cold prevention

cold care protocol

After almost two years of not getting a cold, last week I had one. But it was mild and short and I fully believe all my "woo woo" oils and herbs and "face rubbing" (as my guy says) made the difference.

After sharing pieces of what I do to keep immunity high, I thought I'd just give you the whole low-down. So here it is.

My normal daily routine has a lot of immune-boosting built into it, for example, my daily facial massage, putting oil in my nostrils and the herbs that I take in the form of teas and tinctures.

But when it comes to cold care, you gotta go with big hitters.

If you feel a cold coming on

The tickle in your throat, the little bit of excess mucus, the pressure in the ears. Whatever your early warning sign is, heed it.

1. Use Ravensara essential oil 4 times a day around and in your ears, on the lymph nodes under the jaw, a dab at the base of the skull and a dab on the sacrum/tail. Use about 4 drops total each application. This is medicine -- it doesn't take much. It's like a safe antibiotic. It's antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial. You will not find it in a grocery store. Here are two companies I've purchased from online.

2. Start doing a lymphatic massage several times a day. The lymph system is part of the immune system and it's essential to keep things moving, help those little cleaning factories do their job.

3. Get Wellness Formula. (See pic below.) There are lots of immunity boost supplements out there, I just happen to have great results with this one. Get the capsules instead of the tablets -- they are a little easier on the stomach. Take with food -- 3 capsules 4 times a day.

4. Might as well get some mushrooms, too. (See pic below.) I've used the Host Defense brand, Comprehensive Immunity Support capsules, spray and tincture, all with great result. I've also purchased medicinal mushroom tinctures through Etsy (less expensively).

5. Old fashioned fluids (warm water constantly throughout the day) and rest. If you're fighting something, don't go run errands (first of all, no one wants your germs), don't work out -- let your body use that energy to fight off the bug.

6. Studies show a reduction in upper respiratory infections in people who gargle warm salt water 3 times a day.

7. Other great supplements to consider: chyawanprash, astragalus, ginger (fresh or capsules), vitamins A and C, zinc, echinacea. Notice which pull or speak to you. Just don't take them aaaaallll at the same time.

My winter-season immunity boosters.

My winter-season immunity boosters.

If you have a cold

1. Stay home. Rest. I know this is hard to do. The world might stop turning if you have to cancel something or don't show up to that meeting!!  Seriously, I get that it can be inconvenient. I cancelled three things I really wanted to do last week. But pushing it can just worsen and prolong the symptoms and severity.

2. Keep doing all the things above.

3. Steam.

4. Puffs Plus. I don't even know why companies are allowed to make any paper products from non-recycled content. But when I have a cold, I buy the lotion-infused tissue with no apologies.

5. Nourish lightly. You know the saying, Feed a fever, starve a cold? Your body uses a lot of energy to digest food. And you want that energy to be directed at getting better. Eat light, simple and warm foods like soups and broth, cooked seasonal veggies and stewed fruit. Avoid rich and heavy foods as well as dairy, sugary treats and breads, and anything cold, frozen, dry and raw, which are all harder to digest.

6. Gentle movement. Once you feel up to it, try some gentle movement, especially easy stretching of the neck, shoulders and spine. The lymphatic system does not have its own pump, so we can help keep things flowing my moving our bodies. Shoulder rolls, neck stretches and cat/cow type articulation are all great.

7. Don't try to move on too quickly. How many people, maybe including yourself, have you heard say that they thought they felt better so they went back to their routines...and then got sick again. Ease back into your regular calendar of things slowly. Be gentle with yourself.

 

I hope you have no need for these ideas, but if you do, may they be of help and inspiration. Do you have cold-proof tactics? Share!

a personal steam

As we covered last week in the Sad News for Smoothies post, winter is the season of the kapha dosha in Ayurveda. This season is characterized by heaviness, dryness (and wetness as we get more into spring), slowness and potential stagnation in digestion, mental processing and emotional state.

A great way to brighten things up and cleanse and clear the respiratory system -- as well as the mind -- is a good, old-fashioned steam.

(Side note: Somehow I did not get the sauna that I asked Santa for. Weird.)

Most of us do not have a steam room or sauna, and even if you have one at your gym, it's not always practical to do. If only there was a way to spare your hairdo from the sweatfest. 

Oh wait, there is!

It's the mini personal steam.

This doesn't mean you have to hunch over a pot of water on the stove. Just pour some steaming water in a mug, drape a kitchen towel over your head and breathe slowly in and out through your nose for a few minutes.

Essential oil (one drop) will amp up the medicinal value — eucalyptus, myrrh, cedarwood, ravensara, rosemary, fir and spruce are some of the great expectorant oils. (Keep in mind, this is medicine, not fun fragrance, so don’t over-dose.)

We did a personal mini steam in this weekend's Seasonal Care workshop to rave reviews!

ayurveda steam

A steam can balance whatever state is in excess -- it will help focus and clarify the mind so you can work on a task, and it will soothe and clear the mind so you can rest. Of course, it's fabulous for cold prevention and cold care -- keeping the respiratory system moist and moving.  

Give it a try and test the effects for yourself. As always, I'd love to hear how it goes.