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When the Risks Don’t Seem that Risky

Summary:

Modern day marketing and packaging are designed to make it hard to recognize the risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs. I often come across parents concerned about recognizing these risks themselves, as well as teaching their children to recognize risks. This is why I include a discussion about the side effects of drugs AND  a discussion about honey and garlic in my curriculum.

By comparing the labeling and packaging of drugs to something like garlic and honey, it can really help bring the reality of risks to life in two main ways. First, kids need to connect with the concept that natural things are really powerful! Healing doesn’t need to come from a box or a special lab with people wearing white lab coats to be effective. Second, this discussion also helps us begin thinking about the concept of risk, as everything, even natural substances such as garlic and honey, has risks. And if even these natural substances, which have been known for centuries to be pillars of healing and very well documented, have risks, then how much more are the risks of lab-created substances?


Understanding the risks associated with pharmaceutical drugs can be a daunting task. The marketing teams behind these drugs spare no expense and know how to package everything to make you feel secure. The labeling can be really confusing, and there are often key buzzwords that instill confidence, enticing you to gloss over the fine print. At first glance, everything looks and feels so safe.

Drug labeling/packaging contains a lot of noise to distract us from what is most important. So how do we determine risks for ourselves, and more importantly, teach our kids to do the same? This is why I include a discussion about the side effects of drugs and a separate discussion about garlic and honey in my curriculum. By comparing the labeling and packaging of drugs to something like garlic and honey, your kids can really see this concept brought to life.

While neither garlic nor honey are homeopathic medicines in their crude forms, they are both pretty incredible in their own rights.

The Benefits of Garlic and Honey

Garlic and honey are amazing. Garlic has been used in Egypt since ancient times and was highly revered for its life-giving properties and intense flavor. Discovered in the ancient tomb of King Tutankhamen who was Pharaoh between 1332-1323 BCE, Egyptians believed garlic would protect the pharaoh’s body from evil spirits due to its strong odor. Egyptians also used honey in 70% of their medicines. Honey was found in King Tut’s tomb as well and was still edible 3,000 long years later.

There are many reasons why garlic is good for you – one such reason is that it contains allicin, a defense molecule found in garlic. Allicin works as a natural combatant against bacteria and fungi. Garlic also contains oxygen, sulfur, and other natural elements that give your body disease-fighting properties, meaning it empowers your body’s ability to fight an illness.

Chopping or crushing fresh garlic cloves releases more allicin than using the cloves whole. After you crush or chop the garlic, you should let it sit for ten minutes to allow the allicin to form and then eat it. The garlic should be eaten rather quickly after ten or so minutes because if you let it sit out all day, the allicin will then be lost. The fresher the garlic, the better it is for you, but the exact mechanism of all the components and their long-term effects is not fully understood. 

Recently, I’ve also read and heard of the benefits of fermenting your garlic, and this is something that I can’t wait to try!

But it’s not just garlic that is amazing for your health. Honey also has very special healing properties. We know it helps fight inflammation (redness and swelling) in the body. It can also help balance the immune system and therefore prevent illness. Honey has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It even creates its own type of hydrogen peroxide, which is known to kill pathogens. 

Pairing these two amazing ingredients together packs a powerful punch. Mixed together, honey and garlic have been shown to stop infections and viruses that even antibiotic drugs and antiviral drugs can’t stop.

I’ll never forget the funny interaction I had with the customs officer when I was at the Heathrow airport in London. I was returning home from a homeopathy course about caring for farm animals at Homeopathy at Wellie Level, and it was right when C19 was breaking. Everyone (except) for me was scared and frantic. The customs officer saw something ‘suspicious’ in my carry-on bag, so he had to inspect it by hand. When he opened it, he saw a small jar of honey and a head of garlic in a plastic bag. I told him, “I’m not worried about the ‘rona virus’” and he laughed and laughed, good naturedly. 

Many of us are not used to eating either of these substances in their raw forms, but that is certainly how we can get the best benefit from them.

