It's flu season, my friends. YUCK.
I don't know about you, but I hate being sick. With a fiery passion. I hate being stuck on my deathbed (*ahem* I mean the couch) for days on end, buried under blankets, tissues piling up around me, just trying to breathe and find another movie to watch on Netflix.
Ain't nobody got time for that!
But, unfortunately, that is exactly what I was doing last week.
It's a bit ironic, actually. Not even a week before, I had been talking to a family member about how I hadn't been sick in over a year and I was so proud of myself and blah, blah, BLAH.
Just a little PSA for you all... DON'T EVER BRAG ABOUT NOT GETTING SICK.
If you do, you will almost certainly come down with some awful bug immediately after.
Pride cometh before a fall, my friends, and that's for certain.
Thankfully, I have quite an arsenal of natural remedies on hand to destroy said awful bugs, so I pulled out all the stops on this one and I am happy to report that there have been significant germ casualties. In other words, I FEEL LIKE A HUMAN BEING AGAIN AND IT'S SO WONDERFUL.
All that being said, the memory of how terrible I felt is still fresh in my mind and it got me thinking. There are lots of people getting sick right now. They're even saying this flu season is one of the worst we've had in several years.
So, if you've caught the flu that's going around, I am SO sorry. I feel your pain. And I'm here to offer help and relief!
Or, if you're hoping and praying that you avoid it (and believe me, you should be), many of the natural remedies I'm about to share with you can be used as preventative measures too!
But before we dive on in...
As a little disclaimer, I am obviously not a doctor or a medical professional. These home remedies are things that I use any time someone in our house gets sick and they work extremely well for us. They do not work the same way as drugstore medications or antibiotics because they are completely natural and work with your body to strengthen and promote the healing process. As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding these things, talk to your doctor.
Got it? Good. Let's get down to business.
1. Essential Oils - I am absolutely convinced that these bad boys are the reason I had not been sick in over a year. I got my first oils last year for Christmas and I have been faithfully using them ever since. Great oils that help your body fight an illness include Theives (or another immunity blend), clove, orange, and lemon. Oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, malecula, Purification, and rosemary help with congestion. You can use these oils in your diffuser, add a drop of Theives to your tea, or make a homemade chest rub to ease coughing and stuffed up sinuses. I even make my own disinfecting cleaner to use throughout the house to prevent germs from spreading.
2. Fresh Garlic & Ginger - The moment my husband or I feel a little stuffed up, I make a small pot of garlic and ginger steam. Just peel and roughly chop a few cloves of garlic and a knob of fresh ginger, add them to a small pot, cover with water, and bring it to a nice steamy boil. You can either stand there with your head over the pot (not too close, you don't want to burn yourself!) and breathe in the steam while it continues to boil, or you can remove the pot from the heat and lean over it with a towel draped over your head to trap the steam. The spicyness of the ginger with relieve congestion, and garlic is known for it's incredible immune-boosting powers (you can even chew on a fresh clove if you're brave enough!). This process also sooths a stubborn cough or chest congestion, a sore throat, or hoarse voice.
3. Echinacea - I don't know why more people don't talk about Echinacea. Gives your immune system a good boost, acts as an anti-inflammatory, AND it's a gorgeous flower?! Yes please. I have found this in capsule and tea bag form at my local health food store, but you can always get it online instead.
4. Elderberry - Because of all the yucky ingredients, I don't use cough syrup anymore. However, I have been fully converted to elderberry syrup. It relieves coughing and chest congestion in magical ways, I'm telling you. Pick up a bottle the next time you're at a health food store and you will see what I mean. You can also find it in capsules or cough drop form.
5. Water & Tea - I will never forget being sick as a child and my mom constantly reminding me to "Drink your fluids, Rachel! Drink your fluids!". Well, mothers really do know best, my friends. Staying hydrated does all kinds of wonderful things for us on any given day, but when we're sick, it's even more important to drink up. This will help your body detox, fight off germs, recover from a headache, repair damaged cells... the list goes on and on. Plus, if you opt for tea, you'll get even more herbal benefits that can ease your sore throat, calm your tummy, relax your aching muscles, etc., etc., etc.
6. Epsom Salt Baths - It's good to sweat every day. It means your blood it pumping and your body is working on getting rid of toxins. While it's no fun to do an intense workout when you feel awful, it is quite the opposite to take a simple bath. Add a cup or so of Epsom salts (and maybe a few drops of lavender essential oil) to hot bath water and soak for at least 20 minutes. Keep the room as warm as you can stand to create a kind of sauna. It's also helpful to have a glass of cold water nearby in case you get thirsty. As a side note, it is perfectly acceptable to drain a little once it cools off and add more hot water so you can soak a little longer. Or a lot longer. No judgement here!
7. Sleep - Maybe this one should be at the top of the list. It's SO important. The healing powers found behind your eyelids just might be more helpful to your body than all of these remedies put together. I'm not kidding. I know we're all busy and have things to do, but listen - just go take a nap. Or two! You're not doing yourself, or anyone else for that matter, any good by continuing to run poor body into the ground. Grab a cozy blanket and hit the couch, my friend.
8. Vitamin C & Zinc - I think this goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Vitamin C and zinc should be permanently stocked in your remedy cabinet. You can take them every day to keep your immune system strong and avoid all the germs people love to share, and you can double up if you do come down with something to recover faster.
9. Raw Honey - I could talk all day about why I love raw honey. But, for the sake of time, I will simply say that this liquid gold does WONDERS for a cough - especially that awful kind that won't quit bugging you. Just eat a spoonful out of the jar or swirl a little in your hot tea and you will never go back, I promise.
10. A Humidifier - Ok, I'm a little embarrassed to admit this one, but what the heck. It works, so why not. You know how you have to breathe through your mouth while you sleep if you have a cold because otherwise you would die? Yeah. I'm not a huge fan of that. BUT, using a humidifier next to your bed while you sleep will seriously change your life. Say goodbye to waking up 10 million times during the night with a dry mouth and sore throat!