If you’ve had your eyes glued on the news at all lately, perhaps you’re getting a set of the swine flu nerves. I admit it’s hard not to watch that and panic. But I think the most important thing we can do as families interested in green living is to just take a few steps towards pandemic preparedness. What’s interesting to me is that while you may be preparing your family for something as scary as a super virus, you’ll find that you’re actually prepared for emergencies in general which should be a reassuring thing.
We always keep large bags of things like rice and beans in the house, and with tornado season looming, we stock up a little extra on things like batteries etc. But what about stocking up for super viruses? Well, my first suggestion is not to panic. My second suggestion would be to make sure everyone in the family is eating a healthy diet that will help boost the immune system. Try growing your own sprouts (remember my “How to Grow Your Own Sprouts” article?) Instead of throwing 17 bottles of chemically germ killers and anti-bacterial washes in the shopping cart, try making your own Four Thieves Vinegar. Fun for getting the kids involved, and you’ll feel very self sufficient and kind of pioneerish if I do say so myself.
What’s Four Thieves Vinegar? There are a few variations to the old story, and we don’t know how true it actually is, but apparently there were four successful thieves who managed to rob the dead bodies of the Black Plague. How? They had their own herbal vinegar that they used to keep the plague at bay. While I wouldn’t tell you Four Thieves Vinegar is the way to protect your family from swine flu, it certainly is a great alternative to buying antibacterial products loaded with chemicals. There are literally dozens of variations to this recipe, but here’s what I whipped up last night:
4 Tbs. dried lavender
4 Tbs. dried rosemary
4 Tbs. dried wormwood
4 Tbs. dried mint (I used peppermint)
4 Tbs. dried sage
4 Tbs. dried rue (I didn’t use this – couldn’t locate any, but if you’ve got some, throw it in)
2 quarts apple cider vinegar
If you can crush up the herbs, all the better. Place the herbs in a glass jar, pour the vinegar over it, and give it a vigorous shake. Place the jar in the sun for two or more weeks (I’ve read up to six weeks; this info varies). After two weeks, if you are so inclined, you can add a few cloves of garlic and let it sit for another week. I’ve seen recipes with and without garlic, but I can see the benefits in adding it. I can also imagine the smell, so I’ll leave this part up to you. Strain the vinegar well and pour into spray bottles. You can carry it with you in a small bottle in your purse for when your kids have touched something icky or questionable.
If you’d rather not go through the work and wait period, dkMommy Spot sponsor For My Kids sells a great version of Vinegar of the Four Thieves spray. I believe in their products and they’re always chemical free and natural.
Chances are, the vast majority of us will never experience or know someone who will experience the swine flu. But through a few general emergency preparations, we can feel a little safer and more self reliant. Pandemic preparedness is half the battle!