Thursday, March 31, 2016

Natural Remedies: What Worked and What Didn't

      When the weather shifts from hot to cold and cool to warm, we all know what happens. Cough, colds, flu and other viruses and respiratory diseases become increasingly common and passed on easily especially in school (and in close contact at home!). 
      For my children's health (and mine too), I always prefer natural remedies as much as possible. If I could only get these items straight from their source, I would. But as we know, it is usually quite difficult - that's why these remedies also come with a high price.
        Below are a couple of remedies that I tried on both my kids, and myself, when we had a bout of cough last January (and some of them I'm using this month again to battle colds). Just wanted to let you in on what works and what doesn't - at least for us - if ever you wanted to go and try them for your own family.

1. Manuka Honey

     I have heard a lot of good reviews about the wonders of Manuka Honey. Some use it as maintenance or for prevention and some for curative purposes. The lower levels of methylglyoxal such as MGO 100 and MGO 250 are what they recommend for maintenance, while MGO 400 and MGO 550 are the more potent ones and are therefore used when a bad cough, cold or flu has already developed.  

       I have tried the MGO 550 on my 5-yr old when she had a cough last year and much as I'd like to think that it helped, I just didn't see a significant change at the time. I followed the recommended dose religiously, but to no avail. By early January this year, both my daughters caught a bad cough that lasted for more than 10 days and only seemingly got worse. I decided to give Manuka Honey another chance because I was desperate! So I got the MGO 400 (cheaper but still potent) to help them get better. They already finished a 250g bottle and I had to get another one - but the cough was still lingering. Even I caught the cough already at this point and it turned into asthma. I really would like to say that it helped me a lot, but to be honest, I think it only helped me a little. So I decided to do more research to find other remedies that would actually show a substantial change in our health situation. More on these later.

       I did notice though that it helped tame my acidic stomach. When I drink coffee, I more often than not end up with an acidic tummy and will have to stop having caffeine for a while. While drinking Manuka honey, I just didn't get any acid attacks while enjoying my cup of coffee, so maybe it does work - just not for the purpose that I was hoping it would work on, which was to help alleviate cough. Another noteworthy use for Manuka honey (as I read in reviews) is for wounds. Apparently, it helps in the healing process, and speeds it up too. Honey is known for its healing properties after all, and also as an anti-bacterial. 

        By the way, I also ran into a friend who tried Manuka honey on herself and her kids during the same cough plagued season and she had the same observation - it didn't work. So it wasn't just me after all.

       There is this brand of local honey from Palawan that did work on my daughter last year when she had a cough (I started buying Manuka honey when it ran out). It's a dark raw honey under the Taloto brand and it tasted good too. This honey was just a gift and I couldn't find it online or anywhere (so far). If you are reading this and have any leads, please do share it with me in the comments section below. I would really appreciate it! :)

       If you are still interested in Manuka honey and would like to try it, it is sold locally by Bee Healthy Trading via  I got the MGO 400 bottle for Php 2,100 plus a shipping fee of Php 100. And if you are in a rush to have it delivered, they accept Cash on Delivery. If in the US, you can order from Amazon by clicking on the link below.

    Even if the Manuka honey didn't exactly work for me, these Manuka honey suckles were quite helpful. It alleviated my sore throat and they tasted pretty good! My kids didn't like it though because it kinda makes the throat numb, as most lozenges do, but if there's any Manuka honey product I like and would buy again and again, this would be it. It also contains propolis which has high levels of bioflavonoids, a source of antioxidants (yes, good to know! haha). It only costs Php 300 per box of about 20 lozenges.

2. Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil Blend

      I first learned about Fermented Cod Liver Oil while googling (is that even a word?) remedies for weak teeth. My second daughter has weaker teeth than my first and it really stressed me out because I believe I'm partly to blame :( I was told by their dentist that this is usually the case when siblings have a closer gap and mommy has not had enough time to recover enough calcium lost during the first pregnancy and breastfeeding. I was not conscious about my calcium intake during the early stages of my pregnancy with her, and as bones are developing, the first calcium stores to go are from one's teeth. You have no idea how frustrated I was upon learning this, although it is quite common. I wish I had known this sooner! (Why didn't anyone warn me about this anyway?! If you are an expecting mom, I hope this bit of information helps you). 

