Basil Combats Cold and Flu Symptoms

It’s flu season, and we all have to do all we can to remain healthy. My husband and I choose not to get vaccinated or to vaccinate our son. It’s our choice, and choose that because by the time that the flu vaccine is administered to us, it may or may not be made of the strain that is affecting the U.S. and is made with thimerosal, a Mercury based derivative.
When I first heard of Basil essential oil I didn’t quite understand the attraction anyonewould have to using it. Every time I thought of it all I associated it with was a good Italian sauce, marinara etc.

“There are many benefits of basil essential oil (including the improvement in the following conditions): (1)

  1.  acne                       5. colds                                   9. increase alertness                       13. indigestion
  2.  anxiety                   6. improve digestion               10. fatigue                                        14. sinusitus
  3.  enhance mood       7. coughs                                11. gout
  4. bronchitis colds       8. depression                         12.   soothe muscle aches 

Within the last two weeks both my son and I have needed basil essential oils for different reasons. I happen to be quite sensitive around this time of year due to red tide. It doesn’t matter if it is not directly in our county, it matters that it is around us and I go into respiratory distress, especially at night. I had the most difficult time breathing the other night and needed help. I asked my lovely husband to rub carrier oil with a couple drops of basil essential oil on my back in the lung area and within minutes we both noticed a difference. I was breathing clearer and he even commented on how the scent forces you to breathe! I was able to fall asleep and breathe easily through the night.

Our son came home from school run down and ended up going to bed early. He awoke in the middle of the night and after hearing his raspy voice and raspy breathing, I immediately grabbed the basil essential oil. I rubbed it on his throat that was hurting, his back, chest and feet. Because he was having difficulty falling asleep again I rubbed Frankincense essential oil down his spine(think central nervous system) and within minutes not only was he breathing easily, he had fallen asleep. When he awoke in the morning, no one would have known that he had respiratory distress just 4 hours earlier! When asked, he said his throat no longer hurt. I happened to speak with his teacher the next day, who was so impressed on commented how much work he got out of Jack due to his alertness and calmness.
A year and a half ago, Jack was suffering from recurrent ear infections, three almost back to back. It was recommended to us, by someone selling essential oils, to put basil and melaleuca (tea tree oil) on a cotton ball and insert into our son’s ear. At that time, I didn’t have basil essential oil readily available and fortunately, and since then, Jack has not had another ear infection so we have not had the need to try the effectiveness of this solution.

As impressive and effective as basil essential oil proved to be in alleviating our respiratory symptoms, we did use another oil in conjunction: oregano oil. (That will be its own post on its benefits.) The dual combination definitely knocked out all that we were going through. 

Please note, that just like any medicine, more is not better when using any essential oil. Although essential oils are homeopathic they are extremely powerful and concentrated. They are potent and definitely need to be diluted with a carrier oil like jojoba, grapeseed, etc. when used. Not all essential oils are made equally, so please select your oils carefully. If you happen to have a reaction, which may occur depending on your sensitivity and oil being used, please do not rinse with soap and water, instead dilute area with more carrier oil. Doug, Jack nor I take any prescription medications. If you do, please speak with your healthcare professional and discuss any possible interactions and possible side effects of mixing the two.

  1. http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aromatherapy/a/Basil-Essential-Oil.htm
  2. http://www.livestrong.com/article/109036-aromatherapy-sinuses/
  3. https://www.naha.org/assets/uploads/The_Quality_of_Essential_Oils_Journal.pdf
Advertisements

To Stand or to Sit, That is the Question: Potty Training My Toddler Son

At thirty three months old, Jack began potty training. I remember this because he was young according to Down syndrome standards and because it was around Valentine’s Day. I was so excited…because Jack wasn’t verbally communicating his need using the words, potty, pee pee or poo poo, rather he’d pat his pull up and that was his way of telling me.

When he started school three months later at three years of age, there were some setbacks as he wasn’t communicating his need to go potty to the teacher or assistant. Or maybe, they weren’t as in tune with his methods of communication as I was. It wasn’t until he returned to school after summer break that I had to do something to change this. He was almost three and a half and was refusing to potty train at school. It then occurred to me to incentivize him. So I said to him one day, “You start potty training at school and I will take you to Chick-fil-A.” Within a week’s time he started potty training.

But wanting to potty train wasn’t our only issue, Jack couldn’t get on the adult toilet safely by himself either and didn’t want to use a child’s potty seat. I looked at various local retailers and couldn’t find a single solution and then I went online. There was a solution to allow Jack the capability of being tall enough to stand and reach the potty and if need be, hold onto the rails so he could turn himself around and sit, hence we got the Potty Stool. When I read about potty training children with Down syndrome, I read that they need additional support due to their low tone. So the step actually allowed his legs and abdomen the support he needed for proper bowel movements. Best of all, the stool gave him the space for balance to get on an adult toilet safely, which at the time he lacked.

