Friday, 7 November 2014

Homemade Resolve, Baby Lemsip and Cough Syrup

When you have a collection of little ones around, this is the time of year a bug will do the rounds.  We have been quite lucky so far, in that our kids don't get sick too often (counting blessings!) but a particularly nasty stomach bug has been passing through the community here.  Only three of us... me, my husband and the tot, have experienced stomach pains and vomiting for a couple of days each. 

Doctors' surgeries are always asking people only to book a consultation if really necessary.  Luckily, tot only vomited once, so didn't become dehydrated, and was lethargic and clingy for a couple of days before perking back up.  The other children have been fine.  I do feel their diet, demeanour and regular fresh-air exercise fortifies them. 

Of course we do go to visit the doctor if necessary, and have even used the A&E and Walk-In Centres occasionally in the past, and we most certainly do not eschew modern medicine at all!  While folk remedies are not a substitute for modern medicine, I find a couple of folk remedies (ones with chemical reason... we aren't talking threads and pebbles under pillows here) are incredibly useful to know and have helped no end to cope with mild issues before visiting a doctor if we need to.

  • Stomach pains caused by indigestion/heartburn
I used to use Resolve for this many years ago, particularly for hangovers (!) until I realised it was essentially bicarbonate of soda, caffeine and painkiller.  I don't need it for hangovers anymore but for indigestion/wind I put a good pinch of bicarb in warm water, swirl around, and neck it.  It doesn't taste brilliant, but is better than when masked with sweet artificial lemon like Resolve is, and is not too bad when followed swiftly by another drink of plain warm water (when sore I don't really care what the remedy tastes like and the kids cope with the taste okay.)  A couple of paracetamol helps the pain for grown-ups - baby paracetamol for the young kids.  If you really need the caffeine element, have a black coffee but I don't bother with that part as pain relief and remedy is all we are after here...  once that goes, the lethargy tends to begin to lift.

  • Colds and coughs
If this hasn't shifted in a couple of weeks, a visit to the doctor is necessary.  In the meantime, we like to burn eucalyptus oil to help each other breathe.  You can make an almost-Lemsip by drinking warm water with lemon juice and brown sugar or maple syrup, and pop a couple of paracetamol to help symptoms.  Use baby paracetamol for the kids and you have Baby-Lemsip.

A cough brings something most of the kids love... the silver lining of a hacking chest, if you will.  In a jar, pile up layers of soft dark brown sugar (preferably molasses sugar or dark unrefined Muscovado,) well crushed garlic and thyme.  Leave it alone for a few hours so that the sugar breaks down on its own into a syrup.  Have a spoon of the stuff at mealtimes. It is best to start as soon as you get that metallic taste in the back of your mouth and throat that threatens to turn into infection - for the kids, at first evidence of a cough.  Garlic is an antibiotic so although you will find it has not proved to cure the common cold, we are using the antibiotic here to help fight infection on the chest before it sets in.  Thyme is an antiseptic also used to fight infections so it works with the garlic here to stop infection getting hold on that chest.  As far as anecdotal evidence goes (not far, but this isn't a medical journal... I have just linked to Wikipedia after all!) this syrup has worked better for us than when replaced with over-the-counter syrups i.e. when I'm the one who has been feeling poorly so try to avoid making it up! As vile as the combination sounds, it is actually more pleasant than some cough syrups!  The cold masks most of the garlic hit, so you just get treacle sweetness and fragrant earthy thyme with a strong twang that feels as if it is fighting the infection already!

Again, if a cough hasn't diminished in 2 weeks, or infection truly has set in, you must go to the doctor.

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