I love everything that comes with the fall/winter season, except for one thing…the sharing of germs. I absolutely detest a sore throat, cough and the inability to go about my day fully functioning. Thankfully, I have found 5 essential practices that protect me from having to endure those ungodly symptoms, which we have all experienced one or more times in our life. You know the story, one way or another someone in your family or workplace ends up with some unpleasant germs and “lovingly shares” them with you. Now, if your immune system is in tip-top shape, this isn’t too much of concern, but if you are not getting enough sleep, are feeling stressed or just aren’t eating properly, you have a much greater chance of catching a “bug.” However, I am happy to say there are a few wonderful and foolproof ways of preventing and/or eliminating that dreadful bug before the yucky symptoms begin.
Top 5 Ways to Eliminate a Cold or Flu:
1) Thieves Oil
This absolutely amazing essential oil concoction is my prime prevention tool for the common cold or flu. In fact, thieves oil has been found to be strong enough to reduce bacterial cultures by 99.96%! Legend says that thieves oil is so effective, it can even ward off the plague and how appropriate, since this is exactly where the legend originated…the time of the Black Plague in 16th century France. Read the full legend here. You know its got to be good if it can beat the plague, right? I will attest, I have been using Thieves oil for the last 2 years and I have not been sick once. I use thieves oil not only during the winter season, but especially when I travel to different countries that will most certainly have germs my immune system is not yet accustomed to. I have lived in several different countries and thieves oil was the ultimate reason why I stayed healthy, while my colleagues and friends passed sickness back and forth.
How to Make Thieves Oil:
In a glass bottle mix the following essential oils:
40 drops of Clove Essential Oil
35 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
20 drops of Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
15 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
10 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil
Have a carrier oil on hand like jojoba oil, hemp oil or EVOO. Mix a 1:4 (1 drop thieves oil to 4 drops carrier oil) dilution of carrier oil to thieves oil in the palm of your hand. Next, apply to the back of ears, under both of your big toes and rub the remaining bit into your palms. Why the big toes? Well, the premise is you want your entire body to be covered in order to ward off germs…thus, application to the ears, palms and toes has you covered from top to bottom. You may also buy pre-made Thieves Oil here.
2) Raw Garlic + Raw Manuka Honey
Garlic is one of the most powerful cold and flu-busting foods ever. It has long been known that garlic is an infection fighter, due to its antimicrobial properties. In fact, garlic is referred to by some as “Russian penicillin.” This is largely due to its compound–allicin. Colds, flus, stomach viruses and candida stand no chance again garlic’s powerful allicin compound. In fact, allicin is so strong, it will also eliminate pathogenic microbes like tuberculosis and botulism. (Murray, 2005) Because garlic is full of vitamins, especially vitamin C and trace minerals, it is not a bad idea to have garlic on hand all year around. It should be noted that freshly chopped or crushed garlic, allows the allicin to be more bioavailable.
Manuka honey comes from New Zealand and is by far no ordinary honey at all. In fact, Manuka honey is basically a medicine. Because this honey is produced by bees who pollinate the Manuka bush (better known as the Tea Tree bush/a.k.a Tea Tree Oil), this gives the honey incredibly strong antibacterial properties. Moreover, it is said that Manuka honey contains 4 times the amount of nutritional properties as regular honey; this means more amino acids, more minerals, more vitamins and more immune system support. Having 1-2 tsp a day of raw manuka isn’t a bad idea to thwart and prevent an unwanted cold. Plus, it tastes awesome on fruit and in teas. Genuine UMF Manuka Honey should state UMF 10+ or more. The higher the number, the stronger the antibacterial properties. UMF16 and up is considered a superior quality. Read my post here for more on manuka honey.
The combination of fresh chopped garlic with manuka money is a powerful germ fighting combination! And luckily for us, honey is the perfect way to cover up the potent garlic flavor. If I have the slightest tickle in my throat or start to feel under the weather, I reach for garlic and honey! Try 2-3 cloves of fresh chopped garlic mixed into 1 tbs honey. I’ve even eaten up to 5 or 6 cloves drenched in honey at the sign of a pesky sore throat. Amazingly, it cleared by the evening. *Note: If you have a severely compromised digestion, I would try another option (like garlic capsules), unless you can typically handle raw garlic.
