[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.
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.