After getting phone calls from both my Mom and sister (who live in separate parts of the country!) asking what to do for their colds and then seeing a few friends on Facebook also mention they had colds, I figured it might be worth mentioning my top cold holistic remedies. If you are suffering from a cold, try some of these remedies out. They are easy to do, more affordable than buying medicine and have no negative side effects. A cold is really your body’s way of saying, “Yo! SLOW DOWN! I need a break!” So, slow down, take the day off and rest. You’ll body will thank you by recovering and rejuvenating itself and you’ll be back to your busy schedule in no time!
p.s. – For all you spring time allergy sufferers, these tips would work great for you too!
Feel better soon!
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – Make an ACV tea to sip and/or gargle. Use 2 tablespoons ACV, 1-2 tablespoons honey (to taste), lemon juice (again, to taste) and a little hot water to dilute. It's potent but the stronger it is, the faster it will work (of course you can change the amounts of everything to your liking). Use it 3-4 times a day (less is ok too but the more you do it, the better the results).
2. Immune Support – Whole Foods has a few varieties (like Wellness Herbal Resistance Liquid from Source Naturals). Oil of Oregano is an excellent antimicrobial and antiviral treatment as well. Take 1-2 drops of medical/food organic grade, once a day (do NOT use if pregnant). Zinc lozenges can make the cold and sore throat shorter and less severe. Take any of these at the first sign of a cold.
3. Ginger – Ginger helps bring down inflammation, clear congestion and support the immune system. Drink 2-3 cups of fresh ginger tea daily. Freshly grated ginger root (about 2 teaspoons) in a cup of hot water is best but Yogi Teas also makes a ginger tea. It’s great to soothe sore throats too!
4. Increase Vitamin C & D - Vitamin C has long been known to support the immune system and fight off colds. As with any supplement, check with your doctor first but about 500-2000 milligrams every 2 hours is recommended. Fruits and veggies high in Vitamin C are oranges, kiwis, bell peppers, guavas, strawberries, dark leafy greens, papaya, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Additionally, having enough Vitamin D reduces your risk of catching a cold in the first place. Sunlight and fish are great sources of D.
5. Neti pot - Every morning and night, fill the net pot with a small amount of salt (about 1 teaspoon) in warm water to wash out sinuses. The salt kills bacteria and the warm water flushes out the nasal passages. Nasal irrigation can be an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms.
6. Eucalyptus Oil – This can be done as a quick steam in the shower (just shake a few drops at either end of the tub/stall) or if you have more time, a more intense steam treatment. Put 4-5 drops of eucalyptus oil in a glass bowl. Add boiling water and lean over the bowl. Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam in and inhale deeply for 5-10 minutes. Repeat twice a day (those with liver disease/problems should not use eucalyptus oil). The steam will open up your nasal passages so you can breathe better. Your stuffy nose with be a thing of history!
7. Honey - Make sure it’s local and raw. Honey has antioxidants, antiviral and antibacterial properties, boosts the immune system and soothes sore throats and coughs. Add 1-2 tablespoons to your ACV tea, ginger tea or just a cup of warm boiled water. Add some lemon for the added benefit of Vitamin C.
(Don’t give honey to infants and young children). As healthy as honey is, make sure you don’t overdo it (see #8 below!).
8. Just say NO (to sugar!) - Sugar weakens your immune system! It may be tempting when you have a sore throat to have hard candies, sugar in your tea, pudding/jello, popsicles/ice cream but if it’s high in sugar … STEP AWAY! This will only make you sicker and prolong your cold. Opt for sugar free items or better yet, just stick to tea sans the sweetener and soups.
9. Eat Healthy and Light – The more energy your body uses to digest food, the less it has for the immune system. So eat healthy and light like soups, teas, fresh fruits and veggies (no sugar, no dairy, no gluten). Chicken soup (broth, veggies, warmth and all) boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation of the lungs (which causes congestion/coughs). So Mom was right after all! Chicken soup is Jewish penicillin! J
10. Rest – Get lots of rest (massage, anyone?) and sleep (do nothing, seriously!). Your body needs time and energy to fight off the germs and recover. You’ll find the duration of your colds are greatly reduced when you really stop and rest. Take the day off (no one likes to be around a sick person anyway and wouldn’t you feel bad for getting everyone in your office sick, too?). If you really keep pushing yourself, your cold will only last longer.