        Anyway, I have read that besides its benefits for our pearly whites, FCLO also strengthens the immune system. So this basically is a good investment for me because I believe it does help my children's teeth by strengthening them and preventing cavities - but in tandem with avoiding a lot of refined sugars and snacks (if you still feed them sweet stuff, don't expect this one to work as well as it should). This is one item I would gladly keep in my natural remedies and vitamins shelf.

      I give my girls the Chocolate Cream version, as with the one below and so far they have been taking their "chocolate vitamin" with gusto. At least there's no struggle with this one. I tried taking it myself and though I can't say it tastes great, it actually doesn't taste all that bad. 

3. Elderberry Syrup

       Now this is something that actually works! I read about this online and decided to check out Healthy Options if they had one available. During the cough season in January, this was the only remedy that actually showed a significant change in my children's health! Seriously! I thought I was imagining it when a few days after taking this, my girls' cough was getting better until it finally disappeared. 

       It is important to note that this syrup though is not made of pure elderberry alone. It also contains a proprietary blend of echinacea, and I read that you shouldn't give this for a prolonged period of time. You probably won't anyway because by the time the bottle is finished, your child's cough is better or gone already (a 4-oz bottle gets finished in a few days with my 2 girls, especially when I have to give the intensive dose to both or one of them - 2 tsps twice a day). Just give it on the onset of a cold and instead of dealing with the virus for 7-10 days, expect it to shorten to 3. At least that's what happened with my kids the last 2 times they caught a cold and we tried fighting it off by taking this.

     Oh, and I also drank this elderberry syrup (I didn't want to buy the one for adults because I figured it was more or less the same and didn't want to spend extra), and yes - it worked for me too! :) 

      This 8 oz. bottle from Amazon costs about Php 400 less than the 4 oz. bottle from Healthy Options :o Try to buy from the US if you know anyone going there or if you have family or friends who can send it over. That's what I'll be doing ;)

4. Multi Vitamins 

      This particular multi vitamin is my girls' favorite so far. I tried giving them multi vitamin chewables by Animal Parade and they didn't really like it. But with these gummies, making them drink vitamins is easy. And of course I taste tested it - and loved it! I just try to stop myself from eating these vitamin-packed gummy bears for my own wallet's sake because they're not exactly cheap! :o 

         Got these from Healthy Options and so far so good. They don't do any miracles but at least I know my kids get supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals especially on days when we don't get to eat as nutritiously.

5. Probiotics

     I started giving my children probiotics when Audrey had a bum tummy about more than a year ago. I figured, if adults like me take probiotics for gut health, my children should as well. Our pediatrician also recommends it. I have proven the ability of probiotics to restore the good bacteria in my own tummy, and how it also helps control the acidity. My ob gyne also had me take probiotics during my second pregnancy so I could avoid infections of the urinary tract or any tummy upsets. It worked pretty well then and still works well now especially if my husband and I ended up eating something that wasn't so good (not in taste but in condition, or maybe both hehe!). It basically prevents a bad tummy - making it better before it got worse. I would say that you can just drink some Yakult as an option, and it works too, but I just didn't want to give my kids probiotics with added sugar every single day, haha.

      I get my stash from Healthy Options also, although again it is more expensive than buying from Amazon.

Disclaimer:  The items I listed above have all been tried by yours truly, and my kids. The results of using these may differ from ours. Please also check for any allergies before taking them in case you decide to try any of the above. Also, none of the suppliers or stores mentioned have asked me to write about each product. I also was not given any free samples (I wish! haha!). The product images and links underneath leads to and will show more information on the products but no change in price (don't worry haha, so you can just click from here and save yourself some time). So in essence, this is a true blue review! Honest to goodness, nothing but the real stuff based on our actual experience :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Ministry of Motherhood

      I'm a believer that we can never run out of things to learn. That's why I love reading books. And at this point in my life where I know I am in a position to greatly influence my children, reading about parenting and what it really means to be a mother is a topic I always want to learn about.

    I have discovered that motherhood means more than taking care of our children and making personal sacrifices. Motherhood is about reaching our children's hearts for a purpose greater than what we can ever think of or dream of for them. Motherhood is a ministry and a calling like no other. Let's always find opportunities to tap into our children's hearts and teach them what really matters. 

      This book is one that I would recommend you read if you would like to do just that :)

Friday, March 25, 2016

All For Love

A beautiful message for today, Good Friday.

All For Love by Hillsong United