With boys, comes the additional training to stand to potty. Sometimes Jack enjoyed sitting versus standing. In order to make standing to potty fun, we threw in a simple cereal cheerio into the toilet for him to aim and watch float at the bottom. When the fun of that was dimished, we used food coloring in the toilet. He got to choose which color we would put in and watched as it changed color upon urination.

Then we came to the milestone of needing Jack to verbally communicate his need to potty. We developed a very simple motivational chart. We divided a small poster board in half and labeled one half pee pee and the other poo poo. We gave Jack stickers for each time he went, one sticker for pee pee and two for poo poo. In order to encourage communication, we gave him a star when he actually said what he needed to do. And so began him saying pah-poo, his way of covering all bases.

After covering the entire poster-board in stickers, we took him to his favorite place, Chick -fil-A where he loves playing on the playground. He quickly began communicating pee-pee and poo-poo effectively and could differentiate between the two each time he went, as we pointed and read the words on the chart that denoted where he would be placing his stickers.

Soon after starting in the Head Start program at school last year, Jack began going potty by himself. But once he switched schools in January, that subsided. We have been trying to encourage independence at home and have found it difficult.

Just a couple weeks ago I asked school to help us with this and after a four day weekend Jack seemingly didn’t want to try. Then Friday came along and we said to him, “you have a great day at school and we will do pizza and a movie.” Not only did he have a fantastic day at school but he actually got up and went potty by himself! Now we are having the pleasure of him going to the bathroom all by himself both at school and home.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Potty-Stool-Toddler-Training/dp/B000MZKTU4

Brain Plasticity: How I Changed My Son’s Brain to be More Environmentally Aware in a Summer

I read a book a couple of years ago that was recommended to me by a friend, “The Brain That Changes Itself”, by Norman Droidge. When I read it I couldn’t help but wonder how it would impact me and the raising of our son. Essentially the book presents the idea that the brain is far more malleable and trainable than we truly know; the term he used is “plasticity.”

Having a child with additional needs brings on its additional responsibilities and concerns. I don’t call them “special” needs because I don’t perceive Jack’s needs to be any more special than any other child. There are just additional concerns.

For instance, my lovely son had this instinctive habit of not being aware of his surroundings. He would literally be running on the playground or just around and inevitably he’d hit a wall or trip on an uneven surface. As a parent, I felt that I took the term “helicopter mom” to a new level. I was not only watching out for obstacles my son would possibly fall from or run into, but I also literally began hovering.

As a stay-at-home mom, I had the summer to dedicate myself and him to build up his environmental awareness. I chose two methodologies that summer. Initially, I chose to take Jack to multiple playgrounds, and integrated one more often than others due to its monotone coloring and the fact that it also had multiple levels of steps that, even for typical children, if they were unaware, would cause them to fall. Secondly, I took him to a gymnastics gym that was open once a week for free to those with additional needs. It meant that Jack would be playing with other children who also may not be the most environmentally aware children, and would have to watch for others in this confined space. My goal was accomplished over this one summer, as this basically retrained his brain to become environmentally aware and have an ability to decipher depth perception. The timing of this achievement was perfect as he was going to be immersed into a typical classroom with a minimum of 16 children, which was double the class size from the previous year.

I recently had the need to re-address the issue of Jack’s challenge of depth perception in a different environment: the pool.  It became clear to me one day as we were swimming under water that Jack couldn’t tell where the bottom of the pool was as he accidentally hit his head. My new approach was to get dive toys. So I bought some, but they didn’t do the trick as they didn’t provide depth; instead they laid flat on the bottom surface. Then, during a play date with a friend, I found the perfect solution. They brought dive rings that stood up at the bottom of the pool. My hypothesis worked! After sampling different dive toys, those that actually stood up at the bottom of the pool allowed Jack not only the safety of not hitting bottom, but the knowledge of depth!

1. http://www.brainfacts.org/about-neuroscience/ask-an-expert/articles/2012/what-is-brain-plasticity

2.http://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-plasticity/what-is-brain-plasticity

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

Snot Really: How Bamboo Extract Reduced Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids 

We recently had to take our son in for a sleep study. “There is a 50-100% incidence of obstructive sleep apnea in individuals with Down Syndrome, with almost 60% of children with Down syndrome having abnormal sleep studies by age 3.5 – 4 years. The overall incidence of obstructive sleep apnea increases as children grow older.” 1
Children with Down syndrome typically have a form of sleep apnea, whether it be obstructive or central. Explained very simply, obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is just that, your body is obstructing your air passage ways because of tongue or enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Central sleep apnea is different because it means that you brain isn’t communicating effectively with your body while you are sleeping and causes you to stop breathing.

