Alternatively titled: Being Sick Sucks, but I changed it because, you know, SEO and stuff.
Whatever the title, it’s officially here. Germ season. Sunday evening I felt drained, but sure enough yesterday it full on hit me. Lethargy, stuffy nose, sore throat; the general ‘crud’ that likes to start making its round during the most wonderful time of the year. Though there is never a good time to feel under the weather, these two weeks before Christmas prove to be a super sucky time to feel sick. There are so many things to be doing and people to be seeing that spending even a day under the weather can be incredibly frustrating.
I’ll be honest, I was thisclose to going to the doctor and asking for antibiotics when I woke up Monday morning feeling like garbage. If you know me, this is a huge deal because I loathe the overuse of antibiotics. I haven’t taken them in years. The girls have never taken them. I don’t say that for any pats on the back because I dropped trying to be the crunchiest of crunchy moms a long time ago and am a supporter of all the good modern medicine does for us. I am also a firm believer in the importance of a healthy gut for overall immunity and well-being, so the idea of wiping out all that good bacteria makes my stomach hurt (both figuratively and literally).
So being the patient woman I am (still no sarcasm font, huh?), I decided to give it one solid day of throwing every natural remedy I have at it, then decide whether or not a trip to the doctor was warranted. Well well, what do you know, I feel SO much better today.
Since it’s the season for the crud to start making its round, I wanted to share with you the natural remedies I swear by. These are not things I’ve read about or googled, but the tried and true methods I use when I get sick. Without further adieu, I give you my natural medicine arsenal!
Garlic. If you are only going to choose one natural cure to try, make it this one. Raw garlic has a property called allicin that is released when the raw garlic is crushed or chopped. It is a natural defense compound in the garlic that only stays “active” for 2-16 hours at room temperature after extracted (crushed). Allicin has incredibly potent antibacterial and antiviral power that will seriously wipe out a sore throat in 24 hours.
The trick with garlic though is that you have to be a little hardcore about it. Yesterday I think I did 7-8 cloves throughout the day. Simply peel the clove, cut it in half and pop it in your mouth. It will be spicy. Use your teeth to slightly crush the clove and release the juice. Swallowing the garlic juices helps the allicin compound to your throat and is important in killing whatever bacteria or virus is ailing you. Do this for about 10 minutes, then spit it out (or swallow it!). Repeat every 1-2 hours for optimum results.
I know your breath will reek and everything you eat that day will taste like garlic, but it really, really works!
Apple Cider Vinegar/Lemon/Honey. I’ve talked numerous times about the many uses of apple cider vinegar. When you’re feeling congested, it’s the magic you want to reach for. ACV is a natural expectorant, meaning it helps thin mucus and get it out of your system, a natural version of Mucinex if you will. It’s potent though, so I make it enjoyable to drink by adding 1 Tbsp-ish of ACV to 8-10 ounces of hot water, adding about 1 Tbsp of honey and a splash of lemon. Honey can help soothe a sore throat and lemon adds extra vitamin c. Basically a power house tonic! I had 2 of these concoctions yesterday.
Probiotics. That gut health I referenced? More and more research is showing it’s importance in overall well being from playing roles in immunity to depression. Natural probiotics can be found in yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, among others. Though I take a daily probiotic supplement, I also kick up the probiotic foods when I start feeling run down.
If you aren’t a kraut fan, I beg of you to try this garlic dill pickle variety. Even the kids devour it.
Gargling Salt. I remember my mom making me do this as a kid. It almost always made me gag, but almost always makes me feel better. Warm salt water (1/4-1/2 tsp in 8 ounces of warm water) can loosen gunk in the throat and help soothe it. 3-4 times a day when you are feeling sick is plenty. You don’t want to overdo it or the excess salt can actually inflame your throat. If you have a hard time gargling, try doing it in the shower. It won’t matter if you spit and sputter. I know that sounds weird, but the hot steam helps too.
Vitamins. I do take daily vitamins, but sometimes I forget. Maybe it’s mental, but if I forget for a week or so straight, I always feel my immunity suffer. Vitamin D and Vitamin C are important in preventing illness and though I prefer to get nutrients from food, having a back up system is helpful, especially during this time of year. When I’m feeling rundown, I also am a firm believer in zinc. In my experience, taking zinc, vitamin C and elderberry (in the form of syrup or supplement) can really help kick a cold before it gets you down.
Essential Oils. Ok, If I’m being honest, I’m still a total newbie with essential oils. I know so many people swear by them, including one of my best friends. I ordered some through her and am enjoying having them on hand. I use them with the girls and myself, diluded to a suitable potency, and feel like I have seen some improvement with cough and cold symptoms when they are used at the first sign of trouble. I have the blends in rollers and apply them to the bottom of feet (then cover with socks) and on the lower spine/back every 4-5 hours.
I’m particularly fond of the OnGuard blend from DoTerra or oregano oil (a powerful antibiotic). I’ve heard peppermint is great for reducing fevers and headaches, but have not used that one myself. I’m interested in learning more and continuing to try them. Perhaps I see a diffuser in my future?
Yes, maybe some new labels are in order too. The one on the left is a blend of frankincense, lemon and oregano. It makes me smell like a pizza. I kind of love it.
Rest. The most underrated of them all perhaps is rest. If I am able to spend one day resting, I can save myself a week of sickness. It isn’t always easy to come by, but I lucked out that the girls were absolutely dolls yesterday. They played together (mostly kindly the whole time) for hours while I rested on the couch. I thanked my lucky stars for the cloudy, rainy day which lent itself to indoor games of playing mommy, including taking care of me, which was adorable.
Both Sunday night and last night I also went to bed at 8:45. No shame in my game. I know sleep heals my body. Hailey was up at 3:00 am this morning, then Kaitlyn was up at 3:45 am this morning, so when my alarm went off at 6:00 am, I hit ignore and slept in, knowing I needed it. That’s why I’m late blogging but you guys, I feel GOOD today. Like, really good. I have a slight lingering stuffy nose (left side only- isn’t that always weird when you have congestion only on one side?), but my energy is good and my throat feels great.
I’ll probably have another ACV drink today and garlic clove just to knock it out, but again, I’m floored by what natural remedies can do.
Other remedies to note: neti pot (I love this to help with seasonal allergies), breathing warm steam, drinking a lot of warm liquids, oil pulling and staying away from sugar/white foods.
For more on natural health, check out these posts!
Do you have any natural remedies you swear by?