Our longer days here can set the stage for some very solid nighttime struggles over spring and summer. Kids still need a lot of sleep, despite their protests. ...
Every year, cold and flu season ploughs through you and your kid's sinuses like a wrecking ball, leaving people feverish, home from work, and school and feeling pretty miserable. However, even the worst colds do eventually pass, hopefully a little faster with excellent treatments like elderberries, steam, and a lot of naps. Unfortunately, as we start to close the door on cold and flu season (which seems to be still running rampant), seasonal allergies are around the corner. This post will talk about ways to identify an environmental allergy vs. infection, the impact of allergies on kids, and different natural treatments....
By Dr. Bob Dr. Hart and I talk about sleep a lot, and not always about how we aren’t getting enough of it. If we were to measure the amount of sleep our patient’s tell us they get, I can pretty confidently say that it is minimal. Most daunting is the fact that it’s not just one subset of the clinic. New moms don’t get any sleep. Studies have shown new parents can lose 50 night’s sleep in their kids first year. Kids and teens don’t get enough sleep. Adults in the work force work too much and can’t sleep. What can we do about sleep? [caption id="attachment_4161" align="aligncenter" width="683"] tick tock, tick tock[/caption] 1.) First we need to make sure there’s not a medical barrier to sleep. ...
Dr. Bob here! I wrote this post as an answer to a question I’ve been asked many times. Now that I take most kinds of insurance, it’s time for me to start reaching out to the Vitality Community to see how I can help expand our reach. The first place I want to start is with a direct challenge to men. Why should you go to the doctor? (note: This article is written from a cis-gendered heterosexual perspective, mostly aimed at cis-gendered men, but I recognize how complicated gender truly is and believe part of the issue is the dichotomy our culture pushes. The football player vs. the cheerleader dynamic of gender is a huge problem) When I joined Vitality NW as a practitioner, one of my goals was...
Let me introduce myself. My name is Dr. Bob Graybill. Many of you have spoken with me over the phone or at the clinic. I may even have helped Doctor Hart with your visit or performed some physical medicine during your appointment. Currently I am working to transition from this role to being a full time second doctor in the clinic. It is in that fashion that I want to reintroduce myself. I am a Naturopathic Doctor with a master’s degree in medical research. In the eons before medical school I complete bachelor’s degrees in History and Political Science and a Minor in Women’s studies. As I ventured into the world with these degrees I realized more and more that I didn’t want to just tell...
Alright, alright. I know this elderberry blog is like, 1 million days overdue. I’m sorry. See, what happens is that my oldest kid keeps getting sick. So I make the elderberry syrup, and I think about filming it, and the stovetop inevitably should have been cleaned or the counter top needs wiped off or the pretty pan is in the sink or…Anyway, I’m sure all of my co-parents out there can commiserate. Please excuse the mess you’ll see in the pictures because I, just like you, am trying the best I can.
Without further ado, Elderberry Syrup!
This is a time tested recipe that’s been around for centuries. About the only consistent thing I use every time I make it is elderberries. The recipe is very flexible with whatever you’ve got in your cupboard and pretty easy to give to kids- the perfect example of kitchen herbalism.
Start out with a pot. Ideally a clean one. Size needs to correlate to at least twice the amount of elderberry syrup you want to end up with.
Step 2: Add in the elderberries.
I usually do about a ¼ cup of dried berries per pint I’m making, though at this point I throw it all in and just hope for the best. For fresh or frozen berries, use a bit more. Elderberries are proven to both prevent infection and to shorten the duration of the cold and influenza. They also kill strep, and a bunch of other bacteria that cause coughs and skin infections and tummy problems.
Step 3: You can add in more herbs too, depending on what you need.
At this point I’m using astragalus root in mine consistently, because my oldest is showing some signs of immune compromise. Astragalus has been studied to reduce infections in chronically ill children when taken daily as a preventative. As a bonus, astragalus is pretty innocuous so you can throw it in soup or tea without adding too much of a strong flavor. I didn’t measure this, I threw in a handful.
