Flu season is upon us. Apparently, so is pneumonia season, and for some people, allergy season. And the holidays come with a certain amount of stress and travel which taxes our immune systems.
Want to stay healthy over Thanksgiving and the winter holiday? Take these:
- Probiotic. Start taking one at the onset of flu season when people around you start dropping. For adults I recommend Probulin, Xymogen or Prescript-Assist (good site for reviews); for children, Flora Bites, Klaire Labs Children’s Chewable or Flora Boost powder.
- Elderberry is a natural immune booster which destroys virus cells and also prevents them from replicating. Studies show that when used within the first 48 hours, the extract can reduce the duration of the flu by four days. It can also protect you during air travel. Elderberry comes in pill and syrup form as well as lozenges, juice, and powder. Look for a brand that contains the the highest concentration of organic black elderberry, because they’re not all the same (see Supplement Facts). One of my favorites is Gaia.
- Immune support like Viracid. This one is packed with immune-boosting properties like zinc, vitamins and herbal extracts. Immuno-Shield is another good one.
- Vitamin D. Studies show that it protects against colds and flu. Unless you’re sitting in the sun all day, you need more!
You feel a sore throat coming on. What now?
This happened to me en route to my mother in law’s 70th birthday. You say ha! It was subconscious! But actually she’s wonderful and generous and non-judgmental—the only thing she gives me a hard time about is my food ideology lol. So no, I wasn’t trying to get out of it.
So we’d just gotten off an airplane and were driving a few hours to a family reunion and the tell-tale sore throat kicked in. We pulled over at a health food store in the middle of nowhere and they recommended Umcka. I said, what’s that!? because the word “icky” is practically in the name. They explained that it was an African root. That sounded far out but they insisted it was their most popular cold buster, so I bought it, used it, and my sore throat disappeared. Since then I’m a convert. So:
- Umcka. It comes in seven thousand forms, or practically. Syrup, pills, capsules, intravenous. Just kidding—not intravenous 😝. Umckaloabo comes from the root of the Pelargonium sidoides in South Africa where the Zulus have used it for centuries. In 1897, an Englishman contracted pulmonary tuberculosis and his doctor advised him to travel to the warmer climate of South Africa. A native healer there treated him with Umcka and when he returned to England, his doctor declared him cured. So Umcka may actually be effective for bacterial disease. Studies have shown that Umcka has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and immune-boosting properties.
- More Elderberry. Jack up the dose and frequency. You can’t take it once and expect everything to go away. It won’t.
- Raw garlic, turmeric, and ginger. Hot peppers are good, too (they help drain your sinuses). Garlic has anti-bacterial properties and is a natural antibiotic. Ginger reduces pain and is a mild sedative. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory. If you want someone else to make a brew so you don’t have to, be sure to buy something refrigerated so it contains real food. True Tonic is my favorite.
- Apple cider vinegar. Take three shots a day or dilute in water. This helps alkalize the body, and an alkaline environment helps kill bacteria and viruses.
- Drink tons and tons of water. Hopefully, purified water.
- Stop eating sugar—which is known to suppress the immune system—or anything with sugar in it, or wheat, which is basically sugar. Also, all fried foods, processed foods, GMO foods, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate. Yeah, it’s torture, but worth it.
- Eat oranges all day long. Also, grapefruits, tangerines, clementines, lemons and limes. It’s more effective than vitamin C supplements which have questionable benefit.
- Chicken soup and/or bone broth. One study showed that soup inhibits the movement of a type of white blood cell. Slowing down the activity of these white blood cells helps reduce upper respiratory symptoms.
- Drink green tea, ginger tea, peppermint tea, or tea with licorice root.
- Sprinkle these herbs on whatever you’re eating: thyme, rosemary, basil, cloves, and oregano. They have anti-viral, antibiotic and/or anti-inflammatory properties. Oregano is a superstar and its oil and leaves have been used for millennia to treat cough, fever, congestion, body ache and illness.
- A little peppermint oil on your temples will open up your air passages.
- Some chest rub will help your coughing so you can sleep.I use Badger brand, pictured below. Don’t use Vicks—it’s full of crap like turpentine oil and can cause trouble breathing and depigmentation.
- Magnesium can prevent and treat headache and migraines.
- Fermented cod liver oil will give you a wallop of immune support—for those who don’t like the taste, you can chase it down with an orange 🙂
What about my GO-TO drug cocktail of Advil,-Tylenol-Nyquil-Sudaphed-Mucinex-Theraflu?
Well, it depends on whether you want to bandaid the symptoms or kill the virus/infection. Also, almost all conventional medication harms the gut, as well as the liver and kidneys. If I have a really high fever and can’t sleep or eat or really need some relief quickly, I will resort to a Tylenol or Advil, but I certainly don’t make a habit of it. I like my liver and kidneys (and the protective lining in my stomach) and would like to keep all my organs healthy.
Also, don’t go to work. You will make others sick while not taking care of your own body. Sick means rest. And when you’re on the uptick, still take it easy so you don’t relapse.
A note about Airplanes.
Wash your hands. Often. I spray my hands all the time. I also spray or wipe down the armrests and the seatbelt. They are like doorknobs–festering with trillions of germs. Most won’t hurt you, but the risk is higher because of how much traffic there’s been in every square inch of the plane. Sick people travel often because changing flights is so expensive. You can keep a natural hand sanitizer spray or some wipes in your purse or pocket. Some good brands are CleanWell, EO, and Hugo Naturals. Purell, unfortunately, contains many toxic ingredients except for their Green Certified foam.
If you’re traveling abroad and may encounter unfamiliar bacteria in your environment and food, don’t forget to pick up some grapefruit seed extract!
Happy Cold Weather, (Free Range) Turkey, and Safe Travels!