“I will not get sick” has been my mantra since this beginning of the school year. I was doing pretty good with my prevention methods, but I was hit with a couple sleepless nights which I think was the beginning of the downward spiral. I work in an elementary school- Not only am I exposed to tons of people throughout my day, but I also work up close and personal with some of the youngest of the bunch who would rather use their hands to wipe their noses than a tissue, then said child would use my pencil. (How’s that for an image?) Because it is finally my time to deal with the seasonal cold, I have made a list of things I do to make myself feel better and kick the cold to the curb!
Growing up there was no such thing as “let’s go to the doctor”. I don’t recall going to the doctor for anything except my broken wrist. With 5 children in the house, there was no way my mom had time for that. My mom was our doctor. She has a little pharmacy cupboard full of all natural lotions and potions and was really good at prescribing “lay down and drink fluids”… Good one, Mom. Still, ain’t nobody got time for that! What my mom was really good at was helping us prevent sickness by keeping our health up to par WITHOUT medications so I figured I’s take on my mom’s hippie dippy traditions and test them out as an adult.
Before I get started, I’ve got a disclaimer… I am not a doctor *GASP* I know.. Shocker.. I’m only speaking from my own experience so if you want a doctor to look these things over, please do so! Keep in mind that these remedies are all natural so they shouldn’t be harmful!
1. Echinacea- During cold and flu season when we were starting to sniffle, my mom would double dose us with Echinacea in the mornings before school. Echinacea is a pretty little herb that helps fight infections like the common cold and other respiratory infections. (I should add again that it is pretty!) There is no real evidence of it working to boost your immune system and/or prevent colds, but it has proven to lessen symptoms and help get my body back to good health sooner. My mom stood by this power flower and so will I. I have found that If I start taking it when I feel a tickle in my throat, I am able to “prevent” or tackle the cold right at the start so that I don’t have an side effects to the sickness. This time I failed to do so. Oops.
There are a few ways you can use Echinacea. Extract- the bottle will tell yu how many drops you should take daily. I believe we used to take 8 drops in a pool of juice in the morning. Let me tell you, it tastes NASTY, but proves to be effective.Tablets- This is what I am currently using. It has hardly any taste. When buying this you have to make sure that it is 100% pure echinacea. Go with a more reputable company to make sure you are not ingesting fillers.Tea- Now I can’t comment on what the teas are like or if they are any that actually work. Let me know if you know!
2. Vitamin C- This is a big one that we always hear people talking about. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that our bodies need to stay healthy and strong. For many years now, vitamin c has been used to keep people’s immune systems up, or at least that’s as far as I know. There are many fruits that are high in vitamin c such as oranges and lemons, and there are also supplements that you can buy. The problem with any supplement is that sometimes you can be spending a pretty penny for something that isn’t pure. To avoid getting vitamin c “filler” supplements, always do your research to find the best reputable supplement provider that doesn’t use fillers. But to be honest, I wouldn’t spend the extra cash during cold season when I can suck on a lemon! Now I don’t recommend sucking on a lemon, but it’s way cheaper and does the trick! Instead of sucking on lemons, I will eat oranges, drink pure orange juice and/or drink my favorite lemony cold killing drink. When I was sick my mom would make me this lemon power drink when I had a sore throat before going to voice lesson and choir. It consisted of hot water, lemon and honey. The lemon is jam packed with vitamin c, the honey coats your throat and sweetens your drink, and the hot water makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. To make this drink I use half of a FRESH squeezed lemon, raw unpasteurized honey to taste (a good spoonful or 2 does the trick!) and fill the cup to the top with hot water. Yes there is Neocitron, but why spend money on something that you can so easily make at home?
3. Honey- I love me some good, raw, unpasteurized local honey! I love using honey to help with my sore throat! People typically use honey as an alternative to sugar, but what many don’t know is that honey is also super beneficial for us! Good unpasteurized honey has natural antioxidants and antibacterial benefits and has been used for hundreds of years. Not only does it taste amazing, but it can be used on burns, as a facial steam to clear your stuffy nose, and its also great for your skin! The thing about honey is that in order for it to be good for your health, it needs to be unpasteurized. Because we have to drink pasteurized milk to ensure there is no bad bacteria growth, people seem to think the same for honey. That is not true. Milk is pasteurized to kill off bad bacteria such as e coli and salmonella while honey is pasteurized to make the shelf life longer and make the honey liquefied. In order for the honey to be pasteurized it must be heated to a certain temperature and in turn it actually boils off all of the good, natural healing qualities! Once honey is pasteurized, it is no better than a classic sweetener! The best honey for your health is the rawest form. Yes, it may be crystallized, but at least you know that your honey is actually doing some good! Besides, it takes next to no time to liquefy it. There are many types of honey that are good for your health so pick what you like! It all really just depends on the nectar source. A rule of thumb when searching for honey: the lighter honey typically has a more mild taste, while darker honey has a stronger taste. Always buy local and support your bees! Note of caution: most raw honey has chunks of pollen in it, so if you have allergies, eat honey with caution- You may need to gradually build up your immunity to honey! Don’t go all Winnie the Pooh and have an allergic reaction. Not worth it!
4. Eucalyptus- This is another pretty plant that will actually be making and appearance in my bridal bouquet! This is one of my favorites to open up my airways and clear any congestion. Eucalyptus is known for its minty smell and is often used in vapor rubs and throat lozenges. It can be used as an anti-bacterial agent for homemade cleaning products, deodorizer, anti-inflammatory, and so many medicinal uses. It comes in 2 forms, as an oil and of course the plant. Anyone who has ever smelled eucalyptus oil will know how quick it clears up your airways! I like to have a hot bath with Epsom salts and several drops of eucalyptus oil. The steam from the hot water and the oil works together to clear up my airways, and the Epsom salt works as a detox. The best part is that when I’m done, my bathroom smells fresh and clean! If you have a humidifier, you can also add a couple drops of the oil to the water so that your airways are clear while you are asleep and your nose doesn’t get super dry. If you are anything like me you also get headaches from being so congested. A great way to relieve those headaches is by rubbing the oil on your temples. Not only does that feel good to rub your temples, but the oil also soothes and relaxes the tight muscles. If you are using leaves, you can use them just the same as you would use the oil! You can also boil a pot of hot water and add several leaves to it.. Take it off the burner and take a deep breath! Ahhh so fresh! I’m sure because its a leaf you could also make tea with it.. If you do, let me know how it goes!
5. Netflix and Chill- Okay this is kind of a joke, but I’m also pretty serious. REST. Yes, rest is best! Why make your body work in overdrive to heal when you can take a break and just get better? Life is busy Shonagh. That’s why. I know, it’s way easier said than done. My last day off while sick (yesterday) I cleaned my house, did 4 loads of laundry, then went wedding dress shopping! But really, take your day off, binge watch your favorite show on Netflix and chill. Your body needs rest.
So there, you have my permission to just stay in you PJ’s, make my favorite cup of lemon and honey tea, turn on that humidifier and Netflix, then chill. Again, I am no doctor, so if you are not certain about whether these remedies would be good for you and your body, please double check!
I hope these natural remedies work for you like they work for me! Even if they don’t heal you, you will be better off than putting medication into your bodies!
If you have any other all natural hippie dippy remedies for the cold, let me know!
Thanks and good luck fighting those colds!