We did it mostly because for about the last two years our son wakes multiple times throughout the night. He doesn’t stay in his room and cry for us, which is rare. Rather, he prefers to awaken, open his door and walk quickly across our place to our room and go to Daddy’s bedside and insist he go to bed with Jack. Doug and I take turns sleeping in Jack’s full size bed. He doesn’t snore, and if he does it’s because he’s sick and therefore congested.

We got the results from Jack’s sleep study and it proved that Jack had mild obstructive sleep apnea. Having been in the respiratory industry, I was relieved that it wasn’t central sleep apnea. A few days later I got a call from our son’s neurologist who wanted to put him on Singulair since his tonsils were enlarged. My husband did his due diligence in research on Singulair and read the side effects, one of them being “agitation including aggressive behavior or hostility.”2

Since we were already experiencing some aggressive behavior at school and sometimes at home, my husband and I agreed after researching the side effects that we weren’t willing to do anything but try a much more homeopathic method.

I immediately discussed my dilemma with my chiropractor who suggested Bamboo extract. We originally started our 5-year-old on half a capsule a day in his apple sauce or yogurt, and after a week upped the dose to a full capsule. I noticed a difference within two days. We had a follow up appointment with the neurologist and within a week’s time she noticed a considerable difference in his tonsil size and remarked, “this is as good, if not better, than Singulair.” She was so impressed she was going to refer another patient, who would rather use a more holistic approach, to our chiropractor’s office so she could get the same product for the same symptoms.

She suggested we keep him on the bamboo extract for one month, stating that it was like he was on antibiotics and didn’t want his immune system to be compromised and not be able to do what it’s supposed to do on its own. After talking with my chiropractor, she asked me, “have any of the antibiotics Jack has been on reduced his tonsils?” The answer was simple, “no.”

What’s most interesting is that my son had a hearing evaluation done back in mid-March, where his hearing in his right ear showed a 30% reduction (hearing loss). We had his hearing retested four months later, in July, as we had started the bamboo extract in the beginning of June. His hearing showed no compromise and tested perfectly normal in both ears. At that doctor’s appointment, the Ear Nose and Throat doctor remarked how “tiny” his tonsils were.
What I have learned about Bamboo extract is that it has a combination of amino acids, vitamins and minerals as its properties which actually helps to build up the immune system and is especially helpful with colds and respiratory disorders. It is now staple in our medicine cabinet whenever any of us is fighting a cold.

http://www.ndss.org/Resources/Health-Care/Associated-Conditions/Obstructive-Sleep-Apnea–Down-Syndrome/
http://parentsforsafety.org/17601/10794.html
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000811.htm
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003997.htm
http://2beingfit.com/eating-bamboo-shoot-nutrition-health-benefits/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/201168-herbal-extract-essential-oils-of-bamboo/
http://www.chi-health.co.uk/p_Bamboo.htm

Every Now and Zen: Meditation

Often times I have a conversation with someone about meditation because that is typically what most people can relate my work to. Meditation is important as it does free us from being ever so mentally consumed. It is refreshing and typically can rejuvenate the body or at least bring clarity.
But when asked, most people find it very difficult to get to that meditative state. My first memory of a successful meditation came when I was in college. I invited my mother to come along with me as it was actually an after hours event being held on campus and I felt she would enjoy doing it with me. 
When we walked into the room there were rows of straight back chairs with no arm rests. We were asked to sit close together and were given a phrase to repeat over and over again. I remember feeling uncomfortable at first to have to “chant” the words, but soon fell into line with everyone else. If I was going to be there, I might as well make it my best. 
I soon noticed that as I was chanting I was shedding tears. I was not crying, but tears were streaming down involuntarily. 
I remember walking out saying to my mom that “I felt like I just had a spiritual shower!” I wanted more, I loved the feeling so much.
Now, when people ask for my advice on how to begin meditating, I almost always suggest chanting. You can choose to use a favorite word or phrase, or you can do a web search for chanting music and see what resonates with you. People are so “mind-full” these days that the idea of tuning out and into ourselves is challenging. I have also suggested using essential oils during meditation for those who really find it difficult. Our sense of smell is our most powerful sense, using a scent that calms or shifts our mood can induce a nice meditative state all on its own and even more so, in combination with music. 
When I first started mediating I wasn’t quite sure I was actually meditating. What I saw when I first began, oftentimes felt like still life images, like when movies first were invented. I was always wondering if I was getting “true” information or if I was “forcing” the meditation. Now as I meditate, I not only see images that are fluid, I hear or feel things that support what is being communicated.  
I hadn’t had the experience of shedding tears after that first chanting meditation until a few years ago. My husband’s father passed and I found the Kundalini Meditation Music CD in the library and brought it home and began listening to it. When I heard Snatam Kaur sing Heal (Ra Ma Da Sa) I began to cry, and if my husband was around when I played it, even he shed tears. It was the perfect song to heal from that loss.
My son loves hearing Ma from that CD. During those restless nights when his brain is overactive, listening to that chant oftentimes helps him fall asleep.