What better time to write a post like this then when you are in the midst of battling a cold. I’ve been sick for the last four days, fighting what feels like an endless battle. It started with a tingle in my throat. Then, that turned into congestion in my sinuses, which then lead to a throbbing headache. I’ve been sneezing non-stop the last two days, having to carry around a roll of toilet paper wherever I go. It has not been fun, to say the very least…
I am sure most of us can relate to feeling sick around this time of year. Many of us are feeling run down; overworked, overtired, overextended. The list goes on. I think what a lot of us fail to realize is that when we allow ourselves to become so enveloped in our jobs, relationships, our families (anything that requires a significant amount of our energy), we often lose sight of caring for ourselves. When our bodies are in a state of consistent stress, they never fully have the opportunity to heal from the stressors. This means that our immune defenses are usually down, which makes us more susceptible to illness.
Belief Becomes Biology
This is what recently happened to me. I’ve spent the last couple of months hyper-focused on my work life that I abandoned all of the wellness habits that I worked so hard to cultivate. When the body is ill, it is generally trying to signal to us that we need to slow down and pay attention. From an energetic perspective, there is usually something in our external environment that is causing a great amount of stress on the body, The body is depleted of vitamins and minerals much quicker when it is under stress, which then manifests itself in different kinds of illnesses.
Addressing Unhealthy Patterns
It’s important to become aware of unhealthy patterns in your life and to address them, so that you can prevent yourself from getting to the stage of burnout. In addition, we need to be able to identify toxic thoughts or belief systems we have about ourselves and work towards changing them into something more positive. I am a firm believer that our beliefs become our biology. That is why it is so imperative that we are compassionate towards ourselves, and feed our minds with positive thoughts.
In addition to identifying stressors in our environment, becoming more aware of our body’s response to stress and doing the inner work necessary to help create healthier thought patterns, I wanted to share some natural remedies for colds that can help your body cope with the stress of being sick, and to help alleviate some of the symptoms experienced from the common cold.
Please note that I do not claim to be any expert on this topic (or any topic for that matter). I am just sharing my personal experience of what has been helpful for me in hopes that it may help others.
5 Natural Remedies To Help Get You Through Cold & Flu Season
- Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry Syrup comes from elderberries which are known for enhancing the immune system, diminishing swelling in the mucus membranes, and shortening the duration of a cold. The Elderberry syrup I use is by a company called Suro. I really like their syrup because they are a Canadian company and certified organic. Their syrup is a blend of elderberries, propolis, echinacea and honey.
2. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is a highly medicinal form of honey that comes from New Zealand and Australia. The honey is made from bees that pollinate the Manuka bush. The higher the pollen count in the Manuka honey, the more medicinal it is considered. The one I use is KFactor 16+, but you can get Manuka honey in all kinds of potencies. Manuka honey is a natural antibiotic and is highly antibacterial. It’s very soothing for sore throats. The one I used is by Wedderspoon.
3. Essential Oil & Epsom Salt Baths
I imagine most people are well aware of the benefits of essential oils by now. They can help to promote relaxation, mood balance, relieve stress, and also have anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. Some of my favourite oils to use when I have a cold are: rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil. When place in hot water, the oils repel the water (sits on top of it). So, it is important to agitate the water with your hands to release the scent of the oils. These oils really help to open your nasal passage and allow for better breathing.
Hot Water & Essential Oils
The hot water, combined with the oils, can also work to take some of the pressure off the sinuses and has a really calming effect on the body. Additionally, the combination of the essential oils, epsom salts and hot water will help promote a detoxifying effect on the body which will help speed up the healing process. Some of my favourite Canadian essential oil brands are: Saje Natural Wellness, Pure Potent Wow & The Apothecary.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body needs. It helps the body perform countless functions. Most of us are deficient in since most of our soil is depleted of nutrients these days. It is crucial to have in our bodies to allow absorption of nutrients from foods. Being deficient in magnesium could very well be why we have so many other vitamin & mineral deficiencies.
A note about Magnesium
In addition to helping our bodies absorb nutrients from food, magnesium also helps to lower blood pressure, promote bone development and also relax muscles. I take magnesium on a regular basis as part of my supplement regimen, but I will often increase my dosage when I am sick. When the body is under a lot of stress, it is depleted of vitamins and minerals much quicker. That’s why it is super important to be getting as much nutrient rich foods into your diet as possible (especially when you are sick). Taking magnesium really helps to promote a state of calm and can also help with headaches or migraines brought on by the cold & flu. The magnesium I use is by CanPrev.
5. Holy Basil
Last but not least, Holy Basil is one of my all-time favourite herbs for dealing with stress, nervousness, and anxiety. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogenic herb. It can be taken as a tea, tincture or in capsules. I’ve been taking it as a tea lately, and it has really helped with calming my body amidst all the stress its undergone while being sick. I use Organic Traditions Holy Basil Tulsi Tea.
Remedies for Dry Skin
A part of dealing with a cold that is often overlooked is how DRY your skin can get. When that happens, one of my go-to treatments for very dry skin is hemp cream. It’s very thick and ultra moisturizing. It’s one of the only things I’ve found that really do the trick for me when it gets really dry above my lip from all the sneezing.
Well, I hope that this has offered you some ideas to help get you through cold & flu season. If you are curious about some healthy ways to nourish your body through food, please check out my recipes here. If you would like to check out some more wellness tips, click here. Stay well, friends!