Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

It's that time of year again. I woke up at 3am feeling like I had swallowed some razor blades. I went to bed with a slightly scratchy throat, and woke up to full blown awfulness. While I am not pregnant, I have already had two clients ask me what they can do for illness while pregnant.

In our home, we rarely use medication. Instead we use foods, herbs, and essential oils. Many of these are not only safe while pregnant, but are often much more effective than anything you'll find over the counter, and safer than antibiotics or pharmaceutical medications.

So what are the best options for the cold or flu while pregnant?

1. Raw Garlic

I know. It sounds hard to stomach - and it can be. However, the active element in raw garlic is Allicin, and it is a natural antibiotic. This antibiotic though only kills the bad bacteria, leaving the good bacteria to help fight the illness. Here are some ways to eat/swallow garlic:
        • Use a garlic press and press a clove of garlic onto a spoon. Swallow it and chase with juice. I have found that orange juice works well to cover some of the garlic taste.
        • Drown the pressed or chopped garlic in a teaspoon of honey (raw honey is best, but use whatever you have), and swallow.
        • Chop 2 cloves of garlic to add to your favorite guacamole or hummus dip. Eat away!
        • Cut an onion in half, and place in a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover the onion. Add 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped. Add juice from 1/2 a lemon. Let it simmer on low, covered, until the onion is transperent. Drink. This is actually quite delicious, in my opinion!

2. Elderberry / Sambucus Syrup

This stuff is awesome. It contains high amounts of vitamins A, B, and C and helps to stimulate immune system function. It is safe while pregnant, and you can even make it yourself! You just want to be super cautious about fully removing the stems before processing. You can also buy it affordably here.

3. Sea Salt / Neti Pot 

This is especially helpful for sore throats and sinus infections. Add about a 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to 1 cup of warm water (you can add 1/2 teaspoon of honey if you can't handle the taste) and gargle. Do this 2-3 times per day to loosen mucus, and reduce bacteria in the mouth and throat.

Neti pots can be especially useful in sinus infections. You can find a neti pot HERE. And HERE you can find a recipe, and video instructions.

4. Essential Oils

Essential oils are GREAT to use when sick - especially with a diffuser. NOW brand just came out with an oil diffuser for under $40 that works just as well (if not better) than the much more expensive brands that I have bought in the past. I can get at least 3 hours of diffuse time from mine, as it uses 1/2 cup of water.

Some great blends for illness (and I don't endorse one brand over another):

        • 10 drops of Eucalyptus, 10 drops of Tea Tree, and 10 drops of Lavender.
        • 10 drops of Camphor, 10 drops of Lavender
        • 10 drops of Eucalyptus, 10 drops of Tea Tree, and 10 drops of Lemongrass

You can also make your own chest rub by diluting 5 drops of camphor and 5 drops of eucalyptus in 1 cup of carrier oil (I use coconut oil). You can rub onto the chest and soles of the feet.

5. Lots and Lots of Rest 

We are a busy culture. Constantly on the go. A cold takes a real toll on the body, especially when you're pregnant. Getting plenty of rest (even if you have to break a rule and have a full movie day with kids while you camp out on the couch) and drinking plenty of fluids is going to be essential in kicking the cold or flu as quickly as possible.


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