In my Facebook Group, Teach Me Health & Homeopathy, Jill A. shared the experience she and her kids had trying these substances raw for the first time:

Monday’s are for Paleo waffles with bee pollen, and homeopathy! Today we compared the side effects of allopathic drugs with those of garlic and honey. We also taste tested garlic and honey, so it will be easier to support our bodies with them in case of acute illness or fever. It wasn’t too bad! We didn’t have yellow fabric on hand for the honeycomb quilt art, so we improvised by dying an old t-shirt with turmeric tea and dandelions! So fun!

Why You Should be Teaching Your Kids About This

OK, so this discussion about Garlic and Honey is in lesson 4 of my curriculum and I often get asked why I included it. Why should we be teaching our kids about this? Well, it primarily comes down to two reasons. First, kids need to connect with the concept that natural things are really powerful! Healing doesn’t need to come from a box or a special lab with people wearing white lab coats to be effective. Natural substances can and DO provide healing all the time.

Melissa B. once shared with me how her kids are starting to draw connections from what they are learning in my curriculum to what already exists in their world:

“I ordered Evie and the Secret of Small Things on audio CD’s so we can listen to them in the car and we are LOVING it! It’s been so great being able to quickly pause the story and interject our own experiences. “Clementine, remember that day you had a high fever? It was just like what’s happening in the story!” “Mom! They’re talking about raw milk and bone broth!” “Raw garlic and honey! That’s what we have in the fridge!” Thank you, Paola, for creating this beautiful resource for our kids! I’m so encouraged and inspired by it and I love that my kids are hearing the information from someone other than me.”

Second, this discussion also helps us begin thinking about the concept of risk. We are all familiar with the fact that drugs have risks, however, it’s so normalized that we have become desensitized to what these risks really mean. The risks associated with a drug are something that everyone today likes to talk about, but don’t truly accept the reality of what those risks mean for us and our bodies. 

Something else I think is pernicious about the modern-day concept of drug risk is that the amount of time it takes us to realize a drug is actually dangerous is a lot longer than it used to be. For example, in the 50’s when there was not as much drug testing, people saw the effects of a bad drug fairly quickly. But now, modern testing has allowed drug companies to minimize the immediate and overt side effects, while the long term effects are expertly hidden. It takes TIME to see the effects, and careful observation over a period of time is something our society is not particularly good at. 

Think about my situation, when I was prescribed a drug, Elmiron, for my painful bladder condition, Interstitial Cystitis. It was first approved in 1996, but it wasn’t prescribed to me until 15 years later, in 2011. I never took it, concerned about some of the side effects, and moved on with my life. About 11 years later, my mother alerted me to the fact that this drug was causing blindness in women. I would have been on the drug for about 11-12 years. Yikes! By the time I heard of this side effect, the drug was 23 years old and there were class action lawsuits due to the harm it caused its users.

How My Curriculum Helps You Look at Drug Labels and Packaging

So going back to the value of teaching your kids about Garlic and Honey. It’s important to not sugar coat the facts to your kids. Everything, even garlic and honey, has risks. We’d be foolish to pretend otherwise. There is often a warning on honey saying that it may not be safe for young babies, and it’s worth noting. Also, while garlic doesn’t come with its own warning label, if you eat a lot of raw garlic on an empty stomach, you’re likely to feel sick from it. 

If even these natural substances, which have been known for centuries to be pillars of healing and very well documented, have risks, then how much more are the risks of lab-created substances? This is why it’s so important to compare the risks of something like honey/garlic with the risks of conventional drugs.

Later in my curriculum in lesson 19, I have students analyze a couple of drug ads. I provide a lot of options from print ads I have found. I have the students think about how the ad was prepared and marketed to make it look safe. This sort of media literacy is vital in a world that is after our children and their health. 

Today, too many children wake up with a ADHD drug, drink an energy drink to keep them awake, take hormones (i.e. birth control) to manage other issues, and go to sleep with melatonin–or worse–a sleeping pill. Children are raised feeling comfortable with popping a pill, and this will have consequences.

Do you see how important this is to prepare them? Think through these Big Pharma realities with your kids. It’s important they understand that what you don’t know can hurt you. Today we don’t stumble into health, but we stumble into disease.

I would love for you to try 3 Free Lessons from my curriculum to see how each lesson’s activities really drive the concepts home.

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Learn More About My Health & Homeopathy Curriculum for Families Here: https://paolabrown.com/homeopathy-curriculum/

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