Are you prepared for the cold winter months ahead? Have you resorted to over-the-counter drugs only because they were the only thing available in your pantry/medicine cabinet at the time? I know I have.
Don't go through another winter season without the amazing power of nature. Read through the following list of home remedies designed to fight pathogens and build the immune system, then head to the store or go online and stock up on nature's ingredients so you are prepared when the viruses and germs start circulating.
Herbs, Essential Oils and Common Sense
1. Wrap a scarf around your neck whenever you go out into cool air. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), our yang meridians converge at the back of our neck, making us susceptible to illness when exposed to cold air.
2. Drink your daily dose of homemade ginger tea. Ginger boasts high levels of Vitamin C, magnesium and other trace minerals. Ginger is also antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and antiparasitic. Purchase raw, bulk ginger in the produce section of your grocery store. Cut a few thin slices of this powerful root and put inside of a mug. Pour boiling water over the top and cover with lid to prevent the essential oils from escaping. Steep for 20-30 minutes, then strain. Add honey, lemon or milk if desired for taste.
3. Your skin provides protection from your surroundings. Prevent dry, cracked skin that can expose your system to microbes by using quality grass fed tallow soap and a single oil moisturizer such as jojoba oil. Avoid soaps and detergents (liquid soap) with artificial fragrances and lab-created ingredients. Your skin is your first line of defense. Maintain the integrity of your skin by using a quality bar of soap that contains the richest source of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) and a hefty dose of Omega 3's. We tend to forget how much we ingest through our skin - feed it right.
4. Have a bottle of Oregano Essential Oil around the home. If you experience symptoms from a cold or flu, rub the oil on the bottom of your feet every 30 minutes. Oregano is known for its antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic properties. The bottom of the foot houses many reflexology points that can positively affect the organs and immune system. This is just one reason why application to the foot can be so beneficial for the entire body.
5. While absolutely dreadful (in my opinion), chew on a fresh clove of garlic at the first sign of a cold. Garlic is also antibacterial, antifungal and a potent antioxidant. In fact, the plant compound allicin, which helps to give garlic that undeniable odor, is one of the most powerful antioxidants we can consume. Unfortunately, garlic is most effective when taken raw. Peel one fresh clove of garlic, have a glass of water handy and toss that thing into your mouth. Chew and swallow as fast as humanly possible to avoid the burn (ok, personal preference). Do this at the first sign of a cold. Personally, as soon as I feel a tickle in my throat, I know it's time for another dose. If you can handle it, chewing garlic daily is also an effective prevention tool for a host of ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease and fungal infections.
6. Make a natural cough remedy which can not only coat your throat, but also attack viruses, bacteria and pathogens as well. In a clean, glass jar, combine 1 cup of honey with 1/2 onion sliced thin (any onion will do) and 6 garlic cloves crushed. Stir, then cover and allow to steep at room temperature for 8 hours. Then, add the fresh-squeezed juice from one lemon; stir well. Then, strain the liquid into a new clean glass jar and cover with a lid. Use within 6 weeks. Take 1 Tbsp. to soothe a cough and/or 1 Tbsp. every day to keep pathogens away!
If the cold is just one of those persistent, 'I'm gonna get you anyways' kind of colds, relax. Let your body run its course and provide it with the nutrition, herbs and essential oils it needs to combat the illness. Eat vitamin C rich foods, make an onion and bone broth soup to help expell the pathogen and get plenty of rest.
Sometimes our bodies just need to get sick to develop immunity and that's ok too. Just be careful of taking any otc cold pills or liquids. These can have long-term negative side effects that can build up in your body.