I've been traveling a lot and spending a ton of time on planes recently, so it came as no surprise when I came down with a humdinger of a cold on a recent business trip.
Once I got home I dove into my apothecary of home remedies so I could try to lessen the damage. Over the counter medicines will make you feel better most of the time, but they won't really help you get better any faster. I know lots of people say natural remedies help you feel better, but I look at them more like recovery aids and immunity boosters. Here are my top 5 tricks for getting over that cold in no time flat:
DIFFUSING ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils are cited a lot for making you feel better- Eucalyptus and peppermint in particular along with some steam can open up sinuses. I've found that while this is true, the relief is temporary at best. So I prefer to diffuse them into the air- in particular when I'm sleeping. You will get some of those stuffy head clearing powers, but more importantly, you're filling the air and then breathing in oils that have powerful antibacterial and anti-viral properties. Both key in fighting back those nasty bugs. The oils also do a number on killing those same germs in the air- so you're less likely to pass your sickness onto others in your household. My favorites are eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, frankincense and lemongrass.
This is another one that loads of people bring up as giving relief from a stuffed up head- which it does, for sure. But, again it's fairly temporary. The more important piece for me is rinsing away all those germs growing like crazy in your nasal passages Again, helping you get better faster. I also REALLY love the neti pot towards the end of a cold. You know, that period of time post-cold when you feel better, but you have all that lingering "gunk" in your head and throat. There is no better feeling that watching all of that crap flush away in the sink.
VITAMINS AND HERBS
By now we're all familiar with the old standards: Zinc and EmergenC. I do bulk up on both of those as soon as I feel something coming on (be sure to always take zinc on a full stomach). But there are a few others I load up on too: Vitamin D, fish oil, astragalus root and magnesium.
The first 2 I'm sure you're familiar with. Astragalus root is a super immunity booster, and really- especially during cold and flu season- you should think about taking it daily as a preventative. When I do I never get sick- even when it seems everyone around me is dying of the plague. Magnesium is another one that should already be a daily supplement (That's a different post for a different day) but especially when sick, your body could use an extra kick of it. (Powdered forms, and even topical magnesium "oils" are best.) Which brings me to my last remedy:
Salt baths will hands down make you feel better + help you recover faster. If you only have Epsom salts, use em'. They're loaded with magnesium. If you want to kick it up a notch, I love using dead sea salts. They're full of all sorts of minerals that your body loves, well anytime, but especially when you're sick. Seriously- they help you detox the bad stuff out and your body will also absorb all the good stuff in. Not to mention that baths are just down right pleasant when you're sick. Throw some essential oils in there while you soak and you've got yourself a double whammy.
IMMUNITY & ANTIOXIDANT TEA
Sure, any kind of tea will make you feel better, but I'm talking about the kinds that will actually help your body get back to fighting form. I love Matcha because it's bursting with antioxidants, and it will give you a little extra energy boost without the dehydrating effects that coffee has. My other go-to is 21th Century Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. It's a comforting and strengthening infusion to offer immune system support with Organic Nettle leaf, organic Red Clover blossoms, organic Elder berries, organic Alfalfa leaf, organic Red Clover herb, organic St. John's Wort, organic Sage, and organic Ginger root. Seriously good stuff.
So there you have it. Are you familiar with these natural remedies? Anything on this list surprise you? I'd love to hear!