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I’m starting something new here at A Mother’s Heart – partly for you and partly for me.  As we’ve forayed away from traditional medicine and in to more natural remedies, we’ve had pretty darned good success.  And because I’m one who would rather write than talk (yeah, I almost never meet the “number of words a woman speaks” by the end of the day [unless I’m on the phone with Elizabeth]), it seems good to write down what I’ve learned and continue to learn.

By way of disclosure, I am a Young Living distributor, but I don’t *do* anything with that, except order oils for our family at a discounted rate.  If you’re local, I’m happy to order oils for you and share the benefit of my discount, but I’m never going to pressure anyone in to becoming a distributor or signing up.  Ever.  I’ve done the MLM-thing before and it didn’t end well – and I like these oils too much to spoil it for myself.  😉

Peppermint oil (mentha piperita) is one of the first oils I tried – I’ve officially given one of my two bottles away and replenished the supply so  that we have it on hand when we need it.  YL’s Peppermint is very strong, and its medicinal value is high in our home.  We use it to cure headaches, to stimulate our minds (alertness), to relieve sinus pressure and pain, and (for me, especially) to release earache pressure.  We’ve learned to not rub it in our eyes or get it too close to our eyes (because they water at its strength), but it’s one of the first oils we reach for if we feel “off.”

It’s hard to describe what the sensation of the Peppermint oil is, but I assure you, it’s FAR more than the old York Peppermint Patty commercials used to talk about – it’s fresh, cold, and very, very minty.  When applied topically to the temples, forehead, or sinus areas, you can feel it “sinking in” as it were and relieving the congestion and pressure.  Mark had a headache for hours a month or so ago and nothing got rid of it.  I encouraged him to put some peppermint oil on his temples and the back of his neck – and within a 10 minute time frame, his hours-long-headache was GONE.

I’ve also moistened a small part of a cotton ball with it and then placed the i0 where my sinus cavities are, especially right before going to sleep.  The sinus pressure is alleviated and I sleep very soundly after application of the oil.

We have yet to use it for digestive issues, but it can be taken internally (a few drops in a glass of water or in an empty capsule) or applied topically to an area of the abdomen with digestive discomfort and the pain is gone quickly.  One of my friends used it (topically) on her baby who had terrible acid reflux for about a week and after that, there was no more acid reflux and no more need for acid-reducing medication.  Pretty impressive!

Because the FDA is what it is, Young Living and any other natural distributor of essential oils cannot make health claims about their products – they must rely on the testimonials of individuals to spread the word.  So when you go to a website to look at oils, be aware that these stories cannot legally be conveyed, else they risk prosecution by the FDA.  There are many sites around the web that talk about the benefits and uses of essential oils, and if you ever have a question, feel free to shoot me an email.  I’ll research the answer and get back to you.

Look for more installments in this series in weeks to come

I’ve been using this remedy for a couple of months now; I was turned on to it by reading about the healing properties of elderberries on a few different blogs.  And even if some of my friends (*cough* *cough*) call it “voodoo medicine,” I’m a firm believer that God gave us ways to heal our bodies long before pharmaceuticals were invented.  :)

Plus, it really works.

Brendan had a cold with fever last month (which might’ve been a flu bug, but there’s no way I’m going to have him tested by sticking a swab up in to his nasal cavities) and I diligently did a few things:  I let the fever run its course (it never got above 103F) in order to speed the death of the virus; I gave him all the chicken stock (complete with the minerals from the feet) he could handle; and I gave him a tablespoon of elderberry syrup every hour on the hour for 2.5 days.  Before day 3 was up, he was up from the sofa, poking around for real food, and playing Lego.

So now Mark has some creeping crud – and I just finished another batch for him.  He’s dozing on the sofa now (and I’m faithfully rubbing Thieves essential oil on the bottom of my feet and peppermint essential oil on the tops of my toes to stay healthy) and he has already had a dose, warm from the pan.

I sort of feel like an elderberry evangelist now, but I’m really quite dead-set against flu vaccines and overreaction with antibiotics.  So this is my answer  and if anyone around me is talking about a cold remedy, elderberries are likely to come in to the discussion.  :)

So if you want to make elderberry syrup, you’ll need the following:

  • ½ c. dried elderberries (or 1 c. of fresh/frozen elderberries) I got mine from Mountain Rose Herbs
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 T. finely chopped ginger root (fresh or frozen, not dried)
  • 2 c. of filtered water
  • 1 c. raw honey


Add the ingredients above (elderberries, cinnamon stick, cloves, and ginger) to 2 cups of filtered water in a pan


Turn your pan on medium-high heat, making sure everything is wet.  Note the water level in your pan before things begin to boil


When things begin to bubble, turn your pan to medium-low heat and allow it to simmer gently.  You’re going to decoct (reduce, but used in herbal “cooking”) by half the amount of liquid, strengthening the finished product.  Watch your liquid level – as a point of reference, on my stove, it took about 20 minutes to decoct to the mixture to where I wanted it.


If you look carefully, you can see the line on the inside of my pan where the water level started out; this was right before I strained it.


I tamped down the elderberries, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon stick to make sure I got all the good stuff out of the strainer

What you can’t see is that I had a cup of honey in this bowl before pouring the hot elderberry juice on top of it.  It’s important to have the elderberry juice hot, or the honey won’t dissolve properly and it will be inconsistent in texture and dosing.


It’s thin on the spoon at this point, but it will thicken as it cools.  The honey is a great cough-soother (just be sure to use raw honey, not refined honey!), the cinnamon and ginger have warming properties for the chills, and the cloves are anti-viral and downright medicinal, along with the elderberries themselves.


You’ll get a good pint out of this recipe; pour it in a mason jar and store it in the fridge.  I also have amber medicine bottles that I fill up with this stuff for portability (one fits in my purse) and easy dosing.  Take 1 tablespoon per hour while you’re awake – if you wake during the night, take another, but don’t actively dose at night otherwise.  In other words, rest while you can and take this while you’re awake.

You’ll feel better in no time!  And this is safe for kids – no worrisome pharmaceuticals in it, just the things that God put on our planet to heal us, naturally.  :)

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