If you or a loved one are sick, try these simple, powerful treatments at home.
1 – Warm Salt Water Gargle
This classic home remedy is one that you have probably heard of before. The warmth in the back of the throat is very soothing, it breaks up congestion, and the salt helps to pull fluids out of swollen tissues to decrease the inflammation of a sore throat.
2 – Saline Nasal/Sinus Rinse
You might have heard of using a neti pot before, or this treatment may not be familiar to you yet. The easiest way to do this one is to pick up a “Sinus Rinse Kit” at any local pharmacy. Many come with pre-measured salt packets or you can use 1 cup of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt.
Once filled with warm saline, hold the squeeze bottle up against one nostril. Tilting your head forward over a sink, with your mouth open, gently squeeze until the water flows up and then back out from the other nostril. It’s fine to breathe through your mouth while the water flows for several seconds. Then stop and blow your nose and repeat on the other side. Expect your nose to continue to drain for the next 10-15 minutes so do this well before going to bed for the night, and consider taking a contrast shower in the meantime.
3 – Contrast (hot/cold) Shower
Even when you are not sick, it can be beneficial to end your shower with a cool rinse in order to give your immune system, lymphatics and skin a boost. When you are feeling sick though, you can do the full treatment which is to alternate the hot and cold 3x during the shower.
Turn the water hot for 3 minutes, then cool/cold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3x.
Each time you will be able to stand the water being a little hotter and little colder. It should feel invigorating but not freezing. If you are afraid of the cold, just do cool because any contrast in temp will cause the blood vessels to dilate and constrict, pumping the blood from the surface and into your internal organs.
If you have congestion in your chest or around your throat, aim the water accordingly to help break up the mucus and support the local circulation. (ps – this also feels great for menstrual cramps or constipation if you aim the water at your lower belly)
After the shower you will feel WARM, I promise! Step out, dry off gently and then bundle up with warm clothes and go to bed. This induces a slight fever to support your immune system to fight off the bugs. Chances are very good that you’ll feel better in the morning.
4 – Immune Support Teas
I really like the various herbal immune blends made by the brand Traditional Medicinals. You can also make your own at home with fresh ginger, lemon, garlic, turmeric and a little honey or elderberry syrup. If your throat isn’t sore, you can also add a dash of cayenne to heat things up and help things drain.
5 – Soup
What could be better when you are sick than a homemade chicken soup? Well, maybe chicken soup chock full of a variety of colorful veggies.
Or try a bone broth by adding the bones leftover from a cooked chicken to a large pot of water, and optionally add 1-2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to help pull the minerals out of the bones. You can also add onions, carrots or celery for flavor plus salt, pepper and any herbs or spices you like. Either cook in a crock pot, or boil and then turn down to a simmer in a large stock pot. Let cook for 6-24 hours.
Or if you prefer to avoid animal foods, try a veggie soup with spicy herbs to warm you up. One of my faves is a carrot-cashew-ginger that is so soothing and delicious. Or grab a Thai hot and sour soup, a Korean soondubu or your own favorite version of broth, veggies and spices!
Remember the power of nature to assist you in your healing, and I hope you feel better soon!