By Katie Stanley, Contributing Writer
It’s that time of year again. The weather is cooling off and more people are spending more time inside. It’s also that time of year when candy, cookies, coffee drinks and all sorts of other sweets seem to be consumed in greater quantities. All those sweets make it hard for immune systems to function well, the more that is consumed the more weakened that immune systems become. Weakened immune systems combined with more time inside with people who may already be sick leads to even more people getting sick since your immune system has a difficult time fighting the illness off.
I was a victim of that more times than I can count growing up. At Christmas it was always easy to sneak extra treats when mom wasn’t around at the family celebrations. My brother and I without fail ended up sick enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. He got to the point of joking with my mom that she didn’t have to make us sick just to visit him.
My mom, who never fed us large amounts of sugar and rarely took us to the doctor, was frustrated. Who really wants their kids to be so sick and miserable while visiting family 2,000 miles away? It was not a fun experience for anyone.
She took matters into her own hands by boosting our immune systems with herbal tinctures and seriously limiting our sugar for two weeks before leaving to visit family. What do you know, we didn’t get sick again till high school when we rebelled and ate all the sugar we wanted.
No one wants to be sick or to have their children sick. Being preventative is always the best way to stay healthy. Reality of life is that most of us will still get sick from time to time. It also does not mean you need to give up all hope and suffer through the sickness for weeks on end. There are simple and effective ways to stopping a cold in its tracks in a matter of days. Not only are most of these methods easy to do/prepare, you will also find yourself saving money too!
1. Herbal Tea
I love tea so much that I wrote a book about it! Seriously though, tea is the one of the easiest and tastiest ways to treat a cold. Sipping on a warm cup of tea is soothing and relaxing even when you are not sick. When you have cold you can make a pot of herbal tea that will heal and nourishing your body.
Herbs like cinnamon, ginger, peppermint, spearmint, licorice root, marshmallow root, and fenugreek are tasty and healing. Some of these herbs are found in my healing chai tea.
Tinctures are one of the most effective ways to get herbs in your system. They get into your blood stream very quickly. They can be made from vodka, glycerin or apple cider vinegar. Typically vodka tinctures are given to adults and glycerine tinctures to young children. You can buy or make tinctures to suit many different needs. Tinctures made with immunity boosting herbs like Echinacea are extremely healthful when you are exposed to sickness or first start to feel ill. Try this immune stimulating tincture.
3. Chicken Bone Broth
Who hasn’t been told to eat a bowl of chicken noodle soup when they are sick? Unfortunately, if you reached for a can of soup from the shelf on the store might feel comforting it does little to heal you. The true “Jewish Penicillin” is broth made from bones. As they simmer, the bones release gelatin, sulphates, glucosamine, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, silicon, phosphorus and trace minerals that are easily absorbed into the body, they not only heal but sooth as well. Making your own chicken bone broth is easy!
4. Fire Cider
“Fire Cider” or as I call my version, “Knock Your Socks off Cold Kicking Cider” stops a cold like nobodies business. It is a combination of apple cider vinegar, onions, garlic, ginger, hot peppers and turmeric. I was giving my girls a dose of it one morning when everyone was coming down with colds and they were complaining about taking it. It’s natural, vinegar with hot spices, garlic and onions is not easy to down. I must have taken 5 shots of it in one morning to show my teens that it wasn’t so bad. My cold was gone in two days flat.
5. Avoid Sugar
Sugar, especially refined sugar weakens the immune system. When you eat high amounts of sugar, it increases inflammation. Your white blood cells focus on the inflammation, not the virus you may have caught. Weakened immune systems make it hard to for your body to fight off the germs that you are around.
6. Less Grain
Some people will well you to avoid all grains while sick. It may be easier to focus on eating less grain and cutting out refined white flour than grains all together. Grains break down as sugar in your body.
7. Less Dairy
People go back and forth on this one. Raw dairy is amazing for you. Fermented dairy like kefir and yogurt are rich in probiotics. If your gut is unhealthy, then you are unhealthy. The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods build up and heal your gut. The issue with dairy is that is creates more mucus. If you are already trying to clear up congestion it can make it more difficult. I prefer to get my probiotics from pickles, kimchi and other fermented foods when sick.
This is one that is easy to understand from everyday life. When we don’t have enough rest our bodies don’t run as efficiently. It is also easier said than done, especially if you are a mom of young kids.
Fluids are very important in the healing process. Be sure to drink lots of water, herbal tea and bone broth. It is easy to become dehydrated when sick.
Salves are amazing! They aren’t just for treating wounds and rashes. You can make salves for congestion and headaches. Forget using vapor rub from the store. Instead make one from healthy oils and herbs.
11. Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils in your home is effective as well. Personally I don’t have a diffuser yet. I like to add a couple drops to me showers to breath in the vapors while I shower. Blends like Breath are wonderful for aiding in clearing congestion. Lavender is relaxing. Peppermint can refresh and help clear the sinuses as well. (Be sure to research what oils are best for young children and pregnant woman.) You can make shower disks and add essential oils to those.
Forget taking cough and cold syrups from the store. They contain added sugars and food dyes. Making your own syrups is much easier than you think. This child friendly cough syrup only uses lemon juice, raw honey and coconut oil. You can also make syrup perfect for the common cold from herbs. Elderberry syrup is wonderful for boosting your immune system and tastes great too!
What are your tips for stopping a cold in its tracks?