Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Natural Remedies aka Trying to Stay Healthy

Remember when Jan posted about the flu on Monday? I didn't get back to comment because it had me running scared. All these reports about how bad the flu is this year and how important it is to get a flu vaccine.

But what are you supposed to do when you're allergic to the vaccine?

Yup. When I ended up back in my doctor's office with a 104 degree fever after some vaccine in my teens, he very clearly warned me never to get a flu vaccine, that it could kill me.


So each year I try to figure out how to stay healthy when I can't get the shot and everyone around me is sick (multiplied by the # of students in any given class).

Over the years I've come to rely on a few things.

#1 - Emergen-C

I know this has been around awhile and isn't totally "natural" but it's awesome!
One of the kindergarten aides mentioned to me that her school nurse used to keep a huge box on hand and dispense to all the adults who came in sick.

First I tried the Pina Colada flavor. Yum! The Meyer lemon was also delicious. But I settled on the Cranberry Hibiscus when I bought the big box. The flavor reminds me of the punches my mother used to make for parties. All the vitamins and minerals actually make me feel like I have a fighting chance of making it til spring!

I've also learned to use the Emergen-C Immune Support which has additional vitamins like D.

Which brings me to

#2 - Vitamin D

I remember reading somewhere years ago that in Canada they give Vitamin D rather than flu shots. I have no idea if that's really true, but the years I was good about remembering to take Vitamin D regularly, I caught nary a sniffle.

 #3 - Ginger

I'll admit, fresh ginger always kind of scared me. I wasn't exactly sure how to pick it out or what to do with it.

But in my desperation for something to help the endless, tickly cough, I saw a recipe for ginger tea that promised great results.

I overcame my fears :) and bought some ginger. Just a little piece at first.

I peeled it, sliced it, and boiled it for ten minutes. Then I drained it, let it cool a bit, and drank the liquid. Can I say MIRACLE? By the next morning, I felt so much better!

Here's where I admit that I never actually liked the taste of ginger in anything but cookies. But fresh ginger - that I really like!

If you're less a fan, you can add some honey or lemon.

You're supposed to drink the liquid three times a day.

#4 - Gargling with salt water

A neighbor's pediatrician recommended this when her child was young. I've also tried it with apple cider vinegar, but salt water is a whole lot easier on the throat and mouth.

#5 - Herb tea

I came up with this concoction to fight a nasty cough one year and it's pretty good and reliable.
Boil some water and toss in a mix of herbs with anti-bacterial/anti-viral/anti-fungal properties. I'm talking thyme, oregano, basil. If I have it, I throw in some cayenne pepper, maybe some garlic or turmeric, and let it simmer awhile. Strain and drink like tea. I'll admit it's an acquired taste. Honey and lemon help.  But I also have an herb tea I like to drink regularly.

Tulsi Herbal tea: I knew this was supposed to be healthy (and it always makes me feel good), but when I went searching for benefits, I found this list of amazing benefits.  😇

There are so many varieties available now.

So what do you do when the dreaded winter bugs strike? Head to the medicine cabinet or the kitchen cabinet? Drugstore or grocery store?

Let's share some ideas.


  1. Definitely a timely post, Mary Cate. I just heard on the radio this morning that this flu season may not even peak for another 11 weeks.

    I did get a flu shot this year, however they're saying that it's only 10% effective on the strains that are out there. Not very encouraging. But as soon as I feel the slightest scratch in my throat or feel a little puney, I reach for the Airborne. Similar to Emergen-C, but I prefer the taste. And it hasn't let me down yet. I take it at least three times a day if I feel something's trying to come on. This is in addition to my regular supplements, which includes vitamin D. Rest is also important. If I'm run down from lack of sleep, I'm more susceptible that I would be otherwise. And then there's the good old hand washing. This applies when someone else in the house is sick, too. I mean, if I get sick, who's going to take care of them?

    Not sure how I feel about the ginger, though. I love it in things, but not by itself. I know I have tried and tried to acquire a taste for the pickled ginger they serve with sushi, but I just can't do it. I guess because it has kind of a medicinal taste. I do love me some gingersnaps, though, so I'll just have to eat those all day long in the name of health. :P

  2. Great post, Cate! And a wonderful follow-up to my Monday blog!

    I know a lot of people are allergic to the flu shot. My husband is required to get one every fall, and people who can't get one (because of allergies or for religious reasons) have to wear a face mask while they're in the building. The hospital tries its hardest to control infectious diseases!

    When I'm getting know, feeling run down, scratchy throat, etc....I hit the kitchen first. Hot chicken soup! One of my orange/Vitamin C drinks or smoothies. Or tea. I love almost all teas.

    It's only if the congestion threatens to take over, or if I have a fever above 100°, that I head to the medicine chest, but then I don't skimp. I take the recommended amount for as long as I need it...usually only a day or so.

    And I love ginger. Fresh ginger is so different from ground ginger. It doesn't have the same bite. I usually peel it, cut it in chunks, then give a whirl in the blender with enough lemon juice to cover the chunks. I keep this concoction in the fridge, and add a tablespoon when I make a fruity drink. Trim Healthy Mama has a drink they call "Good Girl Moonshine," and fresh ginger is wonderful in it.

    I hope you stay well through this flu season, Cate! It's a bad one!

    1. Oh, I forgot all about chicken soup, Jan. With extra garlic and red pepper flakes. The perfect cure.

    2. Jan -- you jinxed me with that blog post. :-(

  3. I crave herbal tea when I'm feeling poorly. With honey. Ginger tea is my go to. And definitely all about the vitamin D and zinc as well which is supposed help your immune system. But the big thing is REST. I've had a nap every afternoon and I can still sleep at night so my body definitely needs the zzzzzzs. Plus, if you're sick -- STAY HOME! :-) And reading helps the time pass...or audio book if you're too swoony to focus your eyeballs.

  4. I have a no time ti be sick moto. Mostly from working jobs forever that don't want you at work sick, but frown upon you calling in. We joke a lot that adulting is hard, but really is it really that much of a joke?! When we start getting sick I go to my essential oils and the store brand of airborn. My husband calls my mix of oils poison, but he will admit it works. Now if he would just stop fighting to shoot it down with some juice it would he less traumatic. Oregano is natures antibiotic they say. During the day I take a regular bottle of water and put 2 airborne tabs in it and nurse it until gone. Sometimes I drink it warm for a change. The one thing we struggled with this fall is a resprstory virus that turned bacterial! I got it first and a couple weeks later DH did. Of course after a week of a nasty cough I just had to make a phone call to finally get some good stuff since I had been in to get more asthma meds, but when he got it WAY worse it took 3 trips to the dr to finally kick it! 4 days before we left for vacation too. Any idea how hard it is to sleep when your husband is coughing up a storm?! So now I am on the hunt to find something that will help incase that happens again because non of my tricks worked.