Last week I writing to you as a desperate mom. A mom who wanted to find out what was wrong with her son’s skin; who wanted to shelter her son from mean comments from kids; who had tried every prescription her son’s doctor had thrown her way, only to have them not work. That was last week. This week you are talking to a new mom. A mom who kissed a strong, confident son as he went off to school this morning, a son who doesn’t stick out in the crowd anymore. It only took three days. This mom’s secret? Herbal remedies she made herself.
Why I Resorted to Herbal Remedies
My son has what doctors refer to as “dirty neck” and no one has been able to tell me why. It appeared when he was about four years old. They immediately checked for diabetes as this is a common way for the disease to show itself. He does not have diabetes. They thought it was fungal. After a variety of creams, they decided maybe it wasn’t. They thought it was a form of eczema since it presents the worst in the summer. No eczema treatment was working.
In kindergarten and first grade a little boy can get away with looking grubby. As they get older, a stigma forms. My boy was being hurt by the comments he was hearing. Friday night I decided enough was enough. After warming some coconut oil in the double boiler and I grabbed up the laptop. I started researching the medicinal properties of plants and herbs that I had on hand and looked for natural ways to lighten the skin. Here is what I came up with:
- Coconut Oil contains lauric acid which is not only anti-fungal, but also antiviral. Coconut oil is also one of the leading moisturizers for skin.
- Chamomile cleans and prevents infection when used on the skin. It may also stop the spread of infection and heal infections all together.
- Dandelions detoxify skin and inhibit microbial infection. There are some who say that dandelions can lighten and brighten skin, but I was unable to find any research regarding that statement.
- Lime Juice is known to lighten skin (as well as hair). It works much in the way lemon juice does, only the amount of acrid isn’t as concentrated.
I warmed all of the ingredients in the oil for three hours. I let it cool a bit before straining it into a glass container. After two hours in the refrigerator, the liquid had formed a near-solid bar.
On Saturday morning, I showed my son how to just rub it on his neck. That afternoon and evening he did it by himself. I thought it seemed a little lighter, but I was sure it was wishful thinking. Sunday morning it was obvious… this stuff was working. He applied it himself in the morning and afternoon. After his shower I took a look and it was almost gone! You could see he had put it on the middle and missed the sides because the middle was completely clear. I put some on the areas he missed and when he left for school this morning you had to strain to see any of the discoloration. Woo hoo!!!
Herbal Remedy Safety
If it’s natural, it’s safe… right? Wrong! Many plants and herbs can be used topically with no side effects, but not all of them. There are plenty of risks with taking herbal remedies orally. Even some marketed herbal remedies are proving hazardous in the long them. St. John’s Wort is being looked into heavily due to the fact that it reduces the effectiveness of other medications (including heart medications). Kava is sometimes recommended for anxiety, but has been shown to cause complete liver failure within three months in some people. Why it happens with some and not all is still unknown. I am a huge fan of comfrey, but it can cause liver and lung damage if not used properly.
Basically, natural doesn’t mean safe. Do your research and ask questions!
Why Make Your Own Herbal Remedies
Lots of people have resorted to buying or making their own herbal remedies because the list of potential side effects for prescription and over the counter medications is overwhelming. We’ve all seen the commercials.
Live happy with HappyDrug! Side effects may include diarrhea, insomnia, bloody noses, limping …(more side effects)… and possibly death.
How happy can you really be if you’re suffering diarrhea, you haven’t slept in days, you’ve got tissues shoved up your nose and you’ve developed an odd limp? Impending death certainly doesn’t get you out of your chair yelling “Yea! I love my life!”
Other reasons why people may choose an herbal route is because they don’t trust that these medications they are getting at the drug store are really safe. The FDA does have a sketchy history. In cases like mine, what doctors had to offer just wasn’t working.
More Information on Herbal Remedies
If you are interested in getting more information on herbal remedies, I highly recommend Herbal Academy of New England. They offer amazing online classes that you can take at your leisure. They also have a great herbal blog worth checking out. The knowledge that they offer you empowers you to think beyond what is being offered by your physician.
I’m also a huge fan of HANE’s 9 Familiar Herbs for Beginners, which is free with newsletter signup.
Start small with diaper rash creams or bug bite solutions. Build up your knowledge and awareness of herbs and their properties. Learning to make your own herbal remedies can change your life. I know it has for my son.