Natural Remedies to Kick the Common Cold

January 8, 2016

get well soon card


I know we hardly EVER get sick because we're SO healthy, but here are some tips for that rare occasion when careless holiday eating, stress, and/or the blues make you crash...

Weird phenomenon: when you are struck down with a cold, you often forget to do even the most obvious things to help yourself (<-- hey, that's the name of my upcoming kids' cookbook, pun intended!), am I right? Sometimes you need a reminder. 

Here are my natural home remedy practices to help you kick the common cold and kickstart your immune response as quickly as possible (good for preventative care, too!)—cycle through these throughout the day:

• OPT FOR OREGANO OIL: This stuff is powerful and good to have around to use preventatively. In the midst of a cold, take 1-2 drops at a time a few times a day. You'll feel the burn, and it feels right—like germs are getting killed on contact. Get it at any health food store. 

• SWISH SEA SALT: For sore throats, stir enough salt into some warm water to make it quite salty. Gargle, spit, repeat. You can also drink some salt water if you're feeling wheezy—asthmatic friends report it helps right away. 

• GET NETI: At first I denied that this neti pot (or any kind shaped like a tiny tea pot) was special, but it really does make nasal rinsing so gentle and not horrible like other squeeze-bottle ones I've had. I add 8 oz of water to a pot, heat for just a few seconds to a gently lukewarm level, and stir in one NeilMed packet (PH-balanced, USP-grade sodium chloride) so your salt is always safe and properly proportioned to the water. The neti pot holds 4 oz, so you have at least two "doses" ready for the day. You'll be shocked by what will rinse loose from your sinuses when you're sick. WOW. If you've never nettied, watch a demo

 STEAM STATION: For sore throats, coughs, and stuffy noses, set this up once and do it throughout the day as needed. Boil water in a pot with either A) lemon wedges and their juice, which are antibacterial or B) a few drops of peppermint and/or eucalyptus essential oils (these really help congestion immediately—alternatively, rub on your hands then hold them to your face). When the water is nice and bubbly, put a towel over your head like a hoodie, stand over the pot, and waft the steam toward you, taking deep breaths through nose and mouth. NOTE: if you're treating a child, pour the hot water into a bowl and set it on a table to be safer. Added benefit: your skin will look lovely, dewy, and rosy. 

• POUND PROBIOTICS: Take a therapeutic dose every day, maybe even twice if it feels right. My favorite: Natren MegaDophilus Dairy-Free powder (mild taste, I like it better than swallowing capsules, easier to mete out your doses, too). My opinion: probiotics should come from the refrigerated section of your health food store only.  

• LOVE THE LIQUIDS: Get some kombucha, raw juice, "breathe easy" tea, and/or mix the best Vitamin C into water and sip all day. If you feel hungry, eat high water-content foods only (raw food like citrus) and brothy soups (spicy helps the most, try a version of this gorgeous kimchee soup, ready in minutes). Skip breads, pastas, and sugar—obviously.

• MOISTURIZE YOUR MUG: Ugh, all that tissue use can make your face dry and raw and then besides feeling terrible you look terrible, nooooooo! Dampen your face with a warm washcloth, then lightly rub on a layer of your favorite botanical oil blend. I think the BEST is Living Libations Best Skin Ever Seabuckthorn. Let it soak in, then gently pat dry if you need to. 

To your health!