Aaand because the kids have been giving me a firsthand tour of every respiratory condition that’s floating through the community, I added in a bunch of dried rosemary. Proven to reduce symptoms like sore throat, cough, and pain and particularly excellent at smooth muscle relaxation in the trachea- that part of the throat that gives kids that super barky cough.
I always add cinnamon too- mostly because it makes elderberries taste better and the house smell fantastic, but also because cinnamon is a studied antimicrobial that kills a ton of different kinds of bacteria, and it reduces inflammation significantly. I put some in- maybe like a tablespoon?
You may have come here for a more specific recipe, and for that you have my apologies. That’s not how I work. I can practically hear engineers screaming from here.
Step 4: Add some water
Once everything you want in it is in (you might add cloves for a sore throat, or nutmeg if the kids are having trouble sleeping, or chamomile if their illness hits them in the stomach first, or marshmallow root if the coughing is so harsh that it hurts their throat…you get where I’m going here), cover it with twice as much water as you want the final volume to be. Set it to boil.
Step 5: Leave it alone
Let it boil down to half of the initial water. Stir it if you want, but I often forget.
Step 6: Strain
This is the most important part of the whole recipe: You need to strain it through a very fine strainer- I use cotton napkins, but you could use cheesecloth, linen, etc. Pour everything through the strainer, let it sit until it’s not so hot you’ll burn your hands.
Then squeeze it out so all your liquid is in the bowl, and all of the elderberry stems & seeds which will give you a terrible case of diarrhea are in your strainer.
After this, mix your extract with an equal amount of local honey or simple syrup if your kiddo is less than 1 year.
For an everyday preventative dose, kids 2 and up can have a tablespoon daily. 6 months and up, about a teaspoon. When they’re actively sick you are going to want to do that dose every hour, as often as you can get it into them all day. The good news is both the preventative and the acute dosing are going to reduce your risk of illness, make any colds they get less severe, and have those illnesses be several days shorter than someone not using elderberry syrup.
P.S. Sometimes I trick my kids into eating elderberry syrup popsicles mixed with apple juice. There’s all sorts of tricks for adequate dosing. If you need more help, come in! We’d be happy to give you more support here. You can schedule an appointment online.
As always, references below.
The ringing in of the New Year is traditionally a time for resolutions and change. We at Vitality NW are 100% on board with commitment and change but want to remind you to make sure those changes are healthy and fulfilling. This year, we recommend making resolutions to do things that are enjoyable and nurturing to you instead of stressful and difficult. So here, in no particular order are some ideas for New Years Resolutions that can improve your health, mental and physical, without adding too much to this chaotic life. 1. PLAY MORE! Get outside and sing in the rain until the sun comes out. Go to the woods and play Robin Hood with the kids or your adult friends. We don’t judge and may...
Here's some stuff we'd love for everyone to know about being here. [caption id="attachment_4016" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Many learning! Much Fact![/caption] Scheduling: You can call the office at 503-344-1345 or schedule online at vitalitynw.com/schedule-appointment. Calls, emails, and online scheduling are returned in order of medical priority. New patient visits are 90 minutes long. Follow ups are generally 45 minutes. Please let us know if you have a time constraint that requires a quick visit, or if you're particularly worried about an exam due to past trauma or discomfort and may need more time. I can combine family visits for some amalgamation of those times, but kids do get a bit restless after the second hour in the office. I am not worried about your menstrual cycle or your...
There’s the optimal life, which we should all strive towards- and then there’s what actually happens. We all, as busy parents, have bought fast food because travel time from point A to point B was the only time anyone was going to get to eat. Most of us are guilty of occasionally handing over a screen because we needed to get something done. Perhaps, as an expression of love, we have overscheduled our children. Or maybe your kid isn’t into optimal health. We all know a couch potato who’s really proud of their mountain dew habit, and maybe your kid is that guy. A question that I get all the time is “What Should My Kid Be Taking?” Keep in mind that this is very generalized...