Posts Categorized: Health

5 Natural Cold Remedies Found in Your Kitchen

Think coughs and colds only arise in the winter? Now that it’s spring, they seem to be popping up again. With the arrival of spring, we’d like to think that we’re free and clear of all illnesses, when in fact this is when lots of people get sick.

Here are some simple, natural cold remedies to fight those pesky viruses and help get your immune system into tip top shape, just in time for you to enjoy the warmer weather:

Honey: I am a big fan of raw, unpasteurized honey for soothing sore throats and calming coughs. Research has shown honey to be a more effective treatment of night time coughs in children then over the counter cough suppressants. Just remember, honey can not to be given to children less than 1 year old and we always want to respect the bees. You can take a spoonful a few times per day, or add a teaspoon into a cup of warm tea. This is one of the easiest and tastiest natural remedies we can give our children (and grown-ups!) with very little complaints to be had.

Garlic: A nutrient-dense plant, garlic has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of illness and disease. Research shows that people who eat 1-2 cloves daily get fewer cold symptoms, and when they do get sick, it’s for less time. If eating it raw is too much for you, try adding it to salad dressings, into bean salads or quickly minced and add to greens. This is one food item that is worth getting your taste buds used too.


I highly recommend making a honey-garlic cough syrup next fall, letting the garlic infuse in honey for a month. It’s a perfect DIY home remedy that works wonders for coughs and is so easy to make.

Herbal Teas: There are so many beneficial herbal tea blends that can minimize those nasty cold and cough symptoms.

Sage is a wonderful herb (and safe for kids) that can dry up runny noses and wet coughs. Just be cautious in nursing mamas as it can dry milk up too.

Slippery elm is a demulcent and very soothing. It’s great for coating an irritated throat.

Thyme, a well known kitchen herb, is excellent for soothing deep-rooted coughs. Its antiseptic properties kill germs, but it also reduces coughing spasms and helps dispel mucus.

Chamomile is a household favorite of many. It calms a spasmodic cough and settles the nervous system promoting a restful sleep.

All these teas can be steeped in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. You can mix in a little honey for two remedies in one!

Ginger: This spicy herb is a strong antioxidant with antibiotic-like properties providing it with potent anti-microbial benefits. The heat induced by ginger allows for the movement of blood flow and congestion internally, helping to ease cold like symptoms. Ginger has also been touted for its wonderful anti-inflammatory benefits. Try making a cup of ginger tea by grating some fresh ginger into a mug of boiling water and add some raw honey and lemon to taste.

Zinc lozenges: Zinc is an essential mineral found in almost every cell in the body. Its antioxidant effects have been shown to resist infection, shortening the duration of illness by decreasing virus’ ability to grow. There are a variety of zinc lozenges to choose from, I just recommend you buy one that is free of sugar, as sugar is a sure-fire way to depress your immune system.

Happy spring! Hope you manage to stay healthy until next winter.


About the Author

Rachel Schwartzman, ND, L.Ac, Birth Doula

Rachel is a licensed naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist and birth doula. She is also a mother to three little one. She has a general naturopathic family medicine practice with a special interest in women’s health, fertility, pregnancy and pediatrics.


Easy Ways to get Greens into Your Day

It is spring! And nothing says spring like the budding of green from the earth. I am not talking about the crocuses and daffodils, I am talking about the herbs and baby greens.

One of the best ways to get kids to eat veggies is to let them plant seeds and grow tasty herbs like mint on the window sill. In colder climates, these can be started in April in separate small pots and transferred to a larger group pot when the frost warnings have passed. A pizza pot is a great way to start!

• Parsley
• Oregano
• Chives
• Basil
• Baby spinach


Cut a handful of fresh herbs to sprinkle on top of a cooked (or delivered) pizza. Before you know it, you will be growing enough to add to a salad each day. Graduating to baby kale, Swiss chard and mustard greens is only a step away and can be done mid season as they are hearty through fall. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or an expensive process, the idea is to bring on the green.

Other spring vegetables that should be honored this season are green beans, asparagus and leeks. The easiest cooking method is to roast them all together. Rinse leeks well under cold running water and cut into rings, and then place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Rinse the tips of asparagus and lop off the woody ends and place on the same sheet. Rinse green beans and line up one end to even out the tips for trimming. Line up the other end and do the same to maximize the amount of bean and minimize the waste. Drizzle with a mere tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and bake in a hot oven at 400F for 12 to 20 minutes depending upon the thickness and size of the veg. Stir once or twice so that the veg on the end doesn’t burn.

You can do a huge batch of these at a time and serve them in salads or as a cold side dish any time. Feel free to store in the fridge in glass jars in vinegar with a little sea salt like pickles. They go great on sandwiches or as a perk next to baked fish.

Working more vegetables into your day gives your body the spring clean that the house and garden are getting. Your skin and vitality will thank you.

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at

What to do when your toddler wakes at 5am.

It can be hard to get a child to sleep through the night – but what if they are habitually waking early?

One mother emailed me about her 3-year old son who refused to do anything alone when he woke up early. If she didn’t let him in her bed, he would cry until he woke his 10 month old sister up. Now there are TWO wailing children to contend with at 5:30 am.  Ugh!

Is this how you start your day? Are you sleep deprived from this toddler sleep schedule regime?

Here was my reply:

Thanks for the email. He is an early riser and you are not. He can rise early (try to make him stop –  HA!)  and that is okay – but he must be a co-operative human in  your house  and realize he doesn’t have the right to disturb others when he wakes.

So…. tonight at tuck-ins, let him know YOU are not to be woken until 7 am (or whenever) and set an alarm for him so he knows when it will be 7am. Then ask him what he would like to do alone when he wakes until 7 o’clock arrives.   As long as he is safe and non-disturbing, it shouldn’t matter to you…

When he says things like “the TV is too bright” or “the hall is too dark”  he is just attempting to eliminate the options you have offered in order to get to be social with you! TOUGH! You are NOT an option at 5:30 am and he must be left to deal with the true fact that life at 5:30 am is BORING and hopefully he will either LEARN to self-entertain, not  be afraid of  the dark, give up minding the TV brightness or go back to sleep.

To ensure he doesn’t disturb you, you can put a childproof handle on the outside of YOUR bedroom door.   It’s okay if he screams and bang for the first few mornings (say NOTHING) so he learns that there is NO mommy interaction until 7am.

If the baby cries – leave her too. Now he has a crying sister and no mom!  Boy – better not be stuck like that again!!!  The baby will settle again (good training for her too) or he’ll go play with her and the two of them can keep each other company.  They’d learn it’s no fun, lots of tears, boring and maybe a bit scary to be up and alone without mom.  Let him / them experience this a few times (the baby will learn to sleep through the noise of her brother) and they both will learn there is no good reason to get up before 7am.

Good luck!



About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at

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