Column: Natural treatments for back-to-school challenges for families
Commentary by Betsy Rabold
School’s back in session. With a new year come new challenges for families. Let’s look at some of those challenges and ways that may help your family make it through the first few months of school successfully. Keeping the family on a regular schedule is quite challenging. Along with going bed at a decent time, good nutrition, water consumption, daily physical activity, try some of these easy tips.
- Altered sleep schedules: Essential oils and herbal teas can be very helpful. Diffusing oils especially at night are a safe and easy solution. Don’t have a diffuser? Use a few drops of essential oil on a tissue and insert inside a pillowcase for a more restful sleep. Favorites are lavender and chamomile, as well as ylang-ylang and tangerine. Here’s an easy pillow spray recipe: Add 5 drops of roman chamomile and 10 drops of lavender to 2 oz. distilled water. Place in a small spray bottle. Spray pillow shortly before bedtime for ‘sweet dreams.’ Herbal teas before bedtime can also help. Teas are something just about anyone can use safely. Favorite sleep herbal teas are chamomile, lavender, and passion flower. Melatonin can be used to help reset the sleep cycle. “Earthing” is a more natural way to reset it. By watching the sun set and having physical contact with the ground (bare feet), the pineal gland is stimulated to produce melatonin. Going to bed when sleepy is a very important key. Eliminate as many electronics in the bedroom as possible.
- Headache and neck pain: Drink a glass of water, not coffee or soda. Many times, the cause of pain is being dehydrated. Caffeine does not hydrate. In fact, it is considered to be a diuretic. Essential oils applied to temples and base of neck may be useful. Also, rubbing a small amount at the base of the nose helps. Breathe in deeply for a count of five, hold that breath for a count of five, and then slowly release for a count of five. A great essential oil blend is lavender, peppermint and a drop of rose oil. Some people like using cold or warm packs to help relieve the pain. Cold tends to slow down the blood supply to the affected area, and heat increases it.
- Runny noses, sore throats, and coughs: A new classroom and new friends can also mean new (different) germs. Washing hands with regular soap and water can help. Diffusing oils at home that help with boosting immunity are great. A mixture of rosemary, tea tree, cinnamon, clove, lemon and eucalyptus is very good. There are commercial blends that contain these oils. Thieves, On Guard, and Medieval Blend are some of the names they are called. Honey and lemon juice can help a sore throat and cut through mucus. A neti pot to cleanse the nasal passages can be helpful.
- Lice: The back-to-school friend that is not welcome is lice. There are many over-the-counter remedies that can be used that are not full of toxic chemicals. Putting tea tree oil into regular shampoo can help keep them away. The lice do not like the smell. If they appear, coating the hair with olive or coconut oil and using a nit comb helps. Coconut oil seems to suffocate the lice better than olive oil. Try adding tea tree oil to the coconut oil mixture. Diatomaceous earth is a natural insecticide. It absorbs the fat out of the insect’s protective coating, thus killing them. Just be careful not to breathe in the dust for an extended period of time. Treatment has to be repeated after several days to kill any new lice that have hatched.
Dr. Betsy Rabold is a naturopathic doctor and owner of My Father’s Garden Health and Wellness, 106 N. Union St. She is not a medical doctor and does not practice medicine. For more, visit www.myfathersgarden4health.com or call 317-399-7999.