aromatherapy

Kick Your Cold to the Curb!...Naturally!

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First of all, I just want to say that I never get sick.  Well, that’s almost true.  I rarely get sick is a more accurate statement. The last time I can remember getting sick was about two years ago when I was overwhelmed with moving to a new city.  I was stressed, wasn’t eating or sleeping well and was out of my normal routine.  Recently however, while traveling, I forgot my probiotics (worst thing ever!) and got only a few hours of sleep each night for two nights in a row.  I’m the type of person who needs a good 7-8 hours a sleep a night so this did not fare well for me.  Two days later I was so sick I could barely get off the couch.  So one of two things could have happened.  I could have called a doctor (to clarify, I’m talking about a MD here as opposed to my wonderful Naturopathic Doctor…) who would have no doubt prescribed some drug or antibiotic to cure me of my horrible symptoms OR I could use what I already know about homeopathic remedies and natural practices to heal myself at home.  You already know which path I chose, but I want to tell you right away that I was feeling like myself again in just four short days which is about the same amount of time it would have taken me to heal had I gone a more traditional route.  I am not completely opposed to mainstream medicine, but I don’t agree with the quick fix of drug prescriptions that are so widely accepted and touted without the thought of a healthier more natural approach.  OK, enough of that.  Basically, I want to walk you through everything I did for myself over the course of those four days to give you an idea of what healing naturally might look like in hopes that you could benefit from using this information when you start feeling lousy and run down.  

Here is a good time to insert a disclaimer. First of all, I’m not a doctor and I’m not pretending to be.  If you are severely sick you do need to call a Naturopathic Doctor or Medical Doctor who is licensed to treat you.  If you’re pregnant or are treating a child (especially under the age of 2), you need to consult with a medical professional before going forward with any of the suggestions below.  Also, there are dozens of other alternative medicine practices that could be used when someone is feeling sick.  However, I am just sharing my personal experience.

Here were my symptoms:

Overall weakness in entire body

Sore Throat

Congestion

Nausea

Headaches

Low energy & exhaustion

Lack of appetite

Low grade fever

It hit me like a truck, but it was your pretty basic run-up of common flu-like symptoms.  Had I been given some warning signs that I was going to get sick I would have up’ed my probiotics, gone to bed earlier and started myself on some olive leaf complex and elderberry, but it wasn’t nice like that.  Having said that, my best advice using natural remedies would be to listen to your body and catch the symptoms early on, implement some of these suggestions right away before you actually start feeling sick and then monitor.  Chances are that you won’t get sick at all, which is what I’m usually able to do.

Here was my arsenal:

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1) Don’t underestimate the power of sleep.  When you’re feeling sick you should make sleep your #1 priority since this is the only time your body can truly heal itself.  And I mean deep sleep, not dozing on and off with the TV in the background.  :)

2) Do what you’ve always been told and drink lots of liquids.  I was drinking a lot of water, tea, apple cider vinegar mixtures and coconut water.  My favorite brands of tea are Numi and Traditional Medicinals and when I’m sick I drink a lot of the Traditional Medicinals like the Breathe Easy mixture and Throat Coat.  Stock up for the kids, too.  

I also posted my favorite Apple Cider Vinegar mixture on my Instagram a while back, but here is the recipe again if you missed it:

-warmish/hot water

-2 spoonfuls apple cider vinegar (my favorite is Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar)

-2 spoonfuls of honey

-juice from half a lemon

-sprinkle of cinnamon on top

Why apple cider vinegar?  It will help drain your sinuses and will give your immune system a boost to help fight off the virus or bacteria causing you to feel sick.  It’s great for overall health, too.

3) I doubled my probiotics since most of your fighting soldiers are coming from your gut.  I use a professional probiotic from Douglas Laboratories that contains over 40 billion beneficial organisms per serving.

4) I took 2 capsules of Elderberry D3Fense every few hours. Obviously, Vitamin D3 strengthens the immune system, but with the combination of elderberry, echinacea, and olive leaf, this potent mixture can literally stop a cold in its tracks.  Elderberry, known for its high antioxidant levels has benefits way past helping cure a cold.  Start researching it; you’ll be amazed at what it can do for you.  www.herbwisdom.com is a good site for researching herb information.

5) Vitamin C - I use a whole food extract Vitamin C powder from Health Force taken from the acerola berry.  I’m sure this is something you are already doing once symptoms hit you, but make sure you are using a high quality Vitamin C that will actually work.  I was taking about 2,000 mg daily to fight off my cold.

6) Olive Leaf Complex - My favorite is Barlean’s Organic.  So Olive Leaf oil is pretty amazing and its use has been documented all the way back to the time of Hippocrates and continues to be used around the world to treat many different illnesses.  It is recognized as a powerful antioxidant, can increase energy and helps regulate blood pressure.*  Some other exciting research shows olive leaf oil as being an effective anti-viral agent providing benefits that far surpass antibiotics.*  Some people would benefit from taking daily supplements of olive leaf, but I usually only take it when I’m not feeling well and then I usually take 1-2 tbsp. per day while I still have symptoms.  I take mine in grape juice since the taste is personally too bitter for me.

7) Eucalyptus Products - Eucalyptus is a tree, not an herb, and contains properties that can help reduce the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract.  However, it is really strong and should be used sparingly and never with small children who can develop severe reactions to its use.  Some practices I use when I’m congested include spraying my pillow at night with a light Eucalyptus Aromatherapy Spray that has been properly diluted and using a Eucalyptus Chest Rub that has also been infused with other essential oils like tea tree, lavender and peppermint oils.  The brand I use is Tea Tree Therapy.  I will also drop one or two drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil into a pot of boiling water, tent a towel behind my head and lean over the steam for immediate relief if I need it.  Eucalyptus is so potent that I don’t do all of these things at the same time.  I will spray my pillow and use chest rub at night hours after I’ve exposed myself to the steam.   

8) Oil of Oregano - I use this oil all the time even when I’m not sick.  I dilute the oil in filtered water and carry it around in a spray bottle in my bag.  Since oil of oregano contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties it’s a great alternative to hand sanitizer.  When I’m feeling under the weather I will actually spray this same diluted spray onto the bottom of my feet (one of your greatest areas for optimal absorption) a few times a day to help fight any bacteria or fungal based infection.  

I know it seems odd that I’m posting this information in August since many cold and flu-like illnesses are months away, but I thought it could help you prepare your own arsenal ahead of time, perhaps prompt you to do more research about natural remedies and really weigh when to treat at home and when to go to the doctor.  I have used the suggestions I’ve shared with you for a few years and have had great results.  Like I said, if you can catch symptoms early and treat immediately you probably won’t get that sick at all. But if you do get sick, give some of these ideas a chance and be consistent with them - just as you would if you were given medicine in pill form.  I think you’ll be surprised with the results!  

Until next time, Be Well.

*Source used: www.herbwisdom.com