Summer is here and with it a few bugs. This past week over 10 people I know have gotten sick with a stomach virus, a cold or a sore throat. So what can we do to stay healthy during these summer months when germs abound in pools and nearby shopping malls? Below I am going to share some of my favorite tips, recipes and herbal remedies that our family has used year after year. From onion ear poultices for ear pain, to herbal shots for cold and congestion, the below list has it all. You can also click here to learn about the herbs and supplements I always keep in our herbal medicine cabinet. Also check out my Cold and Flu Natural Treatment post which has an amazing recipe for beating congestion and the common cold symptoms.
No Eating Out
For starters we avoid eating out when we hear of too many people getting sick. This is especially important in places where food is left open and or cooked in open spaces. This is not a hard thing for us as we hardly ever eat out unless it is at our local health food store.
Wash, Wash and Wash Again
Become a drill sergeant and ensure that all family members triple wash their hands with regular soap and water to remove any virus or bacteria they may have picked up at school.
Clean Ears, Nose, Eyes & Throat
Cleansing of the nose, ears, eyes and throat will continue all throughout summer and through winter. This is easily done by washing the face first with soap and warm water and scrubbing around the nose and eyes. A gentle organic Shea butter soap in liquid form that is safe for families of all ages can be purchased here.
To clean the ears we soak a cotton swab with garlic and mullein oil or peroxide and gently clean on the outer parts of the ear without penetrating the ear completely. We do this once a day. A swab can also be used in this manner with peroxide to clean the inside of each nostril. However a very effective cleanser for the sinuses is Alkalol. It is made using herbs that contain anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Alkalol also makes a great gargle to cleanse the throat. During times of sickness or to prevent the onset of a virus we gargle 3 times a day with Alkalol or with a mixture of Thyme, Cloves, Echinacea and ginger tea.
Do Like the Brits, Make Tea Time a Priority
I can’t even begin to recall the many times that my herbal concoctions of tea have literally saved me from the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia etc. In my lifetime I have worked in hospitals, gone to visit people who were hacking up from Pneumonia and I’ve been around sick kids and (knock on wood) I seldom got sick from being around sick people. This is because I travel with tea, I bathe in it and I make it a mandatory activity in our home. Tea time during cold and flu season is usually about 3 – 4 times a day (grain free Paleo scones included).
My all-time favorite concoction is made using Immunity Rescue Tea, thyme, ginger, lemon and raw honey. In your blender, blend about an inch or two of fresh, washed, unpeeled ginger in a cup of water. Boil the ginger mixture for 1 minute and then remove from heat and add a teaspoon of dried thyme. You can also add a tablespoon of Immunity Tea. Cover for 10 minutes to infuse the herbs making sure the pot is AWAY from the heat. Once the tea has steeped, then strain it into a large cup. Add the juice of 1 lemon and a little raw honey. We drink this 3-4 times a day when we feel like something is trying to get us. This concoction has been proven in our home and the homes of many friends and family members to knock out any cold or flu in about 1-2 days. For a powerhouse of anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties we also crush some garlic and let it steep along with the thyme and ginger. The oil released from the garlic is a potent anti-viral and natural fever reducer and antibiotic. For another great Immunity boosting tea recipe click here.
Homemade Herbal Disinfecting Wipes
These are great to make and cleanse your hands and shopping carts. For an article on how to make homemade wipes click here. What makes these great for cold and flu season and pesky viruses is my secret ammo called Thieves Vinegar. Story tells of four thieves in 15th century England who used a blend of herbs to keep themselves from getting sick during the plague. The herbs used by the Thieves have become very popular in the last 2 decades due to the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-microbial properties of the herbs. To prepare, we use equal parts of dried wormwood, lavender, peppermint rosemary and sage. We brew this amazing concoction in Apple Cider Vinegar for several weeks then strain and soak our homemade wipes in it and place soaked wipes in Ziploc bags for using when we are on the go.
Herbal Supplements, Oils and Green Juice
No healthy family would be complete without enjoying all the amazing benefits and nutrients derived from the ground. We personally take Goldenseal, Echinacea, Astragalus and Olive Leaf during winter to help keep us healthy and strong. I usually make my own glycerites and tinctures but when I can’t or when my super powers are lacking I go for a bottle of Gaia Herbs. They make some fantastic supplements you can read about here. We also rub handcrafted oils all over our feet every morning before school and or work.
And last but not least lots of green juices and smoothies. Each morning our breakfast consists of a large 16 ounce smoothie made with greens. We also juice carrots with lots of kale, spinach, cilantro, ginger and green apples. There is nothing like fresh green juice or smoothies to keep your body alkaline and healthy. For some great recipes click here and here.
Sleep Probiotics & Healthy Eating
Sleep is a hard one but we try our best to sleep at least a good 8 hours each night to allow our bodies to rest and recoup. If I am not sleeping well and I am around sick people or working too much I will begin to feel my body collapse and beg me for rest. Sleeping is especially important for children and the elderly. For kids at least 9-10 hours of good sleep each night is a must to keep their defenses up and help their bodies stay healthy.
Probiotics are a vital part of keeping gut flora stable and batting against Noroviruses and other viruses. In our home when our kids have been exposed to vomiting kids or kids with a hacking (non asthmatic) cough I immediately begin to increase their daily dose of probiotics. We eat lots of fermented foods like Kefir from grass-fed cows or we make our own water kefir using grains easily purchased online. In addition to eating the right foods high in good gut bacteria we supplement with a fantastic probiotic by Garden of Life.
Probiotics are especially important for those who have taken antibiotics. If you have ever taken just one round of antibiotics your gut flora has totally been destroyed. Replenishing gut flora is very important for optimal health. Without good flora we become prone to all kinds of inflammatory diseases like asthma, Fibromyalgia, arthritis Crohn’s and more.
Alongside everything else listed here our diet is key to keeping us healthy. A balanced diet composed of living foods is key for optimal health. If we put dead foods into our body we will most likely only get dead, lifeless results in the end like the many sicknesses and diseases that are plaguing our society. In many cases they are the result of a dead food diet. Living foods however are life building foods that aid our body in the healing process. Deciding to eat healthier and eating organic is a life choice, it’s a decision to be pro-life, to want to see our children and family members live healthier lives and be able to do more on this earth. Eating to live is a fascinating concept where the human body desires to eat those things that are going to enhance its ability to fight off disease and ultimately live a more productive life. Need healthy eating ideas or recipes? Come follow me on Instagram.
Here’s to healthy blessed summer!
Lots of Love,
La Chica Organica