Feel A Cold Coming On? 7 Holistic Remedies to Stop a Cold In Its Tracks
As we move into Autumn, more and more people are catching a cold. A sore throat, an achy body, congestion… A blocked nose can be a real nuisance, especially when it deprives you of much needed sleep!
When you feel a cold coming on, stop it in its tracks by giving your body what it needs to fight off the invaders quickly and effectively — and you’ll feel better soon.
Sending love + healing vibes your way,
7 Holistic Remedies For Cold & Flu
1. SLEEP. REST. RELAX.
When you’re sick, the first and most important thing to do is to rest. I know that you know — but let this be a gentle reminder to make it your priority now to take extra good care of yourself. See a doctor and take time off work, even if it’s just for one day. By resting, you allow your immune system to fight off the invaders more quickly, and more successfully. Ever noticed that when you try to push through, it causes even greater stress, and eventually, you end up sicker for longer? Listen to your body & treat yourself with love ♡
2. FOOD & HYDRATION
Taking good care of yourself by nourishing your body with lots of fresh organic fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to prevent disease. When you eat well and stay hydrated, you provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy. (Unless of course you have digestive problems, or are dealing with an underlying viral issue or toxic overload. In that case you may need to work a little extra on cleansing and repairing.)
But of course, no one is a fort and we all get sick once in a while. Is there something you can do foodwise to give your immune system a little extra boost? Most definitely, yes!
First and foremost: stay hydrated! Avoid tap water and drink lots of fresh spring water. This is important for optimal cellular function and to facilitate effective elimination of waste. Boost your spring water with fresh lemon or lime juice or switch it up with herbal infusions like nettle, lemon balm, thyme, rosehip or hibiscus tea.
Not feeling hungry? That’s perfectly okay! Fasting is actually an excellent way to redirect the energy that would otherwise be spent on digestion, to cleansing and immune system function. If you choose to fast, make sure you stay hydrated and warm. Again, lemon water, vegetable juices and herbal teas are great options. If you’re not feeling hungry but you do want to eat something, fresh vegetable soups, smoothies, and fruit are wonderful.
3. TO THE RESCUE W/ THESE 3 NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS
When you’re feeling under the weather, taking high doses of vitamin C can do wonders! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that will give your immune system an extra boost. To make sure what you take actually works, go for a high-quality supplement with high bioavailability. Liposomal vitamin C (vitamin C bound to a lipid) is a great option — it’s better absorbed by your cells than regular vitamin C + it stays in your cells for longer. (1)
Make sure you stay on top of your vitamin D levels. For example in Belgium, most people are vitamin D deficient between October and May — which is one of the reasons why people have lower immunity during these months. Expose your skin to sunshine as much as you feel like between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its highest, to encourage your own body’s production of vitamin D. On days that you’re not exposed to sunshine, especially in Winter, it’s a good idea to supplement with vitamin D. Dosage depends on your situation, so check with a doctor or other health practitioner to see how much you need.
Often overlooked but *so* crucial for healthy immune function is zinc. Because of modern lifestyle (stress, use of medication, consumption of refined foods to name a few) and soil depletion, many people walk around with a zinc deficiency. Symptoms of zinc deficiency are:
lowered immunity: prone to illness and infections
reduced fertility, low libido, PMS
dull skin, hair and nails
white spots on fingernails
poor nail growth
skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and acne
delay in wound healing
dry skin, skin rash
loss of appetite, sense of taste and smell
problems with eyesight
behavioural disturbances, hyperactivity
Good food sources of zinc are nuts & seeds, lentils & beans, mushrooms and wild rice. However, it’s hard to get enough zinc from food sources alone, so supplementation is almost always appropriate. Good quality zinc supplements are liquid zinc sulphate or liquid zinc in a base of fulvic acid. (2) You can get your zinc levels checked by your GP through a blood test.
This is an amazing tip for when you start to feel a sore throat: squeeze 4-5 drops of liquid zinc straight into your throat and let it set there for a minute before swallowing. Zinc is antimicrobial and you’ll likely feel the effect immediately!
4. HERBS & MEDICINAL PLANTS
Some herbs & plants that will help you fight a cold are echinacea, ginger, thyme, lemon balm, garlic, and elderberries.
Echinacea: you can take either as a tincture, in capsules, or as an infusion. It is best to take echinacea only for a certain period of time, from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, because echinacea stimulates your immune system to send out more white blood cells. Taking echinacea for a longer amount of time can overstimulate your immune system.
Ginger: a very powerful plant that has strong antiviral & antibacterial properties. It can also be used to help relieve tension headaches, migraines, muscle spasms and any type of bacterial, viral or parasitic infection.
Thyme: potent antiviral, helps destroy viruses like the flu & herpetic viruses (3)
Lemon balm: anti-parasitic, antiviral and antibacterial, helps calm the digestive & nervous system, and helps detoxify liver & kidneys (3)
Garlic: helps fight the common cold, flus, strep throat and pneumonia-causing bacteria. It’s also rich in sulphur, which supports a healthy immune & detoxification system (3)
Elderberries: rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, helping your immune system fight off invaders more quickly and efficiently. Elderberries can also help loosen and expel mucus from the lungs. Can be used as a treatment as well as preventive. You can also make your own sugar-free elderberry syrup.
5. BONUS TIP: SAUNA
Sauna’s stimulate detoxification through the skin, improve lymphatic flow, reduce inflammation, en generally strengthen your immune system function. Especially infrared saunas (mild, dry heat) and himalayan salt stone saunas (rich mineralization) are effective for treating colds.
6. BONUS TIP: MAGNESIUM BATH
Taking a hot magnesium bath in the evening can help relieve congestion, loosen and expel mucus, relieve tension and body aches, and promote a quality sleep. For a relaxing magnesium bath, add 1 cup of magnesium chloride, 6 heaping tbsp of raw celtic salt and a dash of olive oil to the tub and bathe for at least 20 minutes. You can add a few drops of lavender essential oil for an extra relaxing + disinfecting effect.
7. BONUS TIP: EUCALYPTUS STEAM BATH
Make a facial steam bath at home by filling a bowl with boiled water and adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Hang a towel over your head as you let the steam clear your airways.
(3) From Life-Changing Foods. Save Yourself and the Ones You Love With the Hidden Healing Powers of Fruits & Vegetables by Anthony William