Monday, January 26, 2015

What to do when natural home remedies don't work

This has been a somewhat difficult weekend here in our household.  Our family is generally very healthy, and even if a bug comes along - with natural home remedies, we are usually able to kick it to the curb!

Not this time, and that was in spite our best efforts!

Because this is generally the "cold and flu season", I like to have different home remedies on hand when a bug should show up.  Recently I was given a recipe for homemade "Vicks" rub and tried my hand at it.  The recipe used soy wax mixed with olive oil and several essential oils - menthol and peppermint.

The recipe made enough salve to fill up three small 4 oz containers.  I had just made the salve here, and it was still hot in the jars, and had not "set" yet.  But it smelled oh so good... just like the Vicks rub you can get in the stores!  It worked wonderfully too.  We applied it behind ears, and on the bottoms of our feet, and could feel the effects right away, a wonderful cooling and fresh sensation.

The next project on my to-do list was to make a healing cold tea.  I used black tea leaves, echinacea, rose hips, cinnamon, and dandelion leaves.  I covered the tea leaves with water, and let it simmer until half of the water had simmered down, and then added 1/4 cup honey and Thieves essential oil (from Young Living).  This made a Cold Tea concentrate that I bottled and stored in the fridge, and added to any cups of hot tea we have been drinking.

Homemade elderberry syrup is always a staple in my refrigerator during winter months, and I would add this to the hot cup of tea, along with the Cold Tea concentrate to drink.

The combination of the elderberry and the Cold Tea Concentrate were pretty amazing together.

While I was in the kitchen preparing all these home remedies... Annie and Missy were not far from the action.  Missy still doesn't care for the camera, she looks so sad when I start to take pictures of her, but she has really become a happy little soul here in our home.

Annie was playing camera shy too... she didn't especially want her picture taken today either, lol!

Missy knew that our son wasn't feeling too great and crawled up into his lap to snuggle with him.  I think she was "glad" he was sick, as it gave her a chance to snuggle.  She has become a real snuggle-bug!

Here is Annie watching from a distance.  She would like to be a lap dog, but because of her size, it just isn't possible, and she always looks so sad when our cat would crawl into my lap and would act jealous about it.  Now, she has more reason to be jealous - with Missy being able to crawl into our laps and soak up all the attention!  Poor Annie!  She still gets lots of love from us, but ... it doesn't help the sad face she has sometimes when she sees the cat or Missy in our laps!

At any rate, even with all the home remedies that usually work for colds, sore throats, and ear pains... this was one nasty bug that refused to leave.

All this week we were treating my son for a sore throat with salt water gargles, honey, and oregano oil. One evening when his sore throat had gotten pretty bad, he took a bath with Epsom salts and essential oils - peppermint and eucalyptus and that seemed to help with his sore throat, and we thought we had the "bug" beat.

However, the next morning, while his sore throat was gone, he began running fever and his ears began to hurt.  So we continued to treat him with the Cold Tea concentrate, menthol salve, and with hot water steam baths. We also applied some of the menthol salve I had made, and that seemed to help some.   But... despite our best efforts on Friday evening, the pain intensified severely.  My son called out to me that he was in extreme pain.  When I ran in to see what was wrong, he had blood coming out of both his ears.  That was a scary sight!

So, I got a hot rag and applied heat to both his ears until the pain eased off, along with a dose of ibuprofen.  Having been through this once before with our son many years ago, I knew that both his eardrums had ruptured from the infection.  And, simultaneously, he lost hearing in both his ears.  I now had to holler at him for him to hear me.  We were able to get the pain eased off, and the bleeding as well, but I knew that a trip to the doctor was imminent.

We got an appointment for him Saturday morning at a local clinic to see a doctor.  When she looked into his ears, she said she couldn't see his ears at all, only pus and blood.  It was a very nasty, horrible infection, and definitely with both eardrums ruptured because of the infection.  She put him on penicillin that also included a drug that would fight against any superbugs, after I told her that our best efforts with natural antibiotics had failed, when usually they would work.  She also gave us a prescription for antibiotic ear drops as well.

Later that evening as we continued with the antibiotic treatment, the ear pain began to wear off, and the fever went away.  Sunday morning, he was doing much better without fever and pain, but still unable to hear.  From our experience before with a burst eardrum, we know that healing of the eardrums can take a while and that temporary hearing loss can take a while to resolve.

So... suffice it to say that even though we truly believe in using natural remedies as much as possible, there comes a point in time to say that you need the expertise and wisdom of doctors and medications. We are not folks who run to the doctor for the smallest little problems, but we are not against seeking out the help of doctors when our best efforts to heal through natural methods aren't working.

