How We’re Staying Healthy This Winter

Tis the season for sniffles, sore throats, coughing, and germs passing quickly, right?  One of the many benefits of homeschooling is bypassing all those sicknesses being passed around at public school.  But just because the kids are not exposed to the viruses that kids pass around at school, it doesn’t mean that we don’t pick up germs when we go out to church, the store, homeschool group visits and other socializing activities.

About a month ago the entrovirus was circulating in the news in a pretty big way.  At that time I saw a webinar available from Vintage Remedies and signed up.  I highly recommend Vintage Remedies as an evidence-based resource for you in all things herbal and essential oils.    They often have free webinars available and they are FULL of wonderful information.  After listening to this webinar, I came up with the following things to keep my family well this winter:

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup* is an amazing anti-viral.   It is a preventative only, and most studies are showing that it works most effectively as inhibiting viruses from entering cells and replicating (making you sick).  You can make your own but make sure you cook it long enough or it will cause nausea.  I am buying mine from Amazon and also plan on making some gummies I found on Pinterest.



I have been giving this wonderful herb to the kids since the beginning of September.  You can get this great blend for kids on Amazon*.   Apparently you can get the root, chop some off and put it in your food while you are cooking then remove before you eat it and get the benefits.  It is tasteless and should not affect your food’s taste. I have not been able to find the root, but if you have some growing somewhere near you go for it!  Research was sited on the call that astragalus was very effective in preventing hand food and mouth disease.  Also it boosts the white blood cells if you are sick to help you get over a cold/virus faster.  I have read that it may prolong a fever, so do not use it in cases where there is a fever present.


Garlic has a wonderful compound called Allicin … a powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent.  Did you know that you need to let your chopped or crushed garlic sit for at least 10 minutes?  According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, If you chop or crush your garlic and then throw it in the pot immediately, the chemical reaction to make this wonderful compound never happens and you miss out.  I personally have used garlic to clear up sinus infections.  I chop it up, douse it with a bunch of local honey and gulp it down.  The last time I did this I waited the 10 minutes and wow, was it stronger than ever.  Of course, most kids can’t handle this method (heck, my husband gags just watching me do this) so the alternative is cooking with garlic in everything. I make a big pot of chicken and rice soup with lots of garlic when anyone is sick in the house.

Herbs/Vitamins for Onset of Sickness

Recently I ran out of herbs and delayed reordering for a week.  Then my husband brought home some sickness from a co-worker … and I was a day away from restarting herbs with the kids because I was waiting on them from Amazon.  My oldest started complaining of a sore throat so I immediately gave him some zinc lozenges* and Echinacea* and made a big pot of chicken soup with lots of garlic.  I also started some Sinupret* for sinuses as he was having a lot of drainage.  We love Sinupret*,  it has worked for us for years as a natural alternative to over the counter medications.  This child usually has an ear infection every year bad enough to require an antibiotic (and I rarely agree to those unless very much in need of it)  and since I began the herbs there has been no sign of his usual seasonal ear/sinus problems until I stopped my preventative measures.  So I encourage you to keep the regiment up.  It will help keep everyone well!  By the way, the oldest recovered quickly and my two other kids did not get sick.

Essential Oils

Everyone is singing the praises of Theives Oil for killing off every sickness known to man.  There is a lot of hype out there about Essential Oils.  I do think they are an effective way to treat sickness but they are NOT the cure all.  Many people get very emotional over it, I do not know why.  I’ve been very careful to not jump on the bandwagon until I have done more research.  It took me a long time to find documented, evidence-based information from a real aromatherapist, not just someone who has taken some courses from a big name essential oil company.  That is a whole other post in itself.  That being said, some wonderful anti-viral essential oils to use are citrus oils.  They are inexpensive and smell great when diffusing.  Another more expensive oil is (Lemon Balm) Melissa oil*.  It is very costly through, so we’re sticking with sweet orange oil* and lemon oil*.  I diffuse it and also add it to soap for a nice anti-viral hand wash.

Common Sense Things to Do

washing handsLastly, we are doing things that make sense to keep well.  Wash hands anytime we go out – often.  At church, wash hands.  Before eating anything, wash hands.  20 seconds, sing the ABC song.  Lots of bubbles, wash hands.  In between stores, wash hands at least with a wash cloth.  Avoid the anti-bacterial soap, we like to use goat milk soap!  Usually if you keep hands washed, the spreading of sickness is limited.

Also spend a lot of time outside.  Play in the sun!  Meeting some kids to play?  Try to get to a playground outside if it is nice.  Get lots of natural Vitamin D.  Avoid indoor playgrounds.  I personally just don’t do these in the winter, if ever.  And watch out for those Library books.  I hate to be like Mr. Monk, but I could swear that we got a stomach virus one year from books we got from the Library.  I spray them down with Lysol spray now when I get them home, at least on the outside.

And that’s what we are doing to stay well this Winter.  I hope this gives you some ideas to keep your family healthy and happy this winter season.  How are you keeping your family healthy?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

*This post contains affiliate links to products on and Rose Mountain Herbs.  I am not a physician, please consult your physician for health related questions.