Spring/summer colds are incoming! It’s like nature’s middle finger, right? The weather is just starting to get warmer and the days longer, and then BOOM. Here’s a nasty, snotty cold. Now before I give you a nice juicy list of what you can do once you have a cold, we need to talk prevention. Because let’s be real, I’m all about being proactive, not reactive.
So, what are things that diminish immune system function?
Sugar - Eating a lot of highly processed, sugary foods puts our body into a stress state. When stress is on, immune is off. A random sugary baked good here and there is great, but to help our immune system function optimally, we should try to keep it from getting out of control.
Stress - Like I said above, when stress is on, immune is off. There are a lot of things that cause stress in our current world. Finances, relationships, food sensitivities, toxins, work. Doing what we can to minimize these stressors, while also prioritizing what brings us joy. This will help offset stress and help keep our immune system in tip top shape.
Poor Sleep - Poor or limited sleep prevents our immune system from releasing proteins that target infection and inflammation. Kind of important if we want to stay on top of those nasties being spread around.
Over Exercising - Over exercising can cause the adrenals to be overworked, thus causing stress in the body. Again, when stress is on, immune is off. A wonderful product to assess recommended energy output on any given day is an Oura Ring. This ring tracks sleep, heart rate, and other variables to let you know if a rest day is best or if you’re ok’d for a more intense workout. It also has an airplane mode, which sets it apart from other trackers in my opinion.
Immediate relief for colds
Over the years I have put together a toolkit of herbal and food based cold fighters that I absolutely love and swear by. At the first little tickle of a cold I pull out all the stops. I keep all of these stocked in my kitchen and bathroom so that I don’t have to leave the house with snot running down my face when I’m sick! I hope you get some new ideas to add to your home apothecary.
Epsom salt bath -Epsom salt baths calm the body and help decrease muscle aches and soreness. Try adding 2 cups of epsom salts, 1/2 cup of baking soda (helps to neutralize chlorine), and 10-15 drops of essential oil. Eucalyptus, rosemary, and ginger are all wonderful during a cold.
Elderberry Syrup - Elderberry is a wonderful immune boosting herb that has been used for centuries. It is also a wonderful source of vitamins A, B, and C and full of antioxidants. At the first sign of a cold I am pretty much attached to my elderberry syrup! I recommend a local and sustainable company called Seattle Elderberry. Do you need it now and can’t wait for shipping? Gaia is a great brand and can usually be found at Whole Foods, local co-ops, and some drugstores.
Bone Broth - A hug in a mug, especially when you’re sick! Bone broth is mineral rich and perfect for healing. I keep my freezer stocked with homemade broth so I always have back up. My favorite pre-made brand is Bonafide Provisions, but it’s really the simplest thing in the world to make (and much cheaper).
Slippery Elm - My #1 secret weapon for a sore and irritated throat! Slippery Elm has mucilaginous properties, so it’s perfect for soothing a sore throat. It is also helpful for IBD, urinary tract irritation, as well as heartburn and GERD. I love mixing a teaspoon in my tea (usually a delicious ginger tea!) when I feel the scratchy throat starting. This is the brand I recommend.
Fire Cider - These awesome concoctions are full of immune boosters including apple cider vinegar, ginger, garlic, honey, and lemons. You can usually find this to purchase, but I’m finally going to make myself a batch using this recipe!
Gently movement - Long, slow, and gentle yoga poses are my favorite when I’m not feeling well. It’s feels so lovely to move the body, and bonus, the lymph fluid too! And really, it’s just nice to be off the couch or out of bed for a bit. Here’s a wonderful flow by one of my favorite humans.
Water - Water and herbal teas help the body clear out toxins and help improve immune system function. Sip on water or herbal tea throughout the day for maximum absorption. Aim for half your body weight in ounces, without exceeding 100 ounces.
Well that’s everything in my arsenal for right now. Have I missed something that you love? Please let me know below so I can add it to my holistic apothecary!