So a conversation happened in a "crunchy" moms group I am a part of. To keep it as anonymous as possible I will give a summary and then the reason why it is causing me to write this post.
The mom was asking about these tiny bugs/scabs/things behind her child's ear. They were seed ticks. Lots of them and she was asking how to take care of them. There were a few natural responses and then a few responses that started with "I know its not natural but..." No big deal because natural ways have been lost. BUT the response was "I will do anything right now. #allthechemicals. I don't care"
Now, I COMPLETELY understand where the mom is coming from. I pass NO judgement on the mom.
But it shows a serious lack of trust in natural products and remedies.
That bothers me.
As an herbalist, I have no doubts in what herbs can do. I give Elderberry syrup and know that whatever virus is hitting the house, the Elderberry syrup WILL help their bodies work to fight it. When they are in pain, I have NO doubt in my many options for care...whether homeopathic Arnica to herbal baths and Valerian.
I have never felt the need to use commercial bug spray after learning about essential oils or whole plant herbal bug sprays.
In fact, since completely overhauling our lives for a natural, sustainable life.....I question the conventional remedies for their effectiveness without the complications.
Sure..acetaminophen reduces fever...but is also hard on your kidneys and liver (source...please note the "high dose" equates to just 4 capsules of extra strength Tylenol) ...and can affect glutathione levels (source and source) AND fevers are beneficial up to 104 in most children and adults.
Sure...ibuprofen reduces inflammation...but destroys your stomach in the process AND doesn't actually treat the cause of the pain. For example...I get tension in my shoulders from time to time, then I realized that my tension (which was painful) was actually caused by gluten. If I had just popped an ibuprofen, I would never have stopped the cause...which was inflammation from gluten. Not all inflammation is linked to food sensitivities but is just one example of why popping NSAIDs is not a good idea for healing.
Now, this isn't the first time I have heard something along the lines of #allthechemicals and I am sure many of your are thinking..."well, the occasional use of XYZ isn't going to cause a problem"...
It can actually.
You see there is a genetic mutation that affects between 40-60% of the population called the MTHFR mutation. I won't go into the details here but it basically means that your body can't process out things that we believed the body could. Additionally, many people don't realize they have the genetic mutation. Neither myself or Oaken have been tested (honestly we just never go to the doctor) so I can't say if 1 dose of XYZ will be fine. If I have it, do my children have it?
Then, there is the field of epigenetics, which studies how our genes are affected by environmental triggers. Your child may have a gene for autism but it isn't until something in their environment "triggers" the gene to "turn on". On top of that, you might not always know what turned it on.
You see how the case against #allthechemicals is turning out.
Of course, I always like to offer options to a problem I present here otherwise I just sounds like a dooms day blogger.
For health issues, contact an herbalist.
I know that sounds stupid considering how much free information is out there but go ahead and Google your situation. Good luck processing ALL the information, much of which is contradictory.
You could ask your FB friends, even among natural minded FB groups, you will get a dozen different options easily. Some safe, some not safe...which will take you to Google (and repeat the paragraph above).
What many people don't realize is the amount of schooling many herbalists go through before they open a practice. This means they also don't realize how much information they will leave with that is specifically for them. Even if you walk away with different options...you will know how they each will work for you so that you can decide what path you want to take while being properly informed about it AND you will have the information on what to do if it happens again.
On top of that, herbalists know red flags and when something is out of their scope...and will tell you so (at least a good herbalist will). But they won't just leave you hanging there. Many will work with you to make sure that you have recovered and what herbs you can take to help your recovery or that you can take along with prescriptions to help protect you body from strong pharmaceuticals.
Look for blogs from people actually in the field and/or follow up on sources linked. Take some time learning some medical terminology so that you can understand what studies are saying. Build your library of herbal medicine books (post coming soon for my favorites). Attend workshops in your area.
I try and pop in on issues that arise from time to time in natural parenting groups because I know that for the mom who is freaking out needs someone right then and there. Someone to give her something to focus on....kind of like when we give birth, we just need something to focus on and everything else will fall into place. But you can't give a truly holistic answer when you don't know anything about the person.
So before you go for #allthechemicals, just #callanherbalist. You can search Herb Rally for a list of herbalists to find one near you but many of us do video consults to meet the need of those without a community herbalist.
P.S. I am not saying that parenting support groups are a bad idea or that all information is bad. There is a lot of great article and information sharing that can happen, like helping with the seed tick issues above, but it can also be overwhelming when you are in the middle of a situation that you feel out of your comfort zone with. I didn't realize how much I didn't know until I went through school for herbal medicine...even though I read all the "good" blogs and researched online. Find one that is a true holistic parenting group. "Crunchy" labeled groups tend to be too broad because crunchy is a catch all for anything considered "different" than normal society (like baby wearing or cloth diapering).