Friday, September 30, 2011

'Tis the Season for . . . Colds and Flu

Yup. When the weather starts changing and lots of people go back to school, it's the season of being sick. I can't remember the last time I even had a sniffle, but I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and it's only gotten worse. By now, I feel mildly miserable as it's moved a bit into my ears and is also giving me a headache. Here's what I'm NOT going to do: I'm not going to pump myself up with vitamin C pills, eat ice cream to soothe my throat (that used to be my cure-all), consume any over-the-counter medication, get a flu shot, or go to the doctor for some antibiotics. None of those are very good choices when dealing with a common cold, but this is what I AM doing:
  • Eating a whole foods plant based diet. I will obtain all the nutrients I need (including vitamin C) from eating lots of local produce. Our bodies don't absorb and utilize vitamins and minerals taken out of context anyway, so taking vitamin C capsules doesn't do much good. Eating a whole foods plant based diet also includes avoiding sugars, which is a major bummer because that's what we all crave when not feeling well. But, sugar lowers the immune system up to 40% for 3-4 hours after its consumption. So no "treating ourselves" when we're sick. It only keeps us sicker for longer.
  • Taking garlic capsules. Garlic is a wonder-worker, and among its many benefits are its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. I already consume lots of garlic in my diet, so I'm also taking Kyolic brand garlic capsules. I bought their immune formula, so it also contains astragalus, which is another great herb to take when sick because it boosts your white blood cell count.
  • I'm about to make Elderberry Immune Syrup. This unfortunately won't be ready for about two weeks (and I sure hope I won't still be needing it then) because I have to make an elderberry glycerite first, but it's a great thing to have around for bouts of a cold or flu because elderberries stimulate the immune system. You can buy elderberry products at a natural health foods store, but I can't resist the opportunity to make my own.
  • I just made Slippery Elm Pastilles. They're a homemade remedy for a sore throat. Slippery elm bark (Ulmus fulva) is the main component, and it is made up of the lining of the bark of the tree. It's a demulcent, which means that it's soothing to inflamed or irritated tissues. Slippery elm bark is rich in mucilage, which is a gummy secretion from a plant, and it's this mucilage that soothes the throat on the way down. The other ingredients in the pastilles are honey and some sweet orange essential oil for flavoring. I can't wait to try them tomorrow!
This is what they look like right now. I don't know what they'll look like when they're finished - I have to leave them out to dry for 24 hours.

So there you have it. Some (but not the only) safe, effective ways to deal with the fall sick season. Do you have any favorite home remedies you rely on during this time?


Caroline said...

Well aren't you knowledgable! I'm going to have to start trying some of your Vintage Remedies

Sharon Telschow said...

BRAIN CRUSH!!! I find sometimes when my throat starts to bother me it is a good time to give everything a good dusting. As I recall you much better at keeping things dusted than I, but I tend to get a lot of dog dust and whatnot. So sometimes it is simply a matter of a good clean. A little bit of honey (maybe it is psychological) but the Indiana/Savannah transition always gave me a cold and honey tended to help that recovery.