I considered the fact that my son could suffer permanent hearing loss if this infection did not quickly get resolved, and that was something I did not want to happen.  So, a trip to the doctor was in order.  We will also have to make a trip back to the doctor to confirm that the ears have healed, and that hearing has completely returned.

Just dealing with my son over the last few days not being able to hear words spoken in a normal tone has been a little scary - like dealing with an elderly person! We are having to yell at him for him to understand us.  We are praying that his hearing will be completely restored in a few days.

While natural healing methods work most of the time, there are times when we must seek higher help.  I sent out a text to several people to pray when his eardrums were bursting, and in a few minutes, the pain eased, and the bleeding stopped, and I thank the Lord for answering those prayers instantly!  Now, we are believing that through faith in the Lord, and the help of doctors and modern medicine that complete hearing will be restored to our son's ears.  :)


  1. Hello there! You know this is so true. I am all about trying and doing it the all natural way, but there are times you just have to see a doctor and there is nothing wrong with that. We got a similar bug like yours over the holidays and it just wouldn't leave. My son and I kept getting worse, until I finally gave in and took us both to the doctor. My ears hurt so bad that I couldn't here for days either. Thankfully I was put on a strong antibiotic and after a few days it slowly started to clear.

    I am amazed at all the stuff you make too. I do all that you have listed and they all seem to work really well. Another one you could also try is a cut up lemon with honey. Pour it in a jar, shake it up and store in the fridge. When the next sore throat and cough start, take a tablespoon of that. It really does help soothe both the cough and the sore throat. I love my elderberry syrup too! That is some amazing stuff and the young living essential oil gets used daily here.... We have so much in common via this virtual world....:-)

    Yes, I will be praying for your son and for quick restoration and healing!

    I hope you have a wonderful week!


    1. Wow, I'm amazed also to hear that we both share so much in common! It is so wonderful to make a new cyber friend :) I'm glad that the antibiotics worked for you as well, and that your ears healed. Thank you for your recommendation of the lemon and honey, I will put that on my home remedy go-to list! Thank you so much for your prayers, they are much appreciated!

  2. You are very smart with home remedies, but yes, there is a time to go in! I hope your son gets to feeling better very soon and he can hear fine in short order! ((Prayers))

    1. Thanks Lynne! It is always so hard to know when to make that call of when to go in, but I was so glad we did. He began to feel better within that day. Thank you so much for your prayers, they are appreciated!!!!

  3. I can understand especially when it is your child......I will pray for your son tonight....I am curious are you using red elderberries for your syrup? Natural medicine and modern medicine both have there places....I agree with you to.

    1. Thank you for your prayers! As far as the elderberries, I believe they are purple? I bought them from a local health food store already dried, so I really don't know for sure. Take care Ronda, and thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. We do as much as we can naturally to keep ourselves healthy. Sometimes a doctor visit is needed. I'll be praying your son's hearing is completely restored and that you all stay healthy. xxx ~ Nancy

    1. Yes, we certainly learned that this week! Thanks so much for your prayers! Ryan is doing better today, except he still has residual hearing loss, which we are told could take several weeks for his hearing to return. Not fun for a 16-yo boy to have to be yelled at like a 90-yo man, lol! Hoping that your day is blessed, and all the flu/cold bugs stay far away from your home :)

  5. You sound like quite the apothecary! :-) I'm thankful that the Lord gives us the wisdom to take care of most of our medical needs and gives other individuals (like doctors, midwives, etc) the wisdom to take care of the ones we can't.


  6. Very wise words... We treat illness the same way. We do all we can naturally and then thank God there is more available in the medical field when necessary. I hadn't gone to the doctor in 10 years but a few years back I ended up with a bladder infection that turned into a kidney infection (and despite all the natural preventatives, it was getting worse and I was getting the shakes without a fever, very scary)... Hence, a trip to the doctor was in order. Sometimes pride can keep us from going when we feel so strong about natural healing but a prudent woman must know when to seeker higher medical attention. I pray your sons health will be restored soon! Thanks for sharing this wisdom on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! P.S. I am very impressed by your arsenal! Also, probiotics are really helpful to add to your medicine cabinet... and colloidal silver spray for sore throats has really helped us too.

    1. I appreciate you sharing your story JES! It is good to know that we have other options in case our natural healing remedies don't pull through! And I didn't mention in my post, but I was giving my son probiotics and we also have colloidal silver spray that he was spraying on his throat several times a day as well. We couldn't believe that all our natural remedies that usually worked - didn't, but were thankful that we could use some of the help from modern medicine to help him get better. His hearing has thankfully returned!!!


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