Is it really that time again? Dodging people on the subway who are sniffling and sneezing. Waking up sounding like an 90 year old who has smoked three packs a day since tenth grade. Yep it’s winter and it doesn’t matter where in the world you happen to live, dodging the cold or flu is like playing roulette.
Fear not… the cold or flu doesn’t have to be the ends to a busy week at work, a hot date on the weekend, or the end to your holiday parties. There are pharmacies full of pills for every ailment, which actually leaves my head spinning when I attempt to buy over the counter medicines. Do I need flu and cold, or allergy and sinus, or is it a cold and sinus mix? Why isn’t my prescription that the doctor gave me working yet? I just paid $40! Great that prescription the doctor gave me took away my respiratory infection and left me with a yeast infection. Seriously?!!
I’ve never been a “pill popper,” but I’ve tried my mix of over the counters and prescriptions. There has maybe only been 2 times in over ten years that the prescriptions really worked well. Other times the sickness would linger or come back, or even get worse. I have found in my recent years that preventative natural approaches work well, not carry any harmful side effects. For example the one time I took three Benadryls before working a night shift, or the time I took an over the counter which had caffeine in it and then drank a caffeinated beverage. Or the time my doctor refused to give me pain medicine for a very painful procedure, and I self medicated myself with some Tylenol with codeine I had in my cabinet, and I almost passed out on the corner of Park Avenue….classic.
I then took another approach which is more preventive, healthier natural daily regimens I do and natural products I take when I start to get sick, and guess what? I haven’t had a real cold in years. No more sinus infections and when I start to get sick, a day later I am up and running again like a champion horse. If seeing is believing, I’m a believer because I’ve tried all types of natural approaches and they seem more effective then in the past when I was sitting in the doctors office for hours waiting for a prescription that took a week to work. I’m not saying never to take a prescription again, and I’m not completely a green, granola, free child, but I can appreciate a natural approach that I find works well.
For Example these different items assist in pain reduction
Here are some of my personal prevenative and healing secrets for flu and cold season.
First of all in prevention of infections we need to keep our bodies hydrated. Water it is something so simple, yet can be easily pushed aside. I see people downing cups of java, then a juice for a snack, wine at dinner, where is the water? Water keeps us hydrated and our vital organs working well. We need it to not only keep hydrated and to have energy, but it flushed out harmful toxins in our bodies.
Garlic has been used for thousands of year to heal sicknesses. While it is great in raw form for helping the body with food related sicknesses, it also acts as an immune booster and has natural antioxidants in its extract. If you want to use it as a prevenative you can incorporate it into your meals by chopping up some fresh garlic and mixing it into your vegtables, cooking it into your soup, or even adding minced garlic oil into your foods. If you are not keen on the garlic smell as most wouldn’t be, there are supplements you can buy which extract the nutrients from the garlic and put them into an oderless form you can take as a daily supplement. I normally begin uping my garlic intake by October and take it until about February .Note: Pregnant women should not take more than 1 clove of garlic medicinally per day, and children often resist this remedy.
Heat and hot liquids, at the first sign of sickness or as a regular preventative drink warm liquids and try to warm up the body. Viruses prefer to live in warm body environments. The perfect host is a cooler temperature which is why we are more apt to get sick during chillier seasons with the change of temperature. If you have access to a steam room or hot sauna that will help flush out toxins and keep the body temperature at a higher level which will shorten the life span of a virus. Boiling a pot of hot water and adding a few drops of an essential oil then steaming your face is a great way to up the body temperature and cleanse the sinuses and respiratory track system.
Oregano oil, this is nothing that you cook with. You buy it at a health food store and it is powerful! You only need 2-3 drops that is so strong you first need to put a little water under your tongue. Then you add the drops and gargle for 40 seconds before swallowing the water and oregano oil. It significantly alters the bacterias cell membranes and kills it. Most people use this as a preventive during the winter season or for sore throats, but I have found it has worked wonders in colds. The first sniffle I get or a sneeze I begin to take oregano oil twice a day and by the second or third day not only do I feel normal, but a cold never progresses. It’s seriously magic in a bottle and it’s natural! I’m about to take some now.
Ginger has been used in Asia for over 2,000 years aiding in stomach ailments and sicknesses. It boosts the immune system and soothes the stomach. I like to chop it up and brew it in my teas.
Probiotics work by balancing our intestines. They promote healthy bacteria which prevents sickness. If you aren’t into pills you can eat more yogurt, if you aren’t into yogurt you can take a daily pill.
Black cumin, is a savior to me. If anyone knows the joys of having chronic allergies and sinus problems it is me. I’ve had surgery, taking every over the counter, eliminated foods, added healthy supplements, but I always have this congestion! Black cumin reduces coughing and inflammation in the respiratory system. I take two softgels a day during flare ups and it seems to be one of the only remedies to my insanity. It tastes horrible so I take it in softgel form.
Pineapple juice and extract breaks down mucus and congestion. If you have a sinus infection or are a regular allergy sufferer like myself, drinking this on a daily basis will assist in relaxing your coughing and clearing of the throat.
Placebo effect, I’m sure many will argue on this but research has shown that the placebo affect works. Mind over matter. If my bodies telling me I’m getting sick or I’m showing symptoms I breathe and say to myself no it’s just a little symptom it will be gone in no time. I’m not getting sick. I also do this when I’m eating junk food and tell myself I will not gain weight, I’m burning calories by eating them, somehow I manage just fine. Anyways the placebo effect can work if you believe it. When you put something healthy into your body remind yourself this is good for me, it will protect me, I am not getting sick and see how long it takes for you to be bedridden again.
Astragalus, a funny name but let me tell you if you are sick you want this in your cabinet. Astragalus is a class of herbs found in northern Asia that’s been used to treat fatigue and sickness for thousands of years. Some of the plant constituents have shown to be so potent that they’re now being used as the basis for different drugs to treat cancer, fatigue, and subdue ulcers, among other things.
The health benefits of Astragalus
Astragalus seems to work its magic through the following mechanisms:
- It causes your body to produce more telomeres, a part of your DNA that protects chromosomes from degradation
- It contains a unique class of polysaccharides which are very biologically active
- It improves the rate of replication of immune cells called macrophages
Honey, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc are all great to take during the cold and flu season as well.
Don’t let the fear of the flu get you down!