3) Lots of Vitamin C
Vitamin C foods and/or a whole food vitamin C powder is yet another immune system builder that helps the body ward off illness. I love to drink lemon and ginger tea (both are packed with vitamin C) all winter long to keep my immune system revving. Other vitamin C packed foods include: sweet potatoes, mangoes, carrots, kiwi, papaya, all citrus, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley, rose hip, acerola and red bell peppers. When traveling or working overtime, it is especially important to get enough vitamin C. So, if on the go, fruit powders like Camu Camu and Amla (Indian Gooseberry), are amazing superfoods that are extremely high in Vitamin C and can be easily mixed in water. To be specific, one teaspoon of alma powder equals 70% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. And don’t worry about overdoing it with vitamin C, as the body easily excretes any excess. Find a great food-based vitamin C here.
4) Colloidal Silver
There are just so many health benefits to colloidal silver that this blog post is definitely not going to touch on all the health ailments it can tackle. It deserves an entire post by itself. In light of this, I encourage you to do a little research on your own about the wide reaching benefits of colloidal silver. The main idea of colloidal silver is that its microscopic silver particles are able to eliminate any viruses, bacteria and straight up bad bugs it comes into contact with. Thus, colloidal silver is completely ideal to use at a maintenance dose of 1 tsp a day for prevention of a cold and/or flu, or up to 5-7 tsp a day until you rid yourself of the cold/flu. Follow your makers directions for exact dosing. The above brand is my favorite. Find it here and throat lozenges here.
5) Ginger Tea
Ginger has long been apart of traditional healing in India and China. And it’s no wonder why, due to its many varied therapeutic properties. Well-known for its curative effects on digestion and nausea, it also has tremendous soothing benefits for cold and flu symptoms. Ginger has the ability to strengthen immunity, increase nutrient absorption necessary for healing, clear sinuses and help congestion. You may find ginger in tea or powder form or you can chop fresh ginger and simmer on the stove for 10-15 minutes to make a potent immune boosting tea. Add one tsp of raw manuka honey to your warm ginger tea (not hot because heat will kill some of the health properties of the raw honey) for even more immune boosting power. Read my post here for additional info. about the benefits of ginger.
Other Helpful Ways to Knockout a Cold or Flu:
- Mineral or Bone Broths: rich in minerals, soothes the stomach and is especially helpful for hydration
- Elderberry Syrup: has high antioxidant properties and is full of flavonoids, both of which are helpful in boosting the immune system; widely used for for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry is well tolerated in children and adults
- Zinc Throat Lozenges: Nearly 50% of the US population is deficient in Zinc, which is imperative for proper immune function
- Probiotics: improves immune function by increasing good bacteria in the gut; try incorporating more fermented veggies, fruits, high quality yogurt or kefir (if tolerated) along with prebiotic fibers into the diet. If supplementing, choose a mixture of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria (10 billion organisms minimum)
- Stay Hydrated: it is important to drink fluids when under the weather as dehydration causes stress on the body, low energy and decreased bowel movements
- Get lots of rest!…when feeling under the weather, don’t over do it. Try to take it easy, get a nap in and make sure to get a full night’s sleep. Illness is a sign that the body is worn out and depleted, which is all the more reason to take care of yourself and allow yourself the extra rest your body requires.
*One important note, if you are the type of person who is prone to sickness (reoccurring colds and flus), you may want to have your vitamin D levels checked. Levels < 35 are considered low. The optimal range for vitamin D3 is 45-50. Ask your Doctor for a test, if you have not had this checked. Read more about the importance of Vitamin D here.
I hope these tips are helpful in saving you from the dreaded winter “bug.” Remember, you don’t have to do all of these things. I know garlic is not loved by everyone, but even just incorporating one or two of these techniques will ensure better immune support and most importantly, will cut your down-time in half. Even more, I love the fact that you can always have these foods and supplements on hand, making it especially easy to catch a winter cold before it starts. On top of this, you don’t have to take a drugstore pill that may only help the symptoms, but not completely eradicate the illness. So now that you are armed with your winter bug defense, share this with your friends, family and collegues to keep everyone around you healthy and happy.
Wishing you robust health this fall/winter season!