[This article was originally published on 4 November, 2014]
It’s official. Cold and flu season is HERE. It’s only just early November and I’ve already been through one cycle of sniffles and sore throats, and it feels like another one might be looming (ahh, life with a preschooler). And all around me it seems like people are dropping like flies from some terrible tummy bug. Already!
So. This post, which I intend to write every. single. year. but never actually get out in time, may actually be able to do some good this year. Yay! (or, well, boo! Sick is no fun!)
As an all-natural pharma-phobic healthy-living hippie, facing cold and flu season can be pretty confusing. The “natural remedies” aisle at your local health food store is most likely rivaling CVS in sheer size and volume of products, with each one promising it’s own miraculous one-ingredient wonder-cure.
But personally, I’m not so into the newfangled, specially-formulated power-powders. I like my remedies tried and true, and those are the ones I’m choosing to share today. My own small-but-fearsome arsenal of all-natural bug-busters. Trusted and standing the test of time, most of them are old – ancient even – because, well, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?
Right! So here they are:
1) Dry Skin Brushing
A few months back I was chatting with an old scientist friend of mine, and she remarked that thanks to me, she’s been using a dry skin brush and loving the results (namely, a much stronger immune system – essential for her with 2 young boys). She said something to the effect of, “You know, lots of times when you blog about something it sounds pretty kooky and I have to admit, I’m a bit skeptical. But then I go do the research and it always turns out to be totally scientifically legit!” I had to laugh at that because I think it’s a great description of me: Kooky, but scientifically legit. Ha!
Anyway, dry skin brushing (I use this brush) stimulates the lymphatic system to activate blood flow and eliminate cellular waste. The increased circulation can also help to energize you, and as an added beauty bonus, it’s a great exfoliator! Use your skin brush before your daily shower, and keep your immune system going strong.
2) Green Juice // Wellness Shots
Like the dry skin brushing, green juice is great preventative medicine. Jeremy and I have been under so much stress lately, and I’ve been trying to keep the green juice flowing – pumping us full of precious antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to combat any germs that we might come across. I especially love parsley and cilantro in my green juice, since both of these are potent chelators which help to release and remove heavy metals and other bioaccumulative toxins.
I also love to make “wellness shots” (featured in the photo up top) – usually some combination of citrus like lemon, blood orange, mandarin, lime, etc, plus lots of ginger and some sort of pepper (either a juiced jalapeño or a liberal sprinkling of powdered cayenne or chili). Sometimes I add powdered turmeric, apple cider vinegar, or crushed garlic (yuck!). But the real key is citrus, ginger, and chili. Plug and chug!
3) Mulein Garlic Oil
I use this brand and I love the stuff. It’s cheap and it’s potent and it’s my number one go-to at the first sign of a sniffle.
Mullein garlic oil is actually intended for ear infections – which is how I discovered it and why I love it, because it’s safe for wee babies – but I use it for all the bad little bugs. Mullein (an herb) is an antiviral and an expectorant and has a long and rich tradition as an illness-fighting herb. And we all know that garlic is a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antimocrobial immune-booster. With their powers combined, this is one of my favorite remedies. A single drop in each ear at the first sign of sickness, and in most cases it never progresses past the first stage. I swear by it!
4) Oil Of Oregano
More recently I’ve been experimenting with oil of oregano, an old hippie favorite for all sorts of ailments. This stuff is strong so be careful when using it with children. It’s powerful (which is why I like it!) and definitely worth adding to your sickness-stopping toolbox. You can read more about why I love oil of oregano, and the science behind its powerful healing properties, here.
You can buy high-quality oil of oregano online, or you can try making your own at home!
5) Neti Pot
Ahh, my dear sweet neti pot. I never thought I could love a piece of porcelain so much – especially a piece of porcelain that I fill with salt water, shove up my nose, and allow to flow through my entire sinus cavity and out the other nostril while I try not to sputter and snort and fall into a flailing mess on the shower floor.
But seriously, it’s sort of fun.
Much like dry brushing, neti can be used prophylactically as an ilness preventative. Keeping the ol’ sinuses all clean and flushed out will go a long way in upping your overall chances against some bastard bug this winter. But, if you’re a busy busy bee and you can’t make neti a regular part of your routine (like for reals, who has time for that?) it can still be used to speed along and soften up the symptoms of an already-existing cold, should one actually take hold of you. I use this popular model and I love it.
And yes, there’s will always be some immature part of me that will have to laugh when I see a stream of water pouring out of my nostril. ALWAYS.
And finally, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. Probiotic rich foods, like store-bought or homemade ferments, are also a great immune-boosting addition to your diet. And remember – stress is death to your immune system! So take care of your mental health with the same love and attention that you give to your physical well being.
Ya hear me? Take care of you! ♥ ♥