Stay Healthy!

[Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. These are just my observations and experiences. Your experience may be different. You should always consult with a reliable health care professional when treating any illness.]

It’s the cold and flu season and already too many of my friends have been stricken. I hope you get out of it unscathed. I know I may be tempting fate to admit this, but it’s been over 25 years since I had the flu. Now colds are another thing–I get way too many of them and too often they turn to bronchitis. So at our house we are pretty conscientious about cold prevention.

I’d like to think that one reason we have so little illness in our house is we practice good health habits. My boys will tell you I am a fanatic about eating fruits and vegetables–at least three servings at every meal. This time of year the homegrown fresh vegetables are dwindling. Just yesterday we finished the last of our beets that were in cold storage. We have one more serving of fresh radishes and still have several squash. You can also create your own fresh vegetables by sprouting (more on sprouting in future posts.)

I also make sure everyone washes hands. Not even hand sanitizers are a substitute for good ol’ soap and water.  We avoid antibacterial soaps–they just aren’t that effective. Most winter illness is caused by viruses anyway and the over-use of antbiotics has bred too many antbiotic-resistant germs.

We take immune-boosting Vitamin C and Vitamin D.  Some studies show these do nothing to stop a cold or flu once you get it, but they are good for prevention. Zinc has been shown to both shorten colds and lessen the severity of symptoms.

The studies on echinacea are conflicting. Some consider it the best cure-all for colds and flu. Whether or not it cures the colds or flu, most studies show that it will help boost the immune system, so we use it more as a preventive than a cure.

Most studies of essential oils are not conclusive, but I like the aroma of Lemon, Tea Tree and White Pine Essential Oils and use them in a diffuser during the cold and flu season.

Fresh air and getting your lungs working is important. I sometimes think that one reason we get so many sicknesses this time of year is because the house is all closed up and germs get all snuggled in and too comfortable in our homes. So every now and then we put on a sweater and open windows and doors to get rid of stale winter air.

Home remedies if you are stricken
Some studies say that while Oregano oil won’t cure the flu, it will lesson some of the symptoms, such as congestion.

Chamomile, ginger and mint are all good teas for upset stomach. Each works a little differently: Mint encourages the production of bile which aids in digestion and also has anti-microbial properties. Remember how your grandmother had you drink ginger ale when you were sick? That’s because Ginger is mildly stimulant, increasing blood circulation and relaxing the intestinal tract. Chamomile calms the stomach and soothes inflammation  It also calms and soothes the body. For this reason I give chamomile tea at night for a good night’s sleep, ginger tea to wake the body up in the morning and mint in the morning or afternoon.

Elderberry has been used for centuries to treat a variety of illnesses. Recent research shows that it may dramitically reduce both the intensity and duration of the flu.

Many recommend cayenne pepper in homemade cough or sore throat remedies. Sorry, I’m just not brave enough to eat it outright. However, I will put it into gelatin capsules and take it that way.

And speaking of capsules, here is a recipe for homemade capsules that has a bunch of good things for colds: Rose Hip (vitamin C), Echinacea (immune booster), cayenne (helps break up mucus) and thyme (for coughs.)

Here’s another homemade potion that has many of the ingredients that I’ve already mentioned being beneficial.

One of my favorite teas to soothe soar throat and congestion is Ginger Lemon Honey Tea.

You could try making your own homemade version of Vick’s VapoRub. It smells better and has none of the bad chemicals found in petroleum jelly.

I haven’t tried these, but they look very good: Sore Throat Lollipops.

Here’s hoping you have an illness-free winter. And if the colds and flu do find your house, I hope you and your sickies recover quickly.

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5 Responses to Stay Healthy!

  1. Athanasia says:

    Well, I do work in a doctor’s office, Family Medicine, and I have for 26 years. Your advice is sound, not far out or off base. I would definitely add getting a flu shot to this list, especially for children, pregnant women , caregivers, the elderly and anyone with diabetes, respiratory or immuno-suppressed conditions (like chemo).

    I have read that if you have hay fever you should be careful with taking echinacea.

    Handwashing is effective, as you say, but if you are a very ineffective handwasher, say like just “dip-and-flip” then a squirt of alcohol based hand sanitizer might be an improvement. And it’s just handy to have along for emergency situations. Like after having to use that pen to sign on the line at the grocery store, that same pen touched by 7000 other people.

    I seldom get a cold. It has probably been 20 years, though I am susceptible to bronchitis due to having asthma. Even those episodes are few and far between.

  2. Franz says:


    Great advice from Charlene. As a Family Herbalist and a student Herbal Nutritionist I feel like chiming in for some corrections. A flu jab is the most ineffective way of preventing the flu. I only ever caught a flu when I had the jab. The strain is only known AFTER the flu jab is developed. The preservatives and chemicals present in the flu (which comes from dead animals and other junk) are not worth the risk.

    When people get the flu, their immune system is working well. It’s raising the temperature to kill the virus – that’s how it’s supposed to work. When we stop that we are not working with nature but against nature.

    Second, the antibacterial soaps kill the good bacterias which are supposed to create a protective film on our skin. Overusing them doesn’t really help. Breathing fresh air and having a clean body inside helps the most.

    If a person suffers from an immune condition, having a flu jab will only sensitise him more to a new chemical. Immune conditions stem from leaky gut syndrome, which happens when we use antibiotics or a diet high in sugars/carbs, and the good intestinal flora is destroyed, allowing Candida to grow too much.

    This causes a lot of problems in our body, including our guts becoming permeable and allowing foods and chemicals to leak outside of the gut. When they arrive in the bloodstream, T-cells are sent to attack them as they are where they are not supposed to be. Thus the body launches a full attack which we see as an allergy, or other syndromes. An example of autoimmune disease is asthma, followed by diabetes, arthritis and many others, lupus, eczema etc.

    A simple diet based on fruit, veggies, nuts, beans and hardly ever animal products will easily prevent continual colds, and act as a protective shield against most diseases, including cancer, metabolic disease and diabetes.

    Asthma is treated with inhalers. 50 years ago people had mild asthma for all their life, now they die of it and the die early. Why? Because they use inhalers, which force open the parts of bronchi which the body had temporarily closed to do some repair work.

    The wheezing is a message that the body has men at work on that freeway and wants people to stay out of that area. When we force the bronchi open we are basically allowing heavy traffic just in the middle of the work area. Guess what happens to the repair work?

    Going around to suppress the symptoms is as useful as turning off a fire alarm when there is the fire, instead of throwing a bucket of water on it.

    I hope you don’t mind my comments – sometimes I come across a bit forcefully but it’s not meant to be so!


  3. Athanasia says:

    Hmmm Franz, well. I am being attacked for mentioning I have asthma? For one, I do not even use inhalers or other medicines for it, thank you. I use avoidance methods and do not expose myself to situations that I know will cause problems…perfume, smoke, pet dander.

    Also I have been a vegetarian for almost 40 years and have raised a vegetarian family so lets not go there either.

    And I guess you are an expert re the flu as per your experience you got the flu after a so called jab. Jab? Nobody in my knowledge is jabbed, implying the use of force. I am not even going to acknowledge most of your assorted theories.

    Also as I stated there are times and places for the use of hand sanitizer. Maybe you should read a little more carefully.

    I don’t know…I was invited to read this blog by Charlene but if this is the kind of welcome I get from my first post I guess I will go elsewhere.

  4. Franz says:

    Athanasia, apologies for sounding like I want to attack you. I am just very enthusiastic about natural healing, but when I try to write about it with passion, as I said it may sound like I’m attacking. It’s not an attack.

    My own husband and many of my family members and friends have asthma so I think that if I judge you for having it I am judging a lot of people here. But that’s not the case. I want to help. Traditional medicine tends to suppress the symptoms.

    I have learned a lot about autoimmune diseases when I studied the work of Dr Natasha Campbell. You can watch her speaking here and it’s not ‘assorted theories’ – there is proof! LOL or you can read her website.

    She is just an amazing doctor and she is the authority who said everything I quoted on asthma, inhalers etc I am not an authority on autoimmune disease but Dr Campbell certainly has sound knowledge of the topic.

    As for the flu vaccine, I have a list of about 100 people I know personally, who have it every year, and every single year get the flu and they insist having it again – their choice I suppose.

    The blog run by Charlene is most informative and you will always find people on the net who don’t understand your post, or don’t quite agree with it, which doesn’t mean that you need to feel offended.

    Take care and have a great day!


  5. Pingback: My Week on Wednesday… Natural Cold and Flu Remedies » Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

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