So it’s happened. You washed your hands and didn’t touch your sick friends with a 10-foot pole at the holiday party. Yet, you are sick. Coughing. Sneezing. Feeling like a bus ran over you. Flu-like symptoms are the body’s natural way of fighting pathogens. So don’t fight the symptoms by masking them, fight the root causes- those nasty bugs and a compromised immune system. Before you put yourself in a drowsy coma of over-the-counter flu medication, give these natural remedies a shot!
- Drink those fluids: our body is 90% water. We need proper hydration to stay healthy and even more so when we are sick. If you are sick, drink lots of water and herbal teas to help flush the toxins out of your body. Also load up on fresh fruit and vegetable juices (not the boxed kind) as they are packed with a potent dose of vitamins and minerals. So drink up to fight that bug!
- Oil of oregano: this stuff is potent but it works! Oil of oregano is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps alleviate congestion and stimulates white blood cell production. Take 4-8 drops of oil of oregano underneath your tongue, let it absorb under your palette for a couple of minutes and chase it with water.
- The 3G triple threat: Garlic, Ginger and Ginseng – the 3 musketeers of the immune system! Garlic contains compounds such as Allicin that have amazing antibiotic properties. Add fresh garlic to your food or eat some raw chopped garlic with hot tea. Ginger contains almost a dozen antiviral compounds that can help beat that nasty flu! Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties, reduces pain and fever, and acts as a mild sedative. Boil a 2” piece of ginger in water for 10 minutes and drink it as a tea with some honey. This magic potion will soothe your throat, provide hydration and fight pathogens. The last member of our triple threat is ginseng. It stimulates the production of white blood cells, the troops of your immune system. Consider taking a ginseng supplement when you feel sick to shorten the length of the infection.
- Herbal relief: herbs provide a gentle way to fight infections. Try Echinacea and Astragalus as tinctures or teas for some relief. Echinacea has been proven to shorten the length of illness. Astragalus is a Chinese root herb that stimulates the production of white blood cells.
- The power of Zinc: this mineral is an integral part of our immune system as it is needed in the production of white blood cells. If you have a sore throat, try zinc lozenges from your local health food store. They will soothe your throat and fight the flu!
- Salt water to the rescue: if you have a sore throat, try gargling with lukewarm salt water. It is an old-time remedy that always does the trick. If you have congestion and post-nasal drip, try a neti-pot with some warm salt water, 1-2 times a day, to help clear out those sinuses.
- Rest! Rest! Rest! : listen to your body and slow down the pace of your daily routine. When you are sick your body needs to conserve its energy and re-focus it towards fighting the infection. Ample sleep (7-8 hours a night) and plenty of relaxation are key components of getting better quickly. The more you push yourself and deny the body of rest, the longer you prolong the sickness. So grab a good book, herbal tea and your favorite blanket- it’s time to beat that flu!
Hang in there trooper! Feed your body good, wholesome food and natural remedies, and let nature take care of fighting the infection.