I've so enjoyed sharing my favourite health and wellness practices over the past few weeks, that today I'm adding a bonus health and wellness feature and sharing my favourite natural remedies - the ones I recommend and regularly use when I feel like I'm getting sick (although since seeing and following the advice of the practioners I featured, I rarely get sick anymore ... woohoo!). Without further ado, here are my top 10 natural remedies (and ways to avoid getting sick in the first place):
- Eating Fresh Veggies and Fruit. I don't really need to explain this one - eating fresh food helps the body to have the power and energy to fight off any bugs, and will keep you in good health most of the time. Make sure you're having at least 5 servings of fresh (aka, you chopped or peeled them yourself) fruits and veggies every day, and your life will be amazing. For real ;)
- Drinking Fresh Lemon and Ginger Tea. This one is pretty easy to make and I love it so much that I drink it regularly, not just when I'm getting sick. To make, cut a few pieces of fresh ginger root (I peel mine) and steep in hot water for 10-15 minutes or more. I love putting the hot water in a travel mug with the ginger pieces so I can enjoy it throughout the day. Before adding the lemon, allow the water to cool slightly so that the heat of the water doesn't destroy the delicate properties of the lemon juice. Add together and drink as is, or add a small amount of raw honey to taste. Lemon helps to alkalize the body, and aids the liver in detoxifying. Like garlic and oregano oil, ginger helps to boost the immune system and has a whole host of benefits. For an additional boost, try adding a small amount of tumeric root when you're steeping the ginger. Tumeric has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for centuries to aid healing.
- Avoiding Sugar. I know this sounds difficult, but just 1 teaspoon of sugar suppresses the immune system for up to 6 hours, so if you're eating sugar then your immune system can't rid itself of the stuff that's making you sick. I still eat fresh fruit and occasionally raw honey for its antibiotic and antioxidant properties, but all other sugar (including dates, dried fruit, agave, maple syrup, alcohol and all processed food - most of which contains added sugar) gets put on hold. I've noticed that my body heals much faster when I do this, and I can get on with my life without feeling like crap.
- Eating Raw Garlic. When I need a boost, I take a shot of raw garlic in a very small amount of water before bed. It's pretty horrible, I won't lie, but I can pretty much feel it working as soon as it reaches my stomach. Raw garlic has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial elements which are great for fighting bugs. I learned this little garlic-shot trick from Sarah Britton of My New Roots, who has some great tips on how to do this with the minimum amount of discomfort.
- Taking Oregano Oil. This is an amazing oil, and like raw garlic it's hard to take, but boy, is it powerful! Like garlic, oregano oil is highly anti-microbial, and has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. I recommend putting the drops at the back of the tongue so the impact is minimized, and have a glass of water or juice ready to wash it down. Don't overdo it on the amount - a couple of drops once or twice a day is all it takes, and more can actually be harmful or cause stomach upset. And only take it for a short period of time so that the bugs you're fighting don't build up resistance. Ensure also that you get good quality oil - doTERRA is a brand that I recommend as the oils are very pure and distilled in a way that retains their theraputic properties. To buy doTERRA oils click here, and for more on other uses for Oregano Oil, click here.
- Gargling with Salt Water. Gargling with salt is a remedy that was passed on from my Granny, a nurse and woman ahead of her time. Whenever I was sick as a child, the first thing she asked was if I had gargled. She recommends gargling every hour, on the hour, but if your schedule doesn't allow, a few times a day works well. I find this very soothing when my throat is sore, and like me, my Granny rarely gets sick, and has an incredible social life, even at the impressive age of 90!
- Using a Neti-Pot or Nasal Rinse. When I've had a cold and I'm trying to keep things moving and clear, I love, love, love my neti-pot. It literally gets rid of all the gunk from the nasal passages and is great during or after colds and also for seasonal allergies or hayfever. I use this one (which you can get in most pharmacies), and I find it most effective after a shower when my nose has opened a little from the heat.
- Having a Steam. When my nose is blocked or I'm having trouble breathing, I love filling up the sink with boiling water, adding a couple of drops of eucalyptus, tea tree or lavender oil (the latter two are also great for skin health), covering my head and the sink with a towel and breathing in the steam. This usually helps clear up the airways for a little while and I find it relaxing. You can also diffuse some oils in your room while you sleep, which for me, allows more rest.
- Taking a Salt Bath. Sometimes when I'm run down, my body just needs a little bit of extra care. If I'm feeling achy and tired, a bath with epsom or himalayan salts works really well to make me feel better.
- Resting. Often illness is a message from our bodies to our brains, telling us to slow down. And when we don't listen, we get sick. If I do finally succumb to illness, it's usually because I've been doing too much, and I try to honour the message I've been given and spend more time resting and recouperating. The body repairs and heals itself during sleep, so this is one of the most effective ways to get better.
So there you go! My top 10 natural remedies to help prevent illness and boost the immune system. I'd love to hear if you have any home remedies too! Send me a message or let me know in the comments. And in the meantime, stay happy and well :)