When you come from a family where there are 16 adults and 15 small children always spending time together, colds are spread like hugs. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just one of those things you have to accept unless you want to cut yourself off from your family… which I don’t. I love my big family!
When I think about it… it’s basically like going to church or Walmart so really there’s no getting away from it. Anytime you’re around a large group of people, you’re exposed to whatever they’ve been exposed to. Viruses specifically because they are transferred through the air… air that we all share and breathe. Don’t think into it too much. It’s really gross.
As my four little guys seem to constantly have a cold (yes I’m that mom that always has a snotty nosed kid – or two – in tow) I’ve learned a lot about viruses and how to naturally decrease my families risk for catching them, but before I share my methods for decreasing our chances of catching a virus, let me tell you a little secret first.
I Welcome Sickness In My Home
Okay, now that statement may be extreme, but it makes a great headline.
Welcome… eh… I don’t always invite sickness into my home, but I certainly don’t create a bubble for my kids either. I think it’s safe for me to say that most times it doesn’t bother me when one of my kids comes down with something… as long as it’s not all of them at once!
A lot of people will say that if you’re constantly getting sick then your immune system isn’t very strong, and that’s true… to an extent. It’s true if you’re speaking of an older child or an adult, but that’s not always the case when you’re talking about young children.
Snotty-Nosed Children And Their Immune Systems
Young children are very susceptible to illnesses because their immune systems aren’t as developed or as strong as an adult’s is.
When a baby is born, it receives some limited immunity from mama, more so if the birth was a vaginal birth and baby was breastfed. This passive-immunity helps baby not to get sick in the first several months of its life. After that immunity wears off, it’s up to baby’s body to take care of itself.
How does it do that? By getting sick and making antibodies.
Children are definitely going to get sick more than adults because their immune system isn’t as developed. It’s to be expected. This is the reason why I’m not a germ-a-phobe. I don’t disinfect every area of my house, and I’m fine with using herbs and essential oils to clean. They helped to cut down on the number of microbes in the home, but they don’t eradicate them. I want my children to have strong immune systems when they get older which means I need to let their bodies do the work now while they’re little.
4 Natural Methods To Cleanse The Air In Your Home With Herbs And Essential Oils
Okay, so beyond teaching my kids to wash their hands correctly, I like to use herbs and essential oils to cleanse the air in my home. This will not keep you or anyone in your family from getting sick, but it can lessen the chances of it. In my home, there are 3 main ways that I do this and 1 way that I’m beginning to incorporate. These are listed in the order that I currently use them.
1. Antiseptic Surface Sprays
This would be from my homemade cleaners and it includes basic cleaning supplies and essential oils. This surface spray has evolved over time from something very basic (water and vinegar only) to adding in a cleaning essential oil blend to it, to separating it into two sprays when I really want to clean well.
When I first learned of the powerful effects of vinegar followed by peroxide on germs, I knew this would be something that I’d take extra time to do when sicknesses were going around. What’s even better is that I learned of an essential oil blend that works in synergy to kill viruses and bacteria when combined, and I decided to add this to it. Here’s how it works.
- 1 cup pure water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 50 drops ravensara essential oil (Agathophyllum aromatica)
- 50 drops tea tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- 1 cup pure water
- 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
- 100 drops of thieves blend
That’s it. It’s fairly simple and easy. When wintertime rolls around and viruses pick up, I simply take both of my bottles around, shake them well to mix the oils into the water, spray with #1 and wipe, then spray with #2 and wipe, and I’m all done.
2. Diffuse Essential Oils
The next thing I do is I diffuse antimicrobial essential oils in my home. I have an essential oil diffuser that can be set to diffuse off and on until the chamber is empty. This usually works well for my home. I do it once a day and call it good.
Seeing as how I have 4 kids that range in age from 7 months to almost 7 years, it can be hard to find an essential oil blend that is safe for all of them. Essential oils aren’t really recommended for kiddos under 2 unless they’re heavily diluted, and when it comes to diffusing this antimicrobial essential oil blend, I prefer the one that is for ages 3 years and up so I try to do my diffusing when my baby is down for a nap just to be on the safer side.
The blend that I use comes from aromatherapist Lea Harris, and I love it. Not only is it safe and effective, but it smells great. There are versions of this blend for younger and older ages as well that you can find here.
Anti-Germ Essential Oil Diffusion Blend
- 3 drops sweet orange essential oil (Citrus sinensis)
- 3 drops pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris)
- 2 drops clove bud essential oil (Syzygium aromaticum)
- 2 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
You can add your oils to your diffuser individually, or you can make a larger sized batch of this and store it in a 5ml bottle clearly labeled if you want. Simply add 10 drops to your diffuser, and you’re good to go!
This is also a great blend to put in an essential oil pendent when you’re out and about, but that’s more for us moms than it is for our kids!
3. Herbal Air Fresheners
Herbal air fresheners are a great way to cut down on airborne viruses. They’re basically a mix between the antiseptic cleaning spray and the diffusion blend above, and they can be sprayed in the air, on pillows and sheets before bed, or on clothes before heading out anytime you need them.
Herbal Air Freshener
- 1/2 cup strong rosemary infusion
- 1/2 cup witch hazel
- 20 drops pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris)
- 20 drops lemon essential oil (Citrus limon)
Mix your ingredients together in a spritzer bottle, shake well, then spray away!
4. Herbal Incense and/or Smudge Sticks
Herbal incense and smudging has been around a long time and has traditionally been used to cleanse the air of impurities such as viruses. In fact, many herbs are rolled and smoked for their healing properties. For example, mullein smoke has been known to help asthmatic children when they feel an attack coming on. Simply take a dried mullein leaf, light the end on fire, blow the flame out and waft the smoke around and breathe it in.
Smudging is very similar. You take a dried bundle of herbs (sage is most popular), light it, blow the flame out, and waft the smoke around. The properties of the herbs are released into the air as well as the scent. Beyond sage, you can use pine needles, rosemary, and even lavender. There are a lot of options. You can buy smudge sticks premade or you can grow your own herbs and make your own.
Herbal incense if very similar except you can blend herbs together and you don’t light the actual herbs on fire. You place your herb blend on top of a lit charcoal disk which heats the herbs causing them to smoke.
Here’s exactly how you do it.
- Take an incense burner and place a layer of sand in it.
- Place a charcoal disk on top of the sand and light it until it catches.
- Lastly, place your herb mix on top of the charcoal disk and let it smoke away.
Herbs to use for herbal incense:
How to prep your herbs for burning:
- Put 1 tsp. of each herb you plan on combining in an electric coffee grinder and grind until it’s a fine powder.
- Store in a glass jar away from heat and light. This mix is good for a couple months as powdered herbs lose their properties faster than whole herbs.
- Use as needed throughout the day!
Think it will stink? Think again! It actually smells nice. It’s got that wood stove or campfire smell only it’s more herby and earthy. I love it!
If you’re interested in learning more about herbal incense, this post is very informative. It will teach you how to use resins and other herbs as well as how to switch between different blends easily and so much more.