers invented a tonic that was both drunk & inhaled to stay healthy while robbing corpses. Comprised mainly of vinegar, onions, garlic & spices this tonic warded off the Plague. Some believe it was because it warded off the fleas that transmitted the disease.

Barbara Gladstar modeled her Fire Cider after the Four Thieve’s and made some modifications. There is a lot of freedom in making your own fire cider as long as you stick to the main tenets: aromatic, sinus opening roots distilled in apple cider vinegar for four weeks.

In our Fire Cider we used:

  • 1 Large Horseradish Root
  • 1 Large Ginger Root
  • 1 Small Tumeric Root
  • 1 Garlic Bulb
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 4 Habanero Peppers
  • 1 Japaleno Pepper
  • 1 Orange (keep rind on)
  • 1 Lemon (keep rind on)

We chopped all the ingredients and layered them 3 x 1 Quart Mason jars. We then poured Apple Cider Vinegar over the contents. In four weeks we will strain the liquid, add raw honey & be ready to go!

Acupressure to reduce pain from teeth grinding (TMJD)

Have you ever woken up with a headache or a painful jaw? Have you noticed that your jaw is sore when you chew or you hear popping or clicking when you open your mouth? These could all be signs that you are grinding your teeth at night. Your dentist can confirm that by the wear and tear on your teeth or misalignment of your jaw.

This video demonstrates a treatment that will help alleviate pain in some of the most commonly effected areas such as the jaw, the temples, the temperomandibular joint, the sternocleidomastoid muscles (SCM) on the neck.

Although this treatment helps treat the branch of the issue, it does not address the root cause. Some helpful tools for eradicating stress is being able to identify the trigger and work to reduce their effects on the mind, body & soul. Carl Jung calls this the shadow work – journaling and analyzing the triggers can help unravel the problem.

Give the treatment a try & let me know what you think!

Healing Acute Ear Infections Naturally (Otitis Media)

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Anyone who has suffered from an earache can tell you that they are awful. Both for the parent and the child. Up all night wailing and holding their little ears…this kind of pain isn’t for the weak. Fortunately, acute ear infections usually come on fast and furiously and hopefully with correct treatment, retreat just as quickly.

The Science: What exactly is Otitis Media? Otitis media refers to inflammation of the middle ear. This happens when a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection, and the presence of bacteria or a virus  lead to the accumulation of pus and mucus behind the eardrum, blocking the Eustachian tube.

Incidence: Acute and chronic ear infections account for 15 to 30 million visits to the doctor each year in the U.S.

Otitis media with effusion: OME is the chronic build up of fluid behind the ears that creates pressure and can affect hearing. This often causes the eardrum to bulge outwards and sounds may become more muffled. This is the most common reason children undergo surgery to receive ear grommets or tubes to release the fluid build up. I am not sure about you but I thought Grommets were little surfer dudes?

Earaches & Traditional Chinese Medicine:

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TCM looks at earaches a bit differently. While Western medicine mainly observes external causes, Traditional medicine investigates both internal and external causes of disease.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are three main reasons why a child would have an earache:

1) An external attack of wind, heat or cold entering the ear. Translation: virus or bacteria.

2) Internal causes of earaches are usually heat or cold accompanied by dampness. Translation: diet, stress, lifestyle and anatomical differences can all affect how one responds to a pathogen.

3 ) Lingering Pathogenic Factor. Translation: repeated bouts of antibiotics, a lingering virus that has never completely cleared like Lyme, or from a vaccine.

One major culprit for earaches is systemic inflammation.

Inflammation can cause a swelling of the tonsils, sinuses, adenoids, lymph nodes and parotid gland. This creates an obstruction and fluid builds up which often leads to infection. Inflammation also slows down the healing process.

How does inflammation occur?

External causes:

  • Dietary factors such as dairy, wheat, gluten, artificial colors and sweeteners.
  • Allergies to animals, dander, mold, pollen, grass, pesticides, hormones
  • Cigarette smoke

Internal causes:

  • Emotional volatility and stress can lead to stagnation which impedes blood flow and circulation.
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Overuse of antibiotics
  • Obesity

Chronic ear infections may present with:

  • Hearing loss
  • Milder pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Supplementing your child’s treatment at home:

Dietary therapy: It is important to immediately look at the child’s diet. There may be an allergy to dairy or wheat that is contributing to phlegm accumulation.

Try a challenge by removing an offender ( I would start with cows milk ) for two weeks and see if you see a reduction in symptoms. Reintroduce the milk two weeks later in a small dosage and see if the symptoms return or get worse.

If there are no changes then try eliminating wheat and then sugar.

Adding supplements and foods:

  • Quercitin: I found a great Vitamin C and Quercitin powder by Designs for Heath that works seamlessly into a smoothie. Note this is very tart.
  • Bee pollen (high in quercitin and flavinoids)
  • Bee Propolis: cant say it tastes great but worth a try.
  • Boswellia (AKA Frankincense) & Myrrh
  • Omega fish oil: I like Nordic Naturals. They are very tasty. Just make sure to floss afterwards as gummies are notorious cavity makers.
  • Turmeric

Probiotics to boost the immune system and help fight against dampness and phlegm. Klaire labs makes a great powdered probiotic. I find it very easy to slip the powdered probiotics seamlessly into smoothies and yogurt. My kids hated the chewable kind but my husband liked them so that was easy.

Herbal Therapy: Jia Jian Xiao Chai Hu Tang. Please check in with your acupuncturist about this classic formula.

Rub Castor oil along the lymph nodes around the throat and neck. I like to apply this at night with a little massage on the nape of the neck. Because castor oil is so goupy I make sure to put on old towel on the pillow and tie up my kid’s hair.

Acupressure: the goal is to clear heat and relieve pressure.

Try these acupressure points. I would apply a light tapping pressure with a small spoon.

Treat acute pain:
Acupressure on SJ 5
Gallbladder 41
Large intestine 11
Large intestine 4

  • Cranio Sacral Therapy
  • Chiropractic
  • Shonishin treatment is a great way to reduce the pain and swelling around the ear. Make an appointment with your acupuncturist.

Sometimes that pain is so intense that any sensation around the ear feels like torture. For these I avoid the local area and focus on these points on the arms and feet.

Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ear-infections/DS00303