How to Kick a Cold

how to kick a cold

Whether you are a real food veteran or a noob, I find it useful to hear how my fellow traditional health peeps are using home remedies to beat back colds, flus, and viruses.  Maybe it’s just the satisfaction that comes from having a lot of “things to do” to fight a sickness when it hits.  I like when I find studies end up revealing what I already knew about home remedies and how they help support good health.

But regardless of what is proven or not, I find that these remedies really help me and my family.  I tend to go with my gut on a lot of these home remedies, knowing that more often than not: 1. they aren’t going to hurt me, 2. they are probably going to help me, and 3. there is a reason that home remedies evolved to be passed down in the first place; they tend to get proven by science sooner or later.

Earlier this week, I got slammed with a head cold.  Truthfully, I kind of knew it was coming.  You know how you can tell your immune system just isn’t going to block something?  I had that feeling.

So what do I do when I get a cold these days?  Especially now that I avoid the typical syrups and pills available at the pharmacy?

In true Kendahl form, let’s make lists!  I love me a good list.  Helps my brain feel organized, you know?

First, let’s talk equipment:

  1. a humidifier!  This is the one thing I really do want from the pharmacy, though not really since everything is available on Amazon these days.  Running a humidifier can help keep your poor nose from drying completely out.  If you’re like me, you get a raw, red, dry nose after a day or two of tissue use.  If I run the humidifier I can keep my nose happy.  Plus, humidifiers help alleviate the pain of sore throats and coughs by making the air in your house or bedroom more moist.

Neti Pot.  A neti pot is very useful, even if a little strange to use at first.  By using a simple saline solution (warm water with a small scoop of salt stirred in), you can cleanse your nasal passage with this simple little ceramic pot.  Neti pots are claimed to clear the nasal passage of excess mucous, pollen, and allergens so that you can breathe more freely.  Of course, I can’t make any health claims.  But when I use the neti pot, you can see the difference as you cleanse your nasal passage.  It’s pretty amazing!

  1. Press.  A garlic press is handy in general if you are a foodie.  But have you had a cold and practically hugged your garlic press?  Me neither…Anyways, I love this hefty garlic press, and this past week it has helped me crush several cloves of garlic for making tea and swallowing straight.  Garlic is claimed to have antiviral and antibiotic properties.  There have also been a handful of studies done that show that taking garlic shortens the amount of time that you are sick.

Now, let’s talk home remedies:

  1. Garlic, Lemon, and Honey Tea.  This one is simple: just boil water and pour over a a few cloves of crushed garlic, and one sliced lemon.  Let sit for 10 minutes or so to really let the garlic and lemon steep.  Then add a generous scoop of raw honey.  Garlic, lemon, and honey are all excellent for your throat and well-being when sick. 
  2. Elderberry Syrup.   I love that I found Cara’s recipe for elderberry syrup.  I changed it a little to fit what I had on hand.  I didn’t have any rose hips on hand, but I had gotten some camu powder (a vitamin C source like rose hips) and I mashed it into the honey before I added it to the syrup. 
  3. Coconut OilI used coconut oil a lot during my last cold, mostly as a lotion and lip balm.  I really struggle with staying hydrated when I’m sick.  It’s not just from not drinking enough fluids, it’s that I feel dehydrated in my skin and everywhere.  So putting coconut oil on my whole body really helps!
  4. Mullein TeaI wasn’t aware of mullein tea until I got really sick about a year and half ago and my ears got so plugged up they wouldn’t drain for about 3 months.  In fact, that sickness was what prompted my writing of my antibiotics post and ultimately the reason I started the GAPS diet to heal my gut.
  5. Garlic.  I took 4 cloves of garlic straight when I was sick last week, like a badass!  I pressed them through a garlic press, and then just swallowed them and chased them with milk and a few bites of buckwheat I was eating for breakfast.  Do not eat garlic on an empty stomach!  I have done that, and it’s not good!  Let’s just say that if you eat them on an empty stomach, your body will let you know, quickly, that they are coming back up!
  6. Apple Cider VinegarI was so happy when a reader on my Facebook page made a comment about apple cider vinegar helping sore throats.  I was complaining of how sore my throat was, and she said that she gargled with apple cider vinegar and it really helped with the pain.  I tried it, and it worked like a charm.  Somehow it numbed the pain and on top of that it helped me sleep all night.  I owe that reader a plate of cookies, because I got a good night’s rest because of that sore throat tip!
  7. Red Bell Pepper.  I just like red bell peppers.  It’s probably from when I was pregnant with my younger son and red bell peppers every morning helped settle my stomach and give me energy.  But I also know that red bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, which as you know, is very helpful when you’re sick.
  8. SauerkrautI love sauerkraut, usually for it’s lovely salty kick with a meal.  But when I’m sick I really love it for it’s healing properties.  Sauerkraut is claimed to have provided seafaring people with vitamin C on long voyages where fresh produce wasn’t available.  Plus, traditionally fermented sauerkraut has alleged probiotic qualities that can help you fight off an infection.
  9. Chicken Stock(Beef StockShellfish StockQuick Fish Stock.)  Enough said!  Stock is healing and anti-inflammatory.  I personally prefer chicken stock when I’m sick, it’s just so warming and savory.

And finally, here are my recommended supplements:

  1. True CalmAny time I take a stress hit I make sure I pay attention to taking enough True Calm.  I know that my body responds really well to it, and that I benefit from the amino acid support of this particular blend made by NOW.  I can’t make any recommendations, but I can say that I have a history of adrenal fatigue and I take True Calm in general and definitely when I’m sick.  Adrenals are the gland that absorbs all your stress.  In this day and age, they need all the help they can get!
  2. Vitamin B ComplexI am chronically low in vitamin B complex vitamins, so I make sure to take a little extra when I am sick.  They can be a little simulating, so I only take them in the morning or early afternoon.  B vitamins are helpful for supporting the immune system in general, but especially when you are sick.  I like this bran because I tend to absorb them really well.  I also like the fact that they are a food source supplement.
  3. Fermented Cod Liver Oil and High Vitamin Butter OilThese are available from Radiant Life, and are made by the best source of traditionally-fermented cod liver oil and butter oil made in in the country.  I always take a little extra FCLO and butter oil when I am sick to give me an extra boost.
  4. Vitamin C.  The small companies on my resource page have the best quality supplements available that I have found anywhere.  Plus, they support the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation and Real Food Media, and they are passionate about what they do.  Vitamin C supplements are excellent from these smaller sources and heads above anything you might find in your local grocery store.
  5. All AdrenalThis is dessicated grass-fed adrenal gland.  When I found this specific brand I was happy to see that it’s made in New Zealand where virtually all of their beef are grass-fed and well taken care of.  I take adrenal gland to stimulate my own adrenal glands when I am particularly sick.  Again, adrenal support is useful whenever the stress gets to you (like when you’re sick).  Also, again, I take this in the morning or early afternoon, since it can be stimulating and interfere with sleep.
  6. Therapeutic-Grade Probiotics.  I have been taking these probiotics for several months to help rebuild my gut flora.  The count is very high, which is what you want to look for in any probiotic that you take when you are sick or on GAPS.

Most of all, make sure that you sleep as much as possible and eat nourishing food.  We take it for granted these days that we can pop pills, and plow through our days in a drugged haze.  If you can, take care of yourself.  Take a nap, take a sick day.  If not, then meditate while you continue with work and family.  Most of all: keep your stress low, and feel better!  